Need Advice: McKinsey vs Barclays

Hey there monkeys, long time lurker here with a tough decision upon me. I currently have 2 outstanding offers that explode soon: McKinsey Generalist and Barclays (did not intern there) both in NYC. For reference: would want to end at a HF / go through the PE pipeline if needed.

My question is: how hard is placing at Barclays without having interned there? From a top target, but do not have alumni in the common top "P&U, Nat Res, Industrials" groups. As per McKinsey, is MF recruiting still possible? (Not the typical BainCap, but APO, WP, Carlyle, etc). Biggest question: I am currently unsure of it all as I'm aware that the McK name carries more weight than Barclays, but am unsure how much consulting vs IB may limit me in the future (HF); I would not want to make a wrong choice early on.

Appreciate any and all advice!

Comments (75)

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jan 4, 2022 - 11:12pm

This has to be a troll post

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  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 4, 2022 - 11:13pm

Most definitely not a troll post, I am very grateful for the offers but I am just perplexed as to what I should do, especially since I dont have much time left to decide.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jan 4, 2022 - 11:17pm

Also if you're a good candidate you shouldn't have a hard time placing into a strong group. Like seriously - if you are personable/experienced/know how to network, it's not hard. Barclays makes all the interns go through ft placements and there usually plenty of spots in the large/good coverage groups.

Also, you don't want to join industrials lol.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 4, 2022 - 11:19pm

Thanks for that, I wasn't aware that every returning intern had to go through placement again. If I may ask, what's wrong with industrials at Barclays? WLB?

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jan 4, 2022 - 11:26pm

Yea, last I heard industrials and tech were super sweaty. They're both strong groups on the league tables and place very well, but awful WLB.The large groups that place well are industrials, tech, C&R, and HC. Each group took ~10 analysts.

Then you have power and sponsors but afaik those are both more difficult to get into (sponsors only takes like 1-2 analysts).

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 4, 2022 - 11:25pm

I was talking to someone at Ares and he said that you should get the same exits coming from McKinsey as any top banking groups as long as you are able to model well enough. I don't think McK would limit you, if not be better than Barclays for MF recruiting.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 4, 2022 - 11:35pm

Thanks for the insight! I was wondering how unstructured recruiting at consulting vs normal HH for banking would work when recruiting? Maybe through leveraging alumni network at MFs? Unfortunately I am not too sure.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 5, 2022 - 3:46am

Not sure I was going through PE analyst recruiting then and also interned at McK. His view was that many of his MBB friends who wanted to go for PE were able to break in while working considerably fewer hours than IB

  • Incoming Analyst in PE - Growth
Jan 5, 2022 - 12:58am

Interned at Barclays and went to a top GE firm FT.The deciding factor here is that your MCK offer is NYC. Not all MBB offices are made equal for PE recruiting. NYC is far and away the best one and allows you to be in the process for all of the MFs in NY interested in consultants. It's also common knowledge how hard that office is to get into.I recommend people to Barclays all the time based on the culture and the experience I had, but I feel my peers doing their SAs at top BBs (especially GS / MS) and EBs (especially Evercore) were more actively sought out by MFs for their FT analyst programs. Don't know any consultants who got solid looks but Analyst -> Associate is a different game. Furthermore many consultants could give a shit about bLaCkStOnE's PrEfTiGe so it's a smaller group that ends up recruiting.As I understand it, many hedge funds tend to prefer former bankers, but a stint as an associate at a megafund should be enough.FYI: You will make considerably less at MCK than Barclays even after tax, but I wouldn't base your decision on that.

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  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 5, 2022 - 11:19am

Thanks for this! Do you think that recruiting as an analyst from Barclays may be harder, even from a good group (Industrial/HC)? Also, would McK still get the same looks as traditional MFs? Or do some of them simply not look at non-banking folk?

  • Incoming Analyst in PE - Growth
Jan 5, 2022 - 11:53am

The simple way to think about this is as follows: there are some PE funds that like consultants and others that do not (point for Barclays as all PE funds like bankers). However, among those that are willing to hire consultants, Mck is a better brand and imho will be way less competitive recruiting for those places (point for Mck).

If trying to go MF any coverage group at Barclays will give you a shot, but Sponsors, P&U, Nat Res, Industrials, and maybe Tech (simply because of how many funds are increasing tech exposure) is the way to go.

If you're 100% certain about the HF route then this is a tough choice as Barclays sets you up better for an investing career - but I would also question why you're interested in both consulting and hedge funds. at my target there was almost no overlap among those pools of kids. Think about what you want to do and don't just chase prestige.

Jan 5, 2022 - 1:20am
JonJay55, what's your opinion? Comment below:

A former analyst at Barclays I know personally went to Point72, all I know though

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 6, 2022 - 3:45am

lol barclays soy boys throwing monkey shit at my deleted comment is peak insecurity projecting

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 5, 2022 - 11:16am

This is for full time, have to a make a decision by friday and would like to have as much information as possible.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Jan 5, 2022 - 3:48am

Yes everyone technically goes through the FT placement process, but interns coming back are almost always given their spot back. Meaning the most sought after groups won't have spots typically. Last year Power, Nat Res, Sponsors, CRG - 4 of the most sought after groups in NY - held full processes but ended up with no spots (and this is not uncommon). Industrials is a top group and will have tons of spots due to size and poor intern retention. Tech is also decent and will have spots for same reason. HC usually has 1-3 spots and FIG has bunch of spots but after that most coverage groups will not have openings or will be incredibly difficult (way harder than people are implying here). Barclays has by far the most competitive placement process. Coming from someone who successfully went through this in a similar seat.

Jan 5, 2022 - 1:14pm
punk, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If your end goal is HF via the PE pipeline, it's true Barclays will provide more interview opps since most funds prefer recruiting directly from IBD. However, McKinsey (especially NYC office) will provide its share of interviews which you'll probably have to work harder to make the transition

Having said this, and I will probably get MS for this, do not discount the weight of the brand name McKinsey brings on your CV. Anyone who disagrees has either 0 work experience or resides by the grassy cornfields of Iowa. In the real world outside of WSO, things like this matter whether it be for applications to jobs/MBA, client network, and even the alumni base from your company. Honestly speaking, most would agree the intangibles from the 3 things I mentioned above are stronger at McKinsey. And I think you know this to be true as if you had an offer from a "top BB" with your end goal to be in HF, this wouldn't even have been a discussion in the first placeGood luck and congrats on both offers

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 5, 2022 - 1:17pm

Thank you, and completely agree. The McKinsey brand name carries a great amount of value. I guess at this point I am wondering between BarCap --> HF / MF then HF vs McKinsey --> MF --> HF is even possible, how different/attainable and ultimately realistic these paths are.

Jan 5, 2022 - 1:26pm
punk, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Both paths are realistic, its just that the McKinsey -> MF path isn't as smooth given a smaller number of interview opps, but its def still doable given the sheer number of ex-consultants at PE. In my opinion, that short-term trade off is worth the intangibles I mentioned above  

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 6, 2022 - 12:13am

Assuming an MBB consultant is able to land at a firm like H&F or Bain Cap, would they be at a disadvantage in moving to a hedge fund, compared to their peers who started in banking but now are at similar PE firms?

Most Helpful
Jan 5, 2022 - 2:44pm
Bancroft, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think you should go with McKinsey. Here's why.

It is scientifically proven and totally indisputable that companies with longer names (i.e. Blackstone, Ferrari, Goldman Sachs & Company) are prestigious than companies with shorter names (PwC, Kia, SVB Leerink). "McKinsey & Company" has 8 letters more than "Barclays". This is a scientific fact.

You are not asking this question to this website because you think this place actually knows which path gets you to your dream garage-band hedge-fund. You are asking because you want to know what's more prestigious, the perceived top strategy consulting job or a very good investment bank. If I were in your shoes, I would go ask your dad, because I think you know his approval is what you're really after here.

Big4 Audit --> TMT L/S

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  • Analyst 2 in Consulting
Jan 5, 2022 - 8:35pm

McKinsey places well into MFs and HFs, and there's a dedicated pipeline. Some places I considered/interviewed with: Citadel Securities, WP, Chan Zuckerberg foundation, Thoma Bravo, Bain Capital, etc. 

I can't speak for Barclays from personal experience, but you can definitely end up in HFs or PE if you want out of McKinsey. The brand is that strong: I literally cold dropped resumes and got interviews with many notable companies (albeit not the HFs or PE firms). 

I will say though, its a much harder sell to be on the investment side. All these companies will recruit you for strategy or operating roles

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  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 5, 2022 - 9:46pm

Super helpful, thank you! Some questions if I may: Did you recruit during your first year? Were your interviews at WP/Thoma/BainCap for an investing role or more a strategy/corpdev role? Thanks!

  • Analyst 2 in Consulting
Jan 6, 2022 - 8:54pm

You start getting these emails en masse after the 1 year mark. I didn't really recruit my first year because I felt it silly to start recruiting for a role 2 years out when I hadn't even gotten my feet wet in consulting yet, but you could feasibly just ask a member of the cohort ahead of you to pass on their recruiter emails if you wanted to get a jump start. WP was Investor role, Thoma was Chief of Staff for Orlando Bravo (this was more of a one off bc his current chief of staff was leaving for her MBA; I didn't even pass the recruiter screening lmao). Bain Capital is Investing.

Honestly in my case, I'd just made up my mind to leave after a year or so, and it was just a matter of actively responding to all opportunities I found at least somewhat interesting. Ironically didn't end up in any of those recruiter roles, but networked into my dream role at a major tech company. Now I just visit WSO for mostly for the autistic entertainment factor, the chance to help out those who were in my position, and the occasional sense of smug superiority now that I'm in the "Promised Land".

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  • Intern in ER
Jan 6, 2022 - 2:29pm

Can you elaborate on what the Chan Zuckerberg foundation is? I get it is Zuckerberg's family office of sorts. A quick LinkedIn search shows it's got some extremely high-quality talent there

  • Analyst 2 in Consulting
Jan 6, 2022 - 8:50pm

It's basically their version of the Gates Foundation. When I interviewed, team was tiny <10, and most very Sr. folks who had previous experience in Investment Managment at foundations for major universities. The role I was connected to involved being in the investment side of things to grow their endowment. Not sure if they've grown at this point to where they've started siloing strategies 

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Jan 5, 2022 - 10:47pm
CashBuffer, what's your opinion? Comment below:

For MF PE, banking is the way to go, unless you want to go to a consulting friendly shop. If you choose MBB, you'll have an uphill battle convincing headhunters on why they should put your name in front of a BX or APO (who explicitly may say NO to consultants). 

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 6, 2022 - 12:16am

If one goes to Mckinsey, would it be worth it for PE/HF purposes to try and move to an analyst position at a top BB /EB?

  • Investment Analyst in HF - EquityHedge
Jan 6, 2022 - 12:36pm

You will get more quality PE looks coming from McKinsey NYC than BarCap.

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  • Investment Analyst in HF - EquityHedge
Jan 6, 2022 - 4:26pm

Both. McKinsey NYC is in a class of its own. BarCap isn't even a top-tier BB.

  • Anonymous Monkey's picture
  • Anonymous Monkey
  • Rank: Chimp
Jan 6, 2022 - 3:07pm
Anonymous Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If your interested in the VC or Tech space I would go for Mckinsey. 

  • Anonymous Monkey's picture
  • Anonymous Monkey
  • Rank: Chimp
Jan 6, 2022 - 8:22pm
Anonymous Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Bain Capital Ventures recruits from MBB and so does Insight. It's all about what you want in life. 

Jan 6, 2022 - 5:04pm
nanner16, what's your opinion? Comment below:

work for a HF and help manage recruiting. we don't care whether someone starts in banking or consulting as long as they generate ideas and know how to model 3 statements. also, public markets modeling is way less intensive than PE because you simply have less data available to you, so less of a need for banking

i think you'll probably get more looks, or at least from recruiters, if you do McKinsey. having the brand also helps the HF market to LPs, for whatever that's worth

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 6, 2022 - 6:27pm

Thank you! Are there many consultants in your shop? If I may, does your shop tend to recruit from PE/out of banking? Thank you

Jan 7, 2022 - 11:34am
nanner16, what's your opinion? Comment below:

there are none at my firm, but we are a lean team and also don't recruit often. friends at other HFs do recruit out of consulting. they tend to be single manager deep diligence type funds, which makes sense since it is similar to the type of market research you would do in consulting

honestly, this seems like a no brainer to me. you should go with McKinsey. there are never guarantees for success in the HF space since the only things that matter medium/long term are your ideas and being able to communicate them. more doors should open for you relative to a Barclays

  • Associate 2 in PE - Growth
Jan 6, 2022 - 11:47pm

As someone who did top BB, top MF, now top Growth....

My advice is to stop trying to triangulate tiny bits and pieces like # headhunter looks and # clear buyside recruiting pipelines. In terms of big picture heuristics as a mid-career professional, McKinsey (assuming its NY) is far and away the better opportunity here and it's not even close. If you put in the legwork at McK you will be able to pull off the same/better quality buyside exit as a Barclays analyst. This is more about which one pays more dividends long-term, and I will tell you that 5-10 years from now, the network and signaling benefit of having been a McKinsey BA in NY for 2 years blows Barclays out of the water.

In general for these dilemmas: choose the path which gives you a shot at having it all. At McK, if you hustle, you can have it all - the buyside gig and the great brand/network.   

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 7, 2022 - 12:26am

This is excellent advice. Thanks so much. Out of curiosity, did you see any successful MBB at your MF / GE shops? Maybe once inside, while helping internally with recruiting? If so, what made them stand out during recruiting? Thank you!

  • Associate 2 in PE - Growth
Jan 7, 2022 - 4:40am

At my MF, only one. At my growth shop it is much more common. My team is 1/4 consultants (mainly Bain + some McK)

  • Associate Consultant in Consulting
Jan 7, 2022 - 12:58am

Mega troll, McKinsey is the far and away clear choice here and it's not even close.

You do realize even if your ultimate goal is HF, you still need to work for 2 - 4 years? The sort of learning, experience, and overall growth you will have at McK is going to be much better over the years you're there and ultimately u can still break into any industry you want albeit from a sheer numbers perspective there might be less consultants in high finance than bankers (

Jan 7, 2022 - 4:41am
snarf42, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I feel like if you wanted to do anything besides HF then McKinsey would be your best bet - just can't see a lot of major HFS giving you the time of day over basically any other banker with finance/investing experience. For anything else (PE included), I think the McK NYC spot heavily outweighs BarCap in terms of setting you up for long term success

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 7, 2022 - 12:50pm

Do you think HFs would be more interested after a stint in PE post McK?

Jan 7, 2022 - 2:22pm
snarf42, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm sure they'd give you a look but I think if HF is your #1 goal you should take Barclays. If you want to do about anything else I'd take McK. 

Jan 7, 2022 - 2:40pm
Wu-Tang-Financial, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Is the general consensus that OP cannot leapfrog the PE experience and place straight into HF?

And if not, would either opportunity provide an advantage of going straight to HF?

I think that should be a consideration in the discussion

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 7, 2022 - 3:06pm

OP here. Other than posting here, have been discussing with alumni at MF/banking and mentors. My thoughts are as follows

McK is a better brand, will give me almost all of the same looks I would get from Barclays (except a few banking-only funds say APO/BX). But it is still consulting.

For HF, would need to go through PE for McK. If choosing Barclays, I could go straight out of banking to HF (although unsure how this would work out, again brand name/competition). Would have marginally more looks at PE, and would also need to go through group placement (no easy feat).

I've appreciated all insight from everyone helping me out. I have a call with the HR person at one of these Firms in a few hours for a decision. Will update once I have fully made up my mind! In the meantime, appreciate any other final feedback/comments.

Jan 7, 2022 - 7:54pm
kigiya1594, what's your opinion? Comment below:

i personally know a BA at McK NY who recently exited to an HF in an investment role. my gut says it doesn't happen more often due to self-selection and not because of any strong preference that HFs might have against consultants

choose McK

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 7, 2022 - 8:05pm

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Jan 7, 2022 - 8:36pm
Premia, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jan 7, 2022 - 8:47pm

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