Q&A: Consulting v. Banking, the age old question. By Former MBB and Bulge Bracket Banker.
This is the age old question. Here is my quick take on it. Happy to answer any questions about my experience or anything on your mind.
Here it is, Banking vs. Consulting, an overview.
A slightly narrower but more focused skill set: quantitative and modeling focused. By the end of it, you'll be an expert at valuation and typical models like M&A, LBO, and capital raises.
Broader skillset. By the end of it, you'll get very good at structuring an ambiguous business problem, identifying a path to solve it, figuring out data and information needed for analysis and then executing analyses to get the job done. Also will help you figure out how to draw up an implementation or execution plan.
For banking, think making deals. For consulting, think strategic decision making and execution.
Both are highly valuable. I think having both is great!
Banking is notorious for longer hours and having more of a 'facetime' culture where you have to be in the office and show face. Like many analysts, I've seen the all nighter in banking, but not in consulting. But, it didn't happen often and it was during a very important deal phase.
Consulting tends to now have the rep of a high flying lifestyle (although who knows in this new world). You get to travel all over, experience different cities, rack up points for personal travel etc. The hours are arguably better as lifestyle is actually part of team conversations. But, that being said, it can still be 70+ hours a week depending on the project, especially in your early days when you're still working on getting more efficient at the job).
It used to be that banking was the sure path to Private Equity. It isn't the case any more. Depending on the PE shop, both bankers and junior consultants can exit into PE. Generally speaking banking experience can make you more competitive for jobs that require deal diligence and deal process as well as modeling. While consulting experience could make you competitive in these areas (if you do diligence projects or finance focused projects), but consulting can also open you up to other strategy and operation focused roles. Consulting arguably offers broader exit options, while banking can make you more competitive for a narrower more focused set of options.
I'd say, both are going to be great training for the first part of your career. Not to sound cliche, but talk to people and see which one gets you more excited. Go with that as it will likely make you happier and lead to better performance and options.
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