Q&A - Former IB to MBB


Hello friends,

This forum was a great resource over the years and I thought I would provide an opportunity for people to ask me questions. After working for 2 years in IB I have made the transition to MBB.

The rational behind my move was that I did not know what I wanted my next career step to be and wanted to optimize for skills and optionality. My decision was really influenced by the book How To Win In A Winner Take All World.

I know there are some people here who are interested in making a similar type of move so I am happy to share my general exp and help in anyway that I can.

Comments (28)

Mar 24, 2020 - 12:36pm

How did you go about making the change? Would you have any advice as to making the transition ? I presume experienced hire recruiting for MBB is different to doing it directly out of school.


Mar 24, 2020 - 12:36pm

What specifically in the book you read persuaded you to make the change? Is MBB in your opinion the best way to 'win in a winner take all world'? Have considered MBB as well due to my interest in start up etc - thank you for this AMA!

Mar 24, 2020 - 4:50pm

The process really has two parts: 1) Get an interview 2) Crush the interview.

1) Get an interview
I found this part to be very easy. I had a few friends who where either currently at MBB or alumni and expressed my desire to make the transition. They connected me with their experience hire recruiters and I worked with them on a date for the interview. I was able to get interviews at all three. From my understanding, MBB is growing quickly so they are always looking for strong candidates and getting a referral from a consultant is incredibly helpful as well.

2) Crush the interview
This is essentially the same as the process in school. You will need to case prep. I won't bore you with the details here since there is a ton of information on this. If you have specific questions on this, feel free to ask.

Mar 24, 2020 - 5:01pm

The book explains that cultivating adaptability and the ability to connect different type of technical skills in team-based work is crucial to thriving in the rapidly changing future.


is a good summary of the point and my thought process was that building a skill-set at MBB and getting that experience would move me closer to becoming a "Glue" person.
Mar 25, 2020 - 8:28am

It isn't that I felt IB did not provide me with optionality - more that I felt that I had extracted the value I needed to from IB. If you are familiar with the 80/20 rule, I felt that in roughly three years of IB in a coverage group, I had learned close to 80% of what my MD knew. The other 20% would be learned through years of reps.

Thus if you are optimizing for skills, learning, optionality, it is time to move on to something else. Consulting, specially at MBB, provided me with that opportunity and allow me to complement my IB skills. Not sure how long I will be there for, but going into it with the intention of doing 2-3 years and then reassessing then.

Mar 27, 2020 - 4:58pm

I'm sorry man but there is no way you learned in 3 years 80% your MD did in his 15+ year career.

You barely scratched the surface. Sure you probably have a better technical skillset than he does, but how many transactions did you run? Did you learn how to carry out a complete M&A deal, from start to finish including bringing in the client, selling your bank the right way through the pitch and then guiding the client throughout the entire transaction, marketing them to possible investors all the while keeping your entire team in check to make sure the deal progresses as needed?

I understand that spending a few years in banking can jumpstart your career and allow you to do amazing things in the future, but there is no way you can compare the knowledge of a junior banker to an MD.

Mar 25, 2020 - 8:24am

This is generally correct. The interview process is really two parts: 1) Get the interview and 2) Crush the interview

I would suggest you focus on reaching out to alumni and begin networking to secure an interview. Once you have your interview date, it will come down to grinding on cases to ensure you can knock it out of the part.

Apr 15, 2020 - 12:30pm

Was given credit for my past experience and will be coming in at the MBA level.

Signing Bonus: ~$25k
Base: ~$190k
Bonus: Haven't gotten it yet but in the range of ~15-35% of base

Work-Life Balance:
There is enough information on this that you can find it. In short, it is different. Horus are less but the intensity is higher and you travel.

Apr 17, 2020 - 3:36am

Thanks! Super helpful! Is this your first year as a consultant and how many years of banking experience did you have before moving? If so, your salary figures are pretty darn close to a first year Associate in banking and I wouldn't have thought that

Apr 1, 2020 - 12:56pm

Knowing someone who was in management consulting (think like PwC, EY, etc.) and then switched to IB as an associate, he said, "Consulting is the fucking worst." And would regularly try to talk friends out of pursuing consulting.

Maybe the consulting experience at MBB is clouds above over all other management consulting...but I doubt it.

My question is- what's your end goal? C-suite? How does consulting help you get there better than IB?

  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Apr 1, 2020 - 4:26pm

Consulting can vary based on who you align with and what clients/topics they cover...as well as what you're interested in. It can be great, or it can be okay.

From an exposure standpoint (not consulting skillset), the "sell" is that you see a little of everything and know how everything kinda works (and you become an expert if you hone in), but I don't think that lines up with anyone's experience. Fundamentally, it's impossible to do 1 engagement in each of operations/marketing/strategy/IT/finance/etc. as an Associate or Manager. Even then, what is the quality of those projects?

The consulting skillset is useful though.

The advantage with banking is that you come out with a narrower, but far more developed skillset. To me, it's like consulting if you went in and ONLY did marketing...or ONLY operations...etc.

Would love to hear any views on this from OP.

Apr 15, 2020 - 12:34pm

There is no objective "better" - rather what you want and are looking for.

End Goal:
As mentioned in my original post, I don't have a 5 year goal. Life / careers are so unpredictable that I find that sort of career planning useless. Rather I was motivated to make this transition to optimize for learning. Essentially, get thrown in a new area where I can work and learn from smart people. I don't have a view on what I will do in 2-3 years.

Apr 15, 2020 - 12:36pm

My experience was that getting an interview was the easiest part.

I reached out to friends / people within my network at these firms and got a direct referral from them. They put me in touch with their experienced hire recruiters and I was given an interview at all three based on this. My understanding is that they have ongoing interviews for experienced hires (ie they interview every 2-3 months).

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