What's worse for Consulting: Audit or Operations?

erklam's picture
Rank: Baboon | 108

Hello,

I'm in the process of Consulting internship applications and I'm thinking about my backups:

either a Big4 Audit internship or a possible JP Morgan Operations internship.

While I know that these have nothing to do with Consulting, I'd still like to know which one would be more beneficial considering that I'd apply for FT consulting the year after.

Thank you for your inputs guys!

Comments (26)

Nov 12, 2012

Operations at JPMorgan would be more helpful. This is not close.

Nov 12, 2012

well consulting means talking to clients, gathering requirements, doing analysis so I think audit might help more? not exactly sure but either way you need to describe either job on your resume well and relate it to consulting.

Nov 12, 2012

Ops - hands down better.

Nov 12, 2012

Operations will provide you with a technical skillset you can immediately "apply" as a consultant. Likely better for salary, and a better starting position if you're trying for MBB type firms.

Audit: Excellent internal opportunities within the Deals Stream of a firm, learning what working in professional services is like vs. industry, client facing skills, and if you're a good networker no real reason why you couldn't move into the firm's advisory practice. It happens (rare, but half of that is most CA/CPA candidates don't think about consulting as an option).

I would side with those believing Operations is the advantage, but don't discount the value of having client facing skills. These are one of the biggest hurdles to new consultants.

TT

Nov 12, 2012

Operations, no brainer

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Nov 12, 2012

Wow it surprises me how all of you would opt for ops instead of audit. I guess I had the wrong picture of operations in my mind as it is always regarded inferior to almost everything else you can do at a bank.

Within ops, would you recommend a generalist or a specialist stream, keeping in mind my future consulting aspirations? I'm having a hard time finding out about the actual different between these two internship alternatives.

Thank you

Nov 12, 2012
erklam:

I guess I had the wrong picture of operations in my mind as it is always regarded inferior to almost everything else you can do at a bank.

The people who tend to open their mouths the most when it comes to discussions about banking are front office people. Operations is back office. Front office people stereotypically like to shit on back office roles. No surprise there that your general perception of ops is highly negative.

Nov 12, 2012

FWIW, I work with former Big 4 auditors that were able to get into MBB consulting firms after a top MBA. My friends that are currently in operations are having no luck moving into consulting at all - even with my referrals to the consulting firm that I used to work at. Of all the consultants I know, both from my former firm, and from my current job, there is not a single person that arrived in consulting after operations work at a bank. I would say do audit, since you will likely be able to get a better MBA from audit than operations, which can lead to a consulting offer. I wouldn't say this is particularly close either... Not sure why others seem to think otherwise.

Nov 14, 2012

This is funny - I am so much more confused now after hearing all these different opinions... But I guess there is no clear winner in this, although some posters say there is...
anyone else?:)

Nov 14, 2012

honestly I think the people on this thread who feel strongly about one or the other are forgetting that you're only applying to internships, not full-time and that recruiters won't look into it as much.

Nov 14, 2012

I don't know understand how people are telling you to pick Operations. Its a fine job in its own light, but I'd go with Big-4 Audit if your end goal is Consulting. Say what you will about Audit, but its a client-facing role, and meaningful interaction with different clients occur daily. You have an opportunity to learn different processes in the business, build deliverables, etc. This can be fairly easily spun in a Consulting Interview. Also, don't discount the fact that every Big-4 has an Advisory Department (KPMG?), which many future MBB Consultants come from. Compare this to an Ops role, where you will most likely have ZERO client-facing opportunities and a subpar network.

Nov 16, 2012

That makes sense. I wonder which change is more probable or feasible:
- a switch from operations to front office OR
- a switch from audit to advisory
within the same firm, i mean.

Nov 16, 2012
erklam:

That makes sense. I wonder which change is more probable or feasible:
- a switch from operations to front office OR
- a switch from audit to advisory
within the same firm, i mean.

From what I've heard it nearly impossible to swtich from Ops to Front office for a bank, I personally have no experience in this. But I know of a lot of people who were able to switch from Audit to Advisory in a big 4. You just have to be a high performer and network within the firm.

Nov 16, 2012

Lol wow, I guess the only thing worse than Ops on this board is Big 4 auditing apparently. I'd go with Big 4. People over here like to crap on the Big 4 because it's a "state school job", they take a ton of people each year, and since it won't lead to PE/HFs without a top MBA/Contacts/Luck. At least at the Big 4, you'll be doing client work and can transition to TAS services groups within them.

Additionally, even though one won't be doing journal entries as a consultant, audit will still help one learn more about business processes and a good background in accounting can't hurt as a consultant even if it's not a necessity. I'd also argue that if consulting STILL doesn't come by after a Big 4 stint, one has much better exits into industry positions from the Big 4 than Ops.

I work in corp finance, which is similar to "Ops" and I can't possibly imagine how anything I'm doing could relate consulting/IB in the future. This is why I'm considering going for a masters in accounting and using the Big 4 to transition to something better if the job market doesn't pick up.

Nov 17, 2012

MBB consultants I know:
1. Former auditors: 3+
2. Former Big 4: 5+
3. Former BO bankers: 0

Nov 19, 2012

Andres - I'm interested. Surely the auditors didn't go straight from Big 4 Audit into MBB consulting. What were the intermediate steps?

Big 4 Audit -> MBA -> MBB?

Were there other steps involved, and if so, what were they? Thanks!

Nov 20, 2012
marathon218:

Andres - I'm interested. Surely the auditors didn't go straight from Big 4 Audit into MBB consulting. What were the intermediate steps?

Big 4 Audit -> MBA -> MBB?

Were there other steps involved, and if so, what were they? Thanks!

Most likely:

Big 4 Audit --> Big 4 Advisory --> MBA --> MBB

Another plausible variation:

Big 4 Audit --> F500 Corporate Finance --> MBA --> MBB

Maybe even:

Big 4 Audit --> Big 4 TAS --> MBA --> MBB

Nov 20, 2012

Hi SlikRick,

As your post gives a thorough answer to half of my question regarding the Audit>MBB path, I'm wondering how hard any of those 3 steps are above. While I know MBA>MBB jump is always competitive, how hard are the other two transitions, namely Audit> Big4 Advisory/TAS and Big4>MBA?

Thanks a lot for your insight!

Jan 19, 2013
marathon218:

Andres - I'm interested. Surely the auditors didn't go straight from Big 4 Audit into MBB consulting. What were the intermediate steps?

Big 4 Audit -> MBA -> MBB?

Were there other steps involved, and if so, what were they? Thanks!

Nope, some MBB people I know actually lateraled directly from Big 4 audit to MBB (losing grade\tenure though). Big 4 Audit -> Big 4 \ Tier 2 consulting -> MBB also sounds logical, pretty sure there are people who have done that. I am based in Europe though and an MBA is less prevalent here.

Nov 20, 2012

30-40% placement into consulting from a M7 is pretty misleading as that's among all students. Among students who are actively pursuing consulting, it will be far higher. The majority of your class will probably not want to be a consultant even if they were simply offered the job.

Nov 25, 2012

From a European perspective I would go for JPM as internship to have the brand on your CV

Nov 27, 2012

wow I was reading somewhere that working at Big 4 advisory and going M7 MBA wasn't that impossible? I mean, M7 MBA can't all have bankers/traders/MBB people, right? They recruit actively people from many different career paths

Jan 19, 2013
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Jan 22, 2013