Which Sounds Most Suitable for Me: Banking, Trading, or Consulting?

brown_trader's picture
Rank: Monkey | 39

Hi,

So basically, I am a junior at a non-target and I'm trying to figure out which career path makes more sense for someone like me. I know that you all are probably busy, so I'm going to briefly (I hope) talk about why I like each one, what I dislike about them, and then I hope that through this, you all can either correct my assumptions about the field or tell me which one suits my personality/goals best:

banking: What I like about banking is that it seems to give a lot of training for modelling, financial valuation, etc. which can be applied to many fields, and will help me if I want to do PE or even corporate finance. It has the broadest exit opps and, because I'm a non-target, I will probably have an easier time getting into banking since there are tons of boutiques out there that offer decent experience (not as good as BBs, but better than a boutique management consulting firm for example) without being extremely hard to get into. The thing I hate about banking though is that there seems to be a lot of cold-calling and it seems almost like a glorified sales job to some extent. I'm not a super extroverted person, so this might not be a good fit for me, even though I think the deal-making process is fascinating. However, thus far, I'm leaning towards banking because once I get into the more "sales" type of role, I can exit to something I like more.

trading: I've recently been interested in trading because I've recently opened up my own trading account and I enjoy how I can directly see how my efforts contribute to the bottom line. I also really enjoy business strategy, and I love how trading (btw, I'm not a sophisticated trader and I only go by qualitative data/educated guesses since I'm a compete beginner) involves taking apart a business, looking at its financials, seeing its management trends, etc. to determine whether or not to invest in the firm. The thing I'm worried about is that trading will probably be MUCH more difficult to get into from undergrad (fewer spots), and while I'm decent with numbers (I love the quantitative aspect of trading btw) and will major in finance/accounting, there seems to be a trend toward hiring math/engineer majors from HYPS schools, and it will be very difficult to compete with them. Furthermore, I am a VERY risk averse person, and trading seems like a very risky field, and it has the most narrow skillset, which means exit opps will be limited.

consulting: I love consulting because its the most direct business field to business strategy, and I really love seeing how businesses work and solving complex problems within organizations. As weird as it sounds, I actually enjoy doing practice case studies for consulting interviews because of the way they challenge me to think despite not having all the relevant info. Furthermore, I've always had dreams of being a hotshot within a large company, and it seems that consulting is the best path toward that. So while I love consulting, there is a HUGE problem and that is getting a job at any half-decent firm. I know that MBB are the best and that those are probably out of reach since I'm not at a target, but I don't know of any boutique consulting firms in my area, and I can't imagine they'd offer good experience at all, especially compared to a boutique investment bank. Since I need to go to a really good biz school, I don't know what to do, because all the good firms are out of reach (not just MBB, but Oliver Wyman, Monitor, LEK, Parthenon, Booz, etc.), so because I probably won't get good experience out of consulting in undergrad, consulting is dead last on my list even though I think I'd enjoy it the most.

Now it looks like I failed in terms of keeping the descriptions short, but if anyone can tell me which field I should go for, can correct me on my impressions about any of those fields, or all in all just give me some advice, that would be really nice, because I'm already a junior and have no clue what to do.

Thanks!

Comments (13)

Oct 14, 2010

Way too long of a post... sorry.

Shorten it significantly if you want people to read it.

Oct 14, 2010

There is NO cold calling in banking

Oct 14, 2010

a non-target in this market should be glad to get ANYTHING.

Oct 14, 2010

Let me shorten it then:

Banking:
Pros:
+ Learn hard skills that I can apply to nearly every finance industry (modeling, valuation, etc.) including corporate finance, PE, Hedge Funds, etc.
+Lots of accounting included in it which is nice since I'm majoring in either finance/accounting and enjoy accounting as well (I know I'm weird)
+ "Easier" to get into from a non-target because there's a lot of boutiques out there that offer good experience and since there are lots of positions
Cons:
- Feels like more of a sales job after a while doing cold calling, pitching, etc.
- Hours/Burnout

Trading:
Pros:
+I enjoy the quantitative work and how there's a lot of business strategy assessment (I really enjoy business strategy above all else) in the work
+I love how I can directly see how I'm adding to the bottom line and how the industry is more of a meritocracy and is less based on "soft-skills"
+I have started value investing on my own and I love reading about trading strategies/following the markets.
+Hours are very nice compared to the others
Cons:
-There is trend toward hiring more quant people and while I'm decent with numbers, I'm not math major/PHD good.
-Worried about breaking in because I know less traders than bankers/consultants and I don't have a quant degree
-Narrow exit opps/skill-sets (basically just trading/HF exit opps)

Consulting:
Pros:
+Consulting is pure business strategy, which as mentioned before, is what I truly love.
+You get some of the best training and prestige possible if you go to MBB, Oliver Wyman, etc.
+Hours are more manageable than others (except S&T maybe), but travel will suck after a while
+A lot of my relatives are consultants at their own firms, so I might be able to do a JV with them after getting experience
+Top MBA/Industry exit opps
+I love the problem solving aspect of it (I actually have fun doing case interview questions...go figure)
Cons:
-I don't go to a target so getting a job at MBB is basically impossible. Furthermore, boutique consulting firms aren't as good in terms of giving good experience as boutique investment banks (talking non-elite C boutiques to non-elite banking boutiques). So if I work at a no-name consulting shop, I'm basically screwed, and there's a very, very high chance that this will happen if I pursue consulting.

I don't know how much shorter this is, but I hope it is more readable since there is less text?

Oct 14, 2010

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Oct 15, 2010

Bump...what should I do to shorten it, like what specifically do you all want to hear? I guess if I just generally state my story, it becomes way too long, so what parts of my story do you want to hear so that I can get your advice? Sorry for the long posts, but help me shorten it because I'm failing at the moment.

Oct 15, 2010

You sir are a fag. Steer clear of finance.

Oct 15, 2010
cheese86:

You sir are a fag. Steer clear of finance.

Says the kid with a 0.5 bananas:shit ratio lmao. Pls go.

Here's the best way to do it I guess: just tell me what types of people enjoy banking, consulting, and trading (in terms of what they're interested in and personality-wise) and then I'll decide based on your descriptions which one suits me best on my own. Is that fair? In the meantime, I'll also do a search and see what I can find, but if you guys have some quick ideas to share, that would be great

Oct 15, 2010

Clearly that you like consulting most.

None of those three is easy for non-target sch kids. But we hear stories of those ppl breaking in all the time.

So stop listing pros and cons, go exhaust your relatives' and schools' network NOW.

Oct 15, 2010

trading is all about feeling and populist rage

Oct 15, 2010
brown_trader:

Hi,

trading: I've recently been interested in trading because I've recently opened up my own trading account and I enjoy how I can directly see how my efforts contribute to the bottom line. I also really enjoy business strategy, and I love how trading (btw, I'm not a sophisticated trader and I only go by qualitative data/educated guesses since I'm a compete beginner) involves taking apart a business, looking at its financials, seeing its management trends, etc. to determine whether or not to invest in the firm. The thing I'm worried about is that trading will probably be MUCH more difficult to get into from undergrad (fewer spots), and while I'm decent with numbers (I love the quantitative aspect of trading btw) and will major in finance/accounting, there seems to be a trend toward hiring math/engineer majors from HYPS schools, and it will be very difficult to compete with them. Furthermore, I am a VERY risk averse person, and trading seems like a very risky field, and it has the most narrow skillset, which means exit opps will be limited.

Thanks!

trading does not mean that in the traditional sense. i suggest you lurk more on WSO

Oct 15, 2010

A lot of your description for each industry is way off (which is fine, we were all there at some point). So you should really learn more about each one first before deciding anything (you can do this by searching this site, searching Google, talking to alums, etc...)

Oct 15, 2010
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