Why did you choose MC over IB?

Dear WSO,

I am a rising sophomore interning at an ER company. As I try to keep my career options broad and work my butt off to exprience as much as I could, I wanted to hear your thoughts on choosing between MC and IB. If you happeded to choose one over the other, what made you do that?

Thanks,

Comments (43)

Aug 27, 2019

IMO MC offers a greater variety of real world learning experiences.

Aug 28, 2019

How much does "real-world experience" matter? Can't fully understand what it is and how it can buttress me going forward in the business domain.

Aug 27, 2019

broadly speaking, the MC experience opens up much more exit options in industry, whereas for IB it's more limited to corp dev/PE kind of stuff.

Aug 28, 2019

If you go to MBB right after graduation and finish an MBA after several years of analyst gigs, where else would you usually go?

Aug 28, 2019

where else would you usually go?

This whole point was that there doesn't need to be/isn't a 'usually'.

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Aug 28, 2019

Fewer hours, travel and project-orientation makes hours less monotonous, greater variety of exit options, greater variety of work.

Also, I've found consultants to be less uppity and more socially relaxed than bankers on average, but that's obviously a limited n and there are plenty of exceptions.

Aug 28, 2019

Thanks! The thing is, I've been pursuing an IB role. Have interned at a search fund and now at ER. Can I really "switch" to MC? If so, how do I start?

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Funniest
Aug 29, 2019

Aren't you only a rising sophomore? Has this world really come to a place where 19 year olds are asking if it's too late to switch careers?

If so, where does it lead? Will kids one day be choosing their careers when they're 7? We'll have a world full of astronauts, firefighters and princesses.

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Aug 28, 2019

Dude, I get it, you want to plot your grand master plan for how you'll dominate college recruiting and get offers from everyone, but you're getting wayyyyyy ahead of yourself here. The reality is most everyone will NOT get offers from both sides and will need to choose a specific industry to recruit for. Even then it's not going to be a shoo in that you get a role within either industry and function.

Rather than post on some anonymous forum about why MC > IB, why not focus on actually taking to said consultants and bankers? At least this way you're getting verified information rather "Not a consultant, but my mom's cousin's sister's best friend's boyfriend interned at AT Kearney and he said....." posts

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Aug 28, 2019

I'll take that. Thanks for your input!

Aug 28, 2019

I interned at one of MBB this past summer and one of the draws is that they still offer very generous B-school sponsorship. Also my lifestyle was significantly better than that of my friends in IB, even though I was on a travel case.

Aug 28, 2019

Cool! Did you get to learn many things you feel worthwhile?

Aug 28, 2019

Yeah! I produced a lot of client-facing output and was able to do things like lead interviews with people at the client present during meetings. I definitely learned a lot, but even more valuable was that I learned how much I still have to learn when I return, so I'm excited about that

Aug 29, 2019

I will start working in a financial advisory type of consulting --- maybe we can call it financial services consulting, something OW does. I don't work for OW though.

Based on what I've heard and seen and known from supervisors, friends who work in banking and research --- when you work in consulting you know a project/deal inside out in terms of how people structure the deal/project and complete it. As a junior consultant you only play a small part, but you have more resources to really understand the whole picture.

That's something bankers like to say, but due to their job function and responsibilities, they usually do not. A friend of mine who worked in banking for 2 years before he transitioned to corporate development told me he stopped learning after 6 months. He was in a very good middle market investment bank.
In consulting work might also be repetitive, but you got more time/resources to learn about the whole project due to job function & responsibilties.

Hopefully that helps?

Aug 29, 2019

Had to backdoor my way in due to school and GPA, no chance I could have recruited for IB

When I say backdoor I mean I recruited into audit with the intention of switching to MC. Took me two years.

Most Helpful
  • Works at Bain & Company
Aug 29, 2019
  • The exit opportunities - In banking your good exits are to corp dev or buyside. In consulting (namely at MBB), you can exit to both of those and a huge myriad of other places. People in classes above me have gone to top PE funds, top hedge funds, hot startups, corporate management, corporate strategy, top business schools etc. All of those are in a variety of industries and locations. You simply don't get the same breadth of exits when leaving from IBD
  • The Skillset - Consulting truly gives you the broadest skillset possible. In my time here I have:built detailed models, presented directly to clients/partners; conducted expert interviews; built presentations from scratch; become an "expert" on random industries within a few days. The skillset you pick up is super diverse and preps you well

Also, good on you for thinking about your post-college future early. If you want an "elite" job after college you have to set your eyes on it early - even if you're at a target school. The same people calling you a tryhard are the ones working at KPMG talking about their sick 2K bonus... You got to try harder than everyone else if you want better results

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Aug 30, 2019

This is pretty nonsensical... you get literally the same exit opportunities in Investment Banking as you do in Mgmt Consulting, if not better roles. Literally every 2yr+ position lists "Investment Banking or Management Consulting experience" and they don't really discriminate.

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Sep 1, 2019

True to some extent..

But the opps into the management, ops, strat or marketing side of things is an easier sell from consulting than it is from banking.

But yes, a lot of "cool" exits typically will have "experience in investment banking, management consulting, private equity, venture capital etc etc" as an addendum in the job description.

Sep 2, 2019

This is one of those comments that's not quite wrong, just not quite right either. Many of those same job descriptions you mention also say: must have minimum 3.5 GPA to apply, yet the only people who ever get interviews are those with 3.7 or 3.8 an above. Similarly, may firms may say that "networking has no bearing on our decision to award an interview" yet everyone knows that's BS; you need to get your name known in some manner to stand out when resumes are reviewed.

Sep 3, 2019

Its cool that you looked at 3-5 different exit ops job posts, but based on your limited anecdotal experience I can assure you that you are incorrect

Aug 30, 2019

I call BS. As someone in consulting, I think a lot of consulting is fluff. Our models are not to the same breadth of detail as those in IB. Similarly, MC is the biggest imposter syndrome/master of none industry there is. You're not an 'expert' in anything, Bain just sells you as one. Consulting prepares you for dealing with people and analyzing data. It doesn't make you a superstar in anything unless you specialize.

If you want to go into PE, go to IB. If you want to do corp strategy/startup, go MC.

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  • Works at Bain & Company
Aug 30, 2019

Notice that I said MBB. You're not gonna get the same buyside opportunities as you would coming from Mckinsey compared to Accenture. I know headhunters have a hard on for MBB and don't give the same looks to other consulting firms even if the modeling is the same. And PE funds will intentionally not give consultants the same level of detail for modeling since that's not where their value comes from.

On "becoming an expert," what do you think PE associates do all day? They quickly analyze a company that sells whatever tf and have to dissect the strengths and weaknesses of the business, then present on that to their supervisor. That's literally what you do all day as a consultant. Sure bankers can model but MCers can think more wholistically.
Bain alone sends 33% of analysts to PE funds, mostly in the UMM or MF's that hire consultants. The reason this isn't higher is because most people self select into a different career path. The others exit into industry roles or go to excellent B schools. Tell me an investment bank that has that diverse of an exit pipeline?

If you are 100% set on PE/HF within an industry vertical and know your mind won't change, then go ahead and do IB. If your slightly unsure or want to learn how to do something other than model before going into PE, then do MC at an MBB.

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Sep 11, 2019

This is misleading IMHO. Yes, technically, there is more breadth for MC exits. But there's also much less of a skillset developed for PE and HF and those places take way more from IB. Anyone have a guess at the ratio of IB/MC at a typical PE fund? I realize that your post is careful to claim only the broader array of options from MC and makes no claims about the relative strength of MC within each of those. But c'mon man . . to say that MC gives a broader range of exits than IB, while not mentioning that IB has a major leg up in 2-3 of those areas . . c'mon man. Not to mention that IB probably offers a broader range of exits than it appears to, because so many people choose PE/HF as a matter of preference.

  • Works at Bain & Company
Sep 11, 2019

Fair points. However, I will say that Bainies who actually want to do PE place at PE funds at similar rates to bankers - there's more self selecting out. And honestly, if you're not at a Top BB or elite boutique - your chances at landing an elite fund are somewhat slim tbh...
And again I'm saying this for MBB, Bain had a pretty consistent pipeline to Bain Cap, Advent, H&F, NEw mountain, and a ton of elite UMM's. It's not purely about skillset - the reputation of MBB places carries extremely far.
Now look if you want to do PE and the choice is between Deloitte and Citbank IBD, then pick Citi everytime. But if its between Mckinsey and Citi IBD, I would strongly recommend Mckinsey, because you'll get better fund placement and more opps to do something other than PE/HF

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Aug 30, 2019

I have done an internship in MBB and an IB M&A internship at an elite boutique (Lazard, Evercore, Moelis). I have recently decided to rejoin MBB (had offers at both), my rationale to choose consulting was:

  • Hours: As previously mentioned, hours are better. For me especially the fact that you can really switch-off during the weekends was important.
  • Day to Day Work: Bit more varying in consulting and in general more structured (not 4 different deals that you have to work on in a single day). Also felt that work was more valued: You spend a lot of work and time on the slides and you at least want the client to look at it (which isn't the case always for a bank pitch as a client doesn't pay for it)
  • Exits are more varied: I am either going to go for PE or Tech Startup. In consulting I could focus on digital and PE work which isn't really possible in IB. I also feel that my skills (learned in consulting) are more transferable for working in a startup (maybe a bit of an oversimplification but a consultant's skill are more day-to-day useful in a corporate whereas M&A-scenario's don't often occur in many companies)
  • Salary: For some reason, in my country the base salary was very competitive in terms of "value": Pure cash salary was higher in IB but in consulting I received a car etc and some other extra allowances on top of my cash salary which made both offers very similar. Bonus ofcourse was different ballpark but better optimised tax-wise in consulting vs banking (where I had to pay 62% on the whole bonus anyway)
  • People take themselves a bit less seriously in consulting, bankers always seem to feel the need to show that they are bankers. I also hate wearing ties which was obligated in the M&A internship in the office. In my opinion, as long as you are properly dressed you should earn credibility based on your work rather than on how you look

However I have to say that I also really liked it in M&A. To me, the advantages there were:

  • It clearly had the edge on responsibility level: I regularly made a complete pitch for a company with an analyst to then present it to a client without the MD even being there. Although this was also a consequence of the office specifically (10-20 people and no associates, VP's temporarily because all of them had left right before I came in). Also did the first steps of modelling on a new model which was very learnful
  • Less PC: Could still make a reasonable political, sexual or racist joke which wasn't possible at MBB without being fired

Important to note is that going to PE as MBB consultant is not as easy at is often said . Especially MF's don't often even consider consultants: I experienced this first hand when applying for an internship at BX with MBB on my resume and didn't even get a first round (whereas M&A internships at BIG4 did get interviews). However you will have an edge here if you have done some IB internships.

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Aug 30, 2019
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Aug 31, 2019
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