Mod Note (Andy): I put this on the frontpage because of the high quality of responses inside the post, take a look...
After going through the recent recruiting season as a junior and coming out with an MBB offer and a few in banking, I have to ask: why would you go into consulting?
- As a junior, you get paid way less and travel an arcane amount
- The hours at the office I received an offer at is also known to be extremely harsh and upwards of 80 hours a week
- The skillset acquired seems very limited. I went through a few case interviews but still have no idea what consultants actually do
- How do you pursue exit opps when everything on your resume is confidential? You have nothing tangible to your name vs. "worked on $xxbn deal"
- Senior members of the team tried very hard to push me on the fantastic 'culture' and how everyone is a family, which seemed a little awkward to me
- Everyone I met in consulting seemed extremely risk averse. The guys in banking though seemed much more like heavy hitters that were more ambitious and gung-ho about everything they do3
As a junior in college, is there anything I'm missing? What does Bain offer that Blackstone doesn't?
Consulting vs. Banking Analyst Experience
In the OP, the user questions if consulting or banking is a better place to start your career. The user touches on a few points - hours, pay, skillset, exits, and culture. Our users touched on each point below.
Lifestyle Differences Between IB and Consulting
The OP highlighted that consulting averages 80 hours a week with a great deal of travel. However, our users highlighted that while there is limited travel at the junior level for banking, hours will be closer to 80 - 110 hours a week (during hectic periods).
Junior analysts in consulting will be tasked with a great deal of travel if they don't live in the city that their clients are in while banking analysts will be tied to their desks in almost every situation.
From a culture standpoint, both bankers and consultants may claim to have a better culture as it will all be determined by the group that you work with and if you vibe well with them. That being said, consulting has a better argument to make for winning the culture wars as the hours are somewhat less and the work is thought of as more enriching than the work done by bankers.
You can check out a perspective from a former management consultant.
Skill Development and Exit Opportunities Between IBanking and Consulting
When considering future career path options, it is important to compare the skills gained between the banking and consulting. In banking, you will develop modeling and financial analysis skills and get exposure to how the buyside works by making the CIMs that PE funds analyze and that corporate development offices of major companies receive. Analysts get experience making slide decks and listening to CEOs talk about their businesses on conference calls.
For consulting, analysts develop qualitative and decision making skills. They will work directly with company management to attempt to help businesses create strategy or make meaningful improvements to existing strategies.
From an exit opportunity stand point, consultants exit well into top tier business schools and to fortune 500 companies. Bankers will have a clear pathway into private equity firms, hedge funds, corporate development arms, and top business schools.
Read More About Consulting on WSO
- Management Consulting Salary & Compensation, Average Bonus In Consulting
- Choosing between Mckinsey, Bain, and BCG?
Need Help Preparing for Consulting Case Interviews?
Land at an elite consulting firm with the most comprehensive case interview prep in the world. The WSO Consulting Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to land the most coveted jobs.