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Insightful Things You’ve Imparted To Us About Consulting, Bloomberg and Investment Banking Interviews

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Believe it or not, we do read your comments. Many are insightful, poignant, helpful to us – and occasionally even amusing. We’ve included some of our recent favorites below, along with the link to the original article. Enjoy, and keep the comments coming!

Article: The Case for Consulting Over Banking

With the playing field no longer slanted in the direction of The Street, many of the best and brightest are choosing the consulting route.

Luba: Consultants beware: Consultancy is often a dead end job. Leave in 2-4 years’ time or you run the risk of remaining trapped. If you want to specialize in an industry go work for a large corporation in that industry and not for a consulting firm. Becoming a partner at a consulting firm is as challenging as becoming a MD at an investment bank but the rewards are lower. Consulting firms are much less international in their approach than investments banks and than what they used to be in the early 2000s.

Wasim: Luba – you’re wrong, on pretty much all points.

1. If you want to specialize in a particular industry then the advantages of consultancy is that it will allow you to accelerate and move into a corporation at a far higher level once you do make this move than just working your way up the ladder in a corporation. This is how the McKinsey model works. Same goes for BCG, Bain, Deloittte.

2. Becoming a partner at a consultancy firm is far more rewarding than an MD, on a risk-adjusted basis if not in an absolute level. That’s why consultants stuck it out on relatively low pay compared to bankers as their NPV of future potential earnings should they make partner (and hence own an equity stake in the business) is a lot higher

3. Consulting firms are FAR MORE INTERNATIONAL compared to investment banks, both in terms of relocation flexibility, project location etc. Indeed I knew consultants at my firm that had no fixed abode but lived in hotels project to project, saving their entire pay packets.

So in essence, don’t pay attention to Luba.

Luba: Wasim… you are a consulting HR manager, aren’t you?

Article: The Weirdness of Working at Bloomberg

The fallout from the spying scandal has shone light on what working at Bloomberg entails. All we can say is – it’s good news if you want to stalk your colleagues, but don’t spend too much time in the washroom…

BB Employee: As a BB employee I can assure you points 6 to 8 are complete lies. On the FON page you only see if that person is online or off, and if off, if they have an appointment or day off. Sound logic to me instead of having to contact HR to ask where person X is because you urgently need him/her to confirm something because you have an annoying investment banker who wants an answer NOW.

Point 7 and 8, I don’t know where you got that info from, but BB is quite known for its flexibility (at least at the London office where I’m based). People go to the gym during work hours, take as many breaks as they want as long as you meet your targets and deadlines. And we don’t need to go out for coffee – we have a canteen that’s quite good, if I may say so.

Magalie: I used to be a BB employee and I am afraid points 6 to 8 were in my time 100% accurate. Absolutely ridiculous. I became severely ill after working there for 2 years and had to be off work for 6 months for my health to recover. I have no positive memory about this at all.

Article: Five Questions Investment Bankers Must – and Must Not – Ask in Interviews

Here is a list of questions you should be asking during interviews with investment banks large and small, along with a few that should never leave your mouth.

Scorpyon: If this advice is true then it suggests a worrying trend that banks will be full of “dead wood” in a few years. There is an underlying suggestion that the interviewer thinks that any candidate in front of them is “desperate” and any genuine candidate would probably ignore all this advice anyway. It may be a demand driven market now for recruitment but only hiring people who massage your ego and don’t ask awkward questions will prove a disaster in the long run. More to the point, with the big push for hiring in compliance you want people who can and do challenge, not shrinking violets.

Article: Why I Flunked the Stupid CFA

Are CFA exams getting harder or are test takers getting dumber or just less prepared?

Gus: If you have time to put in the excessive hours of studying and are good at memorizing formulas it’s not so bad. But it’s not truly an intelligence test, more of a marathon memory regurgitation event.

Leo: The best part of this article is that the guy who complains about particular questions on the exam and discusses them in public has already violated CFA’s Code of Standards. I’m sure he will not pass if he did not care to learn about this aspect.

Article: Frighteningly Impressive Resumes of Junior Bankers in the 2nd Tier

Junior bankers joining non-’bulge bracket’ banks need impeccable academic qualifications and big name firms on their résumés now.

Barry: At the end of the day this really says a lot about human nature in rather a sad way, to achieve the kind of academic results at the types of institutions that many young bankers are studying at, it takes a lot of brainpower, time and money. You had the world at your feet and now you are a spreadsheet monkey, good choice.

All of those precious resources being used up for what? The end of poverty, the end of suffering from disease or hunger, a solution to the worlds energy needs? I don’t think so. Finance is an incredibly selfish industry, you might get to make a pile of money, is that it? Most bankers have quit by 40, disillusioned, burned out and wishing they had something more fulfilling to do.

Gekko: This is a clear example of how ritualistic and inefficient the financial industry is. Instead of focusing on knowledge of the industry, appropriate framework of thinking in terms of concepts and ideas, intellectual creativity and wide theoretical preparation for analysis, it is all about names of universities, gaps on the CV, why did you move? Why did do stay here for so long? Why a tier two? Why a tier one? You are too much old. You are too much young.

None of these guys would have hired George Soros or Warren Buffet 30 years ago.

Total: I think the reality is that the hiring managers are being bombarded with too many outstanding CVs. As a logical person, there is no reason to choose someone with a lesser-known degree, at a less prestige place and experience. Supply way higher than demand, can’t blame anyone.

It’s not right to compare the success stories of previous generations to the current generation who are still fighting to get noticed. Maybe 20 years later it’s a norm that every success story came from an Ivy/Oxbridge Imperial graduate.

If you want intellect recognition more than uni name, maybe you could try the tech industry. Better move now before it gets crowded.

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