A question on Quora has attracted some insightful comments on the personalities most drawn to investment banking and the personalities most drawn to consulting. It boils down to this: if you’re incredibly ambitious you’ll go for investment banking; if you’re not, you’ll go for consulting.
If you’re a graduate, the Quora respondent (who claims to have been both banker and management consultant and is now a ‘Digital Transformation Consultant'), says you’ll be a menial drone in both industries, working on: “deliverables, documents, and simple analysis.”
He says management consulting and investment banking careers diverge as time goes on. In banking, he suggests you come become specialised in a particular area over time and that your day to day work becomes repetitive. In management consulting, he says your day is, “always different.” One day you’re capturing business requirements, the next day you’re designing an operating model, the next day you’re doing competitor analysis. “Every client is different, every problem is unique, and you end up building a very broad skill set, but not depth,” he says.
In terms of hours, the two jobs are equally demanding but in a different way. If you work in investment banking, you’ll work long hours in the city you live in. If you work in management consulting, you’ll work shorter hours but may be stuck miles from home in an obscure town.
Ultimately, therefore, he says it boils down to ambition. The ambitious go for banking, where the pay has – traditionally been more performance oriented. The less ambitious don’t.
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