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Career decisions: Investment Banking vs. Consulting + Wharton MBA

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Intern
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Joined: 27 Dec 2018
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Career decisions: Investment Banking vs. Consulting + Wharton MBA  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Dec 2018, 05:54
Dear all,

I have following background: I have worked in an accounting firm for 4-5 years now, part of which I did in audit and the remainder in Transaction Services (Financial Due Diligences for transactions). I am a CFA charterholder, have a GMAT score of 750 and a TOEFL score of 120 but a mediocre 3.3 GPA (bachelor's degree) from a school that is officially considered elite in my country (European country) but I assume that this will not help me internationally. I am not too pleased with the salary and the chances to move up the corporate ladder at the big 4 (lot of Senior Managers stuck at their level due to a lack of demand for partners).

Against this background, I know that I want to do something that is "better" than my current job.

However, I do not exactly know what that would be. I cannot easily decide between Consulting (BCG & co) and Investment Banking, for example. Honestly, I feel any of those professions must be "better" than my current job and so I do not really care. I would take both jobs if offered. However, I wasn't offered any of those jobs and I did apply for a great many of them. I always knew it would be total luckshot to get in from a Big 4 accounting firm as I do not really fit any classical profile for hires.

Anyway, it seems that my options are getting more and more diminished and the only realistic option that I see to land any job that is "better" than my current job would be an MBA. To pursue this, I believe that I should be very specific about my goals (IB or consulting or PE) in order to apply for MBA programs.

I cannot do internships anymore (4 years of experience) without an MBA, so "trying" things isn't really an option and MBAs are not really meant to "try" things (although advertised as such) as having a clear goal maximizes your chances of being admitted to the MBA programs and landing a job in the end.

So, I have three questions:
1. How can I make the decision (IB vs. Consulting vs. maybe even PE). Any questions I may ask myself to decide this?
2. Do you have any other insight or guidance regarding my goals and options?
3. I am thinking about Wharton. Given that the 2nd round deadline is the 3 January 2018, I wonder whether I should still give it a go and "wing it", knowing full well that I won't be able to give it my best regarding all the essays (oh god, the essays.. and then those recommendation essays...) in this short period of time and considering the lack of certainty that I described above.

I appreciate any help.
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Joined: 24 Dec 2018
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Re: Career decisions: Investment Banking vs. Consulting + Wharton MBA  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jan 2019, 06:08
Hey!

I can share some insight on your first question.

The first thing that you need to understand (any maybe you already do) that after 4 years of work ex and 2 years of MBA, you need to have a fairly decent idea of what kind of work you would like to do ideally for the better part of your working life. Of course, people make career changes and moves at later stages as well but the fact that your are mulling over these questions right now goes to show that you like to seriously plan things in life.

So, the first question is around what truly is something you feel passionate about? After a certain stage in working life, I firmly believe that it shouldn't be about one dimensional attributes such as money and senior positions. It has to be more than that. This is especially true when you will realise just how much time will you be investing in jobs in Banking, Consulting or PE. At that moment, your driving force to continue working the 80-hour weeks or travelling 4 days in a week will not be fueled by the next bonus cheque or promotion. So, have an internal monologue to understand where your passion lies and research what keeps people in these jobs motivated. You can also consider taking up slightly different jobs, assignments, personal projects which test similar skills or involve a similar schedule to test if you thrive in these simulations, since you don't want to do any more internships. For example, you can maybe help a friend looking for to design a business plan or an entrepreneurship model or maybe try freelancing any business skills that you may have of your own (as a freelance consultant). These ideas are just on top of my head. I am sure you think of better :)

Second question you should ask yourself are about priorities in life. With jobs such as these, there are a lot of trade offs that you will be making. Understanding what lifestyle changes you will be expected to make (which also depends on what geography you choose to work in since there are clear cut differences in working culture of say US & Europe), what lifestyle changes does your health permit (I can safely tell you that the strenuous work in these jobs is not limited to mental exhaustion but also challenges physical health) and whether these changes are in line with how you see life in say next 10-15 years. This question can help you in two ways. 1) You will either be able to decide if this is the job for you or 2) you will be able to better prepare yourself (in advance) for life in the jobs

Third question is if there are any trends in these industries that you should be aware of before you get started on these. Coming from banking, I can safely tell you that banking as an industry is going through massive disruption in the hands of fintech. The industry is bleeding and hence a person really needs to evaluate how the next 10-20 years are going to look like. Since you are looking for transition, please research on long term trends in the industries which can help you make better choices.

I hope this helps!

Cheers
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Re: Career decisions: Investment Banking vs. Consulting + Wharton MBA   [#permalink] 02 Jan 2019, 06:08
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