How do you know if consulting is for you vs. banking? How do you compare the two experiences and salaries?
The first major difference is that consulting is going to involve a lot more client-facing roles, especially when you first graduate, in comparison to banking.
Banking will be more about learning the technical and financial skills, so it is best to think about what you are looking for long-term.
Consulting won’t close any doors for you and it allows you to see a wide variety of projects, industries, etc. if you join as a generalist.
If you are trying to eventually be a partner, CEO, work on Wall Street, work at a hedge fund or in private equity, or work in finance and maybe even start your own fund, investment banking will make sense and will provide great exit opportunities that align to those roles.
Also, if you’re wanting to stay local and aren’t necessarily interested in travelling, then banking would be a good fit.
Consulting on the other hand, is a lot more varied, and while you may have the same exit opportunities as someone who chose banking, you may not have the same level of specialized skills.
So with consulting, your exit opportunities are a lot more open, but not as direct a path to some of the finance-centric roles.
Even though you are working on Excel, performing data analysis and working with numbers, you are most likely not going as in depth as you would be if you were working in banking.
Overall, the best way to decide between the two is to talk to people who have done both. You can easily find people with that experience on LinkedIn.
Second, if you have the opportunity to do an internship in both banking and consulting, you will have a real understanding of which is better suited to you.
When it comes to salary, in general the salaries are higher in banking than they are in consulting at the entry level, but consulting salaries rise quickly as you become more senior and benefits tend to be very good.