Consulting Jobs Luring Investment Bankers

Workforce cutbacks at investment banks and a tightening of recruitment at business schools has led many finance professionals to seek their fortunes at top management consulting firms.

Sandra Schwarzer, director of career services at Insead, the well-known graduate business school based in Fontainebleau, near Paris, told The Straits Times that MBAs joining consulting firms has risen 6 per cent from the previous year to 44 per cent. At the same time, investment banking job hires have fallen 8 per cent.

The good news is, with many banks and companies going through restructuring, these companies need consulting services … and consulting firms are continuing to hire.

The article says the trend should not be all that surprising. Top consulting firms such as McKinsey, Bain and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) have traditionally competed for the cream of the crop at business schools. Now, with the slowdown in deal flow among investment banks, grad students are simply choosing an environment that gives them greater exposure to top executives, and a quick way to ramp up their industry skills and knowledge.

Gary Lai, manager for financial services at global search firm Robert Walters, says even veteran investment bankers are showing up at the big consulting firms. But while more people are choosing consulting right now, it’s probably not a permanent trend. “As a career, recognition for consulting will grow over time, but it’s not going to overtake investment banking any time soon,” Lai says.

Schwarzer from Insead agrees. She is still seeing investment banks recruiting for summer internships at her school. And while competition is fierce for fewer positions, the candidates who succeed are the most motivated and hungry for the job.

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