Posts Tagged ‘New York’


Differences In Management Consulting And Investment Banking

by como ·

The decision was relatively straight forward for me. The negatives of investment banking – long hours, repetitive work, lack of non-finance exit options – mattered more to me than the money.
I considered sales & trading (in fact, I spent a summer at CSFB in NY), and was tempted to continue in that line of work after graduation.
Instead of defining the characteristics of each industry (there are plenty of resources out there for that, including my Management Consulted blog), I will address a short list of differences between the two career paths.
Let me caveat by saying THESE ARE NOT YOUR ONLY OPTIONS. People get carried away into thinking thats all there is.
This is the primary superficial distinction. Thats not to imply that salaries aren’t important. Banking salaries average 50-100% higher than consulting salaries, with the gap increasing as your seniority increases. Consulting attempts to compensates with small perks – from better travel allowances to more generous retirement packages.
Consultants always like to say this:
I know investment bankers make more money. But from a cashflow perspective, its exactly the same!
This means that consultants and bankers make similar base salaries, but at the end of the year, bankers are awarded a significant bonus which can be more than half of their total annual compensation.
Cashflow or not, the extra money is substantial and a defining driver of why many people do investment banking over business consulting. This is also a difficult issue for consulting firms with respect to employee retention. In my years as a McKinsey management consultant, easily half the people who left the firm went into the financial world (from hedge funds to PE), and salary was undoubtedly a major factor in the decision.
My advice is – after considering the 5 factors Ive listed here, you still think the pay difference (for analysts, averaging between $30-60K per year) would mean a significant difference in your professional job satisfaction, choose investment banking over consulting.
The big differences here are:
-Hours. Bankers work brutal hours, no surprise. They can average 14-16 hours/day but it can get FAR WORSE.
My roommates in New York (both investment bankers at Goldman Sachs) would sometimes go several weeks before wed even exchange a word. Which meant not only were they getting in after I went to sleep (around 2am), but going back to the office before I woke up (around 7am).
Your second year as an investment banker gets easier – often in the 10-12 hours/day range but with occasional tough periods.
Management consultants average 12 hours/day, with the typical variations depending on client, team goals, etc
-Travel. Bankers do a little travel for roadshows, due diligence, etc but spend 90% of their time in one office until youre partner-level (you can expect more travel in private equity and asset management). Depending on firm – management consultants travel a lot. At the Big 3 (Bain, Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey), you can expect travel 50-75% of the time
-Relationship with firm employees and coworkers. This is an important but oft overlooked issue. Consulting firms have a very collegial atmosphere, where the focus is on getting work done and ensuring your professional success. This attitude permeates all interactions. Managers never yell, coworkers are supportive whenever possible, and companies are organized to provide consultants support with training, expertise, etc. Finally, networking is critical at consulting firms, and social events are focused on helping business consultants build contacts and relationships throughout the company.
Investment banks, on the other hand, have a more competitive and tense work environment. You can expect more stressful relationships with your bosses, youll probably be yelled at occasionally for mistakes, and coworkers are much less willing to help out colleagues (your success means theres more competition for the biggest bonuses).
In addition, youll have limited exposure across the company to other groups, departments, etc – less ability to network across the company.
Part 2 of this series on consulting versus banking continues tomorrow!


Banking Industry Politics Of Punishment

by como ·

The politics of punishment are tricky. Take the playground, for example. The boy in the striped shirt not only pushed your child out of the way at the top of the slide, but also gives your child a good kick for his efforts when he reaches the bottom. You can comfort your own child, but you can’t truly punish the boy in the striped shirt; he is a stranger. You can hope that his parents have a vigilant eye on the playground and will step in and say something, but that doesn’t always happen.

It’s even trickier to punish adults who are acting within legal parameters, if not moral ones. President Obama would like to create a tax to punish banks for effectively taking the bailout money and running. He is calling it a fee, but the proposal is actually for a 0.15 percent tax on the liabilities of large financial institutions. The tax only applies to companies with assets of more than $50 billion, a rather intimate group of about 50. (Reuters)

The tax is proposed to last 10 years and estimated to generate about 90 billion for the government, the majority of that from the ten largest banks. The question is who will really be paying? In all likelihood the banks will use creative accounting to sidestep the tax, as well as share the pain with bank customers in higher fees and tighter rules.

The idea behind the tax is that the Obama administration hopes this fee will give banks and other companies an incentive to whittle down burgeoning balance sheets. Even as President Obama defends the necessity of the bailout in the first place, he has criticized the banking industry for proposing nearly record-breaking bonuses. According to the Associated Press, “Six of the biggest U.S. banks are on track to pay $150 billion in total executive compensation for 2009, slightly less than the record $164 billion in 2007 before the financial crisis struck, according to the New York state comptroller’s office.”

The President is strongly suggesting that banks pay the fee out of the bonus pool, rather than find ways to pass the cost of the fee down to the customer. However, it is more likely that banks will keep the bonuses and find ways around the tax. Some of those solutions could involve risky loans, which is what started this whole mess in the first place.

While the President is insisting that Congress will pass the proposed bank tax, it is hardly a foregone conclusion. Republicans, not to mention the financial industry, is opposing it. And just what will the bankers spend all those billions in bonus money on? According to CNNMoney, at the top of the list is real estate. Bank execs will spend money on swanky New York apartments and European vacation homes. Also on the banking bonus wish list is private school tuition, expensive vacations, boats, cars and Botox. Yes, Botox. Apparently big time bankers need to look wrinkle-free to stay competitive.


The Effects of Global Terrorism on the Events Industry

by como ·

Many people consider the impacts on industries that are directly related to the terrorist actions, such as the insurance industry. However, few consider the impact on an industry such as the events industry. While some people may not be able to see a link to the events industry as strongly as to an industry such as the airline industry, it is there. While there are many different types of events they all have some aspects in common. They all need attendees in order to occur or at least occur more than once. In order for an event to be successful people need to be drawn to the event and motivated to attend. There are many different factors that can persuade people to attend an event, but one of the main factors is whether they can get to the location of the event.

The ability to travel to an event for any attendee has now been seen to be endangered by Global terrorism. This is especially felt in regard to air travel since the tragic events in New York in 2001 which have lead to such huge changes throughout the world. People no longer feel as confident traveling to other countries on airplanes and as therefore less likely to attend events that require them to make use of that form of transport. Other forms of transport are also perceived as dangerous to use when traveling to an event in different areas of the world. This then limits the number of people who are willing to travel to a particular event, in particular well known people who may fear that they will be targeted during their journey to an event.

Global terrorisms effects may not be overtly visible, but they have lead to a curtailment of a completely carefree way of life. Many people can also fear to attend an event as it may be a magnet for terrorists who wish to make a statement by disrupting the event. The disrupting of a particular event due to the forces of global terrorism can take many forms. These forms could include protesting particular actions of parties associated of the event. Otherwise it could take the more dangerous form of violently targeting parties attending the event. This has lead to many people avoiding any event where many people are gathered or where subjects related to the event are seen as controversial by terrorist organizations.

Different events may carry a different level of risk for people attending them so a meeting of government agencies may be far more likely to be targeted than a musical event in a park. The importance or perceived importance of a particular event can also determine whether it could be targeted. The thought of being targeted by global terrorism is enough to prevent people from attending any event, which has lead to a great decline of many different types of events that may previously been well attended, particularly by people who are not local to the area. This has lead to a direct link between declining fortunes of the events industry and global terrorism.