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MBB London Financial Services Consulting: Quick Query!

Financial Services London MBB
New answer on Jan 06, 2024
4 Answers
305 Views
Anonymous A asked on Jan 05, 2024

Hey all, I am seeking insights on consulting in financial services at MBB London. 

Can you share specific examples of the types of financial services’ assignments at MBB London? How diverse are the projects within financial services? What is the typical length of engagements in financial services consulting at MBB London? What is the typical travel expectation? 

Also any insight on my plan, shared below, would be really appreciated.

Background: Making the Most of a Delayed Start

Starting at MBB London 9 months post-MBA, I am trying to turn disappointment into opportunity. So, I am currently exploring industry roles (contract/internship) to gain leverage for future MBB projects. Chose financial services industry over energy and tech for a few key reasons:

  1. Passion: While no industry sparks passion, financial services align better.  I Enjoyed finance courses during MBA. I didn’t quite lich tech and media and have never been enthusiasm to work at Amazon and Google.
  2. Knowledge: Past role in risk management for financial services clients makes this sector more familiar and advantageous for quick integration.
  3. Widespread Opportunities: Focusing on financial services early at MBB, while working for diverse type of services - cost transformation, strategy, pricing, transformation, people, risk & resilience - can still opens doors to diverse experiences because the sector’s wideness: banking, insurance, wealth management, fintech, private equity, payment companies. The sector's significant contribution to the UK-GDP and global nature ensures a variety of opportunities. During my internship, I noted a significant ethnic diversity among Associate Partners and Partners making it easier for my personal integration and potential future specialization.

Looking forward to any insights or advice!

(edited)

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Best answer
Alberto
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 05, 2024
Ex-McKinsey Associate Partner | +15 years in consulting | +200 McKinsey 1st & 2nd round interviews

Hi there,

Projects are pretty diverse in financial services. The ones that I've seen more frequently are:

  • Capital optimization
  • Risk management
  • Corporate strategy
  • Digital strategy
  • Restructuring / Turnaround
  • New business building

Length is totally variable depending on the project and client and can go from 2 weeks to several months. 

Same for travel expectations. Despite financial activity in London is high for MBB, this doesn't mean that you end up traveling 70-80% of your time.

Best,

Alberto

Check out my latest case based on a real MBB interview: Sierra Springs

 

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PT on Jan 05, 2024

Thanks Alberto, 1. Can you give me some insight on my plan above (question edited)? 2. Does McKinsey have enough CST in financial services. Would it be possible to target financial services since the beginning and still have enough diversity and depth to get promoted ? 3. Any other advice in term of how to make the best of those 9 months I have left before the start of my job ?

(edited)

Alberto on Jan 06, 2024

Happy to do a 10 min virtual coffee chat to solve any other question you have. Just send me a message.

Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 06, 2024
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

Great questions! I also see you have a ton of follow-up questions for Alberto. The best thing you can do is network. Talk to people at the firm and get to know them - then ask these questions! You're going to get a lot more out of even a 5-10 min chat than a written Q&A.

Now, in terms of succeeding while there….

MOST IMPORTANTLY: Know that no-one can perfectly prepare for the job and that's the point: You will mess up, you will learn, you will be trained and supported. That's OK!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

First: Read the 25 tips in my consulting handbook

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Second: In terms of things you can learn/do to prepare beforehand:

1) Daily Reading

  • The Economist, The Financial Times, BCG/Mskinsey Insights

2) Industry deep-dives

  • Learn, in-depth, how the industries/companies your office advises, work. (PM me for an industry overview template)

3) Analytics tools

  • Alteryx, Tableau, etc.

4) Excel

5) Powerpoint

  • Best practices/standards
  • Different layouts
  • Quickly editing/updating slides
  • Thinking in PowerPoint

6) Presentation skills / sharp communication

  • There are some online/virtual classes for this

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Third: In terms of doing well in your role when you're there:

1) Understand the context/prompt (what role are you in, what company, who's watching, etc.)

2) Understand the objective (what, specifically, is expected from you...both day to day, and in your overall career progression)

3) Quickly process information, and focus on what's important - Take a lot of information and the unknown, find the most logical path, and focus on that.

4) Be comfortable with the unknown, and learn to brainstorm - think/speak like an expert without being one

In summary, there will always be a flood of information, expectations, competition etc. and not enough time. Find out which ones matter when. (i.e. be visibile and focus efforts on the things that people care about)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fourth: Here are some great prior Q&As for you!

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/what-makes-a-good-consultant-how-to-get-a-good-review-6790

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-hard-is-it-to-excel-in-top-consulting-firms-6762

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-become-an-engagement-manager-and-partner-quickly-6722

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/need-to-learn-skills-in-the-ample-free-time-before-starting-at-an-mbb-what-should-i-do-6774

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 05, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi there!

I see Alberto already provided a good overview. 

I strongly encourage you to use this question as a networking opener. This will help you get a more comprehensive perspective of the industry and get in touch with contacts that might prove critical later on. 

Lastly, the types of projects that you go on really depend on you especially once you have at least one year of tenure. So it comes down more to understanding what is important to you and then navigating the firm accordingly. 

Sharing with you a guide with tips that you might find helpful:


Good luck!
Cristian

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Florian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 05, 2024
1300 5-star reviews across platforms | 500+ offers | Highest-rated case book on Amazon | Uni lecturer in US, Asia, EU

Hey there,

First off, congratulations on securing a position with an MBB in London - the 9-month delay might be a short-term financial dent, but in the long run (in 5 years from now) you will no longer see this as a negative experience. It counts that you made the cut in the end, which only a few do! It's a significant achievement.

Regarding your questions on the scope of FS consulting in London:

Types of assignments: The range of projects in financial services is quite broad and covers the same as for most other industries. Typically, these include strategy development, cost transformation, risk management, digital transformation, and customer experience improvement. Most projects at the moment have some sort of sustainability angle to it. More and more are also dealing with challenges and opportunities through AI. You might also encounter projects focusing on regulatory compliance, M&A, and new technology implementation like blockchain (e.g., tokenized assets).

Diversity of projects: Financial services consulting is notably diverse. Given the sector's breadth, including areas like banking, insurance, wealth management, fintech, and more, the projects can vary greatly in focus and scope. However, the surprising fact is that it often does not matter that much what client or industry you are working with. The way you tackle the problem, and interact with your teams, clients, etc. is pretty much the same across projects and client industries. My first EM told me this when he said that the main thing that changes from client to client is not so much the stuff we do but the airline client has a model aircraft on the table, whereas the automotive client has a car model on the table (paraphrased).

Length of engagements: The typical duration of consulting engagements is in line with the length of other industries. A typical MBB strategy diagnostic lasts from anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks, implementation topics would last longer or are an extension of the diagnostic. Generally, it pays off to roll of a project (no matter the duration) after 6 months as you want to get exposure to different leadership teams, projects, and clients for your yearly performance review. 

Travel expectations: This can depend greatly on the client and the nature of the project. If you are working with clients in the City, then you will have minimal travel and work mostly from their offices and your local MBB office.

Regarding your plan:

Industry roles: Your strategy to engage in industry roles such as contract or internship positions is insightful. It will not only provide practical experience but also offer a deeper understanding of the challenges and dynamics within financial services, making you more effective in your consulting role. All MBBs are looking more and more for relevant work experience as this can be sold as a plus during proposals and pitches to propective clients.

Sector choice: Choosing financial services over other sectors seems well-aligned with your background and interests. Your experience in risk management and your comfort with the sector will likely give you an edge in quickly integrating and contributing to your team.

Diversity and Opportunity: The financial services sector's significance to the UK's GDP and its global nature do indeed open up plenty of opportunities. The good thing in MBB is also that you do not have to commit from the first day on what sector or practice you want to be affiliated with.

It seems like you're on the right track, leveraging your delayed start to gain relevant experience. Best of luck, and I'm sure your proactive approach and clear vision will serve you well in your upcoming role! And again, don't take it too negatively.

You are on a good track!

Cheers,

Florian

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PT on Jan 05, 2024

Thank you very much

Alberto gave the best answer

Alberto

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Ex-McKinsey Associate Partner | +15 years in consulting | +200 McKinsey 1st & 2nd round interviews
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