What to choose between UK&I and Financial Services consulting?

Big Four - Strategy consulting Financial Services London startup UK Venture Capital
New answer on Apr 07, 2022
5 Answers
303 Views
Anonymous A asked on Apr 06, 2022

Hi, I apologise for the long post but would appreciate any advice. I'm struggling to choose between the two divisions within EY's business consulting (UK&I and Financial Services). 

A couple years from now, I want to work in a strategy role for a large startup. Most of the larger startups based in London are fintech companies so I would think choosing FS would make more sense. Another alternative career path is to do an MBA and then transition to VC. Most of the VCs in my home country (in Asia) are not sector focused. 

In the long term, I plan to return to help manage my family's business (located in Asia). It is a Financial Services business. If possible, my dream is to establish a family office dedicated to investing in startups from a wide array of sectors.

Preference wise I think I would enjoy UK&I more but FS would be more helpful with helping me achieve my future career goals. My concern with FS is that the limited scope of industries work would be harmful if I want to transition to VC or to a non-fintech startup? Also, the work seems to be more involved with compliance/risk.

Overview of answers

Upvotes
  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best answer
Udayan
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 06, 2022
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

If you are deciding between UK&I and FSO then think about what truly interests you. Just because London has a lot of Fintech does not mean you will enjoy Fintech or even get a job there. You will only do well in FSO if you enjoy financial services and if you find it exciting. Forcing yourself to like it for the sake of prestige is a poor way to make long term career decisions.

Was this answer helpful?
Anonymous A on Apr 06, 2022

Thanks for the input. I think my problem is I have quite varied interest into different areas, one of which being Fintech. I'm just trying to decide whether it would be more beneficial if I curtailed my interest in different areas and just specialized in FS. Seeing as the larger London based startups are generally Fintechs -larger startups tend to be more willing / able to sponsor a visa. I just want to know which one would help increase the chance of securing an offer at a startup in London later on.

(edited)

Udayan on Apr 06, 2022

There is no magic way to figure out where your interests lie. You will have to speak to people and understand what they do and see how best that aligns with what you enjoy. That is the next best substitute to actually doing the job.

Ian
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Apr 06, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

I'm sorry but I'm going to have to generically agree with the other coaches on this one! I don't think there's a clear “objective” choice between these two options.

You need to dig deep and think about what you want to do. Which one will you be most interested in now and which will help you thrive, grow, progress, and get a lot of experience/exposure in the things that you want?

Careful letting strangers (and even friends/family) tell you what you want or should do - ultimately you know!

Now, how can you figure out what you really want?

Do the following. One by one. In order. And without reading the next step ahead.

1. Take a coin

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

2. Heads means you go for the Generalist Associate role, tails means you go for the Specialist Fellow role.

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

3. Heads = Generalist Associate

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

4. Tails = Specialist Fellow

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

5. Absorb that. Think of what each means. Remember your pros and cons.

Heads = Generalist. Tails = Specialist.

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

6. Flip the coin. And look at the side it's on.

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

7. That's the role you'll take.

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

8. What side did it land on and what was your immediate, visceral, gut reaction?

I it landed on a side where you immediatedly felt good/relieved, take that role.

If it landed on a side where you felt a sinking feeling, take the other role.

-

-

-

Trust your gut in life. It's your subconscious. And it oftentimes can't get out admist all the noise (and pros/cons lists). This "game" helps you realize what you truly want.

(edited)

Was this answer helpful?
Charlotte
Expert
replied on Apr 06, 2022
Empathic coach, former McKinsey Engagement Manager |Secure offers from top consulting firms

Dear candidate,

by all means both are great options and you can work in Fintech with this experience even if you choose UK&I, therefore whichever you enjoy most, do that. The door is open for your plans afterwards, it is great you already have an idea. From what you wrote it seems UK&I could be a greater fit. Also note Finance and IT can be very different. IT is often a bit more intellectual than pure financial services etc. although of course there are pluses to both, and hence maybe you will find your fintech interest does not fully apply to just financial services, depending on which type of projects you get. Choose by what you will enjoy getting up for in the morning. And yes a generalist role is really great because you also have the freedom to test which people you can work with. 

Best regards

Was this answer helpful?
Andi
CoachingPlus Expert
replied on Apr 07, 2022
BCG interviewer (>175 candidates) |96% coaching success rate, if 3+ sessions | Coached 50+ candidates to MBB offers

Hi there, 

thanks for sharing the question - indeed an interesting one.

First of all, both are great options  - can't really go wrong in any case. Now that said, the key challenge you're facing seems to stem from a lack of clarity on the end goal. It's great to be curious about many fields / sectors, but naturally it makes decision-making much harder.

I'd suggest you first reflect and visualize where you really see yourself in 5-7 years and then select the offer that gets you there faster. Trust your gut instinct, if nothing else works.

1. If your primary end goal is sector-agnostic VC / Family office, it's wise to gain generalist experience at some point. Usually, the start of your career is the right time where you can explore without any harm / risks. As you enter more tenured roles over time, more specialization, subject matter expertise will be expected of you wherever you go, hence it becomes harder to jump around. Hence, in this scenario, the right sequence would be to start broad and narrow down (i.e. specialize) later, if need. The reverse is much less viable and more painful.

2. If 1 is more of a long shot, but your fam's FS business is the realistic longer-term focus, then FS consulting may accelerate the path to get there.   

Now having said that, I know it's easy to over-think when you get to choose between 2 attractive but quite different options. Realistically, a career is less linear than most people plan it to be, so don't overthink it. It's too early to really go wrong with it. Both options will be a viable starting point for what you want - given the early stage in your career, you may as well just pick the more interesting one, and pivot later, if it doesn't get you closer to where you want to be. 

 

Hope this helps.

Regards, Andi  

Was this answer helpful?
Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 06, 2022
#1 rated and most recommended McKinsey Coach | 97% success rate (tracked) | Honest feedback: no sugar-coating

Hi there, 

Interesting questions. At the end of the day, it comes down to what are you most interested to do long term. If you primary plan is to go handle the family business, then financial services makes a lot of sense. However, if you're not confident about doing that, perhaps follow your short-term passion / interest.

Was this answer helpful?
Udayan gave the best answer

Udayan

Content Creator
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience
169
Meetings
6,836
Q&A Upvotes
38
Awards
5.0
86 Reviews