Consultancy and banking: same start, different finish has analysed remuneration figures from 1,690 London M&A bankers and Strategy consultants

Top level graduates in the final year of their degree are usually aggressively courted by the crème de la crème of city firms. Glitzy presentations and dinners, exciting prospects and potential paychecks are thrown around by top consultancy and banking firms engaging in a tug-of-war for top university brains.

The entry level mirage: Not only are graduates attempting to understand the difference between banking and consultancy distracted by very similar skill requirements, corporate jargon, and corporate culture, but the pay packages are also neck-and-neck, heightening confusion. Most grads focus on a base salary, with little visibility on the bonus element of pay to come into consideration later on.

Consultancy may even appear like a better choice: What can be misleading in representing earning potential in consultancy vs banking is the fact that some top end consultancy firms pay their junior employees more than banks: £82,000 in annual income for McKinsey's juniors vs. £65,000 at large city banks.

The mid-career revelation: As bankers and consultants hit their fifth year of experience, their income start to diverge: with performance-related bonuses, M&A bankers are likely to earn more than 2x more than a consultant each year.



M&A banking

Entry level












Late Career



Entry level: no experience

Junior: < 5 years of experience

Mid- Career: 5-10 years of experience

Experienced : 10-15 years of experience

Late career: > 15 years of experience


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