Difference between Financial Advisory Consulting and Management Consulting

Greatings All!

Career path question. What is the difference between the two? Work wise, pay wise, exit opportunity wise etc… Will the CFA help in Management Consulting? Generally speaking, which one of the two is more interesting to work in ( more diverse work load, better networking etc…)? Do the two overlap, can someone work in both, or does this depend on the company?

Would appreciate your 2 cents :slight_smile:

CFA will likely not help much in Management Consulting.

Management Consulting is helping companies analyze and redesign their business processes to be more effective and cost-efficient. Often this involves things like advising business reorganizations, applying new technology, outsourcing, and downsizing. There may be corporate financing aspects to it, but often there is not.

Financial Advisory Consulting is something that the CFA could be helpful for, but it also might be significant overkill depending on whether you are doing retail advisory (helping mom and pop choose a few mutual funds) or institutional advisory (advisiong colleges or pension funds or extremely wealthy families what mix of assets and funds they should invest in). The CFA is more tuned to institutional money management, though very wealthy individuals and families are sometimes more like institutions than ordinary mom and pop with a 401k.

The challenge with investment consulting is that while you have to analyze and make recommendations (and accept blame for things that go wrong), you often don’t get to pull the trigger on anything, and that can be frustrating (plus limit your comp options). Most people in this path eventually get itchy fingers and want to do some trigger pulling themselves. Some consulting firms do run small model portfolios so that they can chart real P&L for their clients, but usually the client does stuff on their own.

Digitalization of corporate finance is a hot area in MC right now.

CFA would help but a CPA would be better.


Thanks for the long reply Bchad. What I meant by financial advisory was the corporate finance side.M&A,valuations etc. Although im sure wealth management to high net worth families/individuals will be a small part of it.