A huge number of students from top universities are aiming to be part of the financial industry. Whether they are struggling with a bachelor’s degree or MBA, they are well aware that the field of business is a wise choice for a stable job which provides not only a highly satisfactory income, but also offers a wide room for improvement for those who are willing to take on the everyday grind.

Among the many careers in this sector are investment banking (IB) and management consulting. Investment banking specializes in handling transactions such as building capital, managing mergers and acquisitions, and underwriting debts and securities. In short, it often acts as a financial intermediary. Management consulting, on the other hand, dwells more on assistance of organizations for a heightened overall performance which involves resolving problems and ensuring continuous development within a company.

Torn between these two careers? Then let’s give you a sneakpeak on the basics of both--questions that you surely have in mind as you toss and turn at night trying to decide which path to choose.

How well equipped are you?

Unlike courses that require round the clock memorization of facts and concepts, the real competition in the financial field lies on how well you handle your interview process and your performance in your respective university. While having an MBA will definitely be a plus for you, a bachelor’s degree alone would work out just fine.

Both jobs require being good with people and communication, although consulting centers more on your problem solving skills and a mastery of your company in all aspects, from the smallest inefficiencies to greatest potentials as you will be responsible for devising every plan to improve its performance.

When it comes to IB, it is necessary that you have excellent quantitative skills because you will be handling large sums of money. Even the littlest mistake in banking may account to millions of losses thus, discipline and a sound decision-making is vital, especially since you will often find yourself in the middle of every kind of negotiation.

Up to how much will your salary range?

Sure, you’ve heard that both positions can give you heaps; more than what other initial jobs may give you. But how much is heaps? Newbies in management consulting usually have a starting income of $65,000-$100,000 with only a bachelor’s degree. Sounds good right? If you still aim to level up your monthly compensation, having an MBA would be perfect, as acquiring a master’s will give you an earning of between $125,000-$200,000. Meanwhile, investment banking offers a higher base pay of $80,000 annually plus bonuses.

How much free time will you have?

If you cannot handle extended work hours, you might want to think twice about taking up careers such as these, as both will leave you meager hours for leisure, especially if you are in your first year. The average number of hours per week of an investment banker ranges from 70 to 90 hours and may sometimes even require you to spend the night in your office.

Management consulting will leave you an even fewer hours for your other activities, plus it involves a lot of travel time as a lot of tasks, especially during your initial years, are completed in various places.

Have you made up your mind yet? Probably by now you are starting to realize that the bundles of money you can get from these two careers are coupled with a lot of preparation and focus on your part, so it would be a good move to develop the skills you will need and prep yourself up with the appropriate knowledge that may give you an edge when you enter the competitive field of banking and management.