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Home  > Insider profile
Tony Tjan
Financial Services Consultant

"Difference between Investment Banking and Consulting-- consultant is like a business doctor, advises on how to stay healthy or improve on health or says how to fix something that is broken."

As children, we're all asked the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" How did you answer?


What have been the most defining moments along your career path?

I was a Biology major at Harvard, confused about my path. During my senior year I was looking at Law School, Business School, Med School and jobs. I finally thought I would try working for a few years to get a sense of what I wanted to do with my life.

How did you get your big breaks?

I had done quite a bit of economics and ran a small business on the side during undergrad so it was easy to play up those skills when I went looking for a job. At first I focused on Investment Banks because my entrepeneurial work had been mostly investing. I thought about financial services afterwards because I wanted to have a life. I ultimately obtained a position through a recruiter.

What was the best advice you received when you were first starting out in your career?

Do it for 2 years and then go back to Business school. It's great advice but now things are changing and there is more flexibility. If you are a high performing analyst you have the option of staying a third year and going to an international office. Depending on performance you can pick your graduate program ie. B-school, law, med even cooking school and your company will support you...very varied now.

What have you learned from your experience?

Difference between Investment Banking and Consulting-- consultant is like a business doctor, advises on how to stay healthy or improve on health or says how to fix something that is broken. Consultants are long-term, on-going problem, fee is not as contingent on the work as investement banking Investment banking is much more short-term oriented--value capture through transaction, sales oriented instead of advisory oriented. An investment banker is a deal-maker, someone who is able to originate a deal, structure a deal and in the process of that the bank makes money by structuring the transaction in a way that is favorable to them.

What most excites you about your job right now?

People are great at all the firms. Wherever you go will find your own niche of people but I chose consulting over banking because of lifestyle. I can actually have a social life! At Investment Banks it's predictable that you'll have no social life and be expected to do 110 hrs week. That's not how I want to live.

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Work hard!

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