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For those who have made it to Partner - is making Partner worth the hype? The "carrots" seem to be the omnipresent golden handcuffs and perks that at a minimum stroke the ego. What else is there? What additional exit options are available once you become Partner?

For those who stepped out before becoming partner, what was your tipping point? When's the best time to jump?

Fellow primates, your thoughts are appreciated.

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Comments (28)

  • Riffs's picture

    You won't find any partners on this board..

    Being a partner at a consulting firm isn't as appealing as it seems. Most partners I work with have dysfunctional relationships with their wives/families, spend most of their time flying or in hotels, dealing with corporate BS, etc.

    When I'm 50.. I don't want to spend half my time at airport security and having fights with my wife over email.

    Regarding exit opps; some go to industry in sectors they specialize in and to a lesser extent some go to PE firms. I've also seen quite a few partners jumping around to other consulting firms lately, but not necessarily better/worse in terms of brand name - I guess some firms are just filling gaps in expertise. I've never seen a partner leave to start his/her own business - this usually happens at lower levels. I guess a partner has too much family/personal responsibility to take on entrepenuerial risks that late in the game.

  • seekingalpha2's picture

    Thanks Riffs..it is the family dimension that has me thinking. That and the longer you are in consulting the more trapped you become - you don't really have the industry experience for the seniority you would like and financially it becomes harder to match your consutling income/maintain your lifestyle.

  • absinthe's picture

    That's why you go to PE: more money faster.

  • In reply to absinthe
    Riffs's picture

    Trade4Life:
    That's why you go to PE: more money faster.

    PE in general is a lot more exciting, and more importantly, you work on your own terms rather than running after clients' needs all the time. The money is great, but after a certain age you should look to enjoy what you do.

  • bbjhva's picture

    What is the best way to move from MBB to PE? Pure and simple networking, or do we have to give interviews...please explain!

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  • Riffs's picture

    At the partner level, pure networking. However, that doesn't mean you skip the interview process. Networking usually gets you the interview, anything after that depends on you. At McKinsey you go through interviews, case studies, etc. even coming in as a partner ;) I'm sure a lot of PE firms have similarly rigourous, if not more rigourous, procedures.

    Prior to partner, I would still say networking is the best way to get into PE (or to get any job to be honest). Other than that, an MBA is your best bet.

    Bain has a very reputable PE arm called Bain Capital. However, I have no information on how easy or difficult it is to move from their consulting practice into this. Booz is also planning on setting up a PE fund apparently.

  • 2x2Matrix's picture

    Let's ease up on the speculation here. First of all, there are no MBB partners on this board. Every partner I've ever spoken to has said that it's a difficult life, but they don't regret the choice; of course, if they did regret it, they wouldn't have stuck around through partner. You'll generally get a more positive assessment from people who stayed to the partner level and a less positive assessment from people who left earlier (or got up-or-outed). It is not an easy life, but it's pretty absurd to make a strong judgment either way if you're not in those shoes.

    As for the PE thing, yes, PE offers some things that consulting doesn't. But in case you haven't noticed, MBB partners aren't lining up to quit their jobs and join a PE fund. It's an inherently different business; PE firms do deals and own companies, consulting firms advise other people's companies. A lot of consulting higher-ups who leave go to the operational side, not the deal side, of PE firms, because that's more in line with what they've done for their whole career and it's presumably what they enjoy.

    Finally, at the partner level, there's no structured PE recruiting process. It's all driven by relationships; all partners have high-level relationships, and they can sort of nose around and see where they might be wanted. And for whoever brought up Bain Capital, it's incredibly hard to get in at the junior level, and at the senior level it's on a 100% case-by-case basis.

    Seekingalpha: As you advance at MBB, you actually don't get pigeonholed. If you want an example, James Gorman (Morgan's CEO) was head of McKinsey's financial services practice when he was hired to run Merrill's global private client business (he later got poached to be Morgan's co-president). As you move up at MBB, you open more doors, though they are largely confined to the industries you work in.

    One of those lights, slightly brighter than the rest, will be my wingtip passing over.

  • Aggravate's picture

    I can confirm this. I work in f500 strategy and the heads of several of our divisions are former partner level consultants that maybe had at most 1-2 other industry jobs before coming here. They come in and we scramble to brief them for a couple months on the business but at that level its mostly about soft skills and relationships so they don't need to know a lot of specifics to run a department. Some of them are good and some of them aren't that good but it is a really popular model at most major corporations when looking to get outside talent.

  • thedude86's picture

    partner is definitely worth the hype. i dont know about you but i wouldnt mind making $700k+ /yr. (obviously depending on the firm). i want to be rewarded for the hard work i put in, i believe partner is that reward.

  • absinthe's picture

    PE pays 700k+ at the VP level already including carry.. Straight Post-MBA KKR/BX pays 500k/yr, compared to 175k at MBB at the same level.

    Monetarily, PE is just way more money faster with just as bad a lifestyle. Sticking around until you make partner is fine for some people, but if you are at that level at MBB and have the chance to move to PE then partner isn't worth it monetarily at least.

    And even though being a partner at MBB is incredible, I still doubt that (or being a head of corporate strategy) pays as much as Partner/Principal positions in PE, generally 3-15 million per year at large funds.

  • 2x2Matrix's picture

    Trade4Life, let's get a reality check going - anyone would be lucky to land ANY of these jobs that you're so glibly comparing. Yeah, MBB Partner pay (which is upwards of $1mil at the director level) isn't BX pay, but honestly, for anybody who's in touch with reality, that's good fucking money. It's fine to dream about being a partner at KKR, but do you know how many there are? Not fucking many - the vast, vast majority of PE partners are not at megafunds. It's sort of like playing basketball: Michael Jordan made sick money, but his pay isn't a good indication of what NBA players on the whole make.

    And second, there is a level of income after which money ceases to stop motivating a lot of people. The MBB partner who's pulling down a million a year isn't lusting after the BX guy who's pulling down 10, because neither of them has the time to spend all of it, and because each of them is doing what he's good at and what he likes. MBB partners interact with clients and oversee strategic advisory work; PE partners oversee investment decisions and financial engineering (with the occasional strategic work thrown in). It's just not the same job, and because they both pay more than enough money, people who are good enough to make Partner in either tend to stick with that they like.

    One of those lights, slightly brighter than the rest, will be my wingtip passing over.

  • In reply to absinthe
    Al Bundy's picture

    Trade4Life:
    PE pays 700k+ at the VP level already including carry.. Straight Post-MBA KKR/BX pays 500k/yr, compared to 175k at MBB at the same level.

    Monetarily, PE is just way more money faster with just as bad a lifestyle. Sticking around until you make partner is fine for some people, but if you are at that level at MBB and have the chance to move to PE then partner isn't worth it monetarily at least.

    And even though being a partner at MBB is incredible, I still doubt that (or being a head of corporate strategy) pays as much as Partner/Principal positions in PE, generally 3-15 million per year at large funds.

    What's the probability of landing a straight post-MBA at KKR/BX? I dunno much about this stuff because I'm still an undergrad, but judging from what I've read on here, even if you go to HSW, the probability of landing a job at those places is probably still <10%, and getting into HSW isn't a walk in the park to begin with. Getting into McKinsey is tough as balls too and then surviving all the way to partner would be an extraordinary accomplishment, but I'd still wager that making partner at McKinsey is significantly more probably than getting to partner or even a very senior position at KKR/BX. Once you factor in probabilities, I'd guess that in terms of payout, (3-15 million)(probability of becoming partner at KKR/BX) < (1 million)(probability of becoming partner at MBB), which means that in terms of payout, you're more likely to become rich in consulting vs PE. I could be wayyyy off on my assumptions, but I do think there's a probability issue you're missing out on here.

    Pretty women make us BUY beer. Ugly women make us DRINK beer.

  • absinthe's picture

    Alright, but according to GLOCAP the average base+bonus for VPs in PE is 450k, and this is averaged over megafunds, large funds, MMs. Add on a few hundred thousand in carry, and that's pretty incredible money in your early to mid thirties.

    It's not like it's KKR or bust.

  • dagro's picture

    personally i'd be happy staying in consulting up to the point i make partner, then either sign on for a couple of years and retire or move to industry C-suite and make the money there.

    but for the sake of the argument - at the partner level, you are pretty mobile. you know people and they know people and you can talk your way into many other senior positions in other firms.
    just start your career already. making partner anywhere is awesome if you're good.

    =========================================
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  • In reply to Al Bundy
    7S's picture

    Jeffrey Immelt:

    What's the probability of landing a straight post-MBA at KKR/BX? I dunno much about this stuff because I'm still an undergrad, but judging from what I've read on here, even if you go to HSW, the probability of landing a job at those places is probably still <10%, and getting into HSW isn't a walk in the park to begin with.

    probability one can get into MBB from HSW MBA from ANY pre-MBA field 20% (factor in for people that do not care about consulting or do not apply)

    probability one can get into megafund from HSW without pre-MBA PE experience ~0.001% (its not much higher even if one had pre-MBA banking)

  • thedude86's picture

    however, the underlying problem with this conversation is that the likelihood of someone going from consulting to private equity is not that high. i mean, it does happen and it is the determination of the individual to make it into PE, but i just dont know how many people make that transition. i would love to do PE, easier said than done.

  • In reply to thedude86
    absinthe's picture

    urinetrouble:
    however, the underlying problem with this conversation is that the likelihood of someone going from consulting to private equity is not that high. i mean, it does happen and it is the determination of the individual to make it into PE, but i just dont know how many people make that transition. i would love to do PE, easier said than done.

    You just have to plan it ahead.

    One of my friends went to Bain Boston straight out of undergrad because he wanted to keep the jump to PE open. After two years, he made the transition to PE pretty easily. If you can work at the main PE office for Bain/McK/LEK/ect and get PE clients, then getting interviews is easy.

  • In reply to absinthe
    thedude86's picture

    absinthe:
    urinetrouble:
    however, the underlying problem with this conversation is that the likelihood of someone going from consulting to private equity is not that high. i mean, it does happen and it is the determination of the individual to make it into PE, but i just dont know how many people make that transition. i would love to do PE, easier said than done.

    You just have to plan it ahead.

    One of my friends went to Bain Boston straight out of undergrad because he wanted to keep the jump to PE open. After two years, he made the transition to PE pretty easily. If you can work at the main PE office for Bain/McK/LEK/ect and get PE clients, then getting interviews is easy.

    i agree 100%, i on other hand will not have an opportunity to work at such elite consulting firms, not to say the ones which i got offers aren't bad, its just hard to compare McKinsey to a firm like ZS Associates (not that i am saying ZS is bad..) for the average consultant, i think attending a top MBA is needed to even get noticed by a PE firm.

  • ringtailedlemur's picture

    I think it took me about three weeks of work at an M/B/B to realize that I'd never, ever want to be a partner. Just sayin'

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