Help: Breaking into Big 4 / BDO

Thinking of doing a summer internship next year at a Big 4 firm or BDO. I am currently studying business administration in Switzerland and have a background in Private Banking.

How’s life there ? How’s the work life balance ? How much do you earn ? And most of all, is it boring as some might say ?


You'll have to provide a bit more into what type of roles you're looking into. Within Big Four, they have consulting arms that breakdown further into business consulting and strategy consulting, they have their audit/assurance work, valuations, corporate finance/transaction advisory teams, risk advisory, financial advisory, value creation services (falls within business consulting) and a number of other teams as well. 

What kind of work are you looking to break into? 


Thanks for your reply !

It would be either auditing (I’m quite good in accounting at uni and interested) and consulting in financial advisory probably.

I fear the latter because I don’t have any experience in the domain. I reckon it could be easier to break into auditing…

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The user below can shed light on audit, but I can give my two cents into Big Four consulting and financial advisory. 

There are strategy houses within each of the Big Four that deal with larger strategy projects. These include Monitor Deloitte, PwC Strategy&, EY-Parthenon, and... KPMG something, not sure about the last firm. Outside of that, each firm has it's business operations consulting arms that stratify into different sub-practices. Within Deloitte, they have Consumer Insights, Value Creation Services, IT & Service Management, and Finance & Performance Consulting, in other firms, they're called something slightly different. In EY, they have Business Design, Financial Service Optimization, so on and so forth. In these firms, they hire for specialized consulting practices rather early as compared to the other pure strategy shops (OW, MBB, KEARNEY, and so on). 

The hours: ~50-55 hours / week 

The experience: specialized in your team for ~3-6 months with assignments ranging from what's available/interested in and competent in. The strategy arms definitely have more variety of assignments and work. 

Travel: I have not heard of travel beyond domestic client visits, though this may be due to my office location information. 

Culture: EY has been known to have the best culture, being the least bureaucratic. PwC and Deloitte are tied for second with people either loving it or hating it and I've heard some pretty bad stories (and seen a few first-hand) from KPMG.

Exit Ops: lateral moves to other shops (EY => Deloitte), MBA, MBB or other pure strategy shops, client firms on occasion. 

Salary: below market at all levels from Canadian side of things. Expect ~$5-10k  CAD/ yr discount or much larger. 

Now, keep a few things in mind: consulting firm cultures differ by the team you work for, so your experience may be different. The salaries in Canada are grossly depressed, so that may not represent the market rate to expect. Big Four firms sometimes provide additional hurdles to move internally (from Audit -> Consulting) leading to jumping firms.   


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