London vs Frankfurt for MBB

As a student finishing my bachelor's degree next year, I have a chance to get a job at MBB (and Roland Berger) in Frankfurt and London. Which city do you think will be better in terms of total comp (especially at higher career levels) and WLB?

 

For the same co:

  • London: lower salary, lower tax rate, higher cost of living + might need a visa if you're not British / don't have settled status (I'm assuming you're european)
  • FFM: higher salary (even after exchange rates), but higher taxes and lower COL + speaking German would really make your life easier (in case you don't yet)

Having lived in both, I think London is more fun (personal opinion), but the price of beer in Germany is hard to compete against (for the UK anyway).

Career-wise, doesn't matter too much, FFM will be part of the DACH network of offices of your MBB and will therefore likely do most of everything. London will definitely do everything (1 office for the whole country).

My recommendation is to go where you'll enjoy living outside of work most

 

Thanks! I'm learning German (currently B2/C1) and would need a visa to travel to London. Do you think getting a visa would be a problem? How should I recruit to London? Do I have a chance to get SA/OC in London as a student at RSM? Are there Spring Weeks at MBB? Do you know what the salary differences are between London and Frankfurt at the Principle/Partner level? If I wanted to move into Private Equity after a few years, would I lose much by choosing Frankfurt over London? Would I lose much by choosing MBB instead of BB IB?

 
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Thats a lot of questions, so I'll do bullet points

  • Visa
    • All MBB sponsor indiscriminately, so no. Don't know about RB (I assume they would sponsor too)
  • Recruiting for London
    • On the MBB websites, just state London as your preferred office with a decent % allocation for it (they each should prompt you for 3 or so office choices, with a weighting that has to add up to 100%)
  • Chance?
    • No idea what your profile is, but obviously a regional school will have more weight in said region. That being said, don't know many Dutch-educated people at Bain London, LinkedIn might be your friend there to check RSM's placement in London. If you have >10 in an office, I'd say you're fine (difficult to generalise as self selection will play a role)
    • That being said, Bain London does not do interns other than MBA interns (I believe McK and BCG do, so they might be better in that regard)
  • Spring weeks
    • We (Bain) don't, but I think McK do. Don't know about BCG
  • UK vs DE Principal/Partner comp
    • No idea, but the difference will be so small as to make no difference (cost of living will be the big differentiator)
    • Also, does not matter since (1) very unlikely you'd stay that long, whether you get pushed out or choose another exit, (2) at that level it absolutely will not matter, and (3) you can't predict how exchange rates + fiscal policy will move in the next 10+ years, the likely amount of time it would take you to make it to Partner, and how it would impact the relative levels
  • PE
    • Common sense says that London would be better, but if you're going to be in mainland Europe, then DACH is defiintely the right place to be (rather active region for deals)
  • MBB vs IB
    • Hard to answer as I have no idea what your plans are, what you consider "losing" or "gaining", or what your personal preference is
    • I will say this though: if after you start practicing case interviews and start getting good at them you still don't enjoy caseing, then consulting is probbaly not for you (the job is a lot like that, magnified)
    • Also if you prefer a career in finance (IB/PE/VC/HF) then obvs IB is way better for that, MBB is fine but it will be harder to jump (though far from impossible), the upside will be more varied exits (so up to your own preferences)
 

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