Nervous about MBB - incoming BA

I’m an incoming BA and I just read the business insider article about the woman who left after 1.5 years and mckinsey shattered her mental health to the point she couldn’t work for a year after. She makes mckinsey sound like a war zone, with partners yelling at her, etc.
Did I make the wrong choice to do MBB? I feel like I should’ve chosen something easier as I’m not sure if I the stamina and mental toughness to do the job and I don’t want my mental health to get destroyed.
Wouldn’t it be better to do an easier role where you can work for many years and protect your health rather than MBB for 1.5 year and then destroy your health to the point where you can’t work?


Based on the WSO threads discussing life at MBB, it's important to recognize that experiences can vary significantly from person to person. Here are a few insights to consider:

  1. Intensity and Work Culture: MBB firms are known for their demanding work environments. The high expectations often lead to long hours and intense workloads, which can be stressful. However, this intensity is also paired with high rewards, both in terms of career progression and compensation.

  2. Support Systems: Many MBB firms have been actively working on improving their support systems for employees. This includes better mental health resources, more attentive management practices, and initiatives aimed at work-life balance. It's beneficial to actively engage with these resources and communicate your needs.

  3. Personal Resilience and Suitability: It's crucial to assess your own resilience and suitability for such an environment. Some thrive under pressure and find the challenging atmosphere invigorating, while others may find it overwhelming.

  4. Career Longevity vs. Short-term Intensity: Working at MBB can be seen as a trade-off between short-term intensity and long-term career benefits. The skills, networks, and brand value you gain can significantly boost your career trajectory, even if you decide to move on after a few years.

  5. Alternative Paths: If you are seriously concerned about the impact on your mental health, consider exploring roles within MBB that might offer a better balance or even looking at other firms with a reputation for a more balanced lifestyle. Each firm and even office within a firm can have its own culture and work-life balance.

It's important to enter your new role with an open mind and a proactive approach to managing your health and workload. Utilize internal resources, seek mentorship, and set personal boundaries where possible. If you find the environment too challenging, remember that the skills and experience you gain can also open doors to other opportunities that might be a better fit for your long-term well-being.

Sources: MBB Analyst comp/hours ?, Quitting IB in 2023 - Burnout, Turn down FT BB offer for MBB recruiting??, Turning down FT IB offer to recruit MBB?, Desperate Monkey Reaching out for life raft

I'm an AI bot trained on the most helpful WSO content across 17+ years.

I haven’t experienced or heard of anything close to what she described. Shouting by anyone let alone an AP is almost unheard of, I’d and it would lead to an immediate and stern talking to by a SP and probably be brought up in review committee.

Having said this, the Firm is a tough place to make it - we work under a lot of stress and I think are unique in placing a lot of responsibility on 22/23 year old graduates. Honestly, I’ve found that I can do a lot more than I’d thought I could.

I would suggest trying it to see if you like it or not. If you are certain you can’t work longish hours under pressure, consulting is probably not for you. No issue if this is the case, you are smart enough to get an offer and will likely be very successful whatever you do.


Thank you. I will join and try my best. If I fail and have to leave, what will happen to me? Am I screwed career wise?


Have a look at BA exits on LinkedIn. General advice is to try and make it to 1 year. Following this, exits are pretty good.

I’d say around 50% or more BAs leave within 2 years- if you do decide to resign, you’ll have plenty of company. To alleviate your concern somewhat, consider that Sundar Pichai left McKinsey after 2 years. There is at least one F500 CEO who was CTLed from McKinsey that I know of.


What will happen to us if we resign? Will we be screwed career wise and not be able to find any job?


Not to be an asshole, but some jobs just aren’t for everyone. Some people are much better off doing something else.

not being able to work for a year…? I mean come on, you have to be tougher than that in life. I came up when banking was peak toxic and it’s not like we’re having bombs dropped on us every night while we scavenge for food. 

This isn’t a reflection on gender at all, I’ve worked for and with many excellent women who could stare down the barrel of a gun. She just sounded like she’s better suited for risk or something. That’s not a bad thing, either. Just need to go where you click with the culture.


Just give it a shot. Worst thing that'll happen is you get canned (or you leave voluntarily) at the 1-year mark, you get 2-4 months of paid search time, and you'll easily be able to pivot into a 9-5 corporate strategy role making ~110-140k... You'll have the MBB brand on your resume, as well as access to the alumni network which is valuable within itself. 


MBB BA/A/AC here,

It's a demanding job sometimes, but I've never experienced anything like what she described. My weekends are respected, and it's hard for me to imagine a partner "yelling" at a junior. This isn't IB or PE. Part of the appeal of consulting is that the culture does not allow abuse like that. The cynic in me thinks she was a very poor performer...

Most Helpful

First of all, Business Insider is a terrible source of information. It puts out consistent garbage articles with the sole purpose to get clicks.  Don't waste any more of your time reading BI articles, stick with legitimate news sources (e.g., WSJ, Bloomberg, Financial Times, Economist, etc). I don't believe for a second the person in question was so damaged by their experience at an MBB firm that she couldn't work for over a year after she left, that is just classic sensational journalism.

Second of all, you just landed a role most students would kill for. Don't throw away the opportunity because of a ridiculous article that is making you question yourself. The fact that you are considering choosing something "easier" is not the attitude you want to take in your career. Don't let fear, especially fear of the unknown, drive your decision making. Careers in IB, consulting, and really any industry that pays well and provides invaluable experience generally are not easy. There will be stress. There will be long hours. You might have to deal with a jerk or two. But that will likely be the exception and not the rule. My advice would be to give it a shot, they obviously believe enough in you to have offered you the job, time to believe in yourself. If it truly is as bad as the article you read (it won't be), then sure you can consider quitting. But even if the worst case scenario is true, stick it out long enough to get MBB on your resume for a meaningful time frame (at least 1 year). It will pay dividends down the road. 


Thank you so much, that really helps! Yes, I really need to work on my self-confidence/imposter syndrome. I will not read BI, that makes sense that they're exaggerating for clicks. I will do my best at Mck. 

the fear of the unknown statement you made really resonates with me, and I need to stop letting fear drive decisions in all parts of my life.


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