Are these 'prestigious' jobs like MBB/T2 worth it?

Ive been thinking recently.  Based on what I've read from this site or heard from others, Most people who join MBB/T2 end up staying there for 2-5 years, maybe getting an M7 MBA along the way.  They sacrifice a lot in their 20's due to the work hours and stress of succeeding at a top school and their firms.  But at the end of the day, unless they make partner, they usually end up at corporations side-by-side with people who took a more 'normal' or less prestigious route, going to a state school and working 9-5 throughout.  If that's the case, then is all the effort (top undergrad --> 60 hrs/week at MBB --> M7 --> MBB -->...) even worth it?   I feel like there is so much buzz/hype around consulting but they all end up exiting to similar caliber/salary roles that they could've gotten without the stress that comes with the M7/MBB life.  Am I missing something here? 

Comments (10)

Most Helpful
Jan 21, 2021 - 5:50pm

Speed. That's what you're missing. If you spend 5 years at MBB you can exit to Director level at a F500 organization. If you spend 5 years at a F500 you might still be a Sr. Analyst. It could take you closer to 15 years to make Director on that trajectory. That's the difference. 

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Jan 23, 2021 - 11:52pm

I didn't do PE so I'm less sure, but I believe so. The difference (I'm guessing) is your exits will be a bit narrower. For example, after 5 years in Consulting you could exit into Strategy, Corp Dev, Operations, etc. After 5 years in Banking you're probably better positioned for Corp Dev or Corp Fin, but outside of finance it may be a tougher sell. 

Feb 15, 2021 - 4:55pm

Would you say this also applies to Big 4 companies which compare to MBB in terms of career potential?

Kind Regards
Jan 24, 2021 - 3:37am

You are also missing the fact that those who make Director/VP+ level at a F500 don't just put in 9-5 hours. Of course, they have better work/life balance but the high potentials and top performers at every client I've ever served are typically super hard workers. Certainly you can coast without losing your job but you won't progress quickly if at all.

Feb 19, 2021 - 10:31pm

Frankly, yeah, it is a bit overrated. There was a golden age (say in the 90s) where consultants were highly valued by corporations and it was a clear accelerator in one's career.

However, companies are a lot better at internal talent development. There are great LDPs out there that will accelerate you at the same pace as consulting would (and in some cases, faster). And that's at half of the hours. That's not to say consulting isn't still an excellent path. But there are strong cons and the upside isn't as great nowadays. Many companies don't value generalists the same way they used to.

But you'll have people like MikeRoss above who drink the koolaid because, hey, if you don't, you'd have to admit you made suboptimal choices.

All of that being said, I'm in consulting and wouldn't change things if I could go back in time. I actually like the job despite the hours and stress and am comfortable with where I think it'll take me. But I'm not fooling myself into thinking it's a genius no-brainer decision.

  • Business School in IB - Ind
Feb 19, 2021 - 10:35pm
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