Ask me anything: Consultant at MBB

Hi WSO,

I'm a 1st year consultant (Associate/Business Analyst/Associate Consultant) at a MBB firm.

I can answer any questions you may have on internships, breaking into consulting, networking, resumes (though I'm not directly involved with recruiting), tips for case or behavioral interviews, or what the job/industry is like. Don't think I can help that much for MBA candidates, but am more than happy to answer questions about T2 / transitioning from other fields or internships.

Try to leave comments so that everyone can benefit from the answers, but if you have really specific questions, my DM is open as well.

Comments (28)

Jan 7, 2019

the consulting forum on wso isn't as well perused as the IB/PE section. I believe the forum on reddit /r/consulting would be a better route for this :)

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Jan 8, 2019

Haha true. I thought WSO may attract applicants who are more serious about it, since it's the sole purpose for why WSO exists, but will consider that!

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Most Helpful
Jan 11, 2019
dontsmashme:

the consulting forum on wso isn't as well perused as the IB/PE section. I believe the forum on reddit /r/consulting would be a better route for this :)

Been on /r/consulting because I've heard this a few times. The quality of content there is generally lacking, the questions asked are uneducated and it's about 60% lame ass consulting memes.

WSO for quality, experienced posts and constructive dialogs.

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Jan 8, 2019

How strict are language requirements? For e.g I noticed that McK asks for fluent German in their DACH offices whilst Bain doesn't (which I find strange). In those cases, would not knowing German put you behind German speakers? Imagine a transfer after 2-3 years at T2, would the work experience overshadow the lack of linguistic abilities?

And do these linguistic abilities differ from markets e.g. since Germany is a bigger market, would they be more stringent on knowing German than Benelux offices would be about knowing Dutch since they are smaller?

Thanks in advance

Jan 8, 2019

Take this with a grain of salt, as I work in the US and my answer stems from what consultants I've spoken to in international offices have said.

You allude to this in your question, but it really depends on the office. At my MBB, it varies based on what language the clients primarily operate in, as well as what the rest of the employees at the office can speak. Not really based on the size of the market. For example, offices in some Asian countries (most prominently China & Korea), European countries (like you said, Germany, France, Italy etc.) and Latin American countries, linguistic ability is particularly important, and not being able to speak the local language may be a deal breaker. As for your 2-3 years at a T2, I think this may be different on a case by case basis. Depending on how strong your performance was, and the types of engagements they have (maybe half German, half English, while another MBB could have mostly German), there may be some wiggle room. Speaking with the recruiter or someone from the office to gauge the importance of the local language may be best before proceeding further haha.

That said, you can consider going into non-client facing roles (knowledge specialist?), in which linguistic ability may not be as important, or a nearby English speaking country.

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Jan 8, 2019

Thanks. Luckily I do have other language skills besides English but I was curious about the specificity e.g if I speak 3 languages but German isn't one, will German offices not take me? Something along those lines. Also, would a B2 level suffice or is C1 required. Again, I heard that this depends on the offices (French offices tend to be stricter and ask for a C1 certified whilst Dutch offices are more lenient and allow a decent level such as B2) but wanted to double check with someone who is in those firms

Jan 8, 2019

Is there a distressed sector you've worked with currently experiencing turmoil that has a bright future due to technological improvements or other major disruption?

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Jan 9, 2019

Not quite sure my AMA applies directly to this question but in my opinion, financial services and systems related to it (credit scores, fraud protection, insurance to a certain extent). Further development of blockchain and advances in detection mechanisms amongst others might change the industry.

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Jan 8, 2019

Thanks for doing this. For someone looking to transition from another field (in my case law), is there generally a time period where firms will be looking to hire advanced degree holders/experienced professionals? It appears that it is just a rolling or as needed basis but wasn't sure if there was an ideal time to apply.

Jan 8, 2019

going on the thought process that consulting is selling services to businesses....how would you go about making connections and selling digital marketing services to small businesses? (not from the position of a large consulting firm...but as an individual on your own).

just google it...you're welcome

Jan 8, 2019

Thanks for doing this! What has your project experience been so far (industry/function/duration), and which did you enjoy the most? Do you feel you're able to control getting staffed on things you're interested in, or have you been beholden to your firm's needs?

Jan 8, 2019

I currently work for a Fintech company, and I have a background in finance, tech and looking to move to consulting. Any suggestions?

Jan 9, 2019

How long have you been at your Fintech company, and what is your role there (business dev, more analytical...)? Depending on your experiences, and whether a MBA might help, you can decide to come into different branches of consulting (BCG Gamma, McK Digital, Bain Digital Transformation etc.), or consider going into specific industry verticals from the beginning (OW, S&?).

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Jan 10, 2019

I have three years experience in IB and three years in FinTech. 70% of the time I do business dev and 30% analytical work for our buy-side clients.

Jan 8, 2019
  1. What are acceptance rates into MBA programs like HBS, SGSB, etc
  2. What kinds of corporate discounts are there?
  3. What are the time wasters and time saving tips for engagements?
  4. How to you set healthy boundaries with your EM when you're the bottom of the totem pole?
Jan 9, 2019

Trying to keep things a bit general so that they can be applied and be helpful to everyone.
1. The presentation they showed us had a number like ~75% for HBS and SGSB if I remember correctly. The info slide also said that ~90%+ applicants who applied to an M7 got in, so take that as you will.

  1. Hotels, airlines, gyms, rental cars. Some places offer mobile plan discounts, while others might just let you expense them or give you a company phone.
  2. I think my biggest time waster was trying to thoroughly read through reports I needed to craft a story, or getting stuck down the rabbit hole of browsing websites aimlessly in hopes of finding a relevant statistic. To save time on that, I've been learning to ask the knowledge/specialist team for help rather than being stubborn haha. If your company doesn't have resources like that, just get help from other analysts or your manager so that you can get things done. Chances are, someone's done it before.
  3. At the beginning of the engagement, I talk to my manager/senior and let them know what my work and lifestyle is like. For example, now that my manager knows I'm more of a night owl, need 1 hour after dinner once a week to take care of personal things, and that I go to the gym right after work, they can trust me to work during the other hours that I have not carved out for myself. That said, my manager is also a pretty chill person so the "healthy boundary" that you spoke about can be more easily achieved. Being super transparent from the very start and level setting then really manages lifestyle balances going forward.
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Jan 11, 2019

75% acceptance rate to HBS? Dude, are you trolling? It's less than 20%.

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Jan 8, 2019

Do you know of any co-workers that attempted to recruit for PE firms? How did it end up going for them?

Jan 9, 2019

I haven't been at my MBB for long, so haven't seen too many people leave yet, nor can I give a super detailed account of what the process is like. Sorry! Though a quick search on LinkedIn shows me quite a few alumni for places like Blackstonr, KKR, Carlyle.

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Jan 9, 2019

Do you know of anyone lateraling from an RX shop (FTI, Alix, A&M)? If so, what experience level and what skills did they bring to the table that made them an attractive hire?

Jan 10, 2019

Going to start at a T2 consulting firm in their tech/digital group (Deloitte Tech/Digital, S& Tech Alignment, etc) and I want to try lateraling to an MBB's digital group in 2-3 years, how would you recommend I go about it?

Jan 11, 2019

Are there specific business problems you find that the consulting mindset/framework is REALLY good at solving? On the opposite end, what problem do they not solve as well?

Any books on consulting thinking that you'd recommend?

I work with portfolio companies on various problems and think having some consulting thinking would be a big help.

Jan 31, 2019

Not the AMA but I have been working at a boutique strategy & ops house for a few year, (compete with MBB).

In my experience, the consulting framework is quite good at solving process based issues, as internal stakeholders at multinationals (especially in FS companies) often structure many workflows/processes with no eye on efficiency or synergistic talent. An example of this would be creating workflows or new team makeups after a merger or consolidation, senior leadership does a poor job, the business case is loss-making, and they bring in consultants to find out wtf happened. Often the issues are poor resource management, hiring, misuses of acquired technology...these problems are tough to see from the inside but consultants looking at a birds eye level can catch them quicker.

Consultants have a tried and true framework for solving these issues, quantifying the efficiency savings, all while cutting through the bullshit that is corporate politics / jockeying.

Problems they don't solve well, I think human capital / performance issues. A lot of time consultants will get flak for being poor at reading company culture. fully understanding a culture takes months to years of real down and dirty work, relationship building, meetings, after hours drinks, lunch outings, etc. When consultants are brought in for a 4 month stint to fix "culture problems" or "human capital issues" i think its hard to truly understand these factors (different for every org) in such a short time. Putting a ping pong table in the break room doesnt change years of bad hiring and toxic culture, regardless of what we'll tell you.

Books that helped me - Thinking Fast and Slow, Back of the Napkin, gona get a lot of flak for this but i think Sinek's Leaders Eat Last is a decent book to understand management vs leadership.

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Jan 11, 2019

Do consultants even provide value, bro?

Jan 12, 2019
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Jan 17, 2019