Ask Me Anything: First-Year at MBB

NoName's picture
Rank: Senior Orangutan | 410

Hey WSO,

I used to be fairly active on this forum but ever since I started at MBB, I got way too busy (no surprise there). I'm about six months in and I wanted to give back to the community by offering to answer any questions you might have.

Some background on me:
- Chemical engineering undergrad degree from a large state school
- BA/A/AC at a southern US MBB office
- Have worked on a consumer case in LA for the last six months, about to roll off and start on an energy case near DC
- Am the undergrad recruiting school specialist for my office at my alma mater (basically I make the interview list)

Feel free to ask away! I'll do my best to answer everyone's questions as truthfully as I can. Looking forward to it!

Comments (142)

Feb 25, 2015

How often do you see individuals lateral from the research side? Not my personal experience, but I have some colleagues at MBB in research that have actually had offers to lateral to BA/AC positions.

"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets."

Feb 26, 2015
ICAPM:

How often do you see individuals lateral from the research side? Not my personal experience, but I have some colleagues at MBB in research that have actually had offers to lateral to BA/AC positions.

We do hire quite a few PhDs, but typically out of industry research roles. I haven't seen someone come into my firm from academia (but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen!)

To give some perspective, we recently had a trivia event in the office during a Friday happy hour, and we split up by cohort. The post-MBA cohort had to be split up by MBA/PhD, because there are just so many PhDs, haha.

Feb 25, 2015

Thanks for doing this!

Is it what you expected?

Feb 26, 2015
Emous:

Thanks for doing this!

Is it what you expected?

Haha, good question. I did my undergrad in chemical engineering and did my internships at ExxonMobil in upstream (reservoir engineer), so I really didn't have a clue what to expect in consulting. Overall it's been an extremely positive experience -- so much learning, fast pace, changes of scenery, awesome culture -- so I am happy to say that I think I made the right decision!

Feb 25, 2015

Can being referred by a senior individual at an MBB (say partner level) get you on that interview list if other parts of your resume are weak? (say a really low GPA)

Feb 26, 2015

I know that this is definitely possible, but the person is putting their neck out for you so unlikely if they don't think you have what it takes.

Feb 26, 2015
jkea1937:

I know that this is definitely possible, but the person is putting their neck out for you so unlikely if they don't think you have what it takes.

Exactly. They're staking their reputation on you, so they really need to believe that you can get through the interviews and do well at the firm, or they're not going to even try to make a case to the recruiting team.

Feb 26, 2015
Sarah2WS:

Can being referred by a senior individual at an MBB (say partner level) get you on that interview list if other parts of your resume are weak? (say a really low GPA)

YES, definitely. At least at my firm, a referral from anyone (even a BA/A/AC) can get you on the interview list if the person makes a strong case. Of course, if you have a 3.0 GPA, that's going to require some serious convincing or a senior partner's urging to get you on the interview list. But in general, referrals from anyone at the firm mean a lot.

Feb 25, 2015

Does MBB value IBD experience, say an internship at any BB (first and second tier)? And following on from Sarah's question, what position starts to have an influence when it comes to referrals? Project leaders and above or...?

Bitch please, I love bananas! If you found my advice useful, hit me up with one.

Feb 26, 2015
Percy:

Does MBB value IBD experience, say an internship at any BB (first and second tier)? And following on from Sarah's question, what position starts to have an influence when it comes to referrals? Project leaders and above or...?

We do indeed value IBD experience! However, I don't think we view it as "better" than any other solid internship experience (something like F500 corp strategy / finance, or in my case, engineering).

And to answer your second question, please see my response to Sarah's question. I will add that I've heard of senior partners getting people with weak resumes through to decision rounds based solely on referral, but that's rare. The senior partner isn't going to do that if the candidate really is weak overall and doesn't stand a chance of getting an offer... looks very bad.

Feb 25, 2015

If you're a first-year and the school specialist, you're not a "recruiter" and you don't "make the interview list."

    • 1
Feb 26, 2015
devildog2067:

If you're a first-year and the school specialist, you're not a "recruiter" and you don't "make the interview list."

I'll admit that my role is not called "recruiter" -- it's a school specialist role. But, I do in fact make the interview list for my office for that particular school.

Feb 26, 2015
NoName:
devildog2067:

If you're a first-year and the school specialist, you're not a "recruiter" and you don't "make the interview list."

I'll admit that my role is not called "recruiter" -- it's a school specialist role. But, I do in fact make the interview list for my office for that particular school.

I have been a school specialist at a couple of different levels. You do contribute quite a lot to the list, as you're the person is expected to best know many of the applicants -- but actually writing the list is something you do not control. Resume screen is out of your hands, for example, and there are undoubtedly people in the recruiting team whose full time job it is to organize recruiting at that school. The idea that they let a first year associate/BA make the interview list for a target school is ludicrous.

Feb 26, 2015
devildog2067:
NoName:
devildog2067:

If you're a first-year and the school specialist, you're not a "recruiter" and you don't "make the interview list."

I'll admit that my role is not called "recruiter" -- it's a school specialist role. But, I do in fact make the interview list for my office for that particular school.

I have been a school specialist at a couple of different levels. You do contribute quite a lot to the list, as you're the person is expected to best know many of the applicants -- but actually writing the list is something you do not control. Resume screen is out of your hands, for example, and there are undoubtedly people in the recruiting team whose full time job it is to organize recruiting at that school. The idea that they let a first year associate/BA make the interview list for a target school is ludicrous.

I understand what you're saying, and my office system is pretty unique in this sense. They do actually have us do resume screening, and yes, we do make the lists. I work with the school specialists in a nearby office and together, we screen resumes and just send an email to the recruiting team with the list of interviewees we want. They'll make edits here and there, but the majority of the list is determined by us.

I appreciate what you're saying, but you don't work in my office -- so please believe me!

    • 1
Feb 26, 2015
NoName:
devildog2067:
NoName:
devildog2067:

If you're a first-year and the school specialist, you're not a "recruiter" and you don't "make the interview list."

I'll admit that my role is not called "recruiter" -- it's a school specialist role. But, I do in fact make the interview list for my office for that particular school.

I have been a school specialist at a couple of different levels. You do contribute quite a lot to the list, as you're the person is expected to best know many of the applicants -- but actually writing the list is something you do not control. Resume screen is out of your hands, for example, and there are undoubtedly people in the recruiting team whose full time job it is to organize recruiting at that school. The idea that they let a first year associate/BA make the interview list for a target school is ludicrous.

I understand what you're saying, and my office system is pretty unique in this sense. They do actually have us do resume screening, and yes, we do make the lists. I work with the school specialists in a nearby office and together, we screen resumes and just send an email to the recruiting team with the list of interviewees we want. They'll make edits here and there, but the majority of the list is determined by us.

I appreciate what you're saying, but you don't work in my office -- so please believe me!

I can believe that. This would probably only fly at a place like Bain in Dallas/Houston though (so I'll assume one's where you're based). I don't have any real questions about recruiting, but I'm curious as to what your geographic coverage is for staffing being based in a southern office.

Feb 26, 2015
NoName:

I understand what you're saying, and my office system is pretty unique in this sense. They do actually have us do resume screening, and yes, we do make the lists. I work with the school specialists in a nearby office and together, we screen resumes and just send an email to the recruiting team with the list of interviewees we want.

How many people look at a resume? I'm guessing the answer is at least two. And the pile of resumes you actually see has already been pre-screened by the recruiting team.

They'll make edits here and there, but the majority of the list is determined by us.

So you don't make the list. You, together with a committee of other school specialists, make time in between casework (I don't know if you're staffed and do this on the side, or if it's a 50% or 100% staffing commitment, but regardless recruiting is not your job -- being billable on the consulting side is) to recommend a short list of candidates for interview from the already-filtered list of resumes you are given by the recruiting team. Which they are then free to edit further if they disagree.

I appreciate what you're saying, but you don't work in my office -- so please believe me!

I don't disbelieve you. I think you are wrong. There's a difference.

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Best Response
Feb 26, 2015

Devildog, you are providing nothing to this thread, and actually ruining it for the people who are trying to take something out of it. Not really sure why or how you think you have any kind of credibility in what you're arguing.

Politely and respectfully, please GTFO.

    • 2
Feb 26, 2015

thanks for doing this! adding it to the frontpage this afternoon

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Feb 26, 2015

Also curious about how MBB views IBD experience. Are there FT laterals (from IBD to MBB)?

Feb 26, 2015
7xEBITDA:

Also curious about how MBB views IBD experience. Are there FT laterals (from IBD to MBB)?

I haven't heard of FT laterals, but that may be because I'm in a southern US office where we're far removed from the hub of IBD. This may happen more in the northeast. The few former IBDers I know went to business school after IBD, then recruited with my firm.

Feb 26, 2015

What's the GPA floor, and how much is GPA taken into consideration at the end of an interview?
Also, how much does networking matter?

Feb 26, 2015
semitar93:

What's the GPA floor, and how much is GPA taken into consideration at the end of an interview?

Also, how much does networking matter?

There's a sliding scale for GPA, and during the resume screen, we'll give points based on where your GPA falls. >3.8 is best, and I'd say any less than 3.5 would disqualify you unless you have something spectacular to make up for it.

Once you get the interview, GPA really doesn't come into play at all. It's all your interview performance at that point.

Networking is HUGE to land an interview if your resume isn't perfect. I've personally added people to the interview list because I remember talking to them and liking them (of course they were qualified as well, but between them and a similarly qualified person I've never spoken to, I'll go with the person I know). But networking matters much less after the interview selection stage.

Feb 26, 2015

Any suggestions on networking from a non-target for consulting? I've looked at linkedin and there are maybe 2-3 alumni at the MBB's...am I screwed just because of that? 3.9+ gpa and a BB ops internship

Feb 27, 2015
unoriginal7:

Any suggestions on networking from a non-target for consulting? I've looked at linkedin and there are maybe 2-3 alumni at the MBB's...am I screwed just because of that? 3.9+ gpa and a BB ops internship

You're definitely not screwed! It's even possible to just apply through the online application and get an interview just because of that. We have a BA/A/AC in our office who went to University of Maryland (which is definitely not a target school), and he simply applied online, got an interview, and crushed it. Of course, networking will only help you, but know that you still have opportunities even if you don't go to a target school.

Feb 27, 2015

Thanks for answering this. When you talk about having internship experience...how is a BB ops internship looked at? Obviously this doesn't carry the weight that an IBD internship or a F500 corp dev internship would. I should also have another internship soon..but it will be an investment analyst position at a 'no name' firm. Are these enough/relevant? After reading your last post...I'm hoping these internships are enough to be relevant for MBB internship recruiting next year.

Feb 26, 2015

to add to the last post...I dont think any of those 3 alumni are in consultant roles...hence my question

Feb 26, 2015

How would someone from a non-target school be able to get an interview with your firm? What can they do to stand out?

Feb 27, 2015
a1j9o94:

How would someone from a non-target school be able to get an interview with your firm? What can they do to stand out?

Please see my response to unoriginal7 for the answer to part of your question. To stand out, I think you (obviously) have to have an incredible resume (3.9+ GPA, difficult major, solid internship experience, unique extracurriculars/awards), but also persistent networking (or at least attempts at networking) will get you noticed. Even if the recruiters have just heard your name multiple times, that will definitely help. And referrals from folks in the office will help as well.

Feb 26, 2015

Can everyone stop using the term "roll off"? It's useless jargon.

Feb 26, 2015
WilliamBrasky:

Can everyone stop using the term "roll off"? It's useless jargon.

So is "case" in some sense -- but that's what everyone calls a consulting project. "Roll off" is what absolutely everyone in the industry calls it when you leave a case.

    • 1
Feb 27, 2015

"Project" works just fine, or even "engagement".

On a related note, "Sheep" is a great term for people say things just because others say them. ;)

Feb 26, 2015

OP, I've been working as a 1st year Project Management Analyst at a F50 firm. Graduated last year.

Is there anyway that I can lateral to MBB Business Analyst role? Or is that almost impossible to do. Have you seen people latering into MBB 1/2 years out of college.

Thanks.

Feb 27, 2015
snakeoil:

OP, I've been working as a 1st year Project Management Analyst at a F50 firm. Graduated last year.

Is there anyway that I can lateral to MBB Business Analyst role? Or is that almost impossible to do. Have you seen people latering into MBB 1/2 years out of college.

Thanks.

I've definitely seen this, and it is certainly possible. I think that some of the MBB firms tend to hire industry laterals more often than others, but at least at my firm, we are totally open to interviewing industry folks. We have a BA/A/AC in the office who worked as an engineer for about a year before joining the firm.

Of course, you need to have a solid resume. Basically, it should have been good enough to get an interview when you were a senior in college, and your work experience should be of similar caliber.

Feb 26, 2015

Hi @"NoName", thanks for doing this.

Would you say that there are certain offices that are more competitive than others to get into?
Following that, would you say there are offices that are easier to break into?

Feb 26, 2015
cayo275:

Hi @NoName, thanks for doing this.

Would you say that there are certain offices that are more competitive than others to get into?

Following that, would you say there are offices that are easier to break into?

While I can't answer this for certain, as I haven't tried myself, from what I understand at my MBB firm, the west coast and east coast offices can be pretty popular as the cities are nice. This means SF and NYC. Which means there is more demand for similar supply, i.e. harder...

Feb 26, 2015

I appreciate the insight. This is something I assumed. That, and the amount of people chasing prestige.

Feb 27, 2015
cayo275:

Hi @NoName, thanks for doing this.

Would you say that there are certain offices that are more competitive than others to get into?

Following that, would you say there are offices that are easier to break into?

Yes, definitely. It varies by firm, but there are always more "popular" offices that have huge pools of candidates applying with limited spots available (think NYC, SFO/LA, etc.). On the other hand, there are offices that have fewer candidates applying, for a fewer number of spots, but the ratio is better. I really shouldn't say which ones, but you should know that this situation exists.

Feb 26, 2015

Some of the questions asked of OP are laughable. Have you guys actually read his/her experience? How do you think a 6-month analyst is going to answer those questions about lateral? LOL If you can't make a quick evaluation about what the right questions are when speaking to an individual (no matter who that individual is), maybe you should think twice about management consulting, let alone MBB.

Feb 26, 2015

Any interviewing tips?

Feb 27, 2015
Sephoralover:

Any interviewing tips?

Haha, not even sure where to start here... start your case interview prep well in advance (like, beginning of summer before recruiting starts), and take the time necessary to let the process "soak in" and become natural. Then, during the interview, you can focus on making sure the softer stuff comes through (personality, fit, etc.).

    • 1
Feb 26, 2015

Does your firm recruit foreigner with MSF degree from the caliber of WUSTL? Is it possible for me to land a job there?

Feb 27, 2015
Markus-Wair:

Does your firm recruit foreigner with MSF degree from the caliber of WUSTL? Is it possible for me to land a job there?

You will probably need to recruit with the office that is closest to you. You could potentially transfer to a US office a few years after starting.

Feb 26, 2015

Do consultants add any real value to a business? I feel like it's a scam/useless.

Feb 26, 2015
companion:

Do consultants add any real value to a business? I feel like it's a scam/useless.

If management consultants didn't add value to a business, people would stop paying them. It's that simple. We can and do add a lot of value (that's certainly not to say that we always do).

Feb 27, 2015
companion:

Do consultants add any real value to a business? I feel like it's a scam/useless.

It is definitely not a scam! It can seem that way from the outside, but we really do aim to add value. For example, I'm working on a PMI (post-merger integration) that would have entirely fallen apart if we weren't around to hold the two sides together and help them develop a 5-year strategy plan. It's amazing how lost a lot of companies are...

Feb 27, 2015

I wouldn't want to be a consultant. Too stressful in terms of job stability and you get out of there with no real hard skills. At the end of the day, a managerial decision is basically just a common sense decision.

I feel like companies hire consultants just to be able to blame them in case something goes wrong.

    • 3
Feb 27, 2015

NoName, I've got a question regarding the PST. Do you have any tips (apart from those floating on internet) on how to prepare for it ? Also, how important is the score if, say, you've been recommended by some of the firm's employees ?

Thanks in advance for the answer!

Reality is wrong. Dreams are for real.

Feb 27, 2015
solodolo:

NoName, I've got a question regarding the PST. Do you have any tips (apart from those floating on internet) on how to prepare for it ? Also, how important is the score if, say, you've been recommended by some of the firm's employees ?

Thanks in advance for the answer!

To avoid giving away which firm I work for, unfortunately I can't answer this one with any specific level of detail. I would just recommend taking a few practice tests to work on your timing (obviously part of the test is super time pressure), and you do need to do well. Acing it won't automatically get you an offer, but failing it will keep you out.

Feb 27, 2015

NoName, I've got a question regarding the PST. Do you have any tips (apart from those floating on internet) on how to prepare for it ? Also, how important is the score if, say, you've been recommended by some of the firm's employees ?

Thanks in advance for the answer!

Reality is wrong. Dreams are for real.

Feb 27, 2015

What suggestions would you have for underclassmen trying to break into the industry? Anything that you did early on in your college career that you think set you up well for landing internships and ultimately your consulting offer?

Feb 27, 2015
iConsult:

What suggestions would you have for underclassmen trying to break into the industry? Anything that you did early on in your college career that you think set you up well for landing internships and ultimately your consulting offer?

You need to ensure that your GPA stays high and that you have solid internship experience before applying to MBB. So, focus on that first. Then, try to get in contact with people at your local MBB offices. Get yourself on the email lists, go to info sessions, connect with folks and get their contact info. Definitely apply for an internship, even if you don't feel 100% ready. As long as you don't totally bomb the interviews so badly that they don't call you back the next year, it really helps to put yourself in front of the process before full-time recruiting. That way, you're a pro compared to the students who are going through the recruiting process for the first time.

Feb 27, 2015
NoName:
iConsult:

What suggestions would you have for underclassmen trying to break into the industry? Anything that you did early on in your college career that you think set you up well for landing internships and ultimately your consulting offer?

You need to ensure that your GPA stays high and that you have solid internship experience before applying to MBB. So, focus on that first. Then, try to get in contact with people at your local MBB offices. Get yourself on the email lists, go to info sessions, connect with folks and get their contact info. Definitely apply for an internship, even if you don't feel 100% ready. As long as you don't totally bomb the interviews so badly that they don't call you back the next year, it really helps to put yourself in front of the process before full-time recruiting. That way, you're a pro compared to the students who are going through the recruiting process for the first time.

Could you go into a little bit of detail on how you landed your first good internship? I've been finding the first is usually the hardest to get, especially considering most places only want juniors.

Feb 27, 2015

@"devildog2067" All right man, I changed the title of the thread to be more accurate. Better?

Feb 27, 2015

would you mind sharing what comp structure is like?

Feb 27, 2015
grizzlybear:

would you mind sharing what comp structure is like?

That's a great question. One of the things I really like about MBB is that salaries up to the partner level are totally standardized and openly shared within the firm. True visibility. I can't share anything specific, but if you look at the salaries on managementconsulted.com or the Charles Aris report, those are pretty accurate.

In addition to salary + bonus, which is already pretty generous, we have great benefits which contribute to the total compensation package. Health insurance at my firm is worth $10-15k per year per family member. Retirement contributions are also quite generous.

Overall, really can't complain! (other than the fact that I took a ~$30k per year salary cut to go from reservoir engineering to consulting, haha... but ideally the move will pay off soon)

Feb 27, 2015

Might want to remove a lot of the info you're revealing if you want to remain anonymous

Feb 27, 2015

Few comments:

* Generally my experience with recruiting is more similar to @"devildog2067" than @"NoName" -- not saying either is right or wrong, but that's just my opinion. Source: I'm EM/PL level at MBB, have conducted pre-MBA and post-MBA interviews

* First year, post-MBA comp is well published. From there it goes up ~15% every year until partner level (6-8 years in). It goes up a faster if you're a high performer, and potentially much faster (30%+) if you are an absolute star. First year partners are 600-700K. Senior partners are a couple/few million a year, and at the very high end top out around high single digit millions. Out of undergrad the starting figures are well-published. If you do well, you can be at post-MBA pay within 2 years. If you are slow, it could take 3 (or maybe 4) years. Also some people leave for grad school, etc.

* Interview tips: Try to make friends with the interviewer. In the end, their assessment of you is what matters, and that assessment is definitely subjective based on how much they like you. Don't be a total suck-up, but do make friends.

* Interview tip 2: don't ramble when they ask you to walk you through your resume or "tell me about yourself"

* Some consulting projects don't add value, some do. On average, I think they do add value. Especially places where the company keeps bringing back the same firm/team over and over -- they're doing something right!

Feb 27, 2015

Thanks again for doing this-it's incredibly appreciated by the community.

What are MBA acceptance rates to top 5 B schools from the associate level?

Feb 27, 2015
semitar93:

Thanks again for doing this-it's incredibly appreciated by the community.

What are MBA acceptance rates to top 5 B schools from the associate level?

No problem, buddy!

I actually recently received a deck from my firm about this exact topic. I can't share exact numbers, but I will say that acceptance rates to the top business schools from the BA/A/AC level at my firm are in the range of 60-80%. So pretty damn good.

Feb 27, 2015

First, thanks a lot for this thread! There is too little consulting talk on WSO.

I am currently final year undergrad at a non-target with 1 year experience in tech consulting at Big 4. Ultimately, I would like to work at MBB or other smaller tier 1 consultancy (e.g. Marakon). I tried to get in this year but was unsuccessful. When the recruitment season starts later this year, I will be trying my luck again. Having that in mind what would you suggest:

1) Start a graduate programme at F500 company in analytics/finance/general management role (and which one of these is more relevant/favourable?)
2) Go to a tier 3/4 consultancy (which is better for MBB - unknown strategy firm or tech/operations consulting in Big 4 or similar?)
3) Do a masters in strategic management at a target/semi-target (top 10 in Europe). - I work to pay for studies myself though, so I will have a hard time to do anything meaningful beyond getting decent grades and applying for roles. I also will not have a chance to do a summer internship this year.

Am I aiming too high given my credentials?

Feb 27, 2015
FutureAnalyst992:

First, thanks a lot for this thread! There is too little consulting talk on WSO.

I am currently final year undergrad at a non-target with 1 year experience in tech consulting at Big 4. Ultimately, I would like to work at MBB or other smaller tier 1 consultancy (e.g. Marakon). I tried to get in this year but was unsuccessful. When the recruitment season starts later this year, I will be trying my luck again. Having that in mind what would you suggest:

1) Start a graduate programme at F500 company in analytics/finance/general management role (and which one of these is more relevant/favourable?)

2) Go to a tier 3/4 consultancy (which is better for MBB - unknown strategy firm or tech/operations consulting in Big 4 or similar?)

3) Do a masters in strategic management at a target/semi-target (top 10 in Europe). - I work to pay for studies myself though, so I will have a hard time to do anything meaningful beyond getting decent grades and applying for roles. I also will not have a chance to do a summer internship this year.

Am I aiming too high given my credentials?

Hmm, interesting question. I really don't know the answer, unfortunately, and I don't want to give you bad advice. My guess is that the F500 role will give you the largest boost toward MBB, but I could be totally wrong. I just can't think of anyone in my office (or nearby offices) who did a lateral from an unknown consulting firm, but can think of people who lateraled from F500 companies.

Take that with a grain of salt, I would recommend seeking additional advice from others!

Feb 27, 2015

sorry double post

Feb 27, 2015

Thanks for this AMA! I know your recruiting experience has to deal with undergrad/pre-MBA but do you happen to know how the interview/recruitment goes for Post-MBA? Is there a significant difference?

Feb 27, 2015
bruce-wayne:

Thanks for this AMA! I know your recruiting experience has to deal with undergrad/pre-MBA but do you happen to know how the interview/recruitment goes for Post-MBA? Is there a significant difference?

Sorry man, unfortunately I'm not very familiar with MBA recruiting... don't want to give false information! The only thing I can tell you with certainty is that the cases given for MBA interviews and undergrad interviews are essentially the same. The only difference is that the interviewer is expecting a deeper level of insight from the MBA candidates.

Feb 28, 2015

Thank NoName,

Is age a major consideration when looking at new grads? Do the MBB firms discriminate against older MBA grads? Will they take a slightly worse 27 year old grad over a slightly better 32 year old grad?

Feb 28, 2015
surferdude867:

Thank NoName,

Is age a major consideration when looking at new grads? Do the MBB firms discriminate against older MBA grads? Will they take a slightly worse 27 year old grad over a slightly better 32 year old grad?

Not at all! We are really looking for the smartest, most personable folks out there. If we have a 32 year old applicant who is more qualified and a better fit than a 27 year old, we will absolutely take the 32 year old.

It is a fact that most people at MBB are quite young (I'd say that ~60-70% of my office is under 30), but that doesn't mean we discriminate against older people... it's just the way it normally plays out.

Feb 28, 2015

Thanks for doing this.

For someone looking to make a lateral move from a lower tier firm (almost 1 yr exp), would you recommend networking/keeping eyes open for the rare BA/A/AC position, or waiting until the next season of campus recruiting in Fall '15?

Feb 28, 2015
skipper:

Thanks for doing this.

For someone looking to make a lateral move from a lower tier firm (almost 1 yr exp), would you recommend networking/keeping eyes open for the rare BA/A/AC position, or waiting until the next season of campus recruiting in Fall '15?

If you're doing a lateral (i.e., industry hire), campus recruiting is irrelevant to you. Sure, there's more recruiting activity happening in general during that time, but honestly I would say keep your eyes open for any chance of a BA/A/AC position year-round. Networking is paramount and you can't do that early or often enough!

Feb 28, 2015

In your time in consulting, what exit opps have you seen people pursue?

Feb 28, 2015
Dece:

In your time in consulting, what exit opps have you seen people pursue?

At the BA/A/AC level, I have seen few people leave, but those who left went into analyst roles at PE firms. At the post-MBA level, I've seen far more people leave, and those folks have gone into a larger variety of roles: strategy at F500, directors at F500 (typically at the PL/EM level), starting their own companies, PE, nonprofit, etc.

Mar 1, 2015

Thanks for the reply. What sort of PE firms do those who leave go to? MF/MM/VC? Is it for operational roles or portfolio roles?

Mar 3, 2015
NoName:
Dece:

In your time in consulting, what exit opps have you seen people pursue?

At the BA/A/AC level, I have seen few people leave, but those who left went into analyst roles at PE firms. At the post-MBA level, I've seen far more people leave, and those folks have gone into a larger variety of roles: strategy at F500, directors at F500 (typically at the PL/EM level), starting their own companies, PE, nonprofit, etc.

To clarify, people from MBB (Bain especially) enter PE in an OPERATIONAL role. This is entirely different from the deal side that IB analysts come from. People who work at Bain and do a rotation in PEG (Private Equity Group)/leave for PE do different work from investment bankers/PE associates. They don't have the modeling skill set to do the work that ex IB analysts do. It would be a mistake to think that someone from MBB would have the same job as someone coming from BB/EB IBD. Still interesting work though.

Feb 28, 2015

How would a junior year internship at a Big 4 in federal consulting look when applying to MBB fulltime? Would it work to talk about how a Big 4 does more strategy work with federal clients than with commercial clients?

Feb 28, 2015
IHaveAQuestion:

How would a junior year internship at a Big 4 in federal consulting look when applying to MBB fulltime? Would it work to talk about how a Big 4 does more strategy work with federal clients than with commercial clients?

As long as the work YOU did was meaningful and made an impact, it'll be great for recruiting purposes. Not sure it would make any difference to talk about federal clients vs. commercial clients. Of course, the nature of the work is important, but the majority of the value (from the perspective of MBB recruiting) is in what you did and what you learned.

Mar 1, 2015

From what you've seen, is it better career development-wise to hyperfocus on a particular function/industry or to stick with a generalist approach to selecting your projects? Specifically optimizing around climbing the ladder and exits to the particular industry that you've focused on.

Mar 1, 2015
cubecul:

From what you've seen, is it better career development-wise to hyperfocus on a particular function/industry or to stick with a generalist approach to selecting your projects? Specifically optimizing around climbing the ladder and exits to the particular industry that you've focused on.

I think it depends on your level.

At the pre-MBA level, I think it's actually best to jump around as much as possible. This is totally expected and helps you develop your skills, and most importantly, helps you understand where your interest/passion is. I know a few BA/A/AC's who have only done cases in one practice area, and I think they're doing themselves a disservice because they're not opening their eyes to everything that's available.

At the post-MBA level (starting, not PL/EM), there's nothing particularly wrong with remaining a generalist, but it can help build your "brand" if you specialize in a practice area. It will be easier to be staffed because partners will recognize as you "they guy" (or "the gal") for that type of case, and when promotion time comes, they'll be thinking about you in terms of being a future partner in that practice area. And you'll need to specialize at the PL/EM level anyway, so if you already know what your interest/passion is, it can help to make that known a little earlier.

Mar 1, 2015

Then to some extent, at pre-MBA, it sounds like you're saying that being more generalist seems to be the default because most people don't know what practice area they like. But if you do already know that (truly hypothetically), do you dive in or hold back a bit?

Mar 2, 2015

Where

Mar 2, 2015

Where do you see yourself over the next few/5 years?

Mar 2, 2015
Dece:

Where do you see yourself over the next few/5 years?

Personally, I see myself going to business school after 3 years in the BA/A/AC role and then coming back to see how long I can last at MBB. Honestly, I can see myself staying for the long run -- but with the large disclaimer that I have only been here for six months. However, I've talked with the other members of my first-year class and some of them are already unhappy... so maybe that means I actually do enjoy the work and I would be a good fit to stay on.

I think the takeaway here is that you will need to decide for yourself whether you can see yourself staying at MBB on the partner track, and that will be pretty obvious after spending some time at the firm.

Mar 3, 2015

Fair enough. Why are your fellow BAs unhappy?

Oct 10, 2016

Can you follow-up on this 19 months later? Curious to see if the way you felt 6 months in is the same as now

Mar 3, 2015

I wouldn't necessarily agree with the above. I know many MBB consultants that went into the same roles as people from BBs. Some cases require the same type of modelling that a BB analyst would use. How much in the way of modelling do you think a BB analyst learns in the few months they are on the job before PE recruiting starts, that someone at a MBB can't learn in the same time or over a couple of years?

Mar 3, 2015

@"Dece" - MBB people will take on roles/projects within the portfolio companies. You would be doing similar type work to well...MBB. You aren't going to be the guy sitting there doing the LBO modeling. They're the in-house consultants plus a little extra. The deal guys are the investors.

@"NoName" - That's probably true, as consulting involves a lot of cleaning up of data then performing the analyses. Saying something like "the same model multiple times" is a bit of a generalization. Every transaction is different, there are some very simple ones, while others are extremely complex. Some MBB do make the jump to the deal side, but it is rare. A close college friend of my brother is an MD at BX, and he said they only really hire McK people from the consulting world. In MBB, you gain exposure to the commercial due diligence and operational side of things. There is not much exposure to the accounting, legal, and the financing side of things -- these are all pivotal to the deal side. Some funds are more known for hiring ex-MBB such as Bain Capital, American, Advent..etc. Shops like KKR, TPG, and Carlyle will 99.9% of the time hire bankers. It's not like you wouldn't have a shot, you will just be competing versus people who have spent a fair amount of time in M&A, LevFin, Sponsors, blah blah blah.

Ultimately, being on the deal side and the operations side are both fascinating. Simply different strokes for different folks.

Mar 3, 2015

Fair enough!

Mar 3, 2015
nkhanlegend:

@Dece - MBB people will take on roles/projects within the portfolio companies. You would be doing similar type work to well...MBB. You aren't going to be the guy sitting there doing the LBO modeling. They're the in-house consultants plus a little extra. The deal guys are the investors.

@NoName - That's probably true, as consulting involves a lot of cleaning up of data then performing the analyses. Saying something like "the same model multiple times" is a bit of a generalization. Every transaction is different, there are some very simple ones, while others are extremely complex. Some MBB do make the jump to the deal side, but it is rare. A close college friend of my brother is an MD at BX, and he said they only really hire McK people from the consulting world. In MBB, you gain exposure to the commercial due diligence and operational side of things. There is not much exposure to the accounting, legal, and the financing side of things -- these are all pivotal to the deal side. Some funds are more known for hiring ex-MBB such as Bain Capital, American, Advent..etc. Shops like KKR, TPG, and Carlyle will 99.9% of the time hire bankers. It's not like you wouldn't have a shot, you will just be competing versus people who have spent a fair amount of time in M&A, LevFin, Sponsors, blah blah blah.

Ultimately, being on the deal side and the operations side are both fascinating. Simply different strokes for different folks.

Dude quoting your brother's college buddy doesn't cut it. All but one of the people from my MBB class that are going into PE (probably 10 or so in my office) are going deal-side, generalizations like this aren't helpful to anyone.

Mar 5, 2015

Does undergradad gpa matter if you try to lateral later on?

Mar 5, 2015

Does undergradad gpa matter if you try to lateral later on?

Mar 5, 2015
workaccount1:

Does undergradad gpa matter if you try to lateral later on?

Yes, but mostly at the BA/A/AC level. I tell people that your resume for a lateral move at that level should be good enough to have gotten an interview when you were a senior in college (minus the post-college work experience, obviously).

For a post-MBA lateral hire, you can't have a trashed undergrad GPA, but other factors weigh more.

Mar 5, 2015

MBB go to PE just like an IB kid go to PE, same role. This isn't even debatable.

Mar 6, 2015
ke18sb:

MBB go to PE just like an IB kid go to PE, same role. This isn't even debatable.

100% correct. To expand on this a bit, some PE firms have two 'tracks':

The 'deal-side' track buys and sells portfolio companies

The 'operational' track works closely with portfolio companies to boost their results

Consultants can move into either track at some PE firms. Others hire only bankers for the 'deal side'. However, my sense is that it's not too difficult to go from MBB to PE deal-side: There are many more IBers looking to move into PE than MBB consultants.

Conversely, I actually don't know if bankers could move into the Operational track. My guess is not, so consultants actually have more flexibility in this way.

From what I have seen, most BA-level MBB consultants move into the Deal Side, not Operations.

Mar 6, 2015

Do senior consultants gain enough expertise on companies within their industries that they can identify investment opportunities in that industry?

Mar 7, 2015
easternaffairs:

Do senior consultants gain enough expertise on companies within their industries that they can identify investment opportunities in that industry?

Probably, but we have pretty comprehensive insider trading policy. Basically, we're not allowed to invest in clients or any companies that are related to our clients (major competitors, etc.). In the end, we usually end up investing in index funds / mutual funds because there are so many restrictions on individual stocks.

Mar 6, 2015

Do senior consultants gain enough expertise on companies within their industries that they can identify investment opportunities in that industry?

Mar 6, 2015

Posted this on another thread, but thought might as well give it a shot here.

Bain PEG is regarded as the best PE due diligence out of the MBB. How is McKinsey's practice? (Its called Private Equity Practice - and I believe BAs can be directly placed in it).

Mar 7, 2015
Kenyn:

Posted this on another thread, but thought might as well give it a shot here.

Bain PEG is regarded as the best PE due diligence out of the MBB. How is McKinsey's practice? (Its called Private Equity Practice - and I believe BAs can be directly placed in it).

Sorry, to avoid giving away which firm I work for, can't comment on a particular firm!

Mar 7, 2015
Kenyn:

Posted this on another thread, but thought might as well give it a shot here.

Bain PEG is regarded as the best PE due diligence out of the MBB. How is McKinsey's practice? (Its called Private Equity Practice - and I believe BAs can be directly placed in it).

Although DDs are a significant part of MBB's PE work, I would guess they're the minority of total PE work. Maybe less than a third of total. Part of this is because they're shorter. You'd have to do a bunch of DDs to get the same amount of work as a longer study integrating a new acquisition.

Follow-on studies for portfolio companies, PE firm-wide strategy work (e.g., what portfolio of operating companies, how to structure org of operating companies, etc.), market scans, and other work is also typically part of a PE practice

Mar 9, 2015

Thanks a lot for this. Do you know of why there seems to be a disconnect between the knowledge that BAs can be placed into Private Equity Practice versus just staffed? (Or maybe "Private Equity Analysts" aren't considered BA?

Maybe @"AriZGold" might know more about this? There seems to be posting for Analysts to directly place into the PE Practice, though they don't seem to be called Business Analysts, but PE analysts

(Sorry if I'm slightly hijacking your thread @"NoName", but really appreciate the answers you have on here)

Mar 8, 2015

It's a fact that most consultants from non-targets (think Big 10) are engineering majors. What do you think is the best way to stand out if you are an accounting/finance major at one of these schools?

Mar 8, 2015
Benzilo:

It's a fact that most consultants from non-targets (think Big 10) are engineering majors. What do you think is the best way to stand out if you are an accounting/finance major at one of these schools?

That might be true, but I don't think you need to do anything to make yourself "stand out" from engineering majors. There's a correlation, but not necessarily a causation there. If you have similar qualifications, you have equal chances of getting an interview.

Mar 9, 2015

What I look for personally and have seen from successful non-target applicants to my firm (so, not universal rules): nosebleed GPA, nosebleed SAT I, full academic scholarship, credible summer internships, excellent leadership experiences. Basically, need to demonstrate that you have the academic chops to compete with candidates from top-tier schools (GPA, SAT), the hustle to compete with them for employment (internships), and polish (leadership). Obviously if you are pursuing a comparatively easier course of study (finance/accounting) it will take a higher GPA to impress vs. e.g an engineering major. I know a McK BA who was hire with a 3.5 GPA from a non-USN 50 state school... but majored in Chemical Engineering + 2 unrelated majors + had 5 semesters of relevant work internships (engineering coops) at a F500.

Mar 8, 2015

You seem to have a pretty great gmat score. To what extent does scoring 740 or 750 impress MBB people if you are somehow average in other aspects?

Mar 9, 2015
parks9:

You seem to have a pretty great gmat score. To what extent does scoring 740 or 750 impress MBB people if you are somehow average in other aspects?

Haha, thank you. But I took the GMAT after signing with MBB, so my score actually had nothing to do with recruiting.

In terms of how gmat score is viewed for MBB recruiting, I think a 750+ score can impress, but it won't make up for other aspects of the application if they are severely lacking. I think it's more that a 750+ score can help push you over the edge if you have a competitive application, but won't necessarily save you if you have a weak application otherwise.

Mar 10, 2015

Thanks so much for your AMA thread - just wanted to ask if there is an "ideal" time for a lateral application every year.
By ideal, I mean the best time to apply to minimize the transition period from the current job to the role at MBB.

Thanks again.

Mar 11, 2015
Dr. Strangelove:

Thanks so much for your AMA thread - just wanted to ask if there is an "ideal" time for a lateral application every year.

By ideal, I mean the best time to apply to minimize the transition period from the current job to the role at MBB.

Thanks again.

Good question. We welcome industry candidate resumes all year round, but have only a few start dates throughout the year (for everyone, both university/MBA hires and lateral hires). So, if you're looking to minimize transition period from your current job, I would say that the time of application is irrelevant -- it's more about your start date at MBB. For that, you should contact someone in your region to find out what the typical start dates are. At my firm, the typical US start dates are August, September, January, and sometimes April.

Mar 10, 2015

Double post

Mar 11, 2015
devildog2067:

I have been a school specialist at a couple of different levels. You do contribute quite a lot to the list, as you're the person is expected to best know many of the applicants -- but actually writing the list is something you do not control. Resume screen is out of your hands, for example, and there are undoubtedly people in the recruiting team whose full time job it is to organize recruiting at that school. The idea that they let a first year associate/BA make the interview list for a target school is ludicrous.

NoName:

I'll admit that my role is not called "recruiter" -- it's a school specialist role. But, I do in fact make the interview list for my office for that particular school.

LOL the awkward part of this whole thing is that you two clearly work at the same firm. Why don't you guys "navigate" to each other's profiles and settle it over lync?

As far as the discussion goes - I'd be more inclined to side with devildog. While things might be different between say... Chicago and Houston... the practice of letting a first-year "make the list" sounds highly unusual. Definitely wouldn't slide in most offices, and for good reason I might add. Additionally, I think the emphasis on networking is a little unusual. Seems like vast majority of resumes are picked without any connections at all (this is a bit different for lateral hires). In either case, I'm sure having a high gpa (like a 4.0) or being in the military (the marines are pretty cool) will go a long ways.

Mar 11, 2015
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