A.T. Kearney vs. Deloitte S&O vs. Strategy&

kenripley's picture
Rank: Monkey | 32

Interested in your views for post-MBA opportunities/prestige/exits etc. among these three.

I've read older threads on this topic, have interacted with people in these firms and my take is this:

1. ATK - have an ambitious growth target, could be fun if they don't die doing it. People I met were all consistently very nice -- which seemed to match their taglines of being down to earth etc. I'm not talking to their supply chain/procurement practice. They seem to pay pretty well too.

2. Deloitte S&O - mixed impressions of the people because the firm is just so large. I know that their strategy portion of work is pretty low, more of it is ops focused. Even on the M&A side quite a bit of work was centered around PMI/integration work. I just felt that ATK felt like a lot more pure play in comparison (I could be wrong and I'm happy to be yelled at)

3. Strategy& - carries some of the Booz sheen but is also losing it now part of PwC. Unclear what their work coverage will be once the integration is done and they have to exit clients where they overlap with audit. Some question marks here. And I've also consistently heard negative things about the culture - and I know quite a few ex-Booz people and I never got a good feel for the place.

If things work out, at this moment I'm leaning towards ATK. Not applying to MBB for personal reasons (and no, I haven't applied in the last 1 year either... it's more a lateral hire issue reason)

Thanks!

Comments (39)

Best Response
Mar 31, 2015

From what I've heard, Deloitte S&O is seen as the consistent #4 after MBB currently. They have been quite successful selling their Monitor Deloitte product as a "competitor" to the strategy services that is the core strength of MBB, while leveraging their operations arm and massive capital/resources to compete for longer-term, low-margin work as well. I believe they are definitely the most dangerous to MBB, though they are still a ways away before becoming MBBD...

Caveat, I believe this is only applicable in NA. Not sure about worldwide.

Mar 31, 2015

Not sure you have a great understanding of consulting or what these firms do, so I would advise you to talk to more people and ask more basic questions. Also, would be interesting to get more clarity on your issue with MBB as you should be targeting them as well if you are pursuing consulting. Are you recruiting outside of b school channels? My sense from top b schools is that Deloitte S&O has been viewed (by students) as the next best option after MBB. I think one interesting thing about ATK though is they operate more seamlessly globally, so for the individual consultant that means more quick opportunities to work abroad on projects if you're interested in that.

Operations work is a considerable amount of work done by Deloitte, ATK, and MBB as well. I don't know much about Deloitte and their M&A practice but would say most of these firms and MBB do work related to PMI or understanding opportunity/estimations for integrations. Just be careful in your discussions while recruiting to not come across as ignorant and as someone only interested in "Strategy" as you never know who you'll be speaking with.

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May 19, 2015
fourwes:

Not sure you have a great understanding of consulting or what these firms do, so I would advise you to talk to more people and ask more basic questions.

What questions do you recommend asking? is there a list of questions one should ask during networking events? I know it sounds like a dumb question but I'm positive there are lots of candidates out there without any prior exposure to consulting who are wondering the same thing. So any help will be appreciated.

Mar 31, 2015

Hi fourwes,

Thanks for the comments - perhaps I didn't word my questions / initial thinking well. To answer some of your points

1. I do know quite a bit about consulting - have been a consultant a couple of years - my point about Deloitte S&O was more about saying that the strategy piece is low(ER) and they tend to hire to a lot of functions within S&O that are not Monitor-Deloitte (e.g. BMT, M&A etc.) I know a lot of people in there and have spoken to them.

2. I have nothing against ops, I've done several ops engagements and some were actually far more interesting than some of the strategy work I've done (and some are absolute sh*t). My mention of ATK supply chain was to counter anyone mentioning that they do a lot of procurement work (they do, no doubt, but that's not all they do.)

3. I'm recruiting outside b-school as I'd be a lateral. The reason I'm not doing MBB is mostly because of lateral positioning issues. Two of the 3 were interested in speaking to me but I have absolutely no intention of starting all over, doesn't matter if it's MBB or not. I have no doubt that they are a class apart in some areas, but please humor me and my choices.

I'm interested in hearing all your views of the firms in general - with the knowledge that I am comfortable with ops along with strategy projects. I live in the north west (US) and am hoping to move to east coast, and all these firms have good presence.

To be honest I'm torn b/w Deloitte and ATK. I do find ATK's international options very attractive.

Mar 31, 2015

For me: Strategy& > Deloitte > ATK, but it really depends on industry interest and the office you're interested in. I wouldn't blink if you said these in any order.

Re: the Deloitte discussion above. One of the problems with a huge 200k person firm, is that there are tons of people with Deloitte on their resumes and so the brand power of the name gets diluted. Besides the tax and audit groups, within Deloitte consulting there are the human capital and technology groups which are different than the more elite S&O. By contrast, post-merger Strategy& only has 3k(?) employees and they're largely insulated from the rest of PwC.

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Mar 31, 2015
consultant798:

For me: Strategy& > Deloitte > ATK, but it really depends on industry interest and the office you're interested in. I wouldn't blink if you said these in any order.

Re: the Deloitte discussion above. One of the problems with a huge 200k person firm, is that there are tons of people with Deloitte on their resumes and so the brand power of the name gets diluted. Besides the tax and audit groups, within Deloitte consulting there are the human capital and technology groups which are different than the more elite S&O. By contrast, post-merger Strategy& only has 3k(?) employees and they're largely insulated from the rest of PwC.

Not a big deal, but you contradict yourself; you do realize that Strategy& is part of PwC, and therefore is also part of a 200k organization? This discussion is not about Deloitte as a whole, but Deloitte S&O, which globally can't be more than 10k-20k tops.

Also, if this is about Monitor Deloitte, which most view as equivalent to Strategy&, we are not talking about a large number globally.

I see your point about not blinking even if order were changed. All three are below MBB, but I think MD/Deloitte S&O and Strategy& are the only ones that can threaten MBB, mainly because of their large war chests. ATK just doesn't have enough money, the other two can just buy their clients.

Mar 31, 2015

Deloitte S&O does the same amount of strategy work as MBB nowadays (~30%), although MBB are still more likely to get the pie-in-the-sky strategy cases. ATK is almost all sourcing, supply chain and operations nowadays, and could very well go bankrupt very soon.

Now between Strategy& and Deloitte, from coming in as an experienced hire...I will say at Kellogg, Deloitte won all the cross-offers, but many of the reasons won't be relevant to you (generalist role, better recruiting experience, and tuition reimbursement). That said, I personally believe Deloitte is better situated since they 1) have more experience and marketshare than PwC 2) Monitor people seem MUCH more likely to stay with Deloitte long term, than Booz people to stay at PwC. Word of the street is that there's going to be a mass Strategy& exodus once partner shares are fully vested.

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Mar 31, 2015

double post

Mar 31, 2015

Off topic, but how do y'all feel about OW? They didn't do OCR where I went and I don't hear much about them - but they're generally seen on this tier, correct? I know there's another thread about them going on but it's not focused on US/NA. Merely curious.

Mar 31, 2015

So it appears from the posts here that Deloitte S&O is a better bet. About Strategy& as I mentioned I just haven't heard enough nice things on the cultural side. Those of you who have experienced consulting know how critically important fit is - no matter the reputation, if you're miserable then what's the point?

Surprised to hear about the comment on ATK going bankrupt - I seriously doubt that. Having gotten themselves out of the EDS mess I don't think they'll sell out again, and unless the firm is terribly mismanaged (like Monitor!) big firms don't just go bankrupt that easily. Only future will tell.

OW - I spoke to someone in an office I was interested in. I think they don't do much lateral, and compared to others they seem to do a lot less MBA hiring as well.

Mar 31, 2015
kenripley:

So it appears from the posts here that Deloitte S&O is a better bet. About Strategy& as I mentioned I just haven't heard enough nice things on the cultural side. Those of you who have experienced consulting know how critically important fit is - no matter the reputation, if you're miserable then what's the point?

Surprised to hear about the comment on ATK going bankrupt - I seriously doubt that. Having gotten themselves out of the EDS mess I don't think they'll sell out again, and unless the firm is terribly mismanaged (like Monitor!) big firms don't just go bankrupt that easily. Only future will tell.

OW - I spoke to someone in an office I was interested in. I think they don't do much lateral, and compared to others they seem to do a lot less MBA hiring as well.

This issue with ATK isn't really the management, it's market conditions. Middle-sized firms are getting killed and are having trouble winning proposals (Monitor, Booz, etc got hit by this also). Clients either want firms that have the size/breadth/expertise to do end-to-end execution, in increasing esoteric endeavors (MBB, Deloitte, Strategy&, Accenture are they only ones big enough to do so). Or, they want pure subject matter experts from small boutique firms. All mid-sized firms are getting pinched by both sides, and it's tough to really see their value proposition at this point (Except perhaps LEK - but it can be argued they are truly a PE Due diligence consulting firm). ATK is trying to grow their way out of the problem - thus their whole "double the size of the firm by 2020 plan," but it's more a desperation move than anything, especially since they are increasing their costs without really increasing their success on winning proposals.

Apr 4, 2015

New account to conceal identity.

OP, please take all this shit above with a grain of salt. Especially what Opsdude1 has said above - no idea why he/she is flinging false stuff about the financial health of a firm.

Anyways, as for the decision at hand. You seem to have a good understanding of the work these firms do. And if you really know the industry well, you'll know what while % of revenue may be a little different, all firms do both cool and bullshit work. If it were me in your shoes, I would be selecting between Deloitte and ATK. The reason PwC/Strategy& wouldn't be in the picture, although admittedly - that's the firm I know the least # of people, is that PwC was always a little behind in the game and always more tech focused...not sure if this merger thing will pan out.

I think ATK and Deloitte are more or less on equal footing. ATK is not going bankrupt. I have enough friends there to know they've had two straight years of double-digit growth + beat their yearly targets, putting them ahead of plan for doubling in size. You'll also notice they've been eating up partners from other firms, adding to the growth. Deloitte is a good firm as well, although most friends there as of late have been on more bullshit projects than good projects, they still do decent work + have a good footing. You do loose out a bit on the lack of global/regional P&L but that may not be as important.

All in all, can't go wrong with either. Decide based on city + people.

Apr 4, 2015

@consultant1 - thank you for the response. Yes, I too heard similar positive things about ATK regarding recent performances and how they're tracking against their ambition.

Just two days ago I spoke to a Principal from S& and he sounded not very positive at all both in terms of the future and the culture (and the conversation was the absolute opposite of how the Deloitte S&O and ATK folks pitched their companies) - and at this point I've lost all interest to pursue them. They want to interview me but we're running into lateral positioning issues and it makes no sense why I'd compromise getting into a group that so far has only given me pretty negative vibes.

I will come back to this thread with an update if I go down this path and end up in one (I may not be going to either depending on some industry possibilities)

Keep 'em coming.

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Apr 23, 2015

update: Have offers from both. Haven't seen the papers yet but damn... this is going to be tough. What do I do!!!

Apr 24, 2015

Congratulations! I don't have much ATK knowledge, but I'm one of those MBA types who views the brand of Deloitte as a lot stronger. All else equal (location,pay,etc) I'd probably choose Deloitte. I assume you'd have more luck going to ATK in the future if you want than the other way around.

Answer changes if you believe you can grow faster at ATK since they have aggressive targets and growth goals, or if they say you can work globally as you desire. I know that latter piece is harder at Deloitte.

Apr 24, 2015

Deloitte is winning the cross-offer or rather the general MBA recruiting game right now but the overall "prestige" has not necessarily caught up to reflect this yet. If forced to choose between these two I think there are more interesting opportunities with Deloitte S&O but I'm sure you'll be fine with either, so if you have a strong feeling regarding one of these just go with that.

Apr 25, 2015

Brand wise both offer a similar status. Work to a large degree will also be similar.

I would decide based on city + people. The city is especially more important for Deloitte, as their offices are more tied to the local market. You should also consider what kind of experience you're looking for - ATK is much more of a traditional consulting firm (independent partnership, globally integrated, etc.) and Deloitte is organized more regionally and is tied to multiple business lines. Both models have their pros/cons.

May 11, 2015

What kinds of industries do you see tied to the major cities like New York, Chicago, and San Fran?

Apr 25, 2015

Thank you all for your responses.

@Usernotfound101 - nice succinct comparison!

  • Both offers are in the same city.
  • My process with Deloitte was short and sweet - a final round (3 interviews) and that's it, I had the offer. ATK was a lot longer, and many more interviews. But in both cases the people I met were uniformly nice, spoke well of their firms, and were interested in having me on board. I got a glimpse of a few projects from one of the ATK partners and they were definitely very interesting (only one in five had anything to do with sourcing)

You're all correct - in the end I'm going to have to go with a more nuanced evaluation of what's important to me. I think prestige wise they'd be similar, and operating models have their pro/cons and I'm going to have to make a call based on that.

Whatever it is - I appreciate all your inputs. Once I make a decision (there's another firm at play here but not sure if I'll go that way) I will come back and update and tell you all why I went that way.

May 9, 2015

Deep down you knew what you liked. Just go with it.

May 11, 2015

What I would consider a massive factor is how focused the role is.
For example, join Deloitte S&O in the US and you are a generalist, i.e. risk being sold to shitty projects far away from the strategy board rooms. Join Deloitte S&O in London and you can be recruited specifically to the Monitor Deloitte Strategy practice, and you will only do pure strategy. If I understand correctly, since strategy& is not yet integrated, it is likely to have a work mix resembling that of former Booz, i.e. not pure strategy but a significant share.
I would stay away from generalist roles if you want to do strategy. The risk of spending your first two years doing implementation is too large, and then it will be difficult to transition.

May 11, 2015
MrPI:

What I would consider a massive factor is how focused the role is.
For example, join Deloitte S&O in the US and you are a generalist, i.e. risk being sold to shitty projects far away from the strategy board rooms. Join Deloitte S&O in London and you can be recruited specifically to the Monitor Deloitte Strategy practice, and you will only do pure strategy. If I understand correctly, since strategy& is not yet integrated, it is likely to have a work mix resembling that of former Booz, i.e. not pure strategy but a significant share.
I would stay away from generalist roles if you want to do strategy. The risk of spending your first two years doing implementation is too large, and then it will be difficult to transition.

I'm sorry but this is just pure horse-shit.

Some corrections:

  1. The US practice contains Deloitte S&O's largest Monitor Deloitte presence
  2. Monitor Deloitte is their brand for Corporate Strategy & Business Transformation work. Not just pure strategy.
  3. You do realize that most strategy firms recruit you into generalist roles? This includes MBB. "Generalist", just means you are not tied to a specific industry or service offering. You are a fresh grad. You don't have experience.
  4. If you think doing strategy means you're going to be spending every week rubbing elbows with the CEOs of F50 companies, you are a deluded undergrad. Yes, you may see them. Yes, you may create a document that they "might" use. Yes, with more experience, you may even present to them. But not all strategy is done in a boardroom. Working in strategy does not mean you won't get sent to Bumblefuck, Idaho, because that may be where their operations are run and therefore, you need to visit their manufacturing plants, etc. You are a drone. You get on the plane and go where you are told.
Jun 7, 2015

There is some incorrect information in this tread. Monitor Deloitte is their pure strategy service line. Business Transformation is a separate service line within the S&O umbrella.

As a side note, if you're coming in as an experienced hire, you can apply directly to Monitor Deloitte and join that service line.

Jun 18, 2015

I'd say for me; Strategy&>ATK> Deloitte S&O. I have spent time at both Deloitte S&O (pre-MBA), Booz (now Strategy&) post-MBA. I am currently a 2nd year EM at Strategy&.

My reasons are pretty straightforward:

  • Strategy& (Booz) has the biggest C-suite presence amongst the players in discussion. The amount of strategy work etc. is probably approx. the same at all the firms we are discussing: MBB does a lot of ops work and ops work is not necessarily less strategic. Think abt. redesigning a growth phase tech company's supply chain to meet 4x demand growth - cool projects but coined ops. What differentiates the firms is the consumers of the strategy work and often defines how far the impact on the organization can be (C-suite vs. BU heads vs. VPs), which is where Strategy& marginally trumps ATK or Deloitte.
  • 2nd real measure of value/prestige is fees you can command for comparable services. Strategy& is much closer to Mck, BCG and mirrors Bain. ATK is a pretty close, Deloitte S&O does NOT command that value from their buyers.
  • Culture at Strategy& (Booz) depends on the people you work with as with any of the other firms. I have a close subset of 20-25 odd people I land up working with and that's the culture I know, like with any of the other firms.
  • I acknowledge ATK's ambitious growth targets and they've kinda backed it with poaching top talent. They along with McK have poached a lot of Booz partners and staff during the PwC acquisition. In my opinion though, the ground reality is Booz/ Strategy& has not lost its sheen to the clients we serve. We still operate independently from PwC and PwC relationships have infact helped us win synergistic transformational projects. Its business as usual for most of us contrary to what most people on these forums think.
Jun 18, 2015

@ag2012 Do you see Strategy& operating independently in the long run or is a complete integration with PwC Advisory on the horizon?

Jun 30, 2015

Word on the street is that they will hold off on integration for a few years (2-4 years). They are very much separate right now and recruit separately too. On the recruitment end, it is still more difficult to get into S& versus PwC Advisory.

Jul 31, 2015

complete integration is out of question for at least 4-5 years, and even after, the strategy consulting arm will be branded as Strategy& (similar to Monitor Deloitte). The only difference is Booz portfolio of services is way way wider than Monitor Deloitte can offer.

Sep 3, 2015

I know vault.com rankings have to be taken with a grain of salt, but I think the sinking of Strategy& is somewhat representative, from 4 to 14, is really THAT bad the situation for them?

Dec 1, 2015

Strategy& is relatively independent and is only part of the PwC network, what I've heard is that they are not keen on integrating them further. Otherwise they would run into conflicts with their auditing practice anyway, furthermore mandate fees would decline as well. Guess they will keep the company like OW (held by MMC) - independent but within their network to provide add-on services. Had interviews with them and got to know many consultants after receiving the offer. Furthermore, I have two fellows there that are working in the Munich office since 2 years already.

The culture seems to be good, positive working environment and lots of capable people. The salary is even above market (10-14k more in base salary in Germany) and the MBA option appears to be generous.
Guess with this package they will remain one of the strongest competitors to MBB and outperform most tier2s.

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