Better route for top Consulting firms

BirdDog's picture
Rank: Baboon | 172

Couldn't find this question on the forum but maybe it's been answered. Let's say that MBB is the main end goal here, which road would set you up better to break into MBB: Going straight out of UG to a boutique consulting firm or going into a large company from a "lesser" industry so having an audit job at a Big 4 accounting firm or some F100 job entry level finance/accounting/marketing job?

Comments (10)

Jul 11, 2018

Other consulting firm. Boutiques are solid and teach pretty good skills (depends on the firm) and between boutiques and MBB you also have 'elite' boutiques and Tier 2 firms.

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Jul 12, 2018

Every person I have spoken with who has been involved with their firm's recruiting process agrees it looks better to stay in consulting and lateral firms instead of industry => consulting. More transferable skills and the pace/mindset of the workflow is more aligned.

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Jul 12, 2018

Don't necessarily agree about staying in consulting industry then lateraling.

The best way to get into MBB if not from undergrad is MBA period. So your best option would be to join a company that will maximize your chances into an M7 or T10 b-school, and that may or may not be a boutique consultancy.

If you are 100% sure that you don't want to go the MBA route and lateral, then it's really a tossup. Boutique consulting firm may have good transferrable skills, but if MBB is looking for more expertise/skills in a certain area/industry, then they will target experienced hire recruiting from employees in those companies.

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Jul 18, 2018

I personally think this isn't great advice because you still need 3-4 years of work for an MBA and if the experience you get is mediocre or not what you want it'll hurt your post-MBA chances of getting in and those of getting into a good MBA. If people can get to BBs pre-MBA by climbing the ladder via MMs or boutiques then why can't the same apply to consulting? It can. Best thing is start at lower level firms and work your way up.

Most Helpful
Jul 18, 2018

Of course it's possible, but frankly it's probably at least 20x easier to get into MBB through MBA than experienced hire recruiting. My guess is that less than 5% of MBB hires are not from undergrad, MBA, or PHD.

Unlike Investment banks, the majority of experienced hires at MBB have a strong functional/industry expertise (ex. this guy was a rockstar at his healthcare company, and we have been lacking expertise on healthcare engagements recently). In other words, MBB does not necessarily prefer recruiting from other consulting firms if the candidates can't offer a distinctive value-add. Being a good strategy consultant at a boutique consultancy isn't necessarily a distinctive value-add. MBB has tons of great strat consultants who they've invested a lot of training into out of undergrad.

MBB often doesn't like experienced hires because they tend to perform more poorly than out-of-undergrad hires, and are thus higher risk than out-of-undergrad hires. At the end of the day, OP needs to show MBB that he/she has a distinctive value add to MBB and not just "hey I'm at another consulting firm and want to move up to MBB". Otherwise, MBA is the best route.

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Jul 23, 2018

For what it's worth - of the few friends I know who got on with MBB as experienced hires, one had an Ivy PhD and the other two were engineers. Two of those three were brought on as SMEs related to their particular education/experience, the other got laid off after a year or two.

My recommendation is either boutique consulting or position yourself for a MBA after 2-3 years unless you're going to be bringing some very specific talents to the table as an experienced hire.

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Jul 23, 2018

Not even a question. Get into a top MBA program where MBB collectively recruit 80+ kids per year. Look at the employment reports for H/S/W/Booth/Kellogg/Columbia.

If you think you want to do consulting, I'd say try to work for a boutique consulting firm. Its worth getting a sense if you actually like the work before framing the next 4+ years of your life around getting a job you might end up hating (most people leave consulting after 2 years in part because its a grind).

I'd ask yourself "why do I want MBB so bad". If the answer is, "so that I can leave after two years and do XYZ", now is a good time to just pursue that XYZ with MBA to MBB as a plan B.

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Jul 23, 2018
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