I'm a 2nd year associate at a Big 4 TAS (Valuation), looking to lateral after I'm promoted to senior. I'm aiming for M7 MBA (Wharton/Columbia/MIT) and read that the adcoms are suckers for big brand companies. However, being based in South East Asia, I don't have many choices.
The best brands I could get are McK, BCG, Deloitte S&O and Strategy& but the consulting recruitment process is a bloodbath with so few analyst positions (and I heard that projects aren't as interesting as they are in developed markets). Realistically, I have much better chance applying to IBD. None of BB IBs have a presence here, so I can only lateral to Big 4 Corporate Finance or boutique IBs.
Of course Big 4 CF are recognizable for adcoms but in my country, their deal flow is quite weak (1-2 deals/year) and deal values are usually less than US100m so it's not impressive. A boutique IB I'm looking at, is consistently in top 20 IBs in the SE Asian region in terms of deal flow, but not many people in my country have heard of this company let alone the adcoms who are based in the US.
So which direction should I be looking at? Or am I just overthinking? I know a guy who worked as an Big 4 auditor who has just been accepted to Columbia, but I don't want to take chances...