Choosing between offers! (London)

Hi all,

Fortunate to be choosing between a few offers specifically for the London office! Background on me: STEM major in Oxbridge.

If my goal is solely to place into a top MBA (H/S is the dream) then to eventually have my own startup (so 2Y consulting + 2Y MBA + 2Y return consulting) how would you rank these firms?
Listed in no particular order:

  • Strategy&
  • Parthenon-EY
  • Oliver Wyman
  • Deloitte S&O

Looking for a varied industry experience (eg. Do people think OW with its heavy FS focus would be limiting?) Compensation is all fairly similar to start but would be interesting if anyone has more detail on how they scale upon MBA return!

Thank you for the help in advance!

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Comments (16)

  • Anonymous Monkey's picture
  • Anonymous Monkey
  • Rank: Chimp
Dec 1, 2019 - 8:05am

From what I have read, you would be better off re-recruiting for an MBB grad role if H/S is your true goal. I am not sure either of those firms give you the brand name you desire, despite having the Oxbridge Stem background.

Dec 1, 2019 - 10:18am

Hi @InvestingScientist" ,

Am curious to clarify what you mean by re-recruiting. I'm an international student, so cannot spend a year purely re-recruiting in the UK. This leaves me with the following options:

1) Do a masters (ideas?) and re-recruit. Not ideal because don't want to waste another year in education paying loads of fees purely for another shot at MBB. Also would far prefer an MBA.

2) Leave the UK, go home for a year and re-recruit for London. Home country is a tiny market for consulting, and MBB offices there aren't great (limited project and client scope). Again another year wasted?

3) Start at one of the roles mentioned above, and re-recruit in my first year? Not sure how many people do this, and what people would think of this etc but am hesitant to go down this route.

Most Helpful
Dec 1, 2019 - 9:45am

Congrats on the offers. Starting with the current plan, I would say that PEY and S& would be the most reputable whilst also being most varied (OW is just as or more reputable, but FS-focused). Brand name won't be an issue as all of these are well known in both the EU and US so could help you land at a top MBA. As for landing an MBA, all of these will give you a decent chance at H/S (check placement on LinkedIn to confirm this) but you could also look into other MBAs such as INSEAD or other M7s. Coupling a couple of years of T2 consulting with a top MBA could give you a real chance at post-MBA MBB recruitment. As for the entrepreneurship side of things, all of these companies and MBBs will give you the basic skills (provided you don't already have them) to know how to run a business, so I wouldn't worry about that.

Questions is, do you have preference for some type of work or industry? OW is FS-heavy, PEY does a fair amount of CDD work. Understand what you want to be doing on a daily basis for the next 2 years, then narrow down the list more to about 2 firms.

Dec 1, 2019 - 10:10am

Thanks for that - really insightful! +1 S

Regarding your points:
1) I'm definitely open to a range of MBAs, but in the US (probably M7+Yale, maybe Haas). Nothing against European MBAs, mainly doing this for the lifestyle experience as I've been in the UK for nearly 6 years now (am an International student from Asia).

2) You mentioned post-MBA recruitment? While I could probably afford the MBA, I'd be planning to have the firm I start at sponsor it, thus having to return there? Do you know if MBBs are willing to cover sponsorship if you land an offer there post MBA?

3) Regarding the type of work, I definitely have an interest in tech - more so as a capability in a range of industries, rather than a pure vertical. Essentially I'm saying that I'd prefer a range of industry exposure (thus leaning to S&/PEY over OW). However, I'm unclear if doing CDD work would be more/less useful for me to achieve my goals - have stories to talk about for an MBA application and gain more insight into starting and growing a business, though it might be useful to further understand the 'investors mindset'. Thoughts?

Dec 1, 2019 - 12:24pm
  1. Fair enough.
  2. Probably not. I want to clarify that at most firms "MBA sponsorship" does not mean they give you a fat stack and add a clause in your contract saying you can't leave for X years. They essentially give you an interest free loan and take it out of your monthly salary until it has been paid off. If you leave to another firm, you could use savings or a new signing bonus to pay off whatever outstanding debt you have with the previous firm. Worth looking more into this when you start the job.
  3. I don't think CDD will be more or less useful for entrepreneurship. It may help you understand the "investor mindset" but the main questions will always be around whether your business is doing well. Even if you start the most unattractive business in the world, as long as you perform you'll be fine. Pick a firm which does a type of job you are interested in. You have entrepreneurship for now but you may end up on a bunch of operational projects and after a few years want to move into a senior strategy role at an F500. I'm not saying to abandon the start-up ambition, just keep an open mind.
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Dec 4, 2019 - 2:58pm

If you would decide on doing a master, would you do it in STEM subject or finance related? I'm in a similar situation and want to pursue a STEM just as a backup option and also cause it's cheaper.

Dec 6, 2019 - 9:28am

In my situation it'd be finance related because I'm graduating with a 4 year integrated masters course in STEM. (3Y bachelors + 1y masters, all at the same uni). This is however less appealing to me than doing an MBA further down the road, hence my hesitation to do so.

My two cents on choosing between a STEM/Business masters is very much to think about what you'd like to do for a career. Ultimately if you want to go into consulting/finance I'd say doing a finance-related masters is definitely more useful, especially if you've already done STEM at undergrad. I'd only do a STEM one if you're considering alternative careers (software engineer, quant roles etc)

Dec 6, 2019 - 9:36am

Yeah definitely, happy to discuss if you PM.

A brief overview is that most interviews consisted of components of fit (classic interview questions, can go into more detail here if you'd like) and the cases.

Essentially the cases were either:
1) unstructured (classic BCG/Bain style case, broad problem statement)
2) structured (lots of information provided, finding relevant data and synthesising is key)

There are a lot of free resources online I'd recommend, notably Victor Cheng's website, but I can't stress enough that practice is key! The more cases you see, the more you get used to thinking about things a certain way/knowing what to look for. On that note, avoid any resources that ask you to memorise and regurgitate complicated frameworks or industry specifics. To oversimplify, it's about how you think rather than what you know.

Find a partner and start practicing early.

Hope that's enough to give you some colour on it! Happy to talk through my experiences in more detail if you'd like

Dec 5, 2019 - 11:41am

You mention you're leaning towards Strategy&. From an MBA application perspective, all of them would place you in a similar position (with Deloitte London maybe marginally below the other three).

MBB would be better indeed, especially if you will apply from a highly competitive pool (Indian/Chinese). Initially, I wanted to recommend you shouldn't do a masters purely for the opportunity to apply again to MBB. But, thinking back to my last year at uni, I think I would've done a master myself if it meant I had another shot at my dream job (I didn't have any money and it would've been hard to get a loan for the masters I wanted). So, you have to decide yourself wether this is too high risk of a strategy to take.

On post MBA comp, it's probably similar. When I finished my MBA, I think Parthenon had highest base, followed by Strategy&, OW and then Deloitte. Pretty much all top firms (including MBB) were GBP78-95k.

If you can get an MBB role in your home market (although you said offices there aren't great), that might put you in a better position for the MBA. Mckinsey for example run global resoucing, and BCG and Bain are regional resourcing, so you can end up with cases all over the world. I know people from MBB and T2 in small markets that got into HSW, while some from the same nationality from London/NY didn't.

Dec 6, 2019 - 9:49am

Hi SReaper ,

Thanks for the insight! You've mentioned a couple of interesting points that I've spent some time considering and would like to hear more of your views on.

1) Applying for an MBA from a 'competitive pool'. So I'm Malaysian (Nationality) and Chinese (ethnically). Not that I can do anything about it, but where do you think this would place me from a business school's POV? Ie am I in the competitive Chinese pool or (perhaps) the less competitive South East Asian pool?

2) I'd agree that maybe MBB might be my 'dream job' right now, but working in London is far more important to me right now (in terms of exposure, working with really bright people and the social aspect of it, given that most of my friends are here). I don't want to talk down on my home country, but there's definitely a gap in caliber of people on average between the two cities, and as a result I'd prefer to work at 'T2' London than MBB small, regional home office.

3) On the note of reapplying, I think it's a personal choice and one that I've recently decided against. When I applied to Oxbridge, I told myself that I wouldn't reapply if I didn't get in because it's not the be-all-end-all, and that there were plenty of very successful people from other universities (arguably even more so actually) Similar situation with MBB. I think I'd consider reapplying further down the road, but given that my goal lies in entrepreneurship that might not happen.

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