Comments (7)

Aug 24, 2015

I recently transfered to Dubai, have direct experience with two of the consulting firms here and a couple of friends in others as well.

  1. You have the two typical powerhouses and then a couple of others:
  • McK is very strong
  • BCG is strong but not quite as strong as McK
  • Booz used to be the clear market leader but after a frame contract with one of their largest clients got cancelled and after they lost quite a few partners and clients
  • Oliver Wyman is strong especially in Telco and Banking
  • ATK does more operational work from what I have seen
  • The Big 4 don't compete for Strategy work here
  • Bain does not have a large presence here
  • Roland Berger can be seen as a boutique in the Middle East - Operates fairly independent from their other offices
  1. Salaries are slightly higher than in Europe and slightly lower than in the US post-MBA. You do however have 0% income tax, so after taxes you receive significantly more money
  2. There are a couple of smaller firms, mostly focused on the different sectors (for example Delta Partners for Telco) or different countries (there are for example restrictions for the large firms to work in Iran & Irak)
  3. I got in as an experienced hire so I am not sure how the process is if you join directly from university. However, with the exception of the American University of Beirut, everybody here has studied in the US or Europe, so I assume there is a standard process to interview applicants from abroad
Aug 25, 2015


Thank you for the informative reply atleastimnotabanker, I do have several of questions that I would appreciate answers to:
- Being based in Dubai do you still have as much traveling to do as a person based in Europe, the US or Asia? I would imagine you would be mostly in Dubai and potentially a few of the other large cities such as Abu Dhabi and Doha.

  • What language skills are required to work in a Middle-Eastern office? I would guess that only English is required and Arabic would be a big plus.
  • As a future graduate from the Manchester Business School (BSc (Hons) International Management) and very interested in both traveling and management consulting I have long been tempted to give the Middle-East a shot, along with South America it is the only major world region I have never been to.
    I realise you didn't join directly from university but if it's not too much trouble could you ask your friends and colleagues if they know how the process works coming from a British university?

Take care.

Aug 25, 2015

Hi Whyphy,

here are some more answers:
1) Actually being based in Dubai you can expect far more international travel than in Europe or the US. In the large European countries and the US you will have a clear focus on that country. In Dubai you will cover the entire Middle East region + depending on the consulting firm also parts of Africa and Asia. Projects in the UAE are rather rare, most of your engagements will be in the surrounding countries.

2) The only mandatory language is English, Arabic is a plus but not required. It might be different though in other firms, I heard Booz/Strategy& have a very large lebanese consultant base (also have their own office in Beirut) so you might have difficulties fitting in if you don't understand the language.

3) Sure I can ask around. The best shot is obviously going to recruiting events at your school and expressing an interest in the region. We do send consultants to the larger events to represent our office.

Aug 25, 2015

Thank you for the swift reply, that all makes sense. I had assumed that Dubai for example would have a lot of projects but when I think about it it is indeed logical that they would have more international travel.

As for the recruitment, if you do ask could you ask how important academic grades are please?
I would like to apply this autumn for a position to start straight after graduating however at the moment my grades are 2% below what most large MC firms ask for and my next grades won't be until January by which time it will be too late to apply for the Summer intake. So I would like to know your opinion and maybe if you know people in recruiting positions opinion on whether I have a shot despite having slightly lower grades at the moment (58% vs the 60% that they ask for).

Thanks again for the reply, it may be best to direct message me if you reply about the recruitment as I think it is a bit off-topic for this thread.

Aug 26, 2015

So it depends on the consulting firm how the application process is handled. Some have an option to select which office you are interested in in the general application form, for others you can directly contact the specific office's HR department. For my firm, both options are available.

It is however definitely not easier to get an interview here than in your home country. Think about it this way, the company has an increased investment to fly you here for the final interviews and of course there is a higher risk that you will not like it as for most Westerners it is a completely new work and living environment, with no friends or family around to support you in the beginning.
With 58% (That's a 2.2 ?) you will find it extremely difficult to get a job here. If you really want to come to the ME mid- to longterm, it will be probably easier to get a job in the UK first (maybe at one of the Big 4/operational consultancies) and then either transfer within the firm or reapply as an experience hire later on.

Aug 2, 2018

A 58 at a Uk to US GPA conversation is 3.2/4 which is still lower than required for top consulting firms in MENA but still not bad for Big 4 consulting arms (PWC deals Advisory, EY consulting..etc.). Also many boutiques provide competitive compensation with far less competition for positions. My bet is to gain a few years of experience at a multinational in a role with analytical rigor then apply for MC.
Best of Luck

Aug 24, 2015