Differences between MBB and Tier 2?

Rank: Orangutan | 324

I am considering pursuing management consulting and I was wondering if there is a large difference in the type of work you do working at an MBB vs. a 2nd Tier firm (such as Big 4 accounting firms ).

Do you work for bigger clients at a Big Three? How are the two different in terms of work, clients, travel, etc.?

If you work/are interested in the industry, feel free to add something as I am open to any contributions.

Comments (20)

Jan 31,2018

DawgStreet, sorry about the lack of response. Maybe one of these topics will help:

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  • Accenture Management Consulting to top-tier MBA or M/B/B Accenture Management Consulting to a top-tier MBA program (M7 or something of the sort). I will soon be ... moving from Accenture to McKinsey /Bain/ BCG or one of the I-Banks (BB or otherwise)? Is this even ... management consulting to the strategy group? Is this even a possibility? Thanks! ...
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  • NE M7 to MBB: What I wish I knew, observations, and ask me anything that McKinsey probably gets 20-30% more applications that Bain or BCG. I was surprised how many people ... I will need to keep this anonymous. Business School MBB BCG McKinsey Bain MBA m7 to Saturday, March 5, ... with McKinsey: i. Lots of people didn't get interviews, far more than Bain/ BCG or any of t
  • What are my chances at MBB + Tier 2 firms with no business background? mckinsey bcg at kearney strategy consulting strategic management consultant recruit ... I know MBB hires from my school but not in large numbers. I'm also looking at Big 4, Accenture, ATK, ... spent the last two summers working for multinational big pharma companies. One was mid stage drug ...
  • Consulting Pre-MBA Programs (white male here)? I know of McKinsey, Deloitte, BCG and Bain's chats. If second tier firms offer ... If I'm offered a pre-MBA opportunity at, say, McKinsey, is it a negative to then turn it down? ... internships in consulting. I do understand that they are far from a requirement. But I'm struggling with ...
  • More suggestions...

Or maybe the following pros can chime in... @Marti Kahn @2x2Matrix @justanotherconsultant

You're welcome.

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Best Response
Jan 31,2018

I'd suggest searching for all the prior threads on this and then coming back with more refined questions. There's a lot of data on this site already.

I'll give you the 10 second summary:

T2 in the US is, give or take and in no particular order, Deloitte S&O/Strategy& (PWC)/Parthenon (EY)/LEK/ATK/Oliver Wyman. Accenture is there for tech but not anywhere else yet.

For the pre and post MBA roles, they are very similar to MBB in terms of hours, travel, clients, work, etc.

MBB gets the very best flagship engagements on the market but outside of that compete with T2. They all work for a broad range of clients but t2 is well represented at F100 firms, alongside MBB. It's not uncommon for a F50 client to have multiple teams from different firms onsite at once working on different projects.

Compensation is similar until manager level, where MBB begins to break ahead hard and fast.

Exit ops - again, there are "flagship" ops that might only be available to MBB (megafund PE, etc) but by and large it's similar.

BSchool ops are the same, M7 including HBS/GSB are available for all those firms, but generally MBB will skew a little higher towards M7 as opposed to T15 whereas tier 2's will be more broadly represented.

This info is all already well discussed here though.

Jan 31,2018

You are right. My bad. Thanks for the summary though!

Jan 31,2018

On top of what has been said above, the topic has been discussed at length in this sub-forum. Search around and you might find very valuable information.

Jan 31,2018

Hard to say because not that many consultants have worked for both T2 firms and MBB.

There was a thread on reddit a couple of weeks ago by a guy who worked at both Accenture and MBB. He said the biggest differences were projects, exit opps, grunt work, and people.

He said MBB Engagements simply were much higher quality than ACN engagements, and MBB usually had long lasting relationships with their clients, so it felt more like a true engagement than a contract job. Furthermore, when MBB and ACN had projects from the same client, MBB would work with the more senior management and get the better projects.

He also thought that every week, people at MBB were leaving for some insane exit-opps that he was jealous of, while that was pretty rare at ACN.

Grunt work at MBB is also mostly done offshore - ex. Slide Teams/Research in India. At ACN, consultants usually have to make slides themselves.

Finally, the people at MBB are just usually smarter and work hard. You have to put in 100% every week, while at ACN he felt he could do well with about 70% effort.

ACN is probably not quite T2, but I think alot of the same themes probably exist.


Feb 28,2018

Hard to say because not that many consultants have worked for both T2 firms and MBB.

...really? There are a ton of ex-MBB at t2 firms (that either didn't make their 2 year promote or they hated their firm and couldn't lateral to another MBB). There are also a ton of ex-t2 at MBB who successfully "lateral up".

Jan 31,2018

This is a good one.

Quite well known:

McK = Harvard - worldwide prestige, "there can be only one"
BCG = Yale - same as Harvard + more 'intellectual', just not "the one"
Bain = Princeton, same as HY in the US and more fun, equally prestigious int'lly but smaller footprint

Would add that of the Tier 2:
OW = Penn (doesn't mean much to the kind of ignoramus who confuses Penn and Penn State, but taken seriously by HYP folks), and OW FS = Wharton (taken very, very seriously by anyone in business, especially finance).

Kind of breaks down for the other Tier 2 as only ATK remains as a standalone shop, while the others were acquired by Big 4 accounting firms (which are a whole different breed), so there's some Frankenstein stuff going on in this segment that doesn't happen with colleges.

The truth is you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd.

Jan 31,2018

I think LEK, Roland Berger and perhaps OC&C also deserve a honorable mention in the T2 category

Feb 28,2018

first off, congrats on the offers at MBB.

this is a tough question, and i think in order to provide you with some solid suggestions, we need to have an idea of your background meaning, are you in financial debt, what do you want to eventually do, etc.

ATK is a fine firm that has good exposure to c-level. if you are in debt, it would probably make sense to go back and have it all forgiven, unless you got an offer at MBB...in that case you could probably pay off your debt in 5 years and you would be at a much better firm.

id avoid the corp strat. corp strat is great...only when you are coming in as a VP or something. youll make more money in consulting and then once you get more client exposure and exp with the firm, you could lateral into corp strat at a higher position and make bank. thats probably the way i would do it.

best of luck

Feb 28,2018

Financial debt post MBA shouldnt be counted that much though if youre thinking long term. In the long run, for my career, would it make a big difference returning to my firm vs. going and doing consulting again?

Feb 28,2018

Raise the issue with MBB, if they are willing to accomadate, it's a win. If they say no, just go with the PwC offer.

Feb 28,2018

You'll be OK for FT if you don't apply for an internship with them. Just keep networking and hit all the events the same way that people going for the internship are. I accepted a M/B/B FT offer without applying for their internship this way; my internship deadline was months before their process, so they understood.