Exit opportunities: Google vs. McKinsey

So I just graduated from undergrad and accepted an offer to work at Google, in their Dedicated Client Services division (it's like account management with their big advertising clients)... And Google from what I've heard, read, seen and the reactions that I get from people when I tell them I'll be working there, has shown me that Google is an amazing place to work... Culture, perks, etc... But I have recently been presented with an opportunity to work at McKinsey & Co., which is also an amazing place to work. I interviewed with a ton of I-banks and BCG, and Bain during the fall, but ended up with a job at Google... So now that I have to make a decision between the two, the biggest thing for me would be which company has better exit opportunities??? I wanna make the best decision for my future and not just what looks good for now... Any thoughts?

Comments (41)

Jun 7, 2010

If it were me, I wouldn't pass up on Google.

Jun 7, 2010

That's a kind of crappy Google job. You'll get the perks + all, but McKinsey is a better offer.

If you had a Google PM or biz dev offer, it'd be a different story.

Jun 7, 2010

I'll take the other side of this one and say go with McKinsey. The Google job seems pretty specific and you might get pigeonholed in the account management/sales rep side of things. I think the best exit ops at Google come from their Corporate Strategy/Development/Finance groups, which are a lot more like internal consultants.

Going to McKinsey leaves the door wide open for you to do anything you want afterward - they're one of the top consulting firms in the world. You can always go to Google after 2-3 years at McKinsey if you want.

Jun 7, 2010

Where would you want to exit to from Google? Google would be the end game, rather than the starting point no?

If you did want to exit, I can't imagine someone faulting you for working in the department that generates 98% of the revenue for one of the most powerful and influential companies in the world...

Troll?

Best Response
Jun 7, 2010

You go to Google to, above all, work at Google.

You go to McKinsey to, above all, leave McKinsey.

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Jun 7, 2010

Not a troll. From what I understand, the OPs job is doing more customer service than sales -- holding people's hands as they set up AdWords accounts. Sure, there are chances at upwards mobility at Google, but Google hires a ton of folks out of college...

It's the equivalent of a back office job at a bank (at Google, front office is stuff like developers, product managers, and biz dev).

Jun 7, 2010

That said, the "troll" question is begging to be asked.

McKinsey just isn't the sort of crew that tolerates redundant punctuation ("????") and ellipses that represent absence of thought.

Jun 7, 2010

Please, OP comes off as intelligent enough - he/she just isn't using formal style for a message board post.

Jun 7, 2010

I would take the McKinsey offer, no hesitation.

Jun 7, 2010

Is Google really that prestigious that that position trumps a McKinsey analyst program? If people say how is GS Risk Management or Morgan Stanley Operations the response would be "dont take it, go for a even a boutique IB over GS back office." Why is google that special?

Jun 7, 2010

@ricochetX Because they give you free food, obviously.

Jun 7, 2010

If you want to do something tech-related long-term, go to Google. Otherwise, McKinsey.

Jun 7, 2010

this is coming from a former consultant who really did not like consulting at all: absolutely take the mckinsey job if what you care about is exit opps. the issue here is that you're doing client services for google. we can all agree that it's a good job, but it is not the same as working in functions such as engineering, programming, strategy, and project management at google. not saying your current position definitely prevents you from getting anywhere, but at least it puts you in a disadvantage. conversely, mckinsey would put you in a great position for job about any job (at the appropriate seniority). you may have a better time and enjoy your life more at google, but mckinsey is better for exit opportunities.

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Jun 7, 2010

Before you make any decision, you first need to have a much more specific understanding of what your role at Google would be... What will your day-to-day look like? What kind of analysis (if any) will you be doing? What skill set will you build?

The McKinsey offer may very well end up being the better choice for your first job if the Google role really is more of a relationship and customer service type of job. But it's more than that, it would be hard to take a consulting job over Google. Many of the people who go to work at McKinsey do so to set themselves up for exit options like Google, and only a very small percentage of those consultants are able to get in the door of the specific companies they would like to join.

Jun 7, 2010

@ captK...not trying to split hairs, but McKinsey is the preeminent consulting company. it's brand name is unparalleled, no matter what bcg (or even bain, on a particularly sunny day) may contest (parity). especially on the global level. it's brand name beyond consulting is unparalleled too - very few companies of its size (in terms of number of employees) have that kind of reputation.

Jun 8, 2010
islandoffmorocco:

@ captK...not trying to split hairs, but McKinsey is the preeminent consulting company. it's brand name is unparalleled, no matter what bcg (or even bain, on a particularly sunny day) may contest (parity). especially on the global level. it's brand name beyond consulting is unparalleled too - very few companies of its size (in terms of number of employees) have that kind of reputation.

No argument from me, just figured I would try to avoid hijacking the guy's post early on by sparking a McK/Bain/BCG debate. Let's try to keep it that way.

Though the poster above me does being up a good point - we've all assumed the OP is talking about a typical associate consultant role at McK, but he may not be. @ OP - what's the role at McKinsey?

Jun 7, 2010

I'd imagine you can go from the the McK job to the google job but probably not visa versa.

Thus I'd take the one, McK, where the door will shut if you pass it up, vs. the open door at google.

Jun 7, 2010

McKinsey. Easy answer.

Jun 7, 2010

Assuming McKinsey is a consulting role then its no competition. The people that mention front office/ back office distinction are correct.

Indentured is wrong, as most ex-McKinsey would want the corporate development role. Also, I wouldn't over-estimate the desirability of entry level corporate dev roles for people at top consulting firms. The exit opps most care about are in finance or in the executive offices of firms, as there job is already in many cases more than comparable in pay and prestige to anything else.

Jun 7, 2010

Google Google Jobs!...
Guessing this is the role: http://www.google.com/intl/en/jobs/uslocations/san... What They Might Do: http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum81/2180.htm
Choice is obviously McK. I'd compare the role to something like Tech Support for Dell's Corporate Accounts in plain vision. If it wasn't just the name Google, you'd never think about doing it.

Jun 7, 2010
abacab:

Google Google Jobs!...
Guessing this is the role: http://www.google.com/intl/en/jobs/uslocations/san... What They Might Do: http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum81/2180.htm
Choice is obviously McK. I'd compare the role to something like Tech Support for Dell's Corporate Accounts in plain vision. If it wasn't just the name Google, you'd never think about doing it.

After reading that, I change my vote. Go with McK.

Jun 7, 2010

McK anyday. The google job is back-office, as others here have correctly pointed out. it's not worth it.

Jun 8, 2010

How can you guys just say McK without knowing the exact role there?

Jun 8, 2010

You need to pick your job based on what you learn, not based on how 'cool' your employer is. McK is the better option, providing 'the opportunity to work for McKinsey' means business analyst and not research analyst or sth.

Jun 8, 2010

General rule of thumb for my advice: consulting is a role you want to start out in, industry is a role you want to end up in.

Basically, use consulting to build your "toolbox" and contacts, and use the 2-3 years in consultant to "accelerate" where you land in industry, e.g. you can enter industry at a more senior position after 2 years in consulting versus 2 years in industry.

Jun 8, 2010
freeloader:

you can enter industry at a more senior position after 2 years in consulting versus 2 years in industry.

I haven't seen that many cases like the ones you mentioned. Plenty of C-level executives across F500 companies have started within the industry. If you want to end up in industry and have job lined up on some leadership development programme, why do consulting?

Jun 8, 2010
wamartinu:
freeloader:

you can enter industry at a more senior position after 2 years in consulting versus 2 years in industry.

I haven't seen that many cases like the ones you mentioned. Plenty of C-level executives across F500 companies have started within the industry. If you want to end up in industry and have job lined up on some leadership development programme, why do consulting?

Not saying you can't go straight into industry. Just saying if you enter consulting out of MBA/undergrad, you can get hired into a more senior corporate role after 2-4 years in consulting than in the same time period if you went into the corporate role directly.

Jun 9, 2010

Not saying you can't go straight into industry. Just saying if you enter consulting out of MBA/undergrad, you can get hired into a more senior corporate role after 2-4 years in consulting than in the same time period if you went into the corporate role directly

This isn't really true. It may be true if you compare the average person that starts off in consulting to the average person that starts off on the corporate side, but that has a lot to do with the fact that the average consultant is going to be more talented. If you're a motivated and strong enough performer, then you're likely to advance more quickly if you initially choose the corporate role.

The real advantage of consulting is that it allows you to progress at that pace while keeping your options open to a variety of industries and roles. However, if you know what industry you want to be in, and an opportunity is available to you to do meaningful and interesting work, I would always advocate going the corporate route. Of course, not many of us know what industry we want to be in when we're just coming out of school -- and even if we do, there's a pretty good chance we'll change our minds.

Jun 9, 2010
indenturedprimate][quote:

This isn't really true. It may be true if you compare the average person that starts off in consulting to the average person that starts off on the corporate side, but that has a lot to do with the fact that the average consultant is going to be more talented. If you're a motivated and strong enough performer, then you're likely to advance more quickly if you initially choose the corporate role.

The real advantage of consulting is that it allows you to progress at that pace while keeping your options open to a variety of industries and roles. However, if you know what industry you want to be in, and an opportunity is available to you to do meaningful and interesting work, I would always advocate going the corporate route. Of course, not many of us know what industry we want to be in when we're just coming out of school -- and even if we do, there's a pretty good chance we'll change our minds.

I kind of doubt that most people would find accelerated promotions in a corporate environment. My sense is that corporate environments are:
a. too slow and bureaucratic to create accelerated opportunities and promotions
b. has too much of a pyramid structure to enable growth
c. has limited number of advancement roles that open up periodically

Consulting basically enables you to do more "high impact" work for a couple years, and then shop yourself around to any open senior role in industry. In terms of "learning", "experience", and finding available opportunities, consulting is typically going to be superior to direct to industry.

Jun 9, 2010

Consulting basically enables you to do more "high impact" work for a couple years, and then shop yourself around to any open senior role in industry. In terms of "learning", "experience", and finding available opportunities, consulting is typically going to be superior to direct to industry.

A significant share of corporate strategy groups don't hire people straight out of undergrad anyway -- preferring instead to hire people with consulting experience -- so this is kind of a moot point.

However, there's a huge counterpoint to the argument you're making here. As a consultant, you are going to have very limited opportunity to gain experience in the industry that you want to move into. What will happen is that you'll work on projects in different industries, and you'll be lucky if you gain much experience in industries that really interest you. Additionally, only some of those projects will be "strategy" projects. You're very likely to work on projects whose focus is operations, merger integration, cost-cutting (aka, "The Bob's" in Office Space), due diligence, etc. All of the big consulting firms do this type of work (Bain slightly less so than McKinsey and BCG, but they do nonetheless), and many of these cases are long engagements that can eat up a huge chunk of the time you spend in consulting.

If you're able to land a corporate strategy role at a company that doesn't exclusively hire ex-consultants, then you'll gain much, much more experience in that industry doing the type of work that matters to the group.

Jun 10, 2010

What is your long term career plan?
You haven't even started the job and you are already thinking about exit opportunities. Now, I am not saying that you shouldn't plan ahead but c'mon. You didn't say where you would like to exit from either of the two places. Do you not know this or...? Your exit opportunities will be only as good as you prove yourself at either McKinsey or Google. Just because you are coming from either of these two companies won't mean much if you don't have what it takes to land a job with your future employer, whoever it may be. With some work experience behind you, your future employer will need some substance from you-in my opinion, this is something you won't get at MC.
One thing is for sure-you won't get an objective answer here. Bunch of MCs are arguing in favor of McKinsey because they think they are God sent, whilst non MCs are arguing for Google.
These two are completely opposite in their nature of work, creative and social aspect. Maybe you should think about this. Do not only think about where you will exit in few years but think about how to make the best of it during the time while you are actually at the job. MC is non long term career industry-most people there are always looking at the exit opportunities, its in their nature and yet for some reason they feel proud about working in MC. I did it myself so I know what I am talking about. Its in particular not suited for someone of a certain age planning a family or a "normal" social and private life.
Don't believe a word of this nonsense that industry prefers to hire people with consulting experience. This is simply not true and it would be nice if others stopped misguiding people.
Since you have been offered a job at two big names companies, you are probably coming from a an ivy league school, hence, you have access to excellent career services. Why not talk to them and get a more objective view? Above all, define what it is that you want to do long term, after you make your exit from current offers, and then it will be easier to make a choice which offer to accept now.
I wish you best of luck.

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Jun 10, 2010

Don't believe a word of this nonsense that industry prefers to hire people with consulting experience.

What I said was that corporate strategy groups prefer to hire people with consulting backgrounds. This is true, as the type of work that these groups do is very similar to consulting, and most corporate strategy groups aren't set up in a way to properly train fresh undergrads to do this type of work. The same holds true with corporate development groups, which prefer to hire experienced investment bankers.

That said, if the job offer at Google that the OP has is in a function he has a long term interest in (and he's given no indication that it is or is not), then he should take that job. Focusing on the exit options of consulting is silly if you have an immediate opportunity to move into where you want to be long term anyway. Some of the posters here overestimate how easy it is to land some of these corporate jobs -- the positions that consultants covet most are not that plentiful and there is significant competition among consultants for those spots. Despite what posters have said above, you cannot simply "always go to Google after 2-3 years at McKinsey if you want."

Aug 14, 2010

As a former McKinsey partner, I can safely say that you should choose McKinsey. I'm not biased however, and Google is a great company also. I started working at McK as an intern. I then was a analyst consultant for a few years before going onto Wharton and getting my MBA. As I watched many McK consultants leave after a few years to take executive roles in fortune 500 and start their own PE firms, i stayed sit McK for 8 years before making partner. After 4 years as partner, I left to take an executive position at fortune 500 media company, Viacom. After a few years, I retired as a young, very rich, multi millionaire. Then, a few years later, my brother decided to start a PE firm. Hr had been asking me to partner with him for a while. I then decided to partner with him. We started a Private Equity firm that buys small but established media companies, mostly websites, and sold them for profit.

McKinsey offers the best exist opportunities in my opinion. After 2-3 years or more, you can go onto become an executive at a small firm or large fortune 500 company. You can start your own company. Consulting gives you skills that are needed to become executives. We take a look at all these fortune 500 executives and see that they started somewhere. Some were consultants, and others climbed the corporate ladder.

Here's my advice.

If you to gain experience in a specific industry and climb your way up to the top, choose Google.

If you want to gain experienced throughout a broader range of industries and then have the option to choose a wider range of career choices, choose McKinsey.

Don't go into thinking your career at McKinsey will be easy. With their up or out plan, if you are not promoted within a certain time period, you are asked to leave. Also, you travel most of the week. You fly business class and stay at very nice hotels. As you move up positions in McKinsey, your work hours and travel times are lowered, and your salary increases. McKinsey also pays nice salaries to start.

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Aug 14, 2010
Jtommy178:

As a former McKinsey partner, I can safely say that you should choose McKinsey. I'm not biased however, and Google is a great company also. I started working at McK as an intern. I then was a analyst consultant for a few years before going onto Wharton and getting my MBA. As I watched many McK consultants leave after a few years to take executive roles in fortune 500 and start their own PE firms, i stayed sit McK for 8 years before making partner. After 4 years as partner, I left to take an executive position at fortune 500 media company, Viacom. After a few years, I retired as a young, very rich, multi millionaire. Then, a few years later, my brother decided to start a PE firm. Hr had been asking me to partner with him for a while. I then decided to partner with him. We started a Private Equity firm that buys small but established media companies, mostly websites, and sold them for profit.

McKinsey offers the best exist opportunities in my opinion. After 2-3 years or more, you can go onto become an executive at a small firm or large fortune 500 company. You can start your own company. Consulting gives you skills that are needed to become executives. We take a look at all these fortune 500 executives and see that they started somewhere. Some were consultants, and others climbed the corporate ladder.

Here's my advice.

If you to gain experience in a specific industry and climb your way up to the top, choose Google.

If you want to gain experienced throughout a broader range of industries and then have the option to choose a wider range of career choices, choose McKinsey.

Don't go into thinking your career at McKinsey will be easy. With their up or out plan, if you are not promoted within a certain time period, you are asked to leave. Also, you travel most of the week. You fly business class and stay at very nice hotels. As you move up positions in McKinsey, your work hours and travel times are lowered, and your salary increases. McKinsey also pays nice salaries to start.

uh huh

Aug 15, 2010
Jtommy178:

As a former McKinsey partner, I can safely say that you should choose McKinsey. I'm not biased however, and Google is a great company also. I started working at McK as an intern. I then was a analyst consultant for a few years before going onto Wharton and getting my MBA. As I watched many McK consultants leave after a few years to take executive roles in fortune 500 and start their own PE firms, i stayed sit McK for 8 years before making partner. After 4 years as partner, I left to take an executive position at fortune 500 media company, Viacom. After a few years, I retired as a young, very rich, multi millionaire. Then, a few years later, my brother decided to start a PE firm. Hr had been asking me to partner with him for a while. I then decided to partner with him. We started a Private Equity firm that buys small but established media companies, mostly websites, and sold them for profit.

McKinsey offers the best exist opportunities in my opinion. After 2-3 years or more, you can go onto become an executive at a small firm or large fortune 500 company. You can start your own company. Consulting gives you skills that are needed to become executives. We take a look at all these fortune 500 executives and see that they started somewhere. Some were consultants, and others climbed the corporate ladder.

Here's my advice.

If you to gain experience in a specific industry and climb your way up to the top, choose Google.

If you want to gain experienced throughout a broader range of industries and then have the option to choose a wider range of career choices, choose McKinsey.

Don't go into thinking your career at McKinsey will be easy. With their up or out plan, if you are not promoted within a certain time period, you are asked to leave. Also, you travel most of the week. You fly business class and stay at very nice hotels. As you move up positions in McKinsey, your work hours and travel times are lowered, and your salary increases. McKinsey also pays nice salaries to start.

I find it hilarious sometimes how trolls don't realize there's a track function and people can read them contradicting themselves just days earlier.

"Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction. When money ceases to become the means by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of other men. Blood, whips and guns or dollars."

Aug 14, 2010

Not sure if it's been mentioned or not as I refuse to read large bodies of texts because people are too lazy to separate them into paragraphs, but I believe Google is rumored to be starting an Investment Arm in the very near future.

They probably figure "what should we do with all this money? I know!...."

Aug 15, 2010

Give me a break, I'm only in eighth grade.

Sep 3, 2010

UPDATE!

So I took the job at Google and after 2 months, so far it has been pretty amazing! The culture and environment is unlike any other in terms of work-life balance, perks (free food, free gym, crazy discounts on all kind of stuff, RIDICULOUS benefits plan, etc.) and I work with a lot of really intelligent people that I feel I can learn a lot from. My managers and senior team members are all great, intelligent and interesting people and seem to be very open and down to earth, especially in communicating goals, strategy and are very proactive in reaching out to the rest of the team to make sure we are all on the same page. It's so funny because it almost feels like college again and I really feel like I can learn and grow a great deal here.

Although my job role is very sales oriented (selling advertising inventory space and products to clients), from my experience so far it seems to be a lot more than just that. My role really is focused on maintaining relationships with clients that spend a ton of money on advertising with us in addition to using our products to transform how they conduct business and maximize their ROIs and reach... In essence the role is very strategy and solutions oriented. Plus I feel like I have a ton of responsibility as I have been trusted to manage a number of clients that together spend into the tens of millions of dollars each year on advertising with us. I feel like I can develop the same skill set as I would have, had I done consulting (except I'm getting paid less lol). Although I do have an industry focus, I work with a variety of different business models (B2B, B2C, etc) that offer a wide range of products and target a wide range of demographics and that function in an array of very different markets. It's awesome!

I also have decided to focus my post-Google strategy on getting into an amazing grad school (MBA/JD)... I work with a ton of people that are all products of ivy league grad schools so an awesome recommendation letter (or 2 or 3) plus my grades, GMAT + LSAT scores and work performance, I don't think getting into the grad school of my choice will be too difficult... It's so crazy just looking at the stats of people that apply and actually get extended offers to work at Google, it's nearly impossible to get a job here, so I'm confident in my future and what's in store.

So that's pretty much it, other than the fact that I can't wait for a raise and I can't wait to buy a dog so I can bring him with me to work!

Cheers!

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Sep 3, 2010
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Sep 13, 2010
Feb 10, 2014