Generalist Strategy Consulting vs. Biotech ER

misternysguy's picture
Rank: Baboon | 146

Hi Everyone,

I am a Biotech Ph.D. student from a Top 10 school in my field. I am currently trying to decide between applying to biotech ER jobs or accepting a generalist strategy consulting offer (low tier 2 with decent exit ops). In terms of work interest, I am interested in both sectors but leaning slightly towards ER. I was hoping to get some insights in to the pros & cons of each field.

Some things that are important to me in order of priority:

1) Compensation (want to make at least 190K all in after 2-4 years).
2) Ability to work around Washington D.C. area (after 5-8 years).
3) Tied to #2, but Exit Ops.
4) Work life balance (especially after 5-8 years).

Not sure if this should be a factor to consider, but if I decide to take a biotech ER offer, I would have to renege on the consulting offer. I would love to get some feedback on this if you can help me out. Thanks!

Comments (6)

Mar 14, 2016

Can you define 'tier 2' a little better? And what are your aspirations post-consulting?

First thought, I wouldn't take a tier 2 consulting offer. Anything lower than MBB post-PhD has a tendency to pigeonhole you into consulting/corp strategy roles. Depending on the firm though you should be within range of that comp goal at year 1.

ER, on the other hand has more limited exit ops than consulting generally does but would obviously be a better route if you want to get into the finance world.

Mar 14, 2016

By "low Tier 2", I mean that its a firm that is not as widely known as the Big 4 and has much lower pay (significantly lower, ~25%). I would define it as an elite boutique that has very well known clients (i.e. Fortune 100) but its name is not as well known as say, Marakon.

As far as career aspirations, I am very flexible because my interests are everywhere. I would be happy with corporate strategy, biotech ER, or working at a hedge fund/private equity. I do, however, hope that I can work around the Washington D.C. area after a few years.

The current offer I have would have me hitting my 190K goal after a promotion and 2 years of experience. I was wondering how much worse/better ER is compared to this?

Mar 14, 2016

If you want to be in DC long-term, I'd go with the consulting role. Work/life balance will be particularly solid once you jump to a corporate role. How close to defense are you? Can you hold out and re-apply to MBB?

I don't know how comp ratchets up post-PhD in a biotech ER role actually, but I'm pretty sure you'd be in that range after 2-3 years. The problem for you is that ER is typically NYC (maybe SF) and the post-ER jobs (hedge funds) also tend to be NYC (with maybe SF/Boston roles).

Mar 15, 2016

I am planning on graduating around August - November, so I could re-apply to MBB. I got to the final round last year but didnt make the final cut (I dont know how MBB feels about accepting people who have already applied once).

Also, I only have a little more than a week left on accepting the current strategy consulting offer, so I would have to accept right now and then renege later if I get MBB. Not exactly sure how bad that would look. Please let me know if you know anything about this.

Finally, is being in MBB really that important? Is it really that difficult to transition to a corporate role without MBB if you have a PhD?

Mar 15, 2016

Re-applying definitely will not hurt you, but they do keep notes on exactly why they dinged you last time.

Reneging on the boutique offer to go to MBB would probably look bad, you could also just push your start date out at the MBB and work at the other shop for a short period of time.

Yes, if you want to break into the business world with a PhD, MBB definitely makes a difference. If you PM me more details about the current offer/what school you're at I might be able to be more specific. I can share more about my background as well.

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Mar 15, 2016