Healthcare Consulting Boutique vs big Pharma for MBA placement

Selwyn's picture
Rank: Baboon | 137

Do you think one has better elite MBA placement opps from a top healthcare consulting boutique (clearview, ZS,IMS) or from a brand-name big pharma company? (J&J, Roche, Pfizer, Novartis, GSK).

Comments (8)

May 10, 2017

Also interested in OP's question

May 11, 2017

Depends a lot what you do at big pharma. Also, the healthcare boutiques you mentioned are far apart from each other in reputation IMO (ZS >>>>>> anything else)

May 13, 2017

No clue, but if your goal is to stay in healthcare, the Wharton HCMG resume book should give you a good example of typical pre-MBA jobs: You can search for previous year resume books.

I'd vote for healthcare consulting. Pharma skills aren't always seen as very transferable and consulting gives you indisputable analytical and soft skills

    • 1
May 14, 2017

Thank you for sharing the resume book. Appreciate it.

May 14, 2017

What would your role be at each firm?
Feel free to PM me. Former healthcare consultant headed to M7 MBA.

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May 14, 2017

Business Analyst in Pharma/Healthcare Consulting (Simon Kutcher, for example)


Medical Affairs functions (field-based MSL, then Strategy Lead, Therapeutic Area Specialist, etc.) and mostly marketing to medico-marketing roles (Brand Manager, Business Unit Director)

What say you?

May 14, 2017

I'm not sure that one role would necessarily be better than the other, but you would want to think about how the role you choose fits into your overall story. If you start off in consulting but indicate in your applications that you want to be in brand management post-mba, the ad com may question why you didn't start off in a marketing role out of undergrad. Along with this, you will want to consider recruiting for post-mba roles in addition to just getting into a b school. The companies you will recruit for will likely prefer candidates with relevant experience. So which role makes sense for you for the career progression that you want?

Another thing you will want to think about is which role gives you the best opportunity to excel and develop and demonstrate leadership qualities. Consulting will likely give you the opportunity to have direct reports earlier in your career, which I found advantageous in the application process because I was able to spin some specific situations into interesting stories. You may find this in a brand management role as well, but I don't have much insight there.

Finally, the prestige of the company does matter for the very top programs. It will be harder, but not impossible, to get into a top program from a lesser name company, since you will be competing with others who share your industry/function.

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May 14, 2017