Hired by top firm. Want to intern with a rival before start date - good idea?

centerwing95's picture
Rank: Chimp | 11

Hey guys, I'm finishing my undergrad this month and accepted a full-time offer with a top tier consulting firm (let's call it Firm X) starting in September. Since I have 4 months to kill, I applied for part-time jobs/summer internships to make a bit of money. Today I got invited by email for an interview next week and happens to be for X's biggest rival.

I'd like to interview for the role because the brand name and experience (I have no prior consulting experience) will help with getting assigned to good projects when I start at Firm X. Obviously, I will let Firm X know before interviewing with them, to make sure there isn't a conflict of interest (my contract isn't clear on this). How should I approach this? If anyone's ever done this before, let me know how you went about it.

Comments (8)

Best Response
Apr 20, 2018

Congratz on these multiple offers. The good stuff's ahead.

This is a huge conflict of interest and will definitely not be well received by your future employer.... Also, offers in top firms usually have restrictions in terms of working for competitors.

If you are so eager to start, you should push for an earlier start date with your FT employer. No need to start on the wrong foot.

Honestly, just take a vacation before starting ;)

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Apr 23, 2018

This is a stupid move. If you're future employer finds out, massive chance they revoke your offer or fuck you another way. They'll assume that you're either actively shopping to work for their biggest rival, or that you're dumb enough to not realize they would think that and thus have really poor judgment.

Just go work as a bartender on a beach in Thailand for the summer. You'll be the coolest kid in the office when you start.

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Apr 23, 2018

the firms all know you won't have experience, there's a large learning curve and they expect you to go through it

don't potentially ruin goodwill so you can work hard for 4 months just to restart at a new firm

go travel, have fun, do whatever you want this summer- hell if you really want to work you can ask the firm to push up your start date (although I know a lot of big places like to start people as part of a class), but I wouldn't do this internship

if you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you'll be successful

Apr 23, 2018

I had the exact same problem but as the people above said, it's a bad idea!
Apart from possible problems regarding your employment contract (non-compete clause...) there is also the breach of trust with both firms. The firm where you signed will not like you applying and getting cosy with the competition. The firm where you'd do the internship won't appreciate putting a lot of effort in bonding with you if it comes up you already signed somewhere else. Internships after all are still a recruitment tool above anything else. Consulting can be a very small world and rest assured that partners know each other.

Apr 25, 2018

Interesting! Many people I studied with before starting (or worked with at my current firm) interned for two (or even three) MBBs before starting. Some even had offers from one firm before starting at another. I realize this might have been the norm, but it did not seem to hurt them in their career - to the contrary, some really excelled thanks to the additional experience.

I'm not saying you SHOULD do it, but rather to see if others have successfully done something similar.

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Apr 25, 2018

Congrats on the Job Offer. Just relax. You have your whole life to work. Enjoy the time you have now before things get hectic.

May 4, 2018

I don't see that much upside from risking it here...

May 4, 2018