Hours in MBB/Big 4 Consulting


I made a thread earlier in the week, and gained a lot of great info. Repeating my background a bit for those who didn't read that initial thread:

  • I graduated in May 2015.
  • Since then, I've been traveling and teaching, and have just accepted an offer for Deloitte's BTA Program starting this Feb.
  • Since I was young, I'd wanted to pursue medicine.
  • In Undergrad, I studied Biology, loved it, and was all set to apply to Medical School.
  • I come from a blue collar family, no background in either medicine or consulting.

Should I Pursue a Career in Consulting?

During a BTA presentation, I saw the potential for a career in consulting. My two greatest driving factors are lifestyle and financial stability. I definitely want to have kids, and be there to raise them! However, having gone through financial hardship growing up, it's just become a part of my psyche to always aspire towards being financially secure.

So this brings me to my question. Would consulting offer me a better lifestyle than medicine?

Typical Consulting Hours

Typical consulting hours vary by firm, project, boss and city. A McKinsey consultant may work more hours than someone in a Tier 2 consulting firm, for example. In general, most WSO community members report a fairly positive work/life balance, albeit with lots of travel. Here are a few sample schedules.

From Certified Consulting Professional @devildog2067

I almost never work weekends unless I choose to (i.e., if the end of the week got busy, instead of working till 11pm on Friday I go home at 4pm and do some work on Saturday). That seems pretty consistent with the experience of others I've known. I average right at 60 hours/week with occasional spikes to 80.

From @robobaggio

One thing to specify is whether the above estimates include or exclude travel. I can confirm a 58 to 65 hours per week average at my MBB, but that does not include travel which can add about 10 hours. This matters more to some people (say with small children) than others. It's also worth noting that some cities have incredibly easy airport access (think Boston vs New York) and the difference can really add up over the course of a project.

From Certified Corporate Strategy Professional @pr4mence

Typical work week feels like:

  • Monday: Wake up at 6am to catch 8am flight (floatplane/helicopter) to client. Arrive at office around 9am, work until 7pm.
  • Tues-Wed: 8:30am-7pm, dinner/gym, then answer emails/random stuff until 10pm
  • Thurs: 830am-4:30pm, hope on flight back to home office, get home around 6pm, answer emails etc. until 8pm
  • Fri: 9am-5/6pm, generally super casual
  • Rarely any weekends, maybe 5 hours total (Sat+Sun) if needed

Works out to be 50-60hrs/week. Have had some late nights, but those are usually once or twice a month.

What Are the Exit Opportunities for a Consultant?

In general, exit opportunities for any consulting gig are fairly solid, especially from MBB or any of the Tier 2 firms. The WSO post on Why Consulting? Contains more details on potential exit opps, but here are some common post-consulting roles:

  • Mid-management or executive position in industry of focus
  • Analyst/manager positions at F500 companies
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Graduate studies
  • Lateral move into a boutique firm

Related Reading

Want to learn more about MBB and other consulting firms?

Check out the 2018 Consulting Industry Report for more average hours worked, compensation data, opportunities for professional growth and the most up to date information. Click the link below to get started.

Consulting Industry Report