Big 4 Ranking | How Do I Know Which Big 4 to Work For?

I recently decided to go into the big 4 audit for a few years, get my MBA, and hopefully transition to consulting. The problem is I don't know which Big 4 firm to work for as far as audit division goes (and probably even overall as a company whole!).

Could anyone give me some feedback on which Big 4 firm would best fit my career goals (Big 4 Audit --> MBA ---> Consulting) and could also give some feedback on which Big 4 is best overall and their company culture?

big four consulting firms comparison

While our users shared comparisons between the firms below - they all stressed the culture of the firm, group, and location are what matter the most as in the end, all Big 4 firm largely carry the same level of prestige. You should spend time networking with and visiting the groups in the locations that you are looking to work for.

passerby7:

Get to know as many people from each Big 4 in the city/office you want to work in. I'm in my 4th year at my Big 4, and seriously, the people you work with make ALL the difference. Try asking Big 4 employees at networking events what they like most about their firm, and most will probably say "the people."

BackOfficeLove:

All Big 4 are the same - PwC/Deloitte being a bit more prestigious. Audit is terrible for getting into consulting. Try advisory if you fail getting into a pure consulting shop.
A company's culture varies office from office. In my location, EY are regarded as the elitists, PwC the sweat shop, Deloitte the frat stars surfer bros, and KPMG is the party firm. Once again this varies from city to city.

bennyandjoon.wso:

Deloitte I would avoid, unless you are just going for the brand name. EY and KPMG are more of the laid back types and have more easy going cultures compared to the others. PwC is good too but they work you to the ground, but like the previous poster said, it depends on the people you meet and the particular city office you will be working in.

With that being said, you really can't go wrong with any of them. I would personally base your decision on the people you meet and the office culture and then make your decision. People from the outside world generally don't give a shit which Big 4 Firm you worked for, since it's all Big 4.

User @Higheck123" shared another perspective:

Higheck123:

I think you are probably better off not trying to base your decision off of general "culture" of the firms. As some people have mentioned it varies greatly from office to office.
First decide what location you are targeting; from there you can figure out which firm will give you the best opportunity to pursue whatever path interests you most. I don't have any knowledge of the big 4 in the south but as far as NY and the greater NE area, I believe Deloitte and PWC generally dominate in terms of reputation and they have a lot of F500 and public company clients.

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Comments (89)

Jun 1, 2013

TBH they're all pretty much the same. If you have offers from multiple companies I would avoid KPMG on a culture-basis but they have better financial services clients.

Jun 1, 2013
Asatar:

TBH they're all pretty much the same. If you have offers from multiple companies I would avoid KPMG on a culture-basis but they have better financial services clients.

pwc has by far the best financial services clients (in NY atleast). i would avoid kpmg as well. stick to pwc or deloitte, they are considered the top 2 of the big4 and you cant go wrong with either.

also, why not try to aim for something other than audit/tax? UT Austin is a solid program and im sure the big4 prob come recruit there for TS/Advisory/Consulting positions. that will make getting into a top MBA waaaay easier. something to think about.

Jun 1, 2013

At first I thought this was a troll post cuz it sounded so stupid, maybe still is... but

All Big 4 are the same - PwC/Deloitte being a bit more prestigious. But at the end of the day, no1 gives a fuck ur still an auditor. Its like comparing a 2.2 inch dick to a 2.21 inch dick. Not gonna impress anyone.

Audit is terrible for getting into consulting. Try advisory if you fail getting into a pure consulting shop.

And dude if you really wanna know which company to join, why dont u go meet the people actually instead of asking advice on an online forum? The Big 4 have like 13941320 network events to lure kids in. A company's culture varies office from office. In my location, EY are regarded as the elitists, PwC the sweat shop, Deloitte the frat stars surfer bros, and KPMG is the party firm. Once again this varies from city to city.

Jun 1, 2013

^ This.

Deloitte I would avoid, unless you are just going for the brand name. EY and KPMG are more of the laid back types and have more easy going cultures compared to the others. PwC is good too but they work you to the ground, but like the previous poster said, it depends on the people you meet and the particular city office you will be working in. With that being said, you really can't go wrong with any of them. In my location, EY is regarded as nice but disorganized, PwC the sweat shop, Deloitte the most stuffiest people you will ever meet, and KPMG as the extroverted party firm. I would personally base your decision on the people you meet and the office culture and then make your decision. I too almost made my decision on who to work for based on what everyone says in these forums, but it was completely opposite of the stereotypes you mentioned once I got to meet the people and tour the firms. People from the outside world generally don't give a shit which Big 4 Firm you worked for, since it's all Big 4.

Jun 2, 2013

I think you are probably better off not trying to base your decision off of general "culture" of the firms. As some people have mentioned it varies greatly from office to office. First decide what location you are targeting; from there you can figure out which firm will give you the best opportunity to pursue whatever path interests you most. I dont have any knowledge of the big 4 in the south but as far as NY and the greater NE area, I believe Deloitte and PWC generally dominate in terms of reputation and they have a lot of F500 and public company clients.

Jun 2, 2013
Higheck123:

I think you are probably better off not trying to base your decision off of general "culture" of the firms. As some people have mentioned it varies greatly from office to office. First decide what location you are targeting; from there you can figure out which firm will give you the best opportunity to pursue whatever path interests you most. I dont have any knowledge of the big 4 in the south but as far as NY and the greater NE area, I believe Deloitte and PWC generally dominate in terms of reputation and they have a lot of F500 and public company clients.

I think you need to reevaluate you career path. If you go to McCombs now try to get into TAS/advisory if you cant get into a boutique consulting firm. Both should be attainable in your current situation. Going into a job like audit with hopes of getting into a top mba(unlikely btw) makes no sense at all

Jun 3, 2013

I am interested in the this topic as well. I had a few questions:

1) Is it difficult to switch from Audit/Tax to Advisory services of the same firm at any of the Big 4?
2) I am hoping to work at either the San Francisco, New York, or Dallas offices of the Big 4. I have read culture is based by cit so can anyone give me insight on how culture at the big 4 firms in these respective cities are??

Jun 3, 2013

Audit is the same shit no matter where you go in terms of big 4. At your level you're not really going to be able to demand a bigger paycheck, so if I were you I would think less about name brand and more about location and culture.

Look let me break it to you, most bankers think of accountants as basically fucking trolls. One step above rating agency analysts and one step below lawyers. Buy side guys have a little more respect because you cover their asses, but dude, nobody is going to cream their pants over the prestige of Deloitte versus pwc or whatever. It's all the same shit.

But look, audit is actually a great job for recent college grads pre-business school. You'll make good money, put in your 9-5 and then go to happy hour with your buddies. Just take whatever job puts you in an office with the coolest seeming co-workers and puts you in the same city as a good crew of your buddies.

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Jun 7, 2013

Get to know as many people from each Big 4 in the city/office you want to work in. I'm in my 4th year at my Big 4, and seriously, the people you work with make ALL the difference. Try asking Big 4 employees at networking events what they like most about their firm, and most will probably say "the people." It's cliche, but it's so true.

Jun 7, 2013

Deloitte's better than the other 3 by a ways, all will get you into a good mba program if you do well on the GMAT and have a good story.

My drinkin' problem left today, she packed up all her bags and walked away.

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Jun 7, 2013

So the other 3 are pretty comparable? Moreover, how much more prestigious is Deloitte? I assume from your comment that MBA placement are comparable as well?

Jun 7, 2013

Ok im working in Big 4 Consulting now and ill give you my opinion (got offers from all four for consulting)

I took PwC over Deloitte because I wanted a little less travel and PwC (with recent acquisitions) is pretty close to Deloitte

EY and KPMG are not even close.

I work in strategy work for PwC for a major F100 company and Deloitte will do the same just try to get strategy over operations and implementation.

PM me for more

Jun 7, 2013

The answer depends a lot on your market region. Where I am located, Deloitte dominates the consulting world, with E&Y coming a distant second. Overall, Deloitte has much better market penetration than the others, which will probably result in better experience for you. However, there are certain regions where the other firms will come pretty close, as the previous poster mentioned.

One warning I would give about the "prestige" and MBA exit ops: be careful about what is being called "consulting". There are a lot of very low value consulting positions at the Big 4. Make sure you are going into Strategy, or at least Operations or Human Capital. Otherwise, you might get stuck as a systems auditor poring over SAP code all day.

Refer to the Big 4 group below for a good post on choosing between the four. The bottom line is that you should choose the firm with the best and largest client base in your region, which will lead to better opportunities, better experience, and better exit ops.

Jun 7, 2013

Is Deloitte the only group with a solid strategy division? How abt PwC, EY and KPMG.

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Jun 7, 2013

It depends on region, and what you call strategy. Almost all firms are playing in the Strategy area now in some form. What McKinsey calls "Supply Chain Strategy" is no different than what all other big players are doing for "Supply Chain Strategy" to some degree.

As noted above, you need you look at what is strategy work and where you draw a line. I tend to think things in Human Capital / People & Change, Operations (Supply Chain, Core Ops, Capital Projects) tend to be a bit more what most people think of as strategy. Although there is some technology strategy, or financial effectiveness approaches too.

That being said, a lot of firms differentiate between being pure strategy and Strategy+Implementation types. Implementation is far less fun...

Within big 4 in my experience hours range between 40-60 hours a week depending on what you're doing (assessments/strategy) vs Implementation. The client expectations, and if you're doing more than one project at a time.

Full disclosure I'm with PwC (and I love the firm), with friends at BCG and Deloitte. Deloitte has the citations, and a more travel focused culture it seems than us. They have better citations as a firm, although the people seem about the same at each level. Keeping in mind I only really know Human Capital and Operations.

For size in my region Deloitte > PwC > KPMG > E&Y.

KPMG and E&Y are much more focused on building their staff skills (experienced hires, poaching), while PwC is more focused now on building industry experience (already have the staff skillset now). Deloitte, being more mature is already at the phase where they have both functional and industry knowledge cross-sections.

That being said, all four have keys where they are the best, or very well known in regions for their work. In my area, KPMG has a really good name for Financial Effectiveness work. I know a couple where PwC is the go-to in this region if you have an issue in that area.

Do your research, think about what YOU want out of a job. Where your personality fits, and if you're there for the long term it really won't matter who you pick as they are all maturing fairly quickly.

If you just want a name for an MBA and resume, then I guess Deloitte is #1....but not sure.

TT

Jun 7, 2013

I would say the pecking order falls as: 1) Deloitte 2) PwC 3) EY 4) KPMG.

Deloitte is very strong and places consultants especially well in business school. PwC has acquired some strong boutique firms (Diamond Technology and PRTM) which are now the face of their advisory practice, EY dominates financial consulting (#1 amongst the big4) and I have some experience with their strategy folks (very talented people but a very small group compared to PwC and Deloitte), and KPMG is nowhere to be found.

Jun 7, 2013

so is the other three firms' advisory same as consulting in the sense of Deloitte consulting? Moreover, why does Deloitte have a separate consulting and advisory arms?

Jun 7, 2013

PwC "Consulting & Deals" (formerly Advisory) is broken into (at least here)
- Management & Technology
- Risk & Controls (Internal Audit / Technology Audit)

Management = Operations (like Deloitte S&O), People & Change (like Deloitte Human Capaital), Financial Effectiveness and some others....technology strategy I think.

Technology = SAP Implementation / Project Management and others....I believe. I'm pretty bad for being silo'd

Deals part is the more finance/valuation, bankrupcies, structuring deals (usually in the $5mm-$80mm range from what I've seen here in a regional office). Although I do know they are managing a major global takeover now from a national office.

TT

Jun 7, 2013

Deloitte's S&O is uber elite. not quite MBB, but it is arguably top 10 best strat consulting group, I'd think. I graduated from a top Ivy and many kids with 3.7+ GPA had to "settle" for Deloitte S&O or AT Kearney type of firms because 1) I-banking recruiting was just pure shit, 2) getting MBB was near impossible.

the rest of Deloitte consulting (including IT and human capital groups), on the other hand, doesn't differ all that much from the rest of big4 consulting arms.

Jun 7, 2013
IvyGrad:

the rest of Deloitte consulting (including IT and human capital groups), on the other hand, doesn't differ all that much from the rest of big4 consulting arms.

worked in S&O this summer, and was told a few times that we work with Tech and HC people on engagements fairly often. S&O usually spends more time with client, but I'm not sure what you said is entirely accurate.

My drinkin' problem left today, she packed up all her bags and walked away.

Jun 7, 2013

So if you take an offer from a Big4 consulting arm for a final year internship, does that ruin your chances of recruiting at MBB?

Jun 7, 2013

So if you take an offer from a Big4 consulting arm for a final year internship, does that ruin your chances of recruiting at MBB?

Jun 7, 2013

Deloitte still tops the list amongst the big 4, but I know PwC has been making aggressive changes to their Consulting group, at least in the U.S. They've adopted a generalist program, due in large to the Diamond acquisition, to allow analysts to gain experiences if all functions before specializing, something I know KPMG and EY does not offer (not sure about Deloitte).

Moreover, PwC's compensation is been increasing the past few years of new-hires, its still currently below what MBB and Deloitte offers, but still impressive considering where they were at a year or two ago, and their new-hire classes have been increasing each year. My expectation is that they will be able to on par with Deloitte, depending on how long you can stick it out

Jun 7, 2013

anyone has any other opinions on the other two firms?

Jun 7, 2013

So do PwC, EY and KPMG have a separate Strategy group like Deloitte does?

Jun 7, 2013

^PwC does have a Strategy practice, which I believe is basically Diamond integrated into PwC Consulting.

I feel like this question is pointless without including what practice/group you are talking about, since the caliber of people can vary widely between different practices within the same firm. For example, while Deloitte Consulting is generally considered to be better than all other (in the US), I can see why someone might take PwC Strategy over Deloitte HC.

Jun 7, 2013

I m looking at EY Financial Services advisory actually since they are recruiting at my school. Anyone has thoughts on this? Do they do strategy as well or only implementation? I was searching on vault and see that they are number 1 in financial consulting.

Jun 7, 2013

yes, EY has a separate strategy group...its their PI Strategic Direction group. I think they only hire MBAs for it.

Jun 7, 2013

so the BAP people won't be able to rotate in it?

Jun 7, 2013
bondtradercu:

so the BAP people won't be able to rotate in it?

nope. FSO (which is where BAP falls under) sticks their people into specific roles and engagement types. while the strategy group may do ECR, EPI, etc type work, they have their own teams of people and do not need outside help.

eventually, you may be able to lateral into there (2-3yrs down the road), but who knows what will happen then. you may need an MBA as well, im pretty sure they are specific with that and only hire mba's into senior consultant roles.

and for the record, its not that they are elite within the firm, they just have so many people wanting to work there that its just not easy for people to get experience with them, they pick and choose who they bring on

Jun 7, 2013

so what groups will the BAP people be exposed to? There are no information on the website regarding this at all.
Thanks alot,

Jun 7, 2013

Hi anyone has other opinions on the consulting/advisory arms of EY and KPMG? what types of work do they do there? is it mostly risk?

Jun 7, 2013

It depends what department you work in. I know E&Y has a lot of different departments (strategic direction, enterprise intelligence, customer, finance, etc.). Some will be more like internal audit or risk. Some are closer to 'consulting'.

Jun 7, 2013

EY is SSO and PI-Finance

Jun 7, 2013

What is SSO?

Jun 7, 2013

One insight that I think is missing here is that comparing Deloitte to the rest of the big 4 consulting firms isn't quite "apples to apples." After Sarbanes Oxley, all of the Big 5 (back when Arthur Andersen was still around) were in the hot seat for separting their consulting practices from their audit work. As such, all of them did except for Deloitte.......EY with Cap Gemini, KPMG with BearingPoint, Arthur Andersen to Accenture, and PwC to IBM Consulting. The audit firms still had consulting arms post-seperation, they were just much smaller and very limited with what they could do. In Deloitte's case, they could still continue with their consulting work, it just was the case that they generally couldn't consult with the same companies they were auditing.

As such, it's comparing a full-service consulting firm (ie: Deloitte) to "stripped down" versions with the other firms. However that being said, PwC has made some strides with the PRTM and Diamond acquisitions that you could roughly compare it to Deloitte now.

Jun 7, 2013

I was looking at the Vault list and all big 4 are in top 10 consulting firms so I thought they were pretty good and comparable to each other

Jun 7, 2013
bondtradercu:

I was looking at the Vault list and all big 4 are in top 10 consulting firms so I thought they were pretty good and comparable to each other

When it comes to consulting firms, there are real consulting firms that provide advice, and "body shops" that basically supply contractors to clients to do things they don't want to hire a FT employee to do.

Jun 7, 2013

Any thoughts specifically on the Finance & Performance Management group (part of Performance Improvement) at EY? Do they do strategy consulting? If not, would it be possible to start there and break into a strategy consulting firm after? Or would a boutique strategy consulting firm be a better option over EY?

Jun 7, 2013

so in terms of MBA placement, big 4 consulting employees get to go to top MBA like HBS...?
Thanks alot

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Jun 7, 2013

anyone has hay input? thanks

Jun 7, 2013

As asinine as that question sounds, I'll state the obvious: you'll find HBS students from any of the big four.

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Jun 7, 2013

LOl, I understand that there is always Big 4 people from there, since the 4 firms are huge anyway. I was asking about the general placement and prestige exit opps from consulting arms of the Big 4.

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Jun 7, 2013

I don't see how the many posts above haven't both directly and indirectly answered your question. You can't ask daft, ambiguous questions like "Big 4? MBA placement?" and expect specific answers that cater exactly to your concerns, especially when others have given incredibly helpful responses already. Case in point, mashed potatoe's post above (which I quote below for your reference). For a pre-MBA like you, it has already been explained above that Deloitte and PwC have actual consulting arms, with the latter being smaller and still growing quickly. EY apparently hires MBAs for their very small strategy consulting group, and KPMG isn't even in the running.

mashed potatoes:

I would say the pecking order falls as: 1) Deloitte 2) PwC 3) EY 4) KPMG.

Deloitte is very strong and places consultants especially well in business school. PwC has acquired some strong boutique firms (Diamond Technology and PRTM) which are now the face of their advisory practice, EY dominates financial consulting (#1 amongst the big4) and I have some experience with their strategy folks (very talented people but a very small group compared to PwC and Deloitte), and KPMG is nowhere to be found.

Jun 7, 2013

I have heard about it happening, but if your goal is MBB (btw, some would consider some of the Big 4 advisory in the 2nd tier) I would think that taking an internship outside of Big 4 would be better. If a MBB see's Big 4 advisory (as opposed to an internship at a smaller boutique they don't know, or an internship outside of consulting) they will likely immediately label you as someone they already passed over. This is probably going to be a largely situational question.

Jun 7, 2013

MBB would probably view Deloitte S&O as a true second tier strategy shop (i.e. comparable to Oliver Wyman, Monitor, LEK, etc.), but none of the others. PwC purchased Diamond, KPMG is building its practice back up, and EY basically doesn't have a strategy practice, so none of those 3 are going to be viewed favorably by MBB.

Also note that "Advisory" means a lot of different things. You want Deloitte "S&O" Advisory, or not at all. All of the B4 are that way - "Advisory" is basically anything that isn't Audit or Tax. So, Forensics, Outsourced IT Audit, IT Risk / Assurance, InfoSec Consulting (pen tests, etc), anything you can think of that isn't Audit or Tax will be lumped into Advisory.

Jun 7, 2013

djfii is right that advisory for most places means anything outside of Audit and Tax, but all of the big 4s do have some sort of a strategy practice that is embedded within sector teams, i.e. O&G, Healthcare, etc. E&Y and KPMG also have a strategy consulting practice that is housed within "Performance Improvement" group or Risk. Also some people would consider performance improvement to be "strategy" and all of the Big 4 offer that service. KPMG, PwC and E&Y are on an acquisition spree right now to rebuild their consulting arms after they cut them loose in the 90s. E&Y acquired Partake Consulting and ISA consulting, KPMG acquired Analytica and EquaTerra, and PwC acquired Diamond. If you do go the big 4 route, make sure you get staffed in a group you like that shows you're interested in strategy work etc.

Jun 7, 2013
papercrusher:

djfii is right that advisory for most places means anything outside of Audit and Tax, but all of the big 4s do have some sort of a strategy practice that is embedded within sector teams, i.e. O&G, Healthcare, etc. E&Y and KPMG also have a strategy consulting practice that is housed within "Performance Improvement" group or Risk. Also some people would consider performance improvement to be "strategy" and all of the Big 4 offer that service. KPMG, PwC and E&Y are on an acquisition spree right now to rebuild their consulting arms after they cut them loose in the 90s. E&Y acquired Partake Consulting and ISA consulting, KPMG acquired Analytica and EquaTerra, and PwC acquired Diamond. If you do go the big 4 route, make sure you get staffed in a group you like that shows you're interested in strategy work etc.

I'm going to suggest that there isn't a valid "but" in the context of his question. He's specifically asking if a B4 advisory gig would hurt his chances at McKinsey, Bain, or BCG. The answer is yes, unless it's Deloitte S&O, and even then it's iffy. Just because the other B4 have what they like to call strategy practices doesn't mean they are competitive landing the same type of projects MBB does. They don't hire the same caliber MBA's, they don't pay anywhere near what MBB does, the don't bill out at anywhere near what MBB does, and therefore, they don't even compete for the same types of projects (generally). You're implying that as long as he demonstrates an interest in strategy work, then any of the B4 would suffice, and that's just flat out bad advice.

Jun 7, 2013

i've seen plenty ppl go Big4 -> boutique -> Tier1/2

then again, this was mostly in Europe

Jun 7, 2013

interesting posts, would you guys say that this kind of poor result would arise if you were at big 4 as a CA in audit and then applied to MBB or is it only for advisory

Jun 7, 2013
adu:

interesting posts, would you guys say that this kind of poor result would arise if you were at big 4 as a CA in audit and then applied to MBB or is it only for advisory

Lol, the result in audit as a CA would literally be 100 times worse. The general sentiment amongst consultants (at least where I am) is that accountants are completely devoid of all creativity.

Jun 7, 2013

so the bottomline is that big4 audit/tax are not as favorable as advisory? and.. manbearpig, is the general sentiment that accountants are devoid of creativity the general sentiment in the MBBs or in every other 1st/2nd tier firm?

Jun 7, 2013
slickthinker:

is the general sentiment that accountants are devoid of creativity the general sentiment in the MBBs or in every other 1st/2nd tier firm?

i'm always amazed that people believe MBB are in any way fundamentally different from the major Tier 2 consultancies - that an analyst's day-to-day activities will look much different, or the projects, or the colleagues...
if MBB look down on accountants, why on earth would Booz or Roland Berger be any different?

Wish this acronym would go away already and make room for a term similar to "bulge bracket" in banking.

(no hate slickthinker, just something that I've noticed across the board.)

Jun 7, 2013

Look. When you're building your resume as a consultant, bear in mind that the word "consultant" means different things to different people. Just as a Fashion Consultant and Recruitment Consultant aren't comparable to someone who works at, say, Oliver Wyman, an implementation consultant won't be considered comparable either.

The problem with Big 4 "Advisory" is that they generally aren't strategy based, or have such a small niche that you are basically in an afterthought department that a partner decided would get some synergy on their revenue streams, but that never has enough experience / attractiveness to develop top talent. You don't learn much.

When you are looking for a place to intern its completely fine to intern outside of MBB, but make sure you are interning at a Strategic Consultancy, so Oliver Wyman, LEK, etc. If you interned at E&Y Advisory or KPMG I wouldn't see the type of work you did to be remotely comparable to the management consulting of MBB. Granted, you build up valuable skills and clearly experience is better than none, but you don't want to tell a recruiter: "I want to be a consultant, here are a bunch of unrelated disciplines titled under consulting that I built experience at." You want to tell a recruiter "I want to be a strategy/management consulting, here are specific strategy/management consulting experiences that I've built up and here is why those experiences make me suited for your firm."

A lot of people do the former, get a bunch of unrelated consulting jobs, and get surprised why, despite their grades, they aren't taken seriously by the strategy firms. I've seen it in reverse to. I've watched friends who built their resumes for MBB type consultancies get dinged by Big 4 Advisories, not because the Big 4's thought they weren't capable candidates, but because they felt these candidates wanted to do a different type of consulting and, therefore, would not enjoy the type of work they'd have to do at the Big 4. (They still got good offers from strategy firms.)

The key is to have focus, because it shows that you not only want to work for their firm, but you understand the various differences within consulting, are keen to them, and have made up your mind intelligently about where you want to end up. You don't want to appear to be searching for a place, any place, within consulting, and preferably something prestigious, you want to look determined for that particular job.

Jun 7, 2013

alright thanks MBP, the reason i asked it if i didn't get MBB or a good 2nd tier , i considered getting a CA as a final option. Not really what i want to do however. So what would you suggest as the best alternative industry to try out for if i want to break into MBB as an experienced hire. Take into thought that im a business undergrad so i wont be going into engineering related thing in all likelihood.

Jun 7, 2013

Big4 Advisory is fine as a backup option. At that point, the MBB / 2nd tier ship has already sailed, and the B4 exit ops are generally pretty solid mid level corporate type gigs. You can do 5+ years of advisory work, and go shopping for a $100k+ manager job at a F500.

You are very unlikely to break into MBB as an experienced hire, unless you founded Google, are a former Senator, led the Neurosurgery practice at Johns Hopkins, or something equally awesome, in which case you probably don't care about MBB anyway. The handful of people they hire that are NOT straight out of the top 5-7 MBA programs are extremely accomplished in whatever they were doing previously.

If you're hell bent on MBB, your next best choice is to do 3-4 years of work at the best name brand place you can land a gig (assuming the job fits into whatever narrative you have in mind for why you'd want to be a consultant), apply and get into a top 7 MBA, and go through MBA recruiting channels for MBB.

Jun 7, 2013

ahh I get your point..noted- thanks 24837..

I see how there's all this talk about how big4 advisory may not (probably a huge understatement seeing the comments above) be the best option toward an MC offer. So my next question is- does this refer to FTs only? Would one's hances be equally bad say in the following scenario:

summer after sophomore year: big 4 advisory intern
summer after JUNIOR year: 2nd tier (or so) MC intern..

how possible is this or would the big 4 intern after the sophomore year stink so bad the following summer one's bound to be dinged at an MC internship?

Jun 7, 2013
slickthinker:

ahh I get your point..noted- thanks 24837..

I see how there's all this talk about how big4 advisory may not (probably a huge understatement seeing the comments above) be the best option toward an MC offer. So my next question is- does this refer to FTs only? Would one's hances be equally bad say in the following scenario:

summer after sophomore year: big 4 advisory intern
summer after JUNIOR year: 2nd tier (or so) MC intern..

how possible is this or would the big 4 intern after the sophomore year stink so bad the following summer one's bound to be dinged at an MC internship?

Are you interested in advisory work at all? If not, you'd be better set doing something you're interested in. You're hardly going to be "dinged" for it, but it's not going to make them eagerly grab your resume out of the pile.

Jun 7, 2013

So for junior internships, since the big 4 is pushing their recruiting up to Fall semester at my school, IF I get an advisory offer, should I accept it (as a backup) and then recruit for consulting in the Spring semester and accept a management consulting offer (while getting blacklisted at the big 4 firm)?

Jun 7, 2013

Yes, I would. Generally, you don't burn bridges. But if you've accepted a B4 offer, and subsequently get an offer from McKinsey, you take McKinsey. Keep in mind that the Big4 will lay you off in a heart beat if there's a huge swing down in the economy again, so you don't owe them any more consideration than they give you. If you get an offer from MBB, accept it and reneg on the B4. Even if you don't get a full time offer from your MC internship, with that experience, you can easily segway back to one of the other 3 of the B4 full time after graduation.

Jun 7, 2013

First off, if that is your real name, change it. It's impossible to say, what do you consult on, what level are you, how are your relationships etc. It's easy if you're a senior level guy in IT to do consulting, particularly if you want to offer superior value to smaller companies, strategy I imagine would be tougher.

Jun 7, 2013

The skills you gained are less important than the branding of the firm at which you worked, especially if you worked in one of their core competencies. Big 4 Audit is good, just as programming with Google is good. The only exception I have heard of is previous consulting experience at a lesser firm (which is generally viewed favorably as consulting internships are hard to come by).

Jun 7, 2013

Thanks for you response. I did learn about various industries, mainly financial services, during my time in Audit, although the depth wasn't the greatest. I just don't want to be branded as being too accounting focused.

Jun 7, 2013

If you've already done an internship with the Big 4 in auditing, you can ask to switch into their advisory practice. assuming you did a good job during your internship and got a fulltime offer, it should help you get an interview in the group. I interned at the Big 4 and jumped from Audit to Transaction Services to Consulting.

Jun 7, 2013

I have had a couple friends switch, but very few make the switch until they have gotten their CPA license. Did you jump from Audit while you were still in school?

Jun 7, 2013

Did you first start out your full time position in TS and then switched to Consulting? I am just curious how you went about asking for the transition? (did you talk to the HR of the group or networked with anyone in the group you wanted to switch to? Also what kind of consulting is your main focus? I will start in Audit but hope to transition to consulting eventually but find it relatively difficult/ impossible since audit and consulting are quite different...Thank you

Jun 7, 2013

I am doing consulting at one of the Big Four firms in financial services so if you have any questions about it I'd be happy to answer them. Just message me.

Jun 7, 2013

I would love to, but I don't have enough banana points to message you. How do you find the hours and work at a Big Four consulting? Do you find it is challenging

Jun 7, 2013

Sounds Like I'm the same situation you are. I'd like to go into finance but the best offer I got was from a big 4 (audit- banking and financial services most likely) I'll also be starting in 2011. If you don't mind me asking, which big 4 are you going to? (you can pm me)

I found this thread since I like ER //www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/does-having-a-cpabi...

There are more if you do some searching.

Jun 7, 2013

I haven't really seen an auditor move directly to a front-office finance role. What I've seen auditors hop to are either internal accounting roles (FP&A, internal audit) at corporations or fund accountant, control, and operations roles in finance. These jobs can pay very well and be pretty interesting at the right kind of fund, but they don't necessarily provide an opportunity to move to front office down the road.

The groups I've seen people have more success moving from are valuation and other transaction-oriented groups (but mostly ones that are actually transaction-oriented like due diligence, not post-transaction accounting integration or other groups that are entirely accounting-related), as well as structured product related groups. If you're passionate about moving to finance I would try to move to one of those groups and work on your CFA.

Jun 7, 2013

If you're looking to get into investment banking/front office finance, I agree with Kenny Powers. You should try to get into the Transaction advisory services/valuation/corporate finance group at your firm, do really well on your performance reviews, perhaps take the CFA and network. It's not a sure thing, but it's done in the past. You'll also probably have a better chance targeting boutiques/MM firms rather than BB firms.

If you're looking for a middle/back office role (Finance, product control, IPV etc) then I've seen quite a few people with audit backgrounds.

Jun 7, 2013

Another great post 808, which firm is best is definitely something me and a few accounting friends have been discussing. Generally we assumed Deloitte was best because it's considered the largest but specifically part 2 of this post is extremely helpful.

Jun 7, 2013

Three main comments:

1) "Consulting" is extremely broad. There are many consulting positions that are much worse than audit for transferring into IB, and there are some that are better (i.e. transaction services or valuation).

2) The answer would vary significantly based on whether you are in the U.S. or international. Moves from audit to IB/ER are much more common internationally than in the U.S.

3) I'm not sure why you are set on Big 4. It would be a much better move to go for a IB/ER boutique. If your grades are good enough to get into Big 4, they're good enough to get into a boutique.

Jun 7, 2013
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Jun 7, 2013