Last week at MBB - AMA

MBB-Throwaway's picture
Rank: Baboon | 123

Hi WSO,

I'm a 3rd year at MBB & am coming up on my last week at the firm. Want to give back to the community since it provided helpful guidance for me as a student.

Some background on me:
- Hired out of: Undergrad
- Undergrad institution: Public school (top 50)
- Undergrad area of study: Business
- Leaving for: Industry Corporate Strategy

Fire away!

Comments (89)

Jul 24, 2019

How many people exit MBB for entrepreneurship?

Most Helpful
Jul 24, 2019

Entrepreneurship as in truly starting their own company, or being employee #2-10 of a startup?

At the analyst level, true entrepreneurship isn't one of the more common exits (maybe one out of every 20 people from my office?), but I think that's more because few people actually have a project they're truly passionate about & not because they don't have the skills / capabilities to start their own company.

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Jul 24, 2019

Ya I meant pretty much anything in the startup field. Thanks for the response!

Jul 25, 2019

EDIT: question answered below already.

Funniest
Jul 24, 2019

How tall are you?

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Jul 24, 2019

5' 11'', 220lbs

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Jul 24, 2019

How old was the oldest associate you worked with?

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Jul 24, 2019

Associate referring to a specific level / role or general colleague? Some firms use "Associate" to define a specific level.

I believe all analysts in my class came out of undergrad, so they're all 24-25 now.

Oldest post-MBA I've worked with is probably ~32-33, but that's because they went to get their MBA later than most.

Jul 24, 2019

Thank you for doing this!

I have an MSF from top 200 (could probably call it non-target), GPA 3.5, not impressive GMAT, 3 yrs at a boutique risk management consulting firm post grad school. What do you think are my chances of getting into MBB? If there is a chance at all, could you give me advice on what are the best things I can do to break in? I have been trying to network but alumni from my school don't work for MBB so it has been tough. Thanks so much again!

Jul 24, 2019

This is kind of a unique experience, so I'm probably not the best to answer.

You'll probably have to take a step back in title in order to break in to MBB. That said, your best odds are through networking, otherwise, you'll need a demonstrated skill in a key capability / practice are that MBBs are investing in.

Have you considered pursuing a specialist consultant track? Might be a better fit for you as an experienced hire.

Jul 24, 2019

I see that MBB is investing in advanced analytics practice and actually planning to do a degree in business analytics (already done a few courses two years ago, and have a couple more left to have a master degree, but from non-target). Would you think this is a good idea for a specialist consultant track? If possible, can you also offer thoughts on pros and cons of this track, compared to the traditional strategy track? Thank you!!

Jul 24, 2019

Do you feel like your career progression will slow once you lateral into corporate?

Jul 24, 2019

I'm going to a role that typically requires MBA + ~2 additional years of work experience, so this new role is considered a significant step up from where I am now. I think there's a pretty clear path to making a jump to Director level within the next 3-4 years, so being a Director at late 20s is not bad progression at all.

The path to VP-level roles is always a black box, so I'm not sure how progression may look after that point. My go-forward plan is to do the next 3-4 years, hopefully make Director & then reassess what next steps look like.

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Jul 25, 2019

Fortune 500?

Did you get the industry that you wanted?

Are you interested in staying with the firm for the long haul?

Any interest in an MBA?

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Jul 24, 2019

.

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Jul 24, 2019

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Jul 24, 2019

Thanks for doing this. How common would you say the transition is for someone coming from 2-3 years MM PE (after 1 year of MM IB) at your level? Is that even possible or would you be competing with post-MBA applicants?

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Jul 24, 2019

I think our official policy is that if you have <5 years of experience you can apply for the entry role. That being said, you'd be far overqualified with 4 years of IB / PE & I'd honestly consider that a pretty big step back for you.

Best option is to get an MBA & recruit out of school, but we do sometimes hire outside of MBA route in special circumstances.

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Jul 25, 2019

Fully agreed with MBB-Throwaway. You could try to play the PE card to join Bain's PE practice (if they are actively recruiting) or the other M/B's PE effort to catch up with Bain, but you would need to show clear value to justify a post MBA role. Otherwise, you might get 1-2 years tenure, but I would not bet on it.

Decent MBA (M7 should be within reach, assuming your stats are decent) + summer/ FT recruiting should be feasible.

Jul 24, 2019

Since the rest of the questions have all been about recruitment/chances, I figured I'd throw a different one out there. It's always nice to have more responses about ones time at MBB, and I'm especially interested as I'm leaning towards pursuit of MC.

  1. Do you have a favorite project you were staffed on? Are there any details you can go into on what made it so enjoyable or interesting?
  2. Did you get to visit any interesting places while working, maybe a city you never would have considered otherwise or somewhere very remote?
  3. Where was your geographical focus in? Were you based in NYC or somewhere else? Did you recruit locally from your school or did you go to another office further away?
  4. When you joined your firm originally, were you expecting to exit after 2-3 years, did you intend to stay long term, or were you undecided? Was there any event(s) during your time that drove you to this decision?

Anyways, thanks for doing this, it really is nice to be able to hear from those working.

Jul 24, 2019
  1. I did a project on the sports betting industry. Was a super cool piece of work we did & was probably one of the most interesting industries you could ever do.
  2. No interesting places, as I prioritized being local throughout my 3 years.
  3. Major US city, not NYC. Don't want to disclose exactly where I'm located. I recruited locally to the city that my undergrad naturally fed into.
  4. Always planned to exit after 2-3 years. I initially thought I wanted to do PE, but ultimately decided it didn't align with my personal goals, so looked for opportunities elsewhere. I think the first 1-2 years of consulting can be great at both the pre & post-MBA level, but I don't see as much value sticking through all 4-5 years unless you want to be a consulting lifer, which I have no interest in doing.
Jul 24, 2019
  • What was a typical day in the life?
  • What kind of hours did you work?
  • What was the culture like?
  • What types of roles were post-MBA consultants exiting to?
Jul 24, 2019

Typical day is (I'm primarily local, FYI)
- 6AM Wake up
- 7AM leave for office
- 8:30 arrive at office
- 11AM check in with supervisor to review analysis / plan for day
- 3PM check in with entire team to discuss how answer has changed over 24-48 hours
- 7-8PM leave office
- 8-9PM arrive home, have dinner with S/O / wrap up work
- 11PM go to bed

Analysis & client meetings happens in between events I've listed

Typical hours is anywhere between 60-70. 55 hours & protected weekends are the gold standard at my office. If you're doing that, you have nothing to complain about.

Culture is great, lots of smart, interesting people that genuinely care about you and your career.

Post-MBAs leave for similar roles as Pre-MBAs, just at a higher level (Sr. Manager, Director, etc.). Investment roles in PE don't really ever occur at this level though.

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Jul 25, 2019

Awesome thanks!

Jul 25, 2019

Follow-up:

How many years of experience at MBB would translate to various levels in industry? I once saw a 5-6 year post-MBA principal leave for a solid VP role in industry...is that typical?

Jul 25, 2019

1.5 hr commute to office?! Holy shit man do you live in India? What do you do during your commute?

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Jul 24, 2019

Hello @MBB-Throwaway thank you so much for doing this!

I am a student studying at one of the branch campuses of NYU and I was wondering if you could chance me on whether or not I can get into at least the interview round.

Stats:

NYU campus outside of US (its a new branch, and does not have a lot of exposure)

Poli sci major, CS and business minors

GPA 3.7-3.8

Doing an internship at Big 4 in Consulting, another in FMCG operations, and one with Special Olympics

ECs include attending UN conference on behalf of a country, winning a policy competition, and making only regional finalist in an international impact entrepreneurship competition

I applied to Bain and BCG last year and was rejected before even given a test, so I just want to know if I have any chance at all in getting past the screening round without networking.

Thank you again for doing this!

Jul 25, 2019

I would network. You're not getting rejected because you have sub-par stats. You're getting rejected because your stats are in line with the students that actually make a connection in some way.

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Jul 26, 2019

Thank you! Will do, and hope all goes well for you going forward!

Jul 30, 2019

NYU Abu Dhabi has strong regional consulting recruiting.

Jul 24, 2019

Dear,

Thanks for your time! I am a freshman at UW-Milwaukee, pondering over my career path between IB or MC.

-Why/How did you choose to go for MC? ex) your first internship at MBB?

-What do you like/dislike about MC? Anything particularly because of working at MBB?

-What would you say to a rising sophomore who is planning to transfer to a target, with an internship experience at search fund start-up as an RA, and healthcare business as a financial analyst (business strategy, KPI)? Applying for Columbia GS, Cornell econ, NYU econ, Ross, and UW-Madison.

I appreciate your time.

Jul 25, 2019

I went back and forth between pursuing IB and Consulting. Consulting will open up a more broad set of skills for you than IB does. Unless you're dead set on PE or HF and you can get into a killer IB group, I think MBB will almost always be the better preparatory program for people in entry level roles. (Obviously biased here though)

Aug 15, 2019

Just wanted to say good luck on your transfer to aforementioned schools, including GS :).

Get Jiggy With It

Jul 24, 2019

Given the transient nature of teams in consulting - doing most of your projects with people from different offices and then maybe never seeing them again - how do you keep connections warm and find people who are willing to help you grow?

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Jul 25, 2019

Going off context clues from OP's posts, he's at Bain, which has a home staffing model. This means that unless a person is on a transfer to another office (or vice versa), teams are staffed with consultants from one office system. On top of that, many Bain teams have moderate travel and often work from the home office. Combination of these things means consultants are in the office fairly often and can keep their connections warm.

Gimme the loot

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Jul 25, 2019

This is a good answer

Jul 25, 2019

What made you switch you exit strategy from PE to corporate strategy? And what sort of pay do consultants from MBB and T2 Strat firms usually end up on if they take corp strategy roles and what could it potentially progress to? Is it a huge pay cut compared to the consulting track?

Jul 25, 2019

A number of personal reasons for not pursuing PE. Still think it's super cool work (especially in MM / LMM space), but just decided it wouldn't align to exactly what I want my life to be.

Pay coming in to industry should always be some type of raise (but could be more heavily aligned to equity if you're at a start up). Common salary for a F500 Manager corporate role would probably look like:
Base: 115-140k
Bonus: 10-20%
Stock: ~10k

Progression varies company by company, but I'm expecting a pretty clear line for continued growth going forward, at least for next 3-4 years.

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Jul 25, 2019

Hi, I am at a Top 25 B-School in India (joined from undergrad as a fresher) and am looking towards a career in Investment Banking. One of the options I think might be viable is that after getting 2-3 years of post-MBA work ex in a financial services company, could transition to MBB, do a second MBA from an elite tier B-School in the US and then move to BB Investment Banking. Could you please tell how feasible this is ?

And best wishes for your future career !!

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Jul 25, 2019

I had a longer response, but takeaway is that this seems like a bad idea.

Too many "what if's" / things have to work out perfectly for you. Why even bother with MBB instead of just doing the 2nd MBA (which, by the way, the schools you're applying to are going to ask "why is this person applying to do an MBA again"?)

Jul 25, 2019

How common is it to go from MBB directly to PE? I know Bain has a PEG group so that might make it easier, but is it possible to immediately go to PE or do you need to go the MBA route?

Jul 25, 2019

I would say it's much more common to do MBB -> PE than MBB -> MBA -> PE.

Basically everyone I've seen that's actually interested in PE get some Associate role offered to them, it just probably won't be for KKR or some of the other Mega Funds that are predominantly banking focused.

Jul 25, 2019

I am a high schooler looking to get into Consulting, IB, anywhere in finance really. How difficult was it for you to get into MBB from undergrad from a public school? UC Berkeley, UCLA, UVA, UNC, UMich, Indiana (maybe)--> those all would have pretty good placement, but if you went to a more non-target school like UFlorida (top choice safety for me), UIUC, UGeorgia. Did alot of your friends try but not get it? Were you a very competitive applicant and get probably the 3-5 positions (idk how many they take) they offer to that school?

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Jul 25, 2019

UIUC is a feeder into Chicago-based offices. I'd look at LinkedIn to see how many people from the schools you're looking at get in to MBB.

There's many more than 5-6 positions open each year. There can be up to 40-50 entry level roles in the biggest offices.

Jul 25, 2019

Which industries did you primarily work across? What were some of the most interesting projects? Are people exiting for b-school or going over to corp dev/strategy route?

Jul 25, 2019

I wrote a little bit above on the most interesting project I did, but I've been primarily in healthcare throughout my time.

Approximate split of exits looks like:
B-School sponsorship: ~40-50% (returning to Consulting)
PE: 10-20%
Start ups: 15-25%
Corporate: 10-30%

Jul 26, 2019

Hi, I'm a fresh graduate who just started my career in a big 4 risk consulting practice. My passion has always been in strategy consulting and was wondering how I might take measurable steps to get break into MBB. My risk consulting practice relates to: data governance, enterprise risk management and compliance related work for financial services. How would you advise I work my way up to strategy consulting? Would appreciate your comments!

Jul 26, 2019

Are 35 year old post-MBA consultants unheard of in MBB?

Progress is impossible without change...

Jul 30, 2019

Not unheard of - less common yes, but we aren't going to reject someone because they went to get their MBA slightly later than most others.

Jul 27, 2019

currently college rising senior interning in s&t, hoping to move to MBB for full-time post grad from top public college, business degree. how commonly did you see people coming from non-IB finance backgrounds to mbb?

Jul 28, 2019

Equity research and S&T are the most common non-IB routes from my experience

Jul 30, 2019

Honestly, most common entry is through undergrad / MBA program. I'm not saying it can't be done, but if there are 50 people in a given class, probably 45-48 of them came from one of those two routes.

Jul 27, 2019

Great AMA. Thanks. You mentioned you had decent hours. You never had a nightmare project where you would pull 90h weeks? If you did - whose fault was it? The manager? The client? the scope?

Jul 30, 2019

Definitely had 'nightmare' hours at times (e.g., 3 consecutive 20 hour days, working past midnight M-F + Sat/Sun work, etc.), but these tend to occur very rarely & hardly ever extend past 1-2 weeks in my experience.

Most of the time, it was scoping issues where we push very hard for the first 3-4 weeks to develop our answer & then refine at a more sustainable pace throughout the rest of the case. This provides the client with confidence that we are going to deliver on what was promised because we exceed their expectations up front in order to build their confidence.

Have also had managers that drove unnecessary work, but that is definitely the exception & not the norm. People that do this tend to be counseled out rather quickly into their manager tenure.

Jul 29, 2019

Thank you for opening up this discussion - really appreciate it.

I am currently a sophomore attending a top-30 target-university and am leaning heavily
towards consulting but do have a few complications. Unfortunately, I am only limited to
applying to offices in Mid-west location(university region-specific) due to location of my university, but am really interested in working in bigger cities such as NY, SF, LA or Chicago. Have you seen 1st or 2nd year analysts coming from tier-2 or lower to bigger cities such as where you are working at? Or moving into bigger offices somehow before first year of work at where they originally applied?

Jul 29, 2019

Play it safe: 1) apply to an office where your university has decent placement, 2) work your ass of, 3) transfer after a year

Jul 30, 2019

But do you see analysts transferring to bigger city firms and higher tiers after their first year?

Jul 29, 2019

Thanks for posting OP - warning: long post (sorry!).

Like many people it seems like (possibly including yourself even), I currently find myself struggling between choosing to pursue a career in IB or consulting. As a background on myself, I am a rising junior at a top 30 public school that feeds strongly into both fields; however, much of my recruiting/interest pursuing a career thus far has centered around finance and investment banking primarily because deadlines are somewhat advance as compared to in consulting. Also, from what I hear it seems as though MBB internships are few and far between, with not too strong of a pipeline from internship --> FT offer either. I've been fortunate enough to receive a few offers in/related to IB, but even so am still unsure because 1) the offers were extended very early on and 2) there's this lingering feeling in the back of my mind that I'm selling myself away to the idea of a career path that would ultimately make me less happy than I should be.

As someone who hopes to categorize himself as fairly outgoing, with a strong emphasis on maintaining family relationships and friendships, investment banking is becoming increasingly less attractive to me as I learn more about the industry due to the pure hours/week and generally unprotected weekends I hear about while networking with individuals. I know consulting a lot of hard work with many hours and traveling to boot, but to me at least it seems as though the generally protected weekends go a long way in helping one maintain relationships. My struggle is that the insecurity of recruiting for FT consulting senior year seems like a lot of potentially avoidable stress if I just went the more "structured" third year IB internship route; also, I do believe that the technical skills one can learn in investment banking open up many different possibilities that I would hate to miss otherwise.

Could you provide any color as to how someone like myself could weigh the options between these two career paths? Personally, I find myself drawn to corporate development at a F500 with the end ambition of working C-Suite (who doesn't though), or working in MM PE, but am not set on any one career path as of yet. Also, could you potentially elaborate on the most common exit opportunities you see at MBB, and when those exit opps are realized?

Thanks so much for your help!

Jul 30, 2019

Sure - Here's an easy solution to your dilemma though.

1) Accept IB internship
2) Recruit for MBB internship

(If offered MBB internship)

3a) Renege on 1)

(If no MBB internship)
3b) Do banking internship, get full time offer & re-recruit for MBB full-time

I think MBB prepares you better in general for almost all careers outside of PE / Hedge Fund world. It teaches you to think about how to plan & execute on work, as well as figuring out how it fits into a broader question that is trying to be answered - All while influencing people that might be 10-20 years your senior. I can't think of any job that would not value that skill set.

If you're deadset on PE, IB will be the better route. If you aren't sure, MBB will provide you with the foundation to build into most leadership roles in the future, while also not completely closing the PE route.

Jul 30, 2019

Thanks for the clarity of your response. Definitely have considered the renege option but hesitant to execute because of the terrible stories you hear about closing doors permanently. Can I ask you how you believe your life outside of work compares to that of your peers who might've pursued different career paths, IB or otherwise? Did the traveling ever get mundane/did you ever regret your decision to work MBB (as I'm sure you had plenty of options to potentially select from)?

Jul 29, 2019

how do you get the job ? is it networking or your school prestige?
any chance for rutgers student ? Do you think econ major suit well on Consulting ?

Jul 30, 2019

Mostly networking. We have rutgers grads here - econ fits perfectly into MBB skillset (but so does astrophysics, English lit., and basically anything else)

Jul 29, 2019
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