Lateral hire from another consulting firm to MBB

Anonymous Monkey's picture
Anonymous Monkey

Hi all,

I am currently a first-year pre-MBA associate (heading into my second year) at a 2nd tier consulting firm (Parthenon/LEK).

I recently secured a first round interview at an MBB, but wanted to get some career advice on whether it would be the right move.

My motivation to switch to MBB was driven by the following:

  • My current firm does not travel and one of the things that attracted me to consulting was the opportunity to travel and get client exposure (which we do not get)
  • Our work has mostly been due-diligences where we mostly conduct market research and can not interact with the target company. I would like to be more hands-on and have a wider variety of casework such as improving a company's performance and operations.
  • By far the biggest difference is that we get promoted to the post-MBA level after ~4 years compared to MBB which is ~2 years. Given the interview timeline, I would be starting the role at the 1.5 year mark of my current job.

In terms of career goals:

  • I am 100% set on getting an MBA. I would not want to return to my current firm due to the reasons above if I choose to do an MBA, so sponsorship does not matter. However, I would consider staying at MBB in the long term if I end up having a good experience there and could get sponsored by MBB.
  • If I do not do this lateral move, the alternate plan would be to get another job at the 2 year mark and get my MBA 1-2 years later.
  • My dream job is one that involves international travel & work and has some elements of marketing. I'd also like to do some work in both developing and advanced economies.

My questions are:

  1. Is there any value in switching to MBB? Are there more exit opportunities available?
  2. Would it be strange to start at the same role (from Associate to Associate) even though promotion wise, I would reach the same salary in the same amount of time?
  3. Are there any other factors I have not listed that I should think about? I notice lateral hires at the associate level are not very common so wanted to check if it was a good or not so good route to take.

Thanks all!

Comments (6)

Jun 17, 2018

From your 2nd point on DD, you gave away you're at LEK hahah.

Anyway, to answer your questions: (1) yes, there is value in switching. As you said, MBBs have more travel and a wider scope of projects, just consider that the travel gets old really fast. (2/3) chances are you'll start at the same role in pivoting to MBB and although this lateral move may not be common, if you got the interview something must have sparked their attention.

A final piece of advice is if you seek travel and client meetings AND MBB recruiting doesn't work out, plenty of other T2 firms travel often e.g. ATK, RB and OW. So worst case if you still want to move, try those.

Jun 17, 2018
G-I the pharma guy:

From your 2nd point on DD, you gave away you're at LEK .

In my country EYP is primarily focussed on DD and growth strategy just like maybe not!

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Jun 17, 2018

Parthenon is very heavy DD focus.

If you have a strong connection with partners and are a high performer at your firm, the only consideration to me is whether you would benefit in terms of bonuses and eventual promotional opportunity by staying. Taking a lateral is essentially starting from scratch, and there's no guarantee that they'll be as positive on your performance.

That being said, there's some marginal upside and not a lot of downside to the move. I'd say if you want to try new projects and get out of the CDD world, go for it.

I'd be less gung ho about a lateral to RB/OW/ATK. Everyone will understand why you would transition to MBB, a lateral to another firm would require you to explain why. Also, RB, OW, and ATK are similarly focused, though in different areas (RB is small in the US and heavy industrials, OW is heavy FS, especially risk, and HC, ATK is a supply chain shop). Go for it if interested, but I wouldn't make that kind of move if you're generally pretty happy where you are.

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Jun 18, 2018

Based on your reasoning and goals, you should definitely switch if given the opportunity. Just make sure you distance yourself from DD work. It might be that even in MBB, people will try to staff you on CDD simply because you have experience, so make sure you don't get pigeonholed.

The good part is that even if you stay with your current employer and move afterwards, you will have the chance of moving after the MBA, so no stress if you fail on the interviews.

Jun 18, 2018

Maybe at Bain. McKinsey should be more open to generalist opportunities, they might even require you to gain the experience you don't already have. BCG isn't a big DD shop either way.

Jun 19, 2018