Leaving MBB to join Uber as Ops Manager

RTW's picture
Rank: Baboon | 107

Hi all,

I would really appreciate your advice on a question I am facing: should I quit my MBB consulting role to join Uber as an Operations Manager in a new city they are launching?

My background: I am currently a junior at an MBB ( joined 2-3 years ago), located in an emerging markets country and currently working on sending MBA applications. Overall career goal has been to make it as a project manager and then to exit for a Tech company, ideally with P&L responsibility.

I have received an offer to join Uber as an Operations Manager (would be the only role, for now at least) as they want to enter in my city. The role seems to be a mix of operations management (calculate operational KPIs, set-up the processes such as onboarding drivers etc.) and business development (find insights on how to grow the business, adapt the app to the local environment)

The negatives:
- The pay is below what I currently earn and will be significantly lower than the one I would receive when I return from my MBA, 2 years from now
- Slower career trajectory
- Risk of Uber being blocked in my city and exiting the country (due to regulations)
- Risk of being pigeonholed as an operations guy, whilst I want to focus more on the commercial strategy/business development side

The positives:
+ good brand name
+ hands-on entrepreneurial experience for two years vs staying in a classroom and reading case studies
+ very good entry into Tech (could further leverage to join other companies such as Google/Apple) which is one of the industries I want to work in later-on (I don't want to make partner in consulting)
+ high growth potential (the company is growing like crazy and there is a lot of room at the top)
+ best-in-class knowledge gained: Uber is at the cutting edge of innovation in its industry and there would be a lot of knowledge to gain
+ slightly better work-life balance
+ the idea of building a business from scratch whilst having resources and guidance from other countries, really excites me. It seems to be a mandate to exercise my entrepreneurial muscle (or lack of) without taking the financial risk of building a start-up
+ can leverage the experience at Uber to launch my own start-up (there are several opportunities for tech businesses in my country)

So, what do you guys think? Have I missed any of the positives and negatives? Should I join Uber or should I continue going through the typical consulting track (would probably reach project manager role in ~5 years).

Comments (15)

Best Response
Feb 26, 2018

I'd put something in the consulting forum on reddit. Aside from just giving their 2 cents, most people on here are not particularly qualified to answer this

    • 6
Feb 26, 2018

Not a consultant, so apologies in advance if I'm speaking from a place of ignorance... but it immediately jumps out to me that you'd have to take a pay cut to make this move? I would think if a company like Uber wants to poach a consultant from MBB to help it start up in a new geography, wouldn't they typically offer a pay increase? Yes, Uber is a great tech name on the resume, but it's not like its more prestigious than MBB. Is uber aware this would mean a pay cut for you? How are they selling you on that?

Mar 1, 2018

Deleted

    • 2
Feb 26, 2018

Understood. You don't typically hear of MBB associates leaving for less money, but I assume then that's because they typically go get an MBA before they move to a new industry?

Again, take this with a grain of salt given my lack of consulting experience, but I have to believe this won't be the last opportunity you'll have to make a move to tech. If you go get an MBA, I can't imagine the offer waiting for you on the other side would be worse than what you're considering now. You can move into the right field while moving upward instead of backward.

Feb 26, 2018
HighlyClevered:

Not a consultant, so apologies in advance if I'm speaking from a place of ignorance... but it immediately jumps out to me that you'd have to take a pay cut to make this move? I would think if a company like Uber wants to poach a consultant from MBB to help it start up in a new geography, wouldn't they typically offer a pay increase? Yes, Uber is a great tech name on the resume, but it's not like its more prestigious than MBB. Is uber aware this would mean a pay cut for you? How are they selling you on that?

Uber believes that the equity part that I would receive once the shares are vested would make it that I earn the same as in MBB. However, I am discounting the equity compensation significantly as I do not believe their valuation is accurate (nobody believes so) and the benefits at MBB are better.

Regardless, I don't see the a 10-30% pay-cut at my current salary necessarily as a problem as I believe the skills that I would gain from launching a start-up would be more valuable than that. What I do see a problem is the impact on future earnings as if I would go for the MBA, I would come back with a promotion and my disposable income should increase 3x (albeit I would spend ~40-50k USD on MBA living expenses)

Also, to Nightman's comment, I do not expect the lifestyle to show significant improvement in terms of hours but do expect a reduction in travel.

I think the main problem that I am having is whether:
1) joining UBER as an Ops manager will be seen as a step-down on my career (moving from strategy to operations/business development)
2) UBER vs MBB's brand name to leverage it for a career in Tech
3) Will I get promoted (assuming I do a decent job) within the next 2-3 years to have a similar position as I would have as a post-MBA at UBER?

    • 2
Feb 28, 2018

How is this even a question? You can do much better from MBB - directly into a Corp Strategy role for a company like Google or Tesla. They recruit for these Ops Managers roles from Big 4 Consulting practices as well (been approached for them on Linkedin a few times). Same gig - new city, blah blah blah. If I had MBB experience, I'd aim much higher.

    • 1
Mar 2, 2018

Thanks for the input. What do you think of the value of the experience one gains? I find the idea of scaling-up something from scratch to be extremely valuable and a career booster. Even if the position's name seems to be in Ops, the work would be more business development focused.

Mar 2, 2018

EE_cons, I think it depends on what your end goals are. For me personally, it would be working for an early stage VC fund. Based on the feedback I've gotten from VC Associates and Partners during coffee chats, they all mentioned that joining a non-unicorn early stage VC backed startup soon to experience hyper growth (or already experiencing hyper growth) is viewed much more favorably in terms of startup experience than joining established players like Uber or Airbnb.
I think with MBB experience, you should be in a good position to target a VC fund directly, without having to go the startup route. Checkout MBBExits.com for other great startup options.

    • 1
Mar 1, 2018

If I were you, I'd get that MBA, go back to MBB and exit to a better role (Corp strategy, etc.) in Tech. Ops manager at Uber sounds like a terrible transition from MBB. My $0.02.

    • 1
Mar 2, 2018

As an MBA student who's prepping for consulting, I'd have to say that there seems to be a lot of opportunities in tech post-MBA. Amazon has a product manager training program for MBAs. Sounds like Uber wants you to be like on of their drivers: devote lots of time and energy into the company for little returns...If you want a start-up experience maybe try and find a small start-up to intern with during a summer of your MBA program.

I personally would definitely not leave mbb and cut out the possibility of an MBA for Uber....but everyone is different.

    • 1
Mar 3, 2018

Done 5+ years at mbb, and got an mba sponsored by them. Def don't take the role. Joining Uber at this stage isn't as a great of a name for VCs/future tech roles as you might think. I have friends who did the same exit back in 2014, mbb to uber ops pre-Mba (in US). They feel like they are stuck in the role, doesn't believe their equity valuation but don't want to leave. Most are thinking of doing an MBA anyways now and going into big tech/VC now.

The offers you will get at a more senior role at mbb is much better than those you will receive now. The only roles I would recommend a pre-Mba MBB'er to take voluntarily are: reputable PE shops, Hedge Funds w people and strategy you trust, joining as employee <20 of a startup you will pour your heart into, or chief-of-staff type of roles at F100 working directly w a C-suite exec.

    • 2
Jun 8, 2018

Hi Ee_cons,

Quitting a job for something that seems uncertain and with lower pay always come with risk, especially when we have spent much time and effort into getting into MBB in the first place. I worked at MBB post MBA for 2 years, before deciding to take the plunge as I was feeling burnt out, and it was a tough decision. I felt fearful and uncertain.

Questions that I asked myself back when considering the alternative then was these:

1) In the next 5 years, where do I want to see myself not just in terms of job, but also in other areas of my life? - this will impact the type of career and lifestyle you want to have.

2) What skills do I see myself picking up that will align with my interest/passion while tapping on the future trends, so that I remain relevant?

3) Even though my pay will be lower, what could be the expected trajectory of my compensation package for the next 5 years?

Recently, I came across a ebook that I thought was quite relevant. I wished I had read it before I quit my job, as that would have given me even more clarity.
Below is the link: http://bit.ly/burntoutlost
Hope that helps, and all the best!

Jun 10, 2018

Does the offer come with stock options? I believe Uber is planning to go public soon.

    • 1
Jun 11, 2018

Any update? Would love to hear what ended up happening.

No consulting background here (start up operations), but during this time I was recruited by postmates for a similar ops manager for socal region.

Decided not to pursue it, you would be surprised how marketing-heavy these operations roles turn out to be

Sep 3, 2018
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