LEK vs OW vs Kearney - out of undergrad

I was fortunate enough to recieve FT offers at all 3 firms. Any advice on what to choose?

Some things I am considering are -

  1. Career paths - Interested in pivoting into a corp strategy role in tech in the long run
  2. WLB - I hear its best at OW among the 3 firms but not sure
  3. Variety of Work - I hear LEK is all DD work, OW is alot of FS, and Kearney is alot of sourcing work. I am not sure which has the most variety.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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Comments (29)

Oct 14, 2020 - 6:27pm

Work at OW, have close friends at K. From my POV you should take OW. 

1. OW sends a lot of people to tech. We do a fair amount of work that will build your Quant skills so a pivot to tech in a hybrid business/tech role is very common.

2. From what I've seen OW and K are fairly similar, both project dependent. LEK will most likely work you a lot more. I've had weeks under 50hrs and also weeks >80. The average isprobably around 55.

3. Which office is your offer in? That will dictate a lot of your experience at OW. In general I'd say that even though we do a lot of FS (~50%),given our size there's still more opportunities to get a variety of work. And even proportionally K might do more than 50% sourcing and I've heard LEK is like 65% DDs

  • Prospect in Consulting
Oct 14, 2020 - 6:28pm

Personally, I would cross out Kearney. Their main practice area like you mentioned is supply chain which seems the most boring of any of the three specialties. They also have experienced little growth over the past two decades while LEK and OW have been slowly but surely developing their platforms and improving.

All the firms will get you into corp strategy at tech.

Do you like DD? Then do LEK. DDs can be nice because its higher level strategy but also tend to be quite brutal hours wise. 

If you are OW NYC, while you can get a good mix of projects since the firm is the largest of the three, but you will inevitabley do FS so you have to be comfortable with that.

Culture is also important. How did you feel during the interview processes?

LEK seems to have struggled a bit during COVID because they forced all employees to take 3 weeks unpaid in Q2 and rescinded MBA offers in some regions but it seems like they have generally recovered.

  • Prospect in Consulting
Oct 14, 2020 - 7:53pm

I have offers for OW and LEK in SF - any idea around the array of project work there?

I also am not sure if I like DD - the learning aspect sounds really nice from these projects, but I am not sure if I am ready to put up 80+ hours a week. Do you know if there is the possibility to try out DD work at OW?

Regarding Culture - I have honestly really liked people at both firms, but am leaning towards OW culture wise right now.

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  • Prospect in Consulting
Oct 14, 2020 - 8:43pm

OW definitely has DDs. While it's less of a DD shop than Bain, LEK, EY-P, it still has solid market share in the space and they provide a 6 month rotation for junior consultants. In terms of PE exits, they actually do about as well as LEK if not better. (Good growth equity and some UMM for example).

  • Intern in Consulting
Oct 14, 2020 - 6:44pm

I think it is truly between LEK and OW. It depends on what you are into. OW is best at FS and is no doubt a leader in the space, but have heard that a lot of the work can be risk and stress testing. LEK is good at DDs but also has a fair share of strategy work. It is basically all strategy. Would say OW has slightly more prestige but among the three the differences in prestige are negligible and you should go for type of work, location, and culture. 

  • Analyst 2 in Consulting
Oct 15, 2020 - 12:18pm

All great picks. I'm currently at L.E.K., but have friends at OW as well.

It basically depends on how well each firm's strengths and bad projects map onto your ambitions and tolerance for specific kinds of bullshit respectively.

OW is world-renowned for financial services and may be the best-known to the general public. If you are interested in non-investing financial services, this is great. The bad projects at OW are mindless stress tests, actuarial projects, etc.

L.E.K. is the most strategy focused of the firms. You have the highest likelihood of landing a "huge CPG wants to rationalize its SKU portfolio" or "M&A strategy for an industry-defining mega merger" project. That being said, we do have our fair sharw of shitty work too (2-week sprint CDD on a $10M revenue widget company).

I don't know as much about what K's top tier projects are, but I'd imagine the shitty ones are supply chain optimization.

I think OW and L.E.K. are probably the top two, but it's a tossup in most ways besides the actual work you do, so just think carefully about differences in project length, how regional / local staffing is, travel, culture, etc.

  • Analyst 2 in Consulting
Oct 15, 2020 - 12:21pm

Also - so far at L.E.K., hours have been bad for me lately (65-70 per week), but my average is still probably 55-60 ish. It's not as much of a difference vs. other firms as people tend to think.

  • Prospect in Consulting
Oct 18, 2020 - 7:59pm

Thanks for the reply! Here is how I am thinking about the offers right now - 

  • Equal/ No difference to me:
    1. I really enjoy the culture @ both firms and think I get on really well with people @ each firm.
    2. Pay is pretty comparable (I think OW is slightly higher but honestly negligible) so it isn't as big of a factor for me either
  • Where OW wins
    1. Travel and Flexibility in terms of offices is a big plus for me @ OW. I'd be moving far away from home for both offers and like that OW has offices in most major cities(even ones close to home). I also like that I can potentially travel home on the weekends as a part of my job.
  • Where LEK wins
    1. I think the type of work @ LEK is the most interesting and I really don't want to end up doing stress testing/actuarial work @ OW ( I do think I can manage to avoid it more or less however)
  • What I am still trying to figure out/is the deciding factor
    1. In terms of Exits - I am not as interested PE exits and think I really want to be in some type of Corp. Strategy/Dev. role @ a large company in the TMT or Auto/Transportation Industry. What is the best option given this information?
  • Prospect in Consulting
Oct 18, 2020 - 7:39pm

It seems about standard/slightly above most other T2 Firms - close to 100k(base + target annual bonus) plus 10k signing. OW is pretty similar/ slightly higher

  • Analyst 2 in Consulting
Oct 18, 2020 - 8:55pm

Base is $80k, signing is $10k, performance bonus potential is $5k, and profit share is 0-20% of your base (so $0-16k). However, base, performance, and profit share are all prorated based on start date.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Oct 19, 2020 - 12:59am

Sounds pretty good for the better work/life compared to banking. For some reason I was under the impression MBB pay was around 90-100k and then tier 2 would be a bit lower, but I saw the recent management consulted salary data and either its increased well in the past few years or its always been better than I was expecting.

  • Prospect in Consulting
Oct 20, 2020 - 5:31pm

If I am interested in working in CPG or TMT industries, which firm do you think gives me the most exposure?

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Oct 20, 2020 - 5:55pm

I have seen these as some of the strengths of OW listed before. To me, this seems like a large list? I understand there are some industries missing like say life sciences, media&telecom, etc, but it gives the impression that OW is not as focused as some people may believe and still offers a good mix?

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