Life Sciences Consulting Boutique to MBB

Hi all,

I'm about to graduate from HYPSM and to start working at a top life sciences boutique consulting firm. In order eventually to transition to MBB, I know that one path would be to work for ~2 years, get an MBA and apply to be an advanced-degree entrant, but I was wondering whether a lateral transfer (i.e., a transfer without getting an MBA) would be viable; if so, what particularly would this entail?


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Comments (6)

  • Associate 1 in Consulting
Jun 7, 2021 - 10:22am

MBA is not in the advanced degree category for MBB per se (usually that denotes PhD, MD, PharmD, JD, postdoc, etc), but they both enter at the same post-MBA level.

Some people transfer without going to school in between. At less than 4-5 years of work experience, you would start at the undergraduate level and potentially lose some seniority. The MBA or more years of experience would bring you to the consultant level (associate at McK).

If that's where you want to go, you should try a referral as the other poster said.

Jun 8, 2021 - 3:53pm

It is entire possible (but not easy) to laterally transition from boutique LS consulting into MBB. It is also entirely possible (but not easy) to get into an M7 MBA program and then get into MBB.

For context, I am a consultant at a top boutique LS firm and my S.O. currently goes to an M7 MBA program. There are many people who came into my S.O.s program planning on getting into MBB, and it is a real shock to their system if it doesn't work out. They usually end up transitioning to a T2 consulting firm, which is also entirely possible from a boutique LS firm.

There are not many people who make the transition from boutique LS into MBB, but it is possible (you can see some if you search LinkedIn). I personally believe that this path would be a safer way to apply for MBB spots, and would give you more opportunities to make it in. Theoretically you could work at your firm for 1-1.5 years and then start applying to MBB. If you don't make it in, then they would black list you for ~12-18 months, but then you could apply again after fixing whatever made you fail. This route would allow you to stay in consulting, consider moving to a T2 instead of MBB, or consider moving out of consulting. You could even still apply for an MBA program during this process and then give a 3rd shot at MBB, or transition to a Google PM.

Going the MBA route would present 2 barriers - one of getting in (its not a sure thing, even if you went to HYPSM), and then another of making it into MBB (not a sure thing even if you went to HYPSM then an M7). If you run into either of those two barriers you need to have a backup plan in place - I have seen what happens when people don't and it doesn't look fun.

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