London: LEK vs. Strategy& vs. Accenture

MrBump's picture
Rank: Chimp | banana points 11

Hi all,

I'm a UK undergraduate who's been fortunate enough to receive offers for Associate positions at LEK, Strategy& Corporate and Accenture (all London office). I'd love to hear from anyone who has a perspective on the relative merits of starting out at each of these firms.

Specifically:
1. I've heard LEK has a reputation for very long hours, and little client engagement. Is this true?
2. What are the usual directions that people take after a couple of years at each of these places?
3. How are each of these names viewed relative to each other in terms of brand power? Does LEK have a stronger name in the UK (vs. USA for example)?

Thanks very much!

Comments (7)

Most Helpful
Dec 9, 2018

Congrats on the offers and looks like you have a good selection of firms to choose from. In my opinion, you should go with Strategy&. You will get the best generalist experience there while also getting opportunities to work in industries and functions that interest you. LEK will give you broad industry exposure but limited project diversity and Accenture will give you a lot of opportunities around tech but not much else. I think S& is the right middle ground and the closest to MBB in terms of experience and exit opps.

To answer your questions

  1. Can't speak specifically to LEK London, but I know LEK gets this reputation because they are fairly big on PE work, and most of their other engagements are strategy projects worked on at the office. Doesn't mean you won't interact with the client, but it won't be as much as peers at other firms, and I do think being on site is important for junior consultants.
  2. I know LEK places well into top business schools. Not sure about S&, but I imagine it's quite strong as well. I have seen broader and more interesting exits from S&, but some of these guys were with the firm during the Booz days, so their branding/market value may be different.
  3. I know LEK London has a strong reputation, but it is a much smaller and less global firm than the other two. To an ex-consultant, I imagine S& and LEK are going to be viewed on equal level, with Accenture lower. If you want to exit to City PE, LEK is going to be stronger. If you want everyday bragging rights, your average person has probably only heard of Accenture, if any of these firms at all.

Gimme the loot

    • 2
Dec 9, 2018

Thanks! I really appreciate your detailed advice.

I think in my head I'd been swinging towards S& for the reasons you've suggested, but I've heard so many horrible things about S& being a falling rock after the acquisition by PwC (especially from browsing around on WSO).

Equally does LEK have stronger brand power for consulting, e.g. to move into MBB?

Dec 9, 2018

Don't take what you hear on WSO and Reddit as ground truth. In my region, S& are very strong and have a bigger presence than many other consultancies (including LEK). I'd recommend you do a couple things to help with your decision...

  1. Do a LinkedIn scan of junior consultants at S& London and decide if you think their background and qualifications are strong. This is usually a good indication of quality and reputation. I know S& still thinks of themselves as elite and recruit at top undergrad programs per region. Especially true for London, which is such a competitive consulting city.
  2. Talk to S& and LEK folks. For S&, figure out what projects they sell, what kind of work they do on the projects, what training opportunities they have, etc. For LEK, tell them candidly that you are also considering S& and ask what you think differentiates them as a place to start a career. These firms are now in selling mode because they have to compete for you.

If your goal is to transfer to MBB, it doesn't matter which of the two you go to. What matters will be how well you do there, so pick the firm where you can differentiate yourself. I'm sure this opinion will get me flamed, but I don't think the LEK model of being relatively silo'd from the client (especially at junior levels) is going to help you much here. Additionally, as a traveling consultant, you will meet and get to know other consultants at the airport, hotel, client site (e.g. a transformation project with a few firms engaged) and can develop connections to lateral.

Gimme the loot

    • 1
Dec 9, 2018

Ok brilliant, understood. Thanks again.

Dec 10, 2018

Hey, I work at one of these 2 in London, PM me if you have any question

    • 1
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Dec 9, 2018

I've received the offer details from LEK and Strategy& - the former's compensation is significantly (~20%) higher. Is it appropriate at all to mention this to Strategy&, or will it get me dinged?

Jan 6, 2019