MBB Analyst comp/hours ?

Any actual first hand (or direct knowledge of friend roommate) of all in MBB comp directly out if undergrad? Also of realistic hours spent in total weekly both actual work and travel.

My gathered information seems to put it at 100k base with 20k bonus and 5 k relocation. Additionally some percentage of 401k match based on firm but for an average let's say its approx 10k if maxed out 401 contribution. So all in first year would be 100+ 20+5+10 or $135k. Is this accurate from anyone's known experience?

Also the hours or wlb. I see people state 50-60/week with no weekends then I see others say 75-80. Can anyone with direct knowledge truly put a number on this? 

If the # are at the 75-80 mark that is approaching IB territory and the comp there is potentially 1.5-2x in my reading. I understand the work type may be different and that's is not really my question but rather looking at total comp and real hours worked.

I understand there are a number of threads related to this but a lot seem to be people's opinions rather than first hand experience ..thanks in advance.

Comments (56)

  • Works at Bain & Company
Dec 18, 2021 - 2:27pm

I've worked at Bain for almost 4 years, here's been my experience (pretty similar to that of my peers):

Pretty consistently 60-65 hours per week. I can only count a handful of weeks in my career so far that I've worked more than 70, and probably only a dozen or so less than 50.

Comp is definitely less than IB, but adjusted for hours, stress, culture I think it's pretty good. First years can expect to make 100K base, 15K bonus, good benefits and 401K. By the time you get promoted to post-MBA you're looking at 175K base, 30K bonus, and profit sharing on top of the benefits.

Hope that helps.

  • Research Analyst in HF - Other
Dec 21, 2021 - 12:01am

The thing is, I've heard that in IB most people are not actually working 80 hours a week. Most of the time you're doing around 70 (which is consulting range, apparently); only on live deals does it go up to 80-90. 

It also seems that the recent pay increases rippling across IB have not been reciprocated by MBB. Not sure how to process this but IB is genuinely starting to seem like a pretty clear winner here? 

Salary: IB by ~1.5x, which is pretty significant

Exit opps: IB by a significant margin

Interesting work: Tie (this one is arguable. We know IB is grunt work, but I've heard so is MBB: it's just ppt instead of excel. Whenever I speak with ex-MBB analysts and ask about what skills they gained, I always get vague shit like "structuring problems" rather than hard concrete skills. Some of them do not take the liberty to veil their words and straight up tell me that it's a bunch of mindless slidemaking. Would appreciate further anecdotal confirmation from users here.)

Hours/WLB: Consulting with a slight advantage, mainly since hours are more predictable and weekends are free. But many IB's are now doing protected weekends.

Most Helpful
Dec 21, 2021 - 2:57am

Alright I'll bite... The choice all depends on what you want to do with your life and career.

Salary: clearly IB is higher

Exit opps: clearly IB has higher paying exit opps and is a better path to high finance exit opps. Clearly MBB is better for strategy/ops/general management exit opps. This comes down to preference for pay vs WLB vs work interest, etc.

Interesting work: imo MBB work is clearly more interesting. I do ~1 hour a day of grunt work. Yes, we make jokes about being PPT monkeys but we're not paid for the PPTs, we're paid for helping companies make decisions and get things done (and we have resources to help make the PPTs). MBB is good for soft skill development, which is BS in the finance and investing world, but very important in the management world, in which you have to persuade a dozen people to get on board for any initiative to be successful. "Structuring problems" is also an extremely useful skill when you're solving ambiguous problems (i.e., should we start a European business or should we start selling direct to consumer). These problems are only partially quantifiable (versus, say, what should we IPO at) and you need a methodology to analyze/weigh the qualitative parts and come to a decision.

Hours/WLB: Depends on the type of work. PE DDs are probably close to IBs, as are pure strategy projects. Ops, procurement, implementation, etc. is typically less. It also depends on the quality of the team, how familiar everyone is with each other, and how the client relationship is. I've done projects <50 hours (with some weeks <40 hours) because everything internal runs smoothly and the clients don't need their hands held. Then, there are occasional >70 hour weeks. But imo consulting is much better for WLB because when you're burnt out, you can look for a 3 month implementation project, go for a one week training, take some PTO, or take a long weekend trip.

Dec 27, 2021 - 11:11am

I never understood the concept of working 80+ hours with the qualifier of "only on a live deal".

I've worked in IB for almost 6 years across 3 firms and have never not been on a live deal. In all three cases, I was staffed on a live deal from day 1 and 90% of the time had more than one live deal at a time, with maybe 10% being "only" on one live deal. 

To be fair I've only worked at MM and EB firms, so it might be different at BBs

  • Incoming Analyst in IB-M&A
Dec 21, 2021 - 4:59am

Might be a dumb question but is the traveling time included in this figure or is that mostly just hours actually working?

Dec 18, 2021 - 2:39pm

Most of these figures seem to be correct, retirement contribution tends to hover around 5-10k though. At the MBB I'll be joining, hours average around ~60/week, with lows at 40-45 and bad weeks at about 70.

When you're thinking of IB vs MBB, keep in mind that MBBers tend to include travel time in their hours per week (flights, Ubers, etc). Also, every hour past 40 will get incrementally more painful, as it cuts directly into your normal free time, and more importantly, your sleep. 70 hours of work is dramatically more tiring than 60 hours.

An 80 hour week at MBB is VERY rare (1-2 over a normal length career at MBB, from what I know about BCG/Bain. Less sure about McK). You're forgetting that the IB equivalent to MBB are the BBs, and an average to better week at a BB is 80 hours. More likely you'll be seeing 85-100+, especially during crucial deal times. IB hours get to the point where it can actually be detrimental to your physical health, as you are sacrificing sleep and any/all of your free time.

Obviously my answer is slightly biased towards MBB, and either IB or MBB are amazing places to kickstart your career. I would suggest asking any MBB contacts you have, comparing it to what the BB/EB IB folks say, and evaluating the choice you would prefer most based on your own criteria (if you are choosing between them).

Dec 27, 2021 - 12:42am

I'd like to chime in: you're pretty accurate with 90% of your info. Will warn you that if you really think an 80 hr/wk is only 1-2 over a MBB career, you're being widely optimistic. The closer your project is to strategy, the more it's the norm. I've had 100 hour weeks before at my MBB within my first 6 months. Anyway, not trying to scare you, but I'll be blunt: you haven't started yet, no one is going to tell you "hey you're going to hate your life sometimes". It's not exactly the strategic move to do that to a new hire.

Dec 27, 2021 - 1:05am

Thank you for the clarification! I should specify where I received this information from: some people I that spoke with in a few BCG Midwest offices said that in their years at the firm (they all had 2-3 years of experience at the same location), they experienced an 80+ hour week 4 separate times, at the maximum.

Of course, 80+ could definitely mean 90/100, and I assumed it to mean 80-90. Plus, I had quite a small sample size to work with, so it will definitely not be accurate across all US offices.

Dec 18, 2021 - 8:04pm

I really appreciate all these replies so far. Any other data points welcomed!

I suppose another "perk" or comp piece (although not actual cash in hand) is I get sense there is more expensibles at MBB vs IB. Meaning many meals may be paid for through week, travel perks rewards etc..these have some inherent value . Perhaps attributing 10k annually to these perks is reasonable?

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Dec 19, 2021 - 12:26am

you seem really keen on eeking out every possible dollar that can be counted in mbb "comp". hint : do this with every other career and you'll also find another big chunk lying around. don't kid yourself into thinking the comp is better than it is.

Dec 19, 2021 - 9:11am

domesticatedfire valid point..im not trying to find every nickel just trying to fully understand it. 

Are you suggesting that the comp in MBB is underpaid? 

When weighed against both tech and banking (with recent increases in bonuses and base ) I actually might agree with you.  Realizing that MBB pulls frim a highly selective talent pool in recruiting it does seem that they are able to pay at the low est end of scale. 

Do you feel people take MBB in hopes of future career intangibles that may actually never materialize? In the end is bird in hand worth two in bush? Interested to hear others honest opinions on this thought.

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Dec 19, 2021 - 11:54am

When you're comparing comp across different things, just focus on the concrete - base, bonus, equity (in the case of startups/tech). Basically everyone does a 401k match, and random things that get expensed and feel like nice perks are really in a different class of things. Sure, you're technically getting many extra dollars per year in paid flights, hotel stays, food, etc. as a consultant - but it's not your money. You have no option to put it into something you really want since you can't really sell/exchange it, and that's what people care about when comparing comp. Contrived example, but imagine a company offered to give a vintage trading card that was worth $1,000,000, but you couldn't sell it. It's technically 1mil but essentially worthless to you. You weren't going to spend 1mil on that trading card if you took another job, and that 1mil you "technically" get can't go into your retirement, rent, other savings, lifestyle purchases, etc.

Now, is MBB "underpaid"? No, I don't think so. That doesn't mean it's necessarily a worse job, but when you lay out everything I think it makes a lot of sense. I disagree that MBB pulls from a "highly selective talent pool", and I'm not trying to say if you're highly talented, MBB is necessarily a worse choice for you. The fact of the matter is though that MBB, like banking, requires no concrete skills - you essentially just have to be able to talk well and sound articulate. You can be a sociology major with no internships, realize you don't know what you're doing with your life, case for a bit to learn the consultant lingo/manner of talking, and with some luck land a full time MBB job. You can be a physics major who's a good talker and get an offer with essentially no prep. Those are not BS stories - I've literally seen them happen. Contrast this with tech/quant finance - where you actually have to be pretty technically inclined, take years of CS/math courses significantly harder than econ/humanities, and really prepare at length for difficult technical interviews.

MBB offers options and a wide range of exposure to the business side of different industries. You can do almost anything you want (especially on the business side) after your 2 years, and you build a huge network across many different fields. It's also, correctly or not, one of the most prestigious things to the layman, which has its own perks as well (though I'd argue less prestigious to people who understand the full breadth of careers. It has so much general prestige, I think, because it's not the hardest thing in the world to actually get, since that stamps it into the mental radar of much wider range of people.) MBB can be a great option for a lot of people, even ones that could've gone into other great options (banking, tech, quant), but you need to know what you want. Knowing what you want out of your career 10 years down the line as well as on the day to day (for instance, do you just hate sitting in meetings and talking all day?) and optimizing for that, is a lot more important than relatively minor differences in comp (in the grand scheme of things) for the first year or two out of college.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Dec 19, 2021 - 7:37pm

Anyone at MBBs hear whispers of them raising comp to better compete for talent against IB/PE/HFs and tech? With the ~50K raise for IB analysts, no way they can compete with such a low salary, especially in cities like NYC and SF...

  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov
Dec 19, 2021 - 8:36pm

What analysts got a 50k raise? You're assuming that every year going forward pays what analyst made this year. 

Dec 20, 2021 - 7:51am

Part of the reason why you often see a disparity in the hours listed by consultants is the gap in actual work hours and hours where you are expected to be available and ready to react to things that come up. My experience during COVID has been that actual work hours are 60 or less and expected available time is more or less 8:30AM to 11:30PM Monday to Thursday and roughly 8:30AM to 6:30PM Friday. Of course there is a huge variability between projects, but that is what I would describe as typical. Also if you want to be a "top performer" that often means helping out with firm initiatives or business development later at night or on the weekends.

  • Analyst 1 in Consulting
Dec 21, 2021 - 1:47am

You're close. At Bain, it's $100k base, $15k target bonus (max of $22.5k), $5k relocation, $5k signing, 4.5% of base and bonus to 401k (no contribution required), and 0-20% of total comp per year in profit sharing, which vests at the end of your third year.

Dec 21, 2021 - 11:49am

Comments on here are accurate for the most part re comp. I've been at MBB for 2 years. My hours have been in the 50-60 range consistently but there's not much if any sitting around. You're always busy.

What's important to call out since you care about WLB is you shouldn't underestimate the difference between a 60 hour week and an 80 hour week. 60 hours is a grind, but you will have your weekend and can generally get a healthy amount of sleep. 80 is crushing. That gap really compounds over time.

Dec 28, 2021 - 9:30pm

One assumption that is being made here is that IB bonuses will continue along the pace we saw last year (90-110%). Given fact that base has been raised in IB its possible we see bonuses come in at 60-70%. If this is the case the delta between comp in MBB and banking narrows again and the WLB factor comes back into discussion.   Really will need the data point of seeing where bonuses go in the new "raised base" environment of IB

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Jan 1, 2022 - 11:09pm

To be honest the comp difference is now almost 2x banking over MBB. For WLB to offset that it would need to be a real WLB job..like 40 hours per week. However as people above posted the real hours are 60 and maybe at time 70 per week..This isnt an absolute WLB schedule.

Given the fact that MBB is ok with being out paced by both finance and tech in terms of comp it sends a message of one of two things:

1) They are not interested in capturing the best talent ( bc if they are so off on comp the knowingly will lose talent)


2) They are blatant about the fact they are underpaying and using young talent to pad the pockets of partners. This is easily seen by wise candidates and leaves a bad taste in the mouth of young talent who have multiple opportunities. 

Either way if they do not become more competitive they will regress in the talent race and lose to tech/finance in the long run. 

The partners at MBB are smart people so I am sure they do not have their head in the sand to this issue. I find it odd they are not making a more agressive play for junior talent. In my opinion they need to find junior (analyst) comp in the range of 160-175 total comp to remain competitive. Just my 2¢.

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Jan 5, 2022 - 12:24pm

Is MBB starting to face fee pressure? What you mentioned seems similar to what happened/is happening w/ accounting. It used to be a relatively well-paying gig and getting a Big 4 job used to mean that you had a golden stamp on your resume because very few firms had both the scale and knowledge that the Big 4 did in the accounting/corp fin space. For example, if you wanted a QoE done, you almost exclusively went to the Big 4 because they were the only ones that could do it, while maybe you had the local firms for audit/tax work that's relatively rules-based.

After this specialized knowledge became commoditized, large firms started to face fee pressure because there are tons of smaller firms that would offer the same work for much cheaper, which meant that either the Partners would have to see a decrease in profitability/payout (not happening) or staff would be underpaid/overworked and the firms/profession developed a bad reputation with tons of people quitting. Now firms are actually paying quite a bit to retain/poach people and taking pretty much with a pulse because of everything that transpired and the pipeline of prospective CPAs/accounting grads is actually decreasing from what I've read.

I'm not saying the exact same thing will happen to consulting, because the industries are different, but I am wondering if there are similar trends happening in the strategy consulting world. I'm mostly curious because it feels like everything nowadays is more competitive in the past than it used to be for less reward (i.e. harder to get in and the relative payout isn't as good as it used to be).

Jan 6, 2022 - 2:30am

1. MBB is not facing fee pressure. It's quite the opposite. Some project each person bill $80k-100k per week. 

2. 60-70 work is not normal. Mostly it's 50-60. This is me talking to dozen people over dinner parties. 

3. As for comps, their solution to comp is mostly to promote faster and at higher % increase.

after 2 years after MBA, you can easily expect to make 300-350k.

Still our billable has so much margin, prob room to increase even more if they wanted to.

  • Analyst 2 in Consulting
Jan 7, 2022 - 8:51pm

You're spot on. The main issue I have with comp is the bonus % is way too low for the junior levels. Your counterpart in tech or IBD shouldn't have a larger signing bonus or relocation business than a FT consultants YE bonus.

Jan 8, 2022 - 2:22am

The comp difference definitely isn't 2x vs banking. First year analysts are making 100k base, ~120k total. First year banking analysts aren't making ~240k total.

Also keep in mind that consultants get much more time off. We have 15-20 days off per year for holidays (long weekends + December close), ~20 days PTO depending on firm, 5-15 days "training" and other office events (drinking), and downtime between projects when staffing is slow (these can be <10 hours a week if nothing's going on and are max 40 h/wk if working on proposals or assets). Fridays are usually <5 hours of real work and weekends are protected, so you can actually make plans.

So WLB is really bad compared to a 9-5 corporate job, but for a "high-burn" career, there's a lot of break time, especially at junior levels. Comp doubles every 3 years or so until the plateau at senior partner, ~15 years in--which is some insane comp growth for a career that relatively stress-tolerant people can balance with an actual life. IB -> PE comp can grow much faster but that risks burnout, not getting promoted, or carry not coming through. Tech starts much higher, but grows slower and plateaus lower--and who knows if tech pay will still be as crazy 10 years down the road.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 5, 2022 - 12:51pm

Genuine question: Why do consultants add 401k employer contributions to their total comp #'s? Don't believe this is the norm when reporting IB comp that also has matching 401k.

As a data point: Some EBs (CVP/EVR) are paying 1st year analysts $247k ($120k base, $102k (85%) bonus, $25k sign on) so I do think consultants are being underpaid. Hopefully the industry will start to catch on... looking to get into consulting later for those shorter hours.

  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov
Jan 5, 2022 - 1:52pm

Because consulting firms are more generous with retirement contributions and consultants want to make their comp look better. 

Jan 6, 2022 - 6:07pm

Anyone have real life direct knowledge of direct business analyst to engagement manager ( without going to b school)? What is the full comp breakdown of that engagement manager role (base, bonus, profit share etc..)?

Jan 12, 2022 - 12:35pm

Centerview Partners now raised analyst first year base to 130k. After bonus they are likely to make 230-250k first year out of college.

GS/MS/JPM all will be releasing bonus information in next few days. News leaks suggest 20-50% higher bonuses that last years already increased numbers.

Amazon and Meta fighting for new hire talent with huge stock units and high base salaries direct out of undergrad.

I know you guys over at MBB are monitoring these chats so heres the message. Take a look at the landscape. You must make aggressive moves this cycle if hope is to continue to attract top people. First year analysts at MBB should be moved to 150k base with performance bonus of up to 30k and sign on bonus need to be elevated to 15k. This is a minimum if you plan to continue to remain relevant in these upcoming hiring cycles. 

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Jan 14, 2022 - 1:22pm

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  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Jan 21, 2022 - 1:59pm

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Total Avg Compensation

January 2022 Consulting

  • Principal (22) $269
  • Director/MD (44) $265
  • Vice President (37) $246
  • Engagement Manager (86) $220
  • Manager (134) $167
  • 2nd Year Associate (129) $137
  • 3rd+ Year Associate (97) $129
  • Senior Consultant (288) $128
  • Consultant (519) $116
  • 1st Year Associate (466) $115
  • Engineer (4) $110
  • NA (12) $109
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (119) $108
  • 2nd Year Analyst (268) $98
  • Associate Consultant (146) $96
  • 1st Year Analyst (907) $85
  • Intern/Summer Associate (151) $81
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (410) $67