MBB Implementation or 2nd Tier Generalist?

wheresthecash's picture
Rank: Chimp | banana points 14

I just finished my MBA at an MBB target b-school. have a Generalist offer from a 2nd tier (Strategy&/ATK/OW) and an Implementation offer from McK in a region of the world where that 2nd tier competes significantly with MBB for projects. My gut is telling me to accept the generalist offer since it's more aligned with the kind of work I want to be doing in consulting (strategy). I would also hope that my exit-opps are more "strategy" related with a role like this. On the other hand, I cannot get over the prestige factor of MBB. My biggest doubt is whether the Implementation practice would still give me the right exposure should I choose to exit in 3-4 years.

My questions are as follows:

  1. Any thoughts on McK's Implementation practice? I have friends there that say implementation consultants do as much strategy work as the generalists, and others that say most of their work tends to be implementation. Also when I check the credentials of the implementation consultants at the office I would join, there is a significant difference. The implementation guys have a lot more field experience, and their MBA schooling (if any) is increasingly done at non-targets, whereas the generalists have a more cliched past (mainly MBAs from target B-schools). Fundamentally this is not really important; just another data point in evaluating (in a very biased and probably unfair way) the "perceived" quality of the consultants and the practice.
  2. What would you do in my shoes, knowing that the 2nd tier competes shoulder-to-shoulder with the MBBs for strategy work in the region I am in? Does this alone justify joining a leading 2nd tier? Or does the prestige factor at MBB trump that even though it's an implementation role where most of my work could be executing stuff that my peers had developed?

Some genuine thoughts would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Comments (6)

Dec 29, 2018

Hey wheresthecash, what a lonely thread. I'm here since nobody responded ...so maybe one of these discussions will help:

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You're welcome.

Dec 31, 2018

If you want strategy, take the T2 offer. As you've surmised, implementation is not strategy. Your opportunities are molded by the service line you select, so don't choose based on reputation.

    • 1
Most Helpful
Dec 31, 2018

The only upside to taking the MBB offer is cocktail party boasting. Unless you really want to do implementation work, the T2 offer is far and away the better option.

If you reapply to MBB strategy down the line, the t2 experience is probably a better resume fit as well; maybe a wash for the same firm opportunity.

    • 2
Jan 2, 2019

Agreed with above. Go with T2. Congrats!

Jan 3, 2019

Congrats on the offers!

I had to make a similar decision twice in my life thus far. Once for a strategy consulting position and once for a private equity position. I always chose the role vs. the brand name and I couldn't be happier with the decisions. Brand name does not matter much. You will spend 50-70 hours per week in your role and you want to make sure you like what you are doing. Can you envision yourself spending 50-70 hours/week for x-years in a role you don't enjoy/is not exactly what you wanted to do with your life? Also, think about the next job after this one. What activities/accomplishments will you put on your resume? You want to put strategy related activities on your resume so you can find your next cool role (Corp Dev, role at another consulting firm).

McK Implementation was created to compete against the Big4/Accenture, etc. of the world and as the name implies...you will execute/implement the strategies created by the generalist/strategy consultants. I bet McK Implementation has a different compensation structure and different rate card. As you found out from your research...the hiring model is different. A lot more focus is on people who worked in industry roles/C-level roles and who have done implementation work. Don't get me wrong...if you want to learn how to execute strategy, implement performance improvement programs, etc. then McK Implementation is a good place to be. If you want to do Strategy consulting go with your Generalist offer. You will not regret it.

    • 1
Jan 4, 2019