Messed up final round MBB, now picking from Roland Berger, ZS, Cornerstone Research, and F500s

Hi everyone, I'm having trouble deciding what the best option is moving forward and wanted some help.

I recently was rejected after final rounds at MBB, and now I'm picking between offers from Roland Berger in the US, ZS in Canada, economic consulting Cornerstone Research in SF, and F500 CPG brand manager type roles.

While I know goals can change, for now my goal is still MBB consulting.

So my decision criteria between these options primarily revolves around exit opportunities. Whether re-applying to MBB directly, or trying to get into a top 7 / top 15 MBA and trying to recruit again.

Any thoughts between these option?

  1. Roland Berger in US
  2. ZS Associates in Canada
  3. Cornerstone Research in SF
  4. F500 CPG brand manager type roles

Appreciate your help and thanks in advance.

Region: 
Canada

Comments (14)

Oct 7, 2018

I'm in a somewhat similar position and my recommendation is to go with Cornerstone if you can wait till after MBA to reapply to MBB. Cornerstone is the top shop in economic consulting and places really well into B-school (H/S/W is definitely possible), which means you'll have plenty of chances to reapply later.

Can't speak for other options but I'd imagine if you want to lateral to MBB, Roland Berger and F500 CPG can give you some cool relevant work experience.

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Oct 8, 2018

Awesome, thanks for your input. Judging by what you're saying--are you noticing e.g. RB having weaker applications to MBA? I think for me, lateral to MBB might be more important than MBA. I thought of MBA as another chance if anything.

Oct 10, 2018

The way I think about it is that in management consulting, you have MBB which place extremely well into top MBA programs such as H/S/W and then you have T2 which place more into the lower M7 and T15. RB falls into T2 in this sense. Similarly for econ consulting, you have the tier 1 which are AG/Cornerstone/NERA/CRA which place extremely well into the top programs.

If your goal is to lateral, I would imagine RB could give you a better chance (would still require tremendous amount of networking to get your foot in the door, however). The path of least resistance to get into MBB after undergrad is obviously post B-school, but of course not everyone wants to get MBA, so to each their own.

Oct 7, 2018

Don't know much about Cornerstone but it'll pin you to econ consulting. RB is strong in Europe and I'm assuming by now quite decent in the US. ZS is a strong HC name is Europe and NA so you can't go wrong with them. My suggestion is before you choose see how strong RB has become in the US.

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Oct 8, 2018

Beautiful--thanks for your opinion. I appreciate it.

In terms of gauging how strong RB is in the US now, how might I go about doing that? E.G. What are the questions / metrics I'd want to figure out.

Oct 8, 2018

One way I would do this is seeing in LinkedIn where RB people in the US have gone in terms of next companies or MBA schools. Should give you an idea of how prestigious it has become or at least what the exit opps are. Go back about 5 years max and see from then until now

Oct 8, 2018

This is simply not true, Econ consulting to top MBA to MBB or big tech is a completely doable and well trodden path. None of the top econ consulting firms will pigeonhole you in Econ consulting- in fact, the majority of junior employees in Econ consulting leave after 2-3 years and go on to MBA/PHD/law school and consistently place in top 5 grad programs across the board. All top MBA programs will have info sessions at CR/AG/NERA/CRA and the data and coding literacy you acquire is becoming increasingly valued at management consulting firms. If the above poster has never heard of Cornerstone then he/she definitely doesn't know enough about the industry to claim that you'll be pigeonholed. MBB is 100% in reach after starting at cornerstone.

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Oct 9, 2018

Of course they are present at MBA career fairs and of course people from them end up at MBB but you're really trying to tell me that specific Econ Consulting only firms like Cornerstone, Compass Lexicon, FTI and NERA feed better into MBB than RB or ZS? I seriously doubt that and it can be confirmed with a Linkedin search. Other firms like CRA have in-house strategy consulting teams for industries like healthcare and energy hence why they manage to place pretty well in MBB too (mainly for the US) and also have Marakon. If you don't believe me try to find how many people from CRAs competition economics, financial and economic consulting or regulatory and economic compliance teams end up in MBB. Both feed to MBB, one just much better than the other in the same way that both MC and IB feed into PE/VC but IB does a much better job of it.

EDIT: even if Cornerstone and other econ consulting firms place into MBB, overall globally RB is a much bigger name (in general and in the eyes of MBB) than Cornerstone is. Remember cornerstone is an 8 office firm with 1 European office whilst RB has over 45 offices with 4 in North America. Whilst the prestige it has there isn't close to its European prestige I think a 1-2 year stint in a US office then a 1-2 year stint in a European office followed by an MBB Europe application would be easier to land than via Cornerstone. I'm not trying to shit on Cornerstone because ultimately the final job decision is the OPs but I'm just saying value everything. If the OP plans on spending their entire career in the US then this argument may not apply but even then I would do 1 year at RB USA, move to a better known T2 firm in the US like LEK and then go for US MBB.

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Oct 10, 2018

I won't argue about which option is better but economic consulting is an industry very specific to the US so your point about RB having a more global presence is pretty redundant.

Oct 12, 2018

Whilst the prestige it has there isn't close to its European prestige I think a 1-2 year stint in a US office then a 1-2 year stint in a European office followed by an MBB Europe application would be easier to land than via Cornerstone.

In other words, I should explore the opportunities to move to EU long-term as much as possible. I can line up some chats with people and/or partners from the US offices and ask about this (I'd be wary of seeming disinterested or wanting to jump ship though.)

Also, apparently some of the consultants in their years 2-3 have been approached by McKinsey and BCG to be poached.

Most Helpful
Nov 5, 2018
The Pharma Guy:

Of course they are present at MBA career fairs and of course people from them end up at MBB but you're really trying to tell me that specific Econ Consulting only firms like Cornerstone, Compass Lexicon, FTI and NERA feed better into MBB than RB or ZS? I seriously doubt that and it can be confirmed with a Linkedin search. Other firms like CRA have in-house strategy consulting teams for industries like healthcare and energy hence why they manage to place pretty well in MBB too (mainly for the US) and also have Marakon. If you don't believe me try to find how many people from CRAs competition economics, financial and economic consulting or regulatory and economic compliance teams end up in MBB. Both feed to MBB, one just much better than the other in the same way that both MC and IB feed into PE/VC but IB does a much better job of it.

EDIT: even if Cornerstone and other econ consulting firms place into MBB, overall globally RB is a much bigger name (in general and in the eyes of MBB) than Cornerstone is. Remember cornerstone is an 8 office firm with 1 European office whilst RB has over 45 offices with 4 in North America. Whilst the prestige it has there isn't close to its European prestige I think a 1-2 year stint in a US office then a 1-2 year stint in a European office followed by an MBB Europe application would be easier to land than via Cornerstone. I'm not trying to shit on Cornerstone because ultimately the final job decision is the OPs but I'm just saying value everything. If the OP plans on spending their entire career in the US then this argument may not apply but even then I would do 1 year at RB USA, move to a better known T2 firm in the US like LEK and then go for US MBB.

The people I worked with in economic consulting had a pretty diverse set of career interests--tech, MBB, non-profit, academia, big data--and they pursued a number of different grad options to get there.

If the original poster wants to lateral to MBB without an MBA, he should clearly go to RB, since RB is very similar to MBB. But post-MBA? I don't think that Cornerstone vs. RB would matter too much.

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Nov 5, 2018
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