Post MBA title, level and industry options????

marine13910's picture
Rank: Orangutan | 347

Quick question folks. Trying to figure out if it's possible for someone to start out at M, B, BCC post MBA at a higher level than typical MBA candidates. My rationale for the question is by the time I begin my MBA, I will have 6 years experience, mostly relatively transferable. I've managed to pull off very rapid promotions, each one in about half the standard time, made manager in 3 years, Senior Manager in 5 and likely will make Director right before MBA in ~ 6 years. Considering that, and the fact that most of my experience will transfer nicely to consulting, I feel as though it would almost be a step down to start as a typical post MBA track at M-B-BCG, coming out of industry at the director level already. Some would question why bother with MBA if i've already made Director level at a top 5 company in an innovative industry. Salary for typical post MBA consulting new joins isn't much better than the job held prior to MBA, if at all. However, I have military benefits that will pay for the entire MBA, and with a concurrent military track record, I believe my chances at a Harvard, Wharton, Stanford are very good and to pass on a chance to have that Harvard MBA on my resume for life is difficult to swallow.

So my question is, do these consulting firms ever start a new MBA hire at a slightly higher level, given more pre-MBA experience and attaining Director level. Also, can salary be negotiated at all? I feel as though I would have some peers with only a couple of years of experience, in some cases with no directly transferable experience at all and perhaps senior Analyst pre-MBA job. To me, it would defy logic to disregard someones pre-MBA level and experience and start everyone the same, though I believe that is the standard, similar to banking. Unlike banking, more directly transferable pre-MBA experience would seem to add much more value, and the leadership experience from the military side of my experience should speak to ability to lead a small consulting team/project sooner. Even in my civilian career, I was supervising small teams at the big 4 after a year. Has anyone seen this happen?

Second question is, i've heard that project staffing is based on nothing more than availability of staff, not alignment of staff based on their industry experience. In other words, almost all of my experience is in one industry, and I can add significantly more value on a consulting project in said industry vs another unrelated industry. But do the firms consider this when staffing projects? I don't mind working in other industries, but i'd like to do at least some work in Pharma where I have extensive knowledge, vs another industry where I know next to nothing. Any thoughts on this and how the big 3 staff projects?

My background for reference. 1.5 years big 4 audit covering Pharma industry. 1.5 years; Big 4 Transaction Services M&A Advisory; 2 years in corp finance at a top 5 Pharma Corporation , revenue forecasting for specific product line, very strategic role and purely finance (zero accounting), and most recently a move into Bus/Corp Development (Internal M&A and Strategy) at the same Company. Each move came with promotion, but I'm promised another promotion from Senior Manager to Director within 12 months of taking my most recent position.

I miss consulting, I very much enjoyed the lifestyle I had when I worked in Transaction Services, working on different clients, travel, working with a top notch team ect...and I might even be temped to stay in consulting for the long haul, hence my rational for going back to school and trying to enter the field. There is a certain feel working for a regular pubic company that I've just never been able to fully stomach. Talent levels vary much more widely compared with the team I worked with in TS, Corporations are flush with a ton of mediocre performing people who spend 10-15 years at the manager/senior manager level, which disgusts me. I need to be in a more competitive up or out type environment as only under those circumstances do I truly thrive. At the Vice President level of a Corporation, talent level is higher, and I can see myself going back at a higher level. Most significantly, the general lack of leadership experience and ability at the manager to Senior Director level of a Corporation drives me crazy. To see people with 15-20 years experience, god awful slow rate of promotions due to weak performance, and complete lack of regard for the motivation and careers of their subordinates, it all bothers me. While i've either been lucky or very good, I've also seen some very talented people stuck at Senior Analyst level to no fault of their own, only the lack of recognition by their respective supervisors who frankly aren't qualified to decide who should make the promotion cut and who shouldn't. I'm aware consulting is far from perfect, but can't possibly be as bad in this regard. I'd imagine promotions at the big 3 are more similar to what I experienced in public accounting or Advisory at the big 4, w a somewhat standard rate of promotion, and a smaller set of top performers and underperformers moving up faster or slower then the standard. Amazing how firms who's owners are directly impacted by their management competency operate so differently from Corporations, whose ranks are half filled with those seemingly just milking the stockholders returns without offering a value even close to commensurate with their high salaries.

Comments (7)

Best Response
Jun 23, 2015
marine13910:

I feel as though it would almost be a step down to start as a typical post MBA track at M-B-B

So don't.

So my question is, do these consulting firms ever start a new MBA hire at a slightly higher level, given more pre-MBA experience

Yes, but very rarely.

and attaining Director level.

No.

Corporations are flush with a ton of mediocre performing people who spend 10-15 years at the manager/senior manager level, which disgusts me.

And that's why.

Also, can salary be negotiated at all?

No.

To me, it would defy logic to disregard someones pre-MBA level and experience

Look, according to your username you were probably a Marine. I went to boot camp with kids who did JROTC in high school. What was that worth at MCRD? Absolutely nothing.

Similarly, your experience is (quite frankly) not that relevant. Director-level is not that impressive. It's where someone with 2 years at MBB who doesn't get promoted to PL/EM will go.

Second question is, i've heard that project staffing is based on nothing more than availability of staff, not alignment of staff based on their industry experience. In other words, almost all of my experience is in one industry, and I can add significantly more value on a consulting project in said industry vs another unrelated industry. But do the firms consider this when staffing projects?

Of course they do. The staffing folks aren't idiots. If you have relevant experience, and you want to leverage it, and there is work in that industry, then of course you can choose to do it. Having said that, your experience may be less relevant than you think it is.

    • 2
Jun 23, 2015

I'm in the financial industry so I don't know exactly how all of that translates. But from the other people I've met headed to Booth with me your experience does not seem unique for a top MBA. I wouldn't assume that you will be vastly more accomplished than your peers should you be accepted. This would be the case for all of the M7 + Tuck, not just H/S/W. You would also find comparable resumes in the rest of the top 15/20 but they would probably stand out more.

Again, I'm not sure it translates, but I was promoted 3 times in 3 years in finance (I'm in private wealth management at a large firm and manage investment portfolios for ultra high net worth clients) and was essentially a VP when I committed to b-school (as in, I was actually offered that fourth promotion to VP with the implied opportunity to run the first office in a new state but turned it down for Booth). VP in finance is much lower than in corporate, I'm not sure how it relates to your level. I was a top tier every performer across 3 teams in 3 states that I worked. I helped build a new office and have led the development of some firm wide enhancements. Four years of experience when I applied, five at matriculation. Plus 770 GMAT, CFA, CFP, very strong recs from very senior people who knew me well. I was dinged at H/S/W, got into Booth.

B-school is that competitive. There are a lot of very qualified people and not a lot of slots. You'll definitely have more experience than the mean but as I said, don't expect that you're going to be gracing a top program with your presence. You've got a strong resume and that is a good start. Now you need to succeed on the GMAT and recommendation letters. Your experience will be a boon recruiting post-MBA for consulting, but in that case, I still don't think you'll be that much different than those you're competing agains.

    • 2
Jun 24, 2015

You'd come in at typical Post-MBA role. Your experience isn't that unique or exceptional. The majority of candidates have 4+ years of work experience, and many have more. You definitely won't be the only person with Big4 experience. You definitely won't be the only person in reserves, and there are plenty with active duty experience.

For example, candidates with 8 years active duty, highly decorated/special forces etc would get a Post MBA role. Guys with 6 years B4 would come in Post MBA. Heck, people with MBB experience (2-3 years)+ industry experience (2-4 years) would STILL come in at Post MBA role even if they went BACK to the firm they were are at.

And you heard wrong about staffing. People said the same thing about assignments in the Corps, but most of us would admit that the monitors TRY to make your next assignment somewhere that aligns with your goals and abilities. MBB is much smaller and more personal, they are certainly going to give you the same courtesy. Except that staffing professionals at MBB aren't career bureaucrats, so they have the actual ability to make things happen.

    • 2
Jun 27, 2015

The only way you'd come in at a higher than newly minted MBA level is if you were lateraling from industry or another firm with a few years of post MBA experience.

Aug 14, 2016

Here's a few members of my start class at MBB:

  • A CEO of a startup (now a household name) which was acquired for >$500M
  • A doctor who headed a major metro hospital department
  • A double science PhD who won some award from the President or other
  • A freshly minted 23 year old law grad, who just finished her JD with no work experience

What did we all have in common? We all started at the same level with the same pay.

Jun 29, 2015

Good post.

OP: you won't stand out in your MBB class (should you get a job in the first place). You'l have people ranging from Seal Team Leaders to those with 10 years of specific industry experience to those with 7+ years of management consulting experience.

That being said, it'll be a nice advantage if you want to do pharma work, and you'll likely hit the ground running on those cases. Learning industry dynamics is one part of initial whirlwind of info you get on a case, so if you have that down, it'll be helpful (I sure wish I had it on my case this summer...).

Jun 29, 2015
Comment