Should I move from Oliver Wyman to BCG?

I've been with Oliver Wyman FS for the past couple years. Recently I was approached by BCG, went to interview, and receive an offer. The pay is around the same. BCG has slightly more interesting work, but generally it's pretty much the same job. I've build up quite a good network and reputation in OW. Moving over to BCG would present a big uncertainty. Do you think the incremental brand value and potentially better exit ops are worth the risks?

Comments (20)

Jun 28, 2018

depends on what you want to do post consulting

is it a promotion as well?

if you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you'll be successful

Jun 28, 2018

They are offering equivalent of the position that I know I will be promoted to next year. So it's essentially the same.

Post-consulting I'm open to opportunities but are currently looking at either VC type thing or maybe the corporate side of fintech partnerships. I have some background in asset management and risk management.

Jun 28, 2018

..

Jun 28, 2018

If I was you, I'd ask my family, colleagues, friends, network, not a bunch of students/recent graduates.

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Jun 28, 2018

Done all that. Mixed responses. Just trying to get a few more perspectives here.

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Jun 28, 2018

If you want to stay on the corporate side of fintech or generally in that field OW isn't a bad place to stay. The move to BCG makes sense if you also want to work in more sectors (assuming you mainly do finance consulting at OW)

Jun 28, 2018

Are you pre- or Post-MBA? I heard OW is quite open to promoting people without MBAs, and seems to also have a lot of young partners (at least from what I've seen / been exposed to).

I'm not in consulting, but how secure is your promotion to the next level if you move to BCG vs staying on at OW and getting promoted? Is a year at BCG enough time for them to assess whether they will promote you or not? That's something to consider because if they don't provide some guarantee (and those are really just verbal anyway), you may need to wait longer than a year. And, you need to reestablish goodwill at BCG, and is one year enough time for that?

The other thing is, when do you want to make the next jump. If it's within two years, maybe you can just stay at OW and make the jump directly. If you go to BCG, you'll need to stay there at least a year before considering another move. If it's corporate side of fintech or VC (where it's fintech focused), I don't see any additional value from BCG vs OW that warrants needing to reestablish goodwill and possible uncertainty on promotion given you'd be the new guy coming in.

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Jun 28, 2018

I'm getting a post-MBA position. Promotion is definitely a bit slower at BCG, so I'm really weighing between that and the incremental benefits in terms of project quality and better exit options at BCG. BCG has a startup incubator (Digital Ventures) and VC fund (B Capital) which I think may provide interesting future optionality.

Jun 28, 2018

What's the actual connection between B Capital group? Was it formed by BCG and considered independent (kind of like how Bain Capital has ties to Bain, became separate but still has informal ties to the firm)?

Did B Capital Group or the digital incubator team discussion come up in interviews, or anything about how easy it is to transfer over?

Jun 28, 2018

I know someone who just did this and I know a fair amount of people at both firms.

Honestly, one factor to consider is whether BCG is already thinking of putting you in their Financials practice. If so, I'd stay at OW - OW's the best at that, and BCG isn't 2nd best.

To illustrate my point in the other direction: I knew someone who was at IG in OW, and moving over to IG at BCG made a ton of sense, for the same reasons.

But yes, it's the same job, same way of doing things, just different acronyms and yes, BCG's wow factor is at another level (irrelevant if you're staying in the Financial Services side). BCG is also a noticeably more mature institution, so it depends if you prefer established processes vs flexibility.

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Jun 28, 2018

They are hiring me specifically for financial services due to my background. Is BCG that much worse in terms of financials practice? From what I heard OW is of course better for risks and analytics, but for other things like digital banking, retail banking, insurtech, they are probably on par?

Jul 6, 2018

On a global scale, BCG would be better, hands down. If you're talking only NY or London, OW is probably ahead. So you need to examine your precise personal situation here.

Jun 28, 2018

It's BCG; they do practically everything well. But it's always nice to be at the market leader, right? And in FS that's OW, no?

Jun 28, 2018

One additional thing to factor in is the circumstances around you being hired. Given BCG approached you, my guess is there is a particular need for your skill-set at that office (or possibly firm-wide). For instance, they may have a lot of upcoming FS projects in the pipeline and/or looking to build their FS practice.

If this is the case, it could lead to a lot of great opportunities for you as you'd be helping build the firm's client base and [presumably] working on a lot of great projects.

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Jul 5, 2018

BCG easily. The exit opps are incredible; you can pretty much do whatever you want afterwards.

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Jul 5, 2018

I think the best way to assess this is to imagine BCG was Deloitte or some other firm without the cache of the name. If you would still make the move then do it, otherwise don't. Prestige to me has less and less allure over time, especially since I have seen it doesn't have a really strong correlation to compensation and success.

As much as people love prestige in the consulting world, the reality is there are top-notch professionals at every major consulting firm and you can carve out great exit opportunities almost anywhere if you have the motivation and performance to back it up.

As an example, some of the best exit opps I have seen at my firm FTI are drop-in operational improvement roles for PE firms, C-level roles at middle market portfolio companies and other interesting roles that don't have any real cache or prestige behind them but still are really great seven figure exits.

I would ask yourself if there are any doors you are closing for yourself by remaining in the FS practice at OW that would be opened by moving to BCG. If it's just about the prestige of having BCG on your resume, I would think hard about whether that is worth giving up the network and the rep you have built at your current firm and with current clients.

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Jul 5, 2018

Much has been said about this already, so I'll just add something I recently considered while handling a similar employment crossroads. Think about your ultimate goal - whether that means exiting to start a business, to buy a business, or to do anything else. I'm talking about your long-term success measure when you consider whether your time as someone else's employee was worthwhile. Does the move to BCG get you significantly further in that respect? Is the gain from the move worth giving up what may currently be a happy life that will let you arrive at that point anyway? There are plenty of people who obsess over what may ultimately be meaningless; make sure you aren't one of them.

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Jul 6, 2018
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