Spent 3 Years at MBB - Ask Me Anything

petergibbons's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,410

Hello Monkeys - I'm heading into my last week at MBB, and need something to do besides pack up my apartment. Ask away and I'll be happy to answer.

My Bio: I have spent the last 3 years at a mid-sized MBB office in the US. I studied Economics at a top liberal arts college without formal MBB recruiting, so I know what it's like to break in from outside a target school. I had a pretty active role in recruiting undergrads, so I can speak intelligently about the process and what I looked for. Most of my work has been in consumer/retail, but I've dabbled enough to know what kind of work we do in other practice areas as well.

In terms of my day-to-day responsibilities, they've evolved from just "owning the model" to include managing client relationships with Directors and Senior Managers, and starting to manage more junior team members, essentially I've taken on the responsibilities you'd expect someone approaching the first "manager" role to have.

I'm headed to a MM PE firm this fall, so happy to discuss why I took that route vs. business school, which is what the majority of my classmates are doing.

Comments (179)

Jun 22, 2013

What's next? B-school? New job?

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Jun 22, 2013

Has it been a fulfilling job?

Jun 22, 2013

Definitely. The people (both co-workers and clients) have been impressive to work with on a day-to-day basis, I've solved some really interesting problems, learned a ton that makes me very marketable, and made decent coin.

Jun 22, 2013

New job, PE. Wanted to try something different.

Jun 22, 2013

Hi petergibbons,

In you opinion, does a 2-3 stint in MBB actually add value compared to starting out in industry right away? In other words, if one is good enough to get into MBB, couldn't he or she start out as fast-riser in a Fortune 50 and end up in more or less the same place after 3 years?

Also, where are you going now?

BTW, great user name for a great poster!

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Jun 22, 2013

Are we talking pre-MBA, or post-MBA? I think the answer is yes, but for slightly different reasons.

I don't know that many people who were serious about their careers coming out of undergrad who started in industry. Those that I know that were MBB-level talent definitely have risen fast at F50-type companies. However, MBB is a good bet pre-MBA because it helps you keep your options open and because of the pull with B-schools, etc. Fewer pre-MBA folks leave for industry, and those that do end up in some plum spots (tech companies with great brands, top strategy groups, etc).

Post-MBA I think the brand is still helpful, but if you went to a top b-school, and really know what you're passionate about, then I think going F50 could make sense. However, because more of the top caliber people at clients I've worked for have taken the consulting path first, it's hard for me to say what a strong performer who started in industry's career trajectory really looks like. To a certain degree you really are waiting for your boss to get promoted or fired.

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Jun 22, 2013

What's the turnover been like and have there been any lateral hires? Which level along the hierarchy seems to enjoy the job the most and least? Are there solid exit opps for post-MBA hires?

Jun 22, 2013

Turnover ebbs and flows, but about 3/4 of my start class of pre-MBAs are either headed to B-school this year, have already gone to B-school, or left the company. I'd guess about half of the post-MBAs I've started with have left or are leaving as well. An average career length is probably 2-3 years.

Definitely have been lateral hires at all levels, largely from tier 2 firms. Sometimes a partner will come over, and then people that worked for them will follow, sometimes it's just random connections (i.e. someone's younger sibling).

I think middle management (EMs/PLs/CTLs) historically has the lowest career satisfaction, largely because they're going through a pretty big adjustment in terms of their day-to-day. I think partners probably enjoy the job the most, I'd be happy too if I made a mil per year.

In terms of exit opps after 2-3 years post-MBA, you're looking at a senior manager or junior director-type role, depending on the size of the company you're going to, your performance, etc. It's much easier to get the 50 hour a week F500 job than finance when you're post-MBA, but the pay is good and the hours better than the role you leave. I know a couple people who've struggled to find "prestigious" roles post-MBA, but most folks I know have ended up either at industry-leading companies with great brands, or slightly higher up the ladder at smaller companies/location is a factor/etc.

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Jun 22, 2013

Any tips/advice for freshmen undergrads (at targets) pursuing the consulting track?

And the horse you rode in on

Jun 22, 2013

Focus on your grades, major in econ/business/STEM or at least take some classes in those areas, and read the WSJ.

Jun 22, 2013

hi OP, thanks for doing this.. i have a couple of questions

1) in your observation, what are some of the leading factors that so many of MBB folks leave the company in just 2-3 years? are they leaving voluntarily, or are many of them being asked to leave?

2) for post MBA MBB associates, do they have strong exit potential into high end PE shops? Or, are most of post MBA MBB associates' exit ops into industry, into roles such as corp strategy or corp dev?

3) I work at a 2nd/3rd tier consulting firm now, doing operational consulting. in the case I go to a top mba program, will my pre-mba experience be a disadvantage when I apply for MBB job?

4) given that I am at a top 10-ish mba, what are some factors MBB use to scren resumes before deciding who gets interviews at OCR? What I am kind of worried about is my low gpa from college. Even if I go to a top MBA program in future, will MBB care that my gpa from college wasn't up to their standards?

Thanks in advance.

Jun 22, 2013

1) The debate about what is a voluntary move vs. not is always a common one. I think the majority of people leave on their own accord, but even some voluntary attrition is because people see the writing on the wall. It's a tough job, and 2-3 years is enough to move you along significantly.

2) I've never seen someone who started at MBB with an MBA exit to PE. Most post-MBA folks exit to industry, a few to entrepreneurship, and a few go to boutique consulting-type places.

3) Plenty of our partners were pre-MBA at places like Accenture and Deloitte, so no, that is definitely not a disadvantage, provided you get that top MBA.

4) Just network with the consultants who come to campus, attending events and being memorable is huge for post-MBA that plus pre-MBA consulting experience should definitely get you an interview if you're at a school with MBB recruiting. Undergrad GPA is a secondary or tertiary concern if you have the top MBA, solid GMAT, display interest, and have pre-MBA experience is a big plus.

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Jun 22, 2013

1 do you actually only work 50-60 hours?

2 post grad Mbb to auto industry.. Ever see it?

3 where do ems who don't make it to the next level usually go to?

Jun 22, 2013

1) Hours are really case-dependent, but for the last 6 months, I've probably averaged 55-60. I'd say my total 3 year average is probably just north of 60.

2) Not personally, but many of them are clients, so I don't see why not. There isn't much auto industry near my office so it'd be a pretty big geographic move.

3) A lot of attrition I've seen at that level has been voluntary, i.e. people who got promoted to EM 6-12 months ago, didn't like it, and figured it was a good jumping off point. Generally people go to F500, but some folks withdraw from corporate life for a bit.

In terms of title, people are more likely to end up a Director than Senior Manager, but I've seen some people leave before EM and become Directors, and EMs become Senior Managers. Depends on the org and the person.

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Jun 22, 2013

1. For the pre-MBA analysts that got the offer for B-school sponsorship, roughly what % declined it because they were sure they didn't want to go back to MBB, but still ended up going to B-school on their own money or seek financial aid?

2. Did the people who left MBB after

Thanks!

Jun 22, 2013

Not many people I know left before 2 years and then applied to school. People who left after 2-3 years have all gone M7 if applying to B-School, with HBS getting about half.

At least my firm gives you some flexibility about when you accept sponsorship; the majority of people take it right off, some have the offer, go to school, and have to decide down the road. I know some people who went either way on that decision.

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Jun 22, 2013

1. What was your favorite part of the job?

2. If you go back, would you do it all over again?

Jun 22, 2013

Anytime a case you work on has implications for the general public, gets mentioned in the WSJ, or is something you can see as an average consumer is pretty cool.

I would definitely do it over again; I am very glad I chose consulting over banking.

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Jun 22, 2013

On these boards, it seems that most find MBB -> PE to be a harder transition than IBD -> PE. How was the transition for you? Did you feel that you were at a disadvantage?

Jun 22, 2013

When you say transition, do you mean finding a position? If so, then yes, only because your universe of funds you can go to is much more limited. But it's not like I felt like I was at a disadvantage to people with an IB background...we weren't interviewing for the same job. Just not the frame of reference to have.

I have friends who haven't been able to find PE jobs from MBB, just like there are people who don't from IB.

In terms of doing the actual job, I haven't started yet, so hard to say. I'm spending some of my summer trying to build more finance knowledge, but since my classmates are ex-consultants, I don't think I'll be at an extreme disadvantage.

Jun 23, 2013

What would you say are the most important skills required to excel in MBB consulting (Post MBA roles)? Is it more of salesman/communication skills like banking, or analytical skills?

Also would like more details on Post MBA exits 2~4 years post MBB into industry, because my goal is to be a F500 executive. Do they exit into mostly Corp Strat/Dev sr manager/director roles, or are there other options such as operations/finance/marketing and etc?

Jun 23, 2013

It helps to either be really good at analytics or presentations in your first couple years post-MBA; you need to be good at both to get promoted. Then things like relationship building and project management become more important.

Exits are possible to all parts of the org; go on LinkedIn and search people who had the post-MBA title and left MBB and see what they're doing now.

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Jun 23, 2013
petergibbons:

Not many people I know left before 2 years and then applied to school. People who left after 2-3 years have all gone M7 if applying to B-School, with HBS getting about half.

At least my firm gives you some flexibility about when you accept sponsorship; the majority of people take it right off, some have the offer, go to school, and have to decide down the road. I know some people who went either way on that decision.

Thanks petergibbons! Sorry to keep pushing on the B-School point but you're actually the perfect person to ask!

I understand that with MBB analysts you can

1) Apply to B-School fairly early whilst the sponsorship offer hasn't been extended yet...and apply with about 1.5 years experience

OR

2) Can get the sponsorship offer and then apply sometime in the next couple of years (with more like 2.5-3.5 years of experience at application... often your years at MBB + some other experience, like PE in your case)

From what you've seen - is it easier to get into the H/S/W (vs. the rest of the M7) if you hold off for another year - with that bit more experience and/or non-MBB work experience? Conversely, is it pretty hard to get into your school of choice if you're on the inexperienced end of the MBB applicant pool?

Cheers!

Jun 23, 2013

Small sample size, but applying with 2.5 years experience and enrolling with 3 seems to be the sweet spot.

Extension of sponsorship may happen at different times depending on the firm, my friends who applied R2 in their 2nd year found out about sponsorship just before they got admission decisions.

I know very few people who didn't get into one of H/S/W; those that go somewhere else do so for location and/or program preferences (i.e. more Chicago people want to stay there and go to Kellogg, s/o is in NYC so you take Columbia over Wharton)

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Jun 23, 2013

Thanks so much for starting this thread, great resource.

For those that you said made the move to your firm from a second tier firm:

Do you know how much time they had spent at the 2nd tier firms before making the switch to yours?

Any second tier firms stand out (as in seem to have higher placement to MBB)?

Also, congrats on your new job! Any idea if making the jump to PE from a 2nd tier consulting firm is possible? I'm guessing it is a long shot, but wasn't sure if you would have more insight on this. Thanks

Jun 23, 2013

It really depends on what type of practice the MBB office is trying to build out. We were trying to increase public sector work, and ops/supply chain work, so we took a bunch of people from ATK. I've worked for a couple Deloitte laterals as well, who came over after 5-8 years. Our office has taken people with 2 years of tier 2 experience, and people with 10 years.

The jump from a tier 2 firm is possible, I know many funds that have interviewed and hired people from non-MBB firms before (think OW, LEK, Parthenon). Odds are longer, but if you're willing to go to a smaller fund, and have directly relevant project experience, it can be done.

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Jun 23, 2013

Great thread!

I am starting in Big4 Audit but would like to move to consulting after a year or two.

I know its tough for auditor to move around cause they are pretty much labelled "Accountant/Auditor". But from your experience, how is Big4 Audit perceived in consulting and have you seen any one from audit move into consulting in your or similar firms?

Jun 23, 2013

I've only seen it happen with a B-school rebranding. If you can get into a top 10-15 MBA, then you've got a shot.

Jun 23, 2013

peter, thanks for the previous response. If you don't mind, I have a few more questions:

1) You mention the importance of giving good impression to recruiters on MBA campus, provided that I attend an MBA where MBB recruit. Could you elaborate on the level of sufficient/ effective 'networking' you are thinking here? Do I need to call up alumni, cold-email, cold call, do all these 'heavy' networking prior to when OCR interview on campus begins, or do you mean just walking up to the on campus MBB presenters after their presentations, giving them a copy of my resume, asking them intelligent/ sincere questions, and just 'schmoozing' with those folks? Also, in terms of MBB deciding whom to give interviews to at MBA programs, who are in charge? Are the on-campus MBB recruiters/ presenters in charge of sorting through MBA student resumes?

2) Provided that someone is interested in pursuing a long-term career in MBB (not looking jumping ship into industry after 2-3 years at MBB), how hard is it to make it to Manager level? From then on, how hard does it get to make it to principal level, then up to partner? What are the estimated probability/ competition/ odds that someone maybe looking at getting promoted to next level, extracting the sample that voluntarily leave MBB? I guess my question is, amongst the pool that wants to stick out at MBB, what % get promoted to EM level, Principal level, and so on?

3) What is the typical range of salary for those who exit into industry after MBA, who were at MBB for 2-3 years? How about the salary level for those who exit at engagement manager level?

4) How is the travel? At my current firm, I basically have to travel 100 % of the time, and have not much of a say in which project I will get staffed to. At MBB, do you have more 'autonomy' or discretion in choosing a project/ location?

5) I heard that for MBA recruiting at MBB, certain offices are harder to get (nyc, or SF for example) Is it possible that someone gets an offer at MBB at a 'less' competitive office (such as Miami, Philly) work there 2-3 years, and move to a more 'desirable' city/ office?

I know that these are many questions, so thanks a lot in advance.

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Jun 24, 2013

1) At my firm, consulting staff are pretty involved in deciding who gets interviews. Heavy-handed networking isn't a great idea IMO, just be friendly, ask a lot of question, hell, showing up for events is a good start.

2) I bet this is firm-dependent, and year-dependent. If you're growing at double digits, then you can keep more people around. I would say EM to Principal is the easiest promotion, Principal to Partner the hardest, Associate to EM in the middle. I'd say maybe ~60% of Associates become EMs.

3) I don't have a ton of data here, but after 2-3 years, you can pretty much exit to a role with similar/slightly lower pay as in your current role but fewer hours, instead of getting promoted and making more. Would imagine it's the same for EMs. So maybe ~$140-$160 + bonus as a range for Associates moving to industry, ~$175-$200 + higher bonus for EMs.

4) Discretion comes with performance. If you're good, you build a network, people want to staff you, and you don't rely on your staffer to make you billable. If you're mediocre, you have much less say.

5) It's possible, but not guaranteed. I've heard of interns getting their offer moved to one of those cities, and I know people who have made the move, but I know others who have been waiting for awhile for a similar move, or were straight-up turned down, which seems dumb to me, given how little our home office really means on a day-to-day basis.

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Jun 23, 2013

Thanks for doing this, tons of great insight.

Jun 23, 2013

Thanks a lot for the help. Just another quick question: You mentioned that Partners have the most job satisfaction- however, I read someone say that consulting lifestyle/hours gets worse (travel to 2~3 cities per week) as you move up the ranks, whereas banking lifestyle gets better as you move up towards MD. What did you observe? Do they have decent work life balance?

Jun 24, 2013

You're not wrong, but the fact of the matter is that you wouldn't stay that long if there wasn't something keeping you here. From an absolute perspective, the $ gap between what you'd make in industry and as a partner is larger than at any other level, obviously. You may be in 2-3 cities per week, but you also have more control over your schedule; obviously you can't say no as strongly to clients who ask you to be on-site as you can to your team, but many clients don't expect significant partner face time, which gives you an extra day per week working from the home office, seeing your kids, etc. In terms of hours, I don't think the ramp down is quite as aggressive as in IB, but you're starting from a lower base.

I also think pre-MBA job satisfaction is pretty high. The perks make up a bigger share of your overall paycheck, you don't generally have an SO and family at home to miss, and the pay/advancement/exit ops are stronger on a relative basis than for post-MBA, in my opinion.

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Jun 24, 2013

What case prep tools do you suggest are most helpful? At the moment I plan on using LOMS, the Vault/Wetfeet guides, and perhaps MBA casebooks for practice...

Also, besides networking with current consultants and practicing case prep and keeping up with business news, what else do you recommend to be successful in getting an offer (out of undergrad)?

Jun 24, 2013

Vault was ok, MBA casebooks are better, Case in Point is the industry standard. I don't think you need to pay for LOMS but it depends on your level of competence after you get through more accessible tools, I guess.

All the things you mentioned are important once you get into the recruiting process and should put you in a good spot. I really don't think there were too many additional things I did beyond that list when preparing for interviews. Obviously, grades and campus leadership/involvement are important to get to that point.

Jun 24, 2013

Hey man,

First and foremost, thanks a ton for doing this. Really picking up a lot of insight here. I just have 2 questions that I'd appreciate regarding getting the interview.

1) Is it more useful to network with alums that are at the analyst level, since they are likely the ones to be reading your resume? Or is it more helpful when an associate/manager drops your resume off to HR? Although MBB recruits at my school, Booz & Co. doesn't for some reason so I had a manager forward my resume to HR for summer internship recruiting. I actually ended up not getting an interview with Booz, even though I got interviews with 2 out of MBB.

2) If you got an interview for summer internship recruiting (through OCR) but didn't get past the 1st round, are you remembered at all when it comes for full-time recruiting if you did pretty well in the interviews? I know that I'm not "on the list" b/c I've gotten e-mails from firms that I got to the 2nd round with asking to keep in touch, but I was wondering how heavily I would have to network with firms that I had previously gotten interviews with.

Thanks!

Jun 24, 2013

1) Someone a bit more junior may be more likely to remember you at a networking event; usually there are many Analysts and only 1 or 2 managers, so it's easier for the Analyst. We're encouraged to send feedback about noteworthy candidates to recruiting (positive and negative); having a couple Analysts speak up for you can definitely contribute to getting you an interview. I had a post-MBA pass my resume along, but that's primarily because there were no Analysts from my school at most of the places I applied. And I got interviews with all of MBB but not Deloitte or Booz; don't take it personally.

2) Yes, you're remembered, and there's a database / paper trail to remember you by, good or bad. If you got any feedback, definitely address it because it's probably in the system and your next set of interviewers will test you on it.

Jun 25, 2013

Great. Thanks for the detailed response. Just 2 more follow-up questions to that:

1) Assuming your GPA has stayed similar (same tenths) and have a good summer internship, should you generally get an interview for full-time if you received one for internship recruiting? Obviously there is no guarantee but was wondering if I could get an insider's perspective.

2) What does MBB consider as good experience for junior summer? Obviously IB/consulting is best, but I can't imagine there are tons of candidates who have that experience, especially since consulting takes so few summers. Same with corporate strategy. I've heard that MBB loves big brand name companies like Microsoft/Google/GE/Amazon....is that true?

Thanks again for your help; I really appreciate it!

Jun 25, 2013

1) Unless you really bombed your interview or pissed someone off, I don't see why not. If it was just a matter of needing more practice/polish, then you should be okay.

2) There's a mix, a lot of people have some boutique finance experience, a decent amount of STEM candidates with lab experience, some public sector, as well as big brand names.I'd say maybe 25% of pre-MBAs I know had IB/consulting experience coming in. Frankly, I don't think it matters a ton if you're an undergrad; it's a few points in your favor but not having a brand won't be held against you too strongly.

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Jun 25, 2013

Could you talk about why you chose to move on to PE instead of going to B-School and coming back to pursue the track to Partner?

Jun 25, 2013

Short answer is that I haven't made that call for sure yet - returning after B-School is still on the table, and I'm sure I could get hired by pretty much any consulting firm I wanted. I think I'd like being a manager, but not sure I'd like the sales aspect of being a Partner.

My thinking on b-school has changed over time; I'm not sure it's necessary for career success, so I figured I'd save it for when I was really burned out, or when I knew I what I wanted to do long term (especially if it requires a career switch). I applied to HBS and GSB 2 years ago and didn't get in, so having some more time and another job under my belt won't hurt if I reapply.

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Jun 25, 2013

How did you go about making the switch from PE? Were you contacted by a headhunter or did you network through your consulting firms alum? Thanks a lot

Jun 26, 2013

Headhunter; didn't want to make noise about potentially leaving until I had something lined up

Jun 25, 2013

how is the reputation of someone in MBB operations consulting? exits relative to strategy consulting?

Jun 26, 2013

Not sure if I fully understand your question; do you mean someone who gets staffed on ops cases vs. strategy cases?

Jun 25, 2013

Thanks for doing this...

1) What proportion of projects at your firm would you say are back office, non-customer/core business related (e.g., improving finance processes), or PMO. In other words, what proportion of projects are the boring/mindless type that analysts try to avoid?

2) Along the same lines, can you give any examples of common types of projects at your firm?

I'm trying to get a sense of how things compare vs. tier 2 firms. I know there's some info available through google searches, but sometimes that's inaccurate or misleading.

Jun 26, 2013

1) Maybe 10-15% max; I've never done either.
2) I've worked on a growth strategy and executing the first 90 days of quick hits to fund some longer term initiatives, pricing and promo effectiveness, cost of goods reduction / negotiation support. Sales force effectiveness is pretty common as well, but I've never done one.

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Jun 26, 2013

Coming out of UGrad, is the 3.7 GPA a hard cut-off to get an interview? Can someone with around a say, 3.5, get an interview without having a big-time connection or OUTSTANDING credentials in other aspects?

Jun 26, 2013

Are you an Engineer at MIT or a history major at Princeton? 3.5 is less likely a dealbreaker without great credentials or strong connection if it's in a STEM field from a top top school.

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Jun 26, 2013

Firstly, congrats on your new job :)

My questions are:
- Does MBB like people from Google?
- If you could pick a Google role or MBB consulting or IBD (out of undergrad) which would you pick and why?
- Are undergrads with quantitative majors (think maths/stats/finance type stuff) disadvantaged vs management/econ students?
- Does all the travelling not run you down?

Jun 26, 2013

1) Google is a great brand, one of many you could get if you were thinking about moving to consulting post-MBA (I think that's the question you were insinuating)
2) MBB. I had an offer from a Google-type company one year in and turned it down, and I turned down IB for MBB. I think the skillset you gain in MBB is better for someone starting their career and isn't sure what they want to do in 5 years, which was definitely me.
3) You need to be well-rounded...not sure why you'd be disadvantaged.
4) It can suck, but there are ways to make it easier. If you don't mind flying on Sunday evening, you can avoid the early Monday wakeups. It's definitely something I'm excited to be doing less of, but not something that would keep me from coming back to my firm.

Jun 26, 2013

About what percent of pre-MBA consultants get MBA sponsorship? I've heard over the years this number has been reduced due to the financial crisis

Jun 26, 2013

Think this is really firm dependent, just as how likely you are to get directly promoted from pre-MBA role to a post-MBA role to manager without an MBA. Haven't seen it go down much at my firm the last 3 years.

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Jun 26, 2013

Do you ever see any MSFs or graduates of other one-year programs in consulting? Could you give some advice for breaking in from a non-target (other than networking)?

Jun 26, 2013

Yeah, a couple people per year of the Duke/UVA MS in business programs, as well as top public policy (those are 1 year, right?)

Jun 26, 2013

Does IBD -> MBB happen after 2-3 years at a top BB? I could see how someone would want to gain more operational experience before jumping to Business school / PE / Entrepreneurship, specially in places with less formal recruiting practices such as Europe...

Jun 26, 2013

Can't speak for Europe. If you wanted real operational experience, you'd just go to corporate though, right? MBB is definitely more operational than IB, but at the end of the day, I rarely own all the implementation mechanics. And no, I've never seen anyone come directly from an FT IB job to an FT MBB job. Though I don't see why it couldn't happen.

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Jun 26, 2013

would applying to smaller offices (philly, atlanta) increase the chances of getting a summer internship offer?

Jun 26, 2013

No idea, I suppose it could be a little easier, but never seen hard data to back it up.

Jun 26, 2013

Petergibbons, thanks for doing this.

1) Have you seen former military officers at MBB? Were they all rebranded with a top MBA or had any applied straight out of the military?

2) Hypothetically, with a high GPA from service academy and 740+ GMAT score, is it likely to land a position at MBB in lieu of MBA?

Jun 26, 2013

Yes, many. I've worked for 3 off the top of my head, I would guess maybe 5-7% of the firm is a former officer.

All that I've known had some sort of advanced degree; most MBAs, a few engineers. There's a really good pipeline/network, as you'd expect, but it generally runs through a MBA. Hypothetically you could break in because I've seen stranger things, but it certainly isn't the well-worn path.

Jun 26, 2013

Petergibbons,

I'll echo everyone's thanks. I'm sure this thread will become a hot topic for every aspiring consultant on these boards.

1.I was wondering if MBB (whichever firm you're leaving) ever gets laterals in from International NGOs (think WB,IMF,UN). And if so how is that experience looked on when compared to IB,2nd tier Consulting, Googleish companies.

2. Does you're firm look at GMAT scores for those who haven't yet gone to business school? And if so how much weight do they carry, and what score is seen as acceptable.

Thanks again for the thread.

Jun 26, 2013

1) It's not that common to lateral to front-office consulting roles from places that aren't tier 2 consulting firms, full stop. Many of those that do are ex-consultants who tried corporate life and didn't like it.

Some people do have Intl. NGO experience, but it's generally the do-gooder stuff that got them into B-School, then they come here afterward, thinking (like so many do, no matter what we tell them) they'd magically only do pro-bono work or something.

2) Yes, it's another data point, doesn't hold a ton of weight, but if your SAT was good but not MBB material, or you went to a non-target undergrad and you kill the GMAT, it could help a bit. I'd say an average score around here is above 700, maybe just shy of 750.

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Jun 26, 2013

Thanks petergibbons!

I'm just curious. I'm a STEM Ph.D. at an Ivy who is considering consulting. Have you ever worked with PhD's in your time at MBB?

Jun 26, 2013

Thank you very much for doing this!

1) Being from a non-target school, what is the best way to go about securing an interview for MBB out of undergrad?

2) If I don't get an interview for the internship recruiting, what should I do to make sure that I would stand out more for FT? (I have a high GPA (+3.9) relatively high SAT (High 2100s, with high 700s in math), good extra curriculars and internship with middle market firm)

Jun 26, 2013

1) MBB is harder than IB to do from a non-target, and internships are tougher than full-time, so don't beat yourself up if you don't get an interview. If you have the target-level credentials, find alums from your undergrad who joined post-MBA (assuming there aren't pre-MBA folks because it's a non-target)

2) Besides building your network in a non-intrusive way, moving into leadership positions in extracurriculars, and having an internship experience that shows initiative and hopefully a decent brand? Take the GMAT if you think you can get 750 since your SAT is below-average.

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Jun 26, 2013

thank you for your response!

Follow up questions:

1) given that FT MBB is my goal, should I not even bother with trying to network to get an interview for an internship with MBB for next summer, spend my time studying for the GMAT (I feel that I could get a score within the area of 750 if I studied enough) and then network for FT next year?

2) If so is 750 the cut off score that would help me? Would a 730 or 740 be much less beneficial?

3) If I were to get an interview without taking the GMAT, would my bellow average SAT score hurt me in obtaining the offer or does it not matter so much after you get the interview (i.e. if I kill the case and fit questions I will obtain an offer regardless)?

Jun 26, 2013

Start building your network now, before you need anything.

I'm not sure you get an interview without killer stats from a non-target; your "measureables" are what make you worth the extra effort to bring in someone from outside the normal channel

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Jun 26, 2013
petergibbons:

Not sure if I fully understand your question; do you mean someone who gets staffed on ops cases vs. strategy cases?

So I am considering a position at a MBB that is in the operations practice as opposed to the strategy practice. How will this affect me for bschool and exits to PE relative to counterparts in the strategy practice?

Jun 26, 2013

Would imagine bschool impact to be minimal, PE exits more limited to operational improvement roles, not deal side. Given that as far as I know, only one firm does this, not a ton of data points.

Jun 26, 2013

Coming from a Non-Target, are you still at a substantial disadvantage for offers even if you landed an interview through networking? Or would it not matter if you have top grades and internships (Name-brand corp fin, and IBD SA)?

Jun 26, 2013

Once you're in the interview process, the bar is the same for everyone. That's the company line, but I do believe it.

We're too busy trying to hide the fact we're only a couple years out of undergrad to discuss the names on our diplomas much.

Jun 26, 2013

What are the best (and worst) parts of working in MBB?
Why did you decide to exit to PE instead of staying at the firm?
Do you think MBB->PE is a better route than BB->PE?

Thanks! Much obliged.

Jun 26, 2013

Best parts: Smart people, hard to get bored when your job changes every few months.
Worst parts: Seeing hard work go to waste when clients can't implement/won't implement/implement too slowly, good/bad timing can dictate whether or not you get to work in industries you really want to see

Decided to exit for a few reasons: Most of my classmates were leaving, and I stopped feeling as connected to the firm. Didn't want to go to b-school this fall, wanted to change cities, and didn't want to set myself up to become a manager in my mid-20s without having really done anything but consulting.

What route is better really depends on what you value most. Consulting culture seemed like a better fit for me, it seemed less risky (I had friends who were interning at Lehman when it was on the way down), and I don't have expensive taste. If you differ on these things, then go to a BB because your hit rate is probably higher and you have more options in terms of funds to join.

That said, outcomes can be pretty similar. I have a buddy who went to GS and ended up at fund a bit larger and better known that the one I'm joining, but he also only had 3 days off in his first 6 months of work, while I averaged 60 hours of work and generally had clean weekends. Other friends of ours went to BBs and didn't get PE jobs, or got them at funds smaller than the one I'm joining.

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Jun 27, 2013

Hey,

1) Did a lot of your coworkers go into corporate strategy at F500?
2) If they did was this straight from Pre MBA MBB or Post MBA?
3) Did they go into corporate strategy at Tech companies? If so were they the guys who worked with the Tech companies during MBB?

Jun 27, 2013

1) Yes, common.
2) Business school seems to be the most common pre-MBA thing to do, corporate strategy the post-MBA thing to do.
3) That said, those who leave pre-MBA for corporate seem to go to tech / luxury / other sexy companies.

Jun 27, 2013

Any tips for getting through the MBB years Peter?

I am learning a lot at my MBB firm, and I know I am developing skills a lot faster than if I were in any other possible job in this point of my career. But not a fan of the lifestyle (no one is I guess) and the services element of the job (probably committing a cardinal sin....but most clients annoy me and I really don't enjoy running around slaving away on decks for someone else...). I am also skeptical that we really add much value, except in specific client and situations....often I feel like our 'problem-solving' is really just inane chatter followed by me writing random thoughts onto a slide and 'triangulating' numbers out of thin air. This is common to ALOT of jobs, and business in general probably, but its a bit depressing when everyone seems to drink the Kool-Aid and walks around self-righteous and pious about that 'great piece of analysis'

so....this is probably me on a particularly bitter afternoon! But any particular strategies or thought processes that helped you get through your 3 years? =)

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Jun 27, 2013

And is this just me? Did you or any one of your fellow analysts ever think this job is a bit of a joke??

Jun 27, 2013

I've definitely had times where I felt like that, we all do.
Some projects are better than others in terms of adding value; find managers who you think do good, interesting work and have real client relationships, and ride their coattails as long as you can.

At a certain point, don't hesitate to just step back, grab a beer, and know that you're still getting paid.

Make friends with the junior people at the client; you may not work with them directly (because you'll be working for their bosses) but it definitely helps things feel a little more normal.

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Jun 27, 2013

Do you think there is any chance for someone who has 1-year work experience at a industry-based consulting firm with majors in CS/Math from a top 20 school or do I have to wait for MBA? I do have a 750+ GMAT if that helps.

Also, I've heard some quanty majors become a little disillusioned by MBB due to the pseudo-scientific nature of the work, is that true?

Jun 27, 2013

This is a great thread, really appreciate it.

For potential MBB seekers, post-MBA, can you give your take on what the lifestyle was like. How often were you really on the road, even in a 'top' city? Was it challenging with relationships and would it have been more difficult if you were married/long term relationship?

Jun 27, 2013

I joined a high-travel office, knew that coming in. I've had ~10 projects, 3 of 10 were lower travel, 7 of 10 were on the road M-Th.

That said, there are offices and practices you can affiliate with to limit travel. Move to DC if you want to do local public sector work. Move to NYC if you want to do local FS work. etc etc. Some offices definitely travel more than others; use your MBA network to figure out the details.

I'm in a long-distance, long-term relationship and consulting actually made it easier for me because I chose projects that made it easier to be closer to where she lives. That said, yes, for most people it requires more sacrifice. I've heard one common thing is to have the open conversation with your spouse every year about whether the lifestyle is "too much". All the partners in my office are married though, and I don't think any of them have ever been divorced...so it's definitely possible.

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Jun 27, 2013
petergibbons:

Short answer is that I haven't made that call for sure yet - returning after B-School is still on the table, and I'm sure I could get hired by pretty much any consulting firm I wanted. I think I'd like being a manager, but not sure I'd like the sales aspect of being a Partner.

My thinking on b-school has changed over time; I'm not sure it's necessary for career success, so I figured I'd save it for when I was really burned out, or when I knew I what I wanted to do long term (especially if it requires a career switch). I applied to HBS and GSB 2 years ago and didn't get in, so having some more time and another job under my belt won't hurt if I reapply.

hah, now i see why. how old r u again?

Jun 27, 2013

25. From friends who went to B-school from MBB after 2 years, they could definitely do the work, and are definitely enjoying themselves, but I think they feel like something is missing a bit. If you wait 4-5 years, you're the same age as your classmates, but your experience/knowledge base is probably stronger than most.

Apr 17, 2016
petergibbons:

25. From friends who went to B-school from MBB after 2 years, they could definitely do the work, and are definitely enjoying themselves, but I think they feel like something is missing a bit. If you wait 4-5 years, you're the same age as your classmates, but your experience/knowledge base is probably stronger than most.

Thanks for doing this. How were odds at H/S/W for those who went to b-school after 2 years vs. 3?

Jun 27, 2013

Thanks for doing this! I'll start my full-time analyst stint at MBB next month at one of their major offices. I hear that the first case is very important to make a good first impression.
What are your recommendations to make sure I perform well on the first case? In your experience, what in particular are managers/partners looking for, and what will they evaluate me on?

Lastly, do you recommend doing anything before starting? I am STEM major, so do not have much experience in business other than preparing for interviews. I mostly hear, "nothing, enjoy your time and travel," but I have traveled and have quite a bit of time available.

Thanks!

Edit: to clarify, I did not intern at the firm I will be working for.

Jun 27, 2013

As a pre-MBA on your first case, some of the important questions your manager will have are: can you follow directions, do you check your work/attention to detail, do you ask questions when you don't get stuff, and can you contribute at all in internal discussions? Once you've got that down, your presentation skills in internal meetings, ability to predict and complete the next analysis that should be done, and can you write simple, coherent slides are the next things to master, off the top of my head.

The summer beforehand, I basically did what I was told (I think maybe read an accounting book) and read the financial news. I didn't know much at all about Excel, and less in Powerpoint. If you were feeling ambitious, you could learn about Excel functionality and shortcuts, because at some point you're going to need to "own the model", and your firm will probably have 87,000 PPT macros and shortcuts built in.

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Jun 27, 2013
petergibbons:

25. From friends who went to B-school from MBB after 2 years, they could definitely do the work, and are definitely enjoying themselves, but I think they feel like something is missing a bit. If you wait 4-5 years, you're the same age as your classmates, but your experience/knowledge base is probably stronger than most.

honestly i do not want to be you in 6 years, but good luck and have fun

Jun 27, 2013

How often do you have to do recruiting events in the fall? How much time per week do you conduct interview during the recruting season?

Jun 27, 2013

It ranges from a couple events per person per season to much more than that. I probably spent 5 hours per week on it for the fall, mostly communicating with candidates and doing mock interviews.

Jun 27, 2013

Don't think this has been fully addressed yet. Why PE? Do you think you would enjoy investing in companies more than being a C-level executive at an industry-leading company?

Also, do you ever feel that you never really honed a world-class, differentiating skill through your strategy consulting experience? Being a consultant myself, I wouldn't call "being good at thinking about strategy" one of these skills.

Jun 27, 2013

To answer your first set of questions, I'm not sure what I would enjoy more long term, and doing a 2 year stint in PE before B-school seemed like a low-risk way to get a better sense. I do know there are parts of consulting at a large company for larger companies that frustrate me, and I anticipate those things will be different at a MM PE fund with 50 people.

I think that because I focused in one industry for the bulk of my time, combined with the level of problems I was working on, I can say that I'm quite knowledgeable of that industry relative to my age/years of experience. I do think going to PE will help me build additional concrete skills, maybe at the expense of managing people quicker.

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Jun 27, 2013

I would like to study abroad my junior year. Would I be better off going first or second semester? Is it even worth it if I miss out on essential recruiting events? Any thoughts or experiences on the subject would be appreciated. Thanks

Jun 28, 2013

I'd say first, because internship recruiting is during 2nd semester, and many study abroad programs run on their home country's academic calendar, which if I remember correctly can interfere with internship start dates. I think international experience is never bad, you should find a way to do it.

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Jun 28, 2013

What are some of the most interesting skills that MBB experience provide?
Do you recomand it for so who will do entrepreneurship?

Jun 29, 2013

Plenty of alumni have been successful with entrepreneurship after leaving MBB so I think it's a good thing to do if that's your long term goal. I think the most interesting skills learned is how to think about tough business problems from all angles, and how to predict and
answer 2nd and 3rd order questions. The Excel, PPT and presentation skills are obviously core.

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Jun 28, 2013

Any suggestions for breaking into Consulting (not necessarily MBB) from an Audit/Accounting background? My bachelor's/master's are in Accounting and I'm a CPA but after 2 years of audit/accounting, I've realized it just isn't for me. I pretty much hate life the minute I walk through the door. I'm not quite mentally ready for B-School, so I'd like to avoid that and save it for later when i Have more experience. I'm just looking to get exposure into an array of things, which is exactly what consulting does and not get pigeon-holed in accounting. Any suggestions on how/where to network? Or what I should highlight on a resume? Anything will help. Thanks.

Jun 28, 2013

1. I graduated from college last year with a qualitative undergraduate degree (UK Law, if it helps), and am trying to get into consulting. I've heard that MBB prefers quantitative types. Is this true?

2. What are SAT scores like in MBB? I noticed that you mentioned that high 2100's are considered below average.

Jun 29, 2013

1 - lawyers can be successful but they need quant skills and to learn quickly. Quant skills are a must.

2 - 1500 math + verbal seems pretty close to a floor in terms of who actually gets hired. Definitely a lot of perfect scores. Not because you can't get an interview without it, but because the smartest, most capable people get hired.

Jun 28, 2013

This is a really great thread petergibbons! thanks a lot for starting it.

i just had a quick question - do mbb penalize you for previous interviews that didnt work out well? in my case i had applied to mbb after my undergrad and was called to interview but it didnt pan out. will it be held against me/will they refer to old records when i interview with them for a job post mba (assuming a top tier mba)?

thanks again !

Jun 29, 2013

I highly doubt anyone would hold that against you, unless you called the interviewer an idiot or something. It's quite common, and if anything, demonstrates a long-standing interest.

They definitely have the records, but MBA seems like a clean slate.

Jun 28, 2013

Thanks for doing this, I'm just beginning to dive into consulting and your insight has been extremely helpful.

I'm a rising junior at a target school (non-Ivy) and I will be studying abroad next semester when the campus presentations, receptions, etc. are held.

What would you say is the best way to remain competitive vis-a-vis other applicants who will have the benefit of attending these events and meeting recrutiers? Is there anything I can do other than emailing like a madman? As of now, I literally have zero connections within the industry.

Jun 28, 2013

I'm curious about how time off works at MBBs (and other consulting firms too, I guess). I read somewhere that Bain gives 4 weeks vacation, is this correct/normal for comparable firms, and do people actually use that much? Are you expected to take vacations between engagements, or is it OK for people to take a few days off for a wedding or ski trip or something? Also, what are you doing when you're not currently on an engagement but not officially on vacation? Showing up at the home office late and leaving early?

Thanks for doing this!

Jun 29, 2013

3-4 weeks is the industry norm, and most people take most of it. There are definitely people who don't, but it's a personal choice / not standing up for themselves. Over 3 years, I took 3 weeklong trips, plus 1-2 weeks off for the holidays, and a few long weekends to visit friends/family.

Generally it's better to take time between projects, but you can definitely do weddings/ski trips during, as long as it doesn't interfere with a big milestone for the project, and it's not a very hard project, hours-wise. Also, if you're on a project longer than 3 or 4 months its easier to get a week vacation during a case.

There is usually plenty of short term or proposal work to do between engagements, and hours can be very easy or very hard. If you're lucky and want to do the follow on work, your manager will hide you from staffing for awhile, which basically allows you to hang out for a bit until the next phase starts.

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Jun 28, 2013

First off I gotta say thank you for doing this and good luck on your new job.

What about someone starting in a 2nd tier? (And which companies do you consider to be 2nd tier?) Should one spend a few years there and go MBA then MBB? Or is it better to just work your way up in a 2nd tier?

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit."

Jun 29, 2013

MBB pays better once you move up the pyramid vs. the 2nd tier firms. It's that, plus the brand, which makes people switch I think, and it's a common switch in the way you describe. Obviously you have to think about firm culture, relationships, and where you're most likely to be successful as well.

To me, tier 2 in the US is Deloitte, LEK, OW, Parthenon. Booz and ATK still but I doubt for much longer, they feel like sinking ships to me.

Jun 28, 2013

Is a MBB partner's role less-salesy than an IBD MD's role? Do you get paid, and get promoted to Partner based on how much business you generate for the firm?

Jun 29, 2013

Partner pay / role / stratification is very firm dependent. That said, having client relationships that you own and manage is a big part of making partner and being a successful one. My understanding is that both personal sales and firm performance are key factors in partner comp

Jul 21, 2013

Peter thanks for doing this! I am an undergrad going into my final year at a semi-target business school (BBA degree - management - we are pretty high-up the rankings but just bellow the MBBs target).

How do MBB's look at retaking classes? I messed up on my Chinese class and got C+ -> if I retake it, it could push my GPA from 3.65 to about 3.8 -> is it worth it? Or do they not like people rataking classes?

Thanks!

Jun 28, 2013

Thanks for doing this.

A couple of questions...

1) I come from a non-target with a less than stellar GPA (3.3-3.5), however I was able to land in an A&D FLDP and am about to rotate into Corporate Strategy for a year. I know Strategy is often considered an exit opp, but what are the chances I could leverage this experience into MBB (with proper networking and case prep)?

2) If not MBB, would this type of role open up S&O work at a Tier II shop?

Love the avatar by the way.

Jun 29, 2013

Not good without b-school or an intermediate step. Without a profile they would look for out of undergrad, lateraling as a pre-MBA is tough

I haven't tried to get hired by a Tier 2 firm since undergrad so it's hard for me to say much about the process.

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Jun 28, 2013

This post has been really helpful, thank you!

Background Info:
>D1 freshman football player
>(business school) Economics major from a non-target
>poor SAT, straight A's in high school + (4) college courses down in HS

Questions:

1.Does being a football player lower your chances of working for a top consulting firm?

2.Coming from a non-target but consistently top 1-15 business school what would I have to do to land a MBB job and is it even realistic?

3. What majors from a (non-target school) do you think have the best chance landing great jobs in consulting after undergrad?

Jun 29, 2013

1 - I know of multiple Former NFL guys in MBB so I seriously doubt it, it's probably a plus.

2 - I don't follow college rankings enough to know what this really means, but I would imagine there are probably alumni you could network with, either pre or post MBA.

3 - Econ, business, STEM.

Jun 29, 2013

Hi Peter Gibbons, thank you for this thread!

For someone who has joined a relatively unknown company's corporate strategy and business development team right out of college, what do you think are my chances? I'm doing strategic analysis at this point, with some deal sourcing work but I don't think any of these "thinking" work show up very impressively on the resume at this point. If I were to continue pursuing a consulting path for awhile, how should I position my resume / position myself to get a better shot at MBB or 2nd tiers?

Jun 29, 2013

FYI replies may be slower now, am driving to my new city but will hopefully have Internet in a couple days

Jun 29, 2013

A dream job of mine would be to do consulting for a professional sports team. I know these teams have many consultants on staff. Does MBB do any of that? Do you know how you get involved in that area of the industry?

Jun 30, 2013

Super rare, but there are one-off cases in sports. More likely to be the league / conference.

Jun 30, 2013

Thanks for all the replies.
So from the inside. Which one of the MBB is the strongest in selling work?

Jun 30, 2013

No idea. They all win and lose to each other on competitive bids, when projects are competitive.

Jun 30, 2013

what do you think of the move from banking to an MBB? Would do it for a) might enjoy the job and b) learn more about operations etc. what about a move to a PE from there?

Jun 30, 2013

Hi peter - I know you are pressed for time so I appreciate your effort here! Let me shorten my question:

1) How do MBB's look at retaking classes? I messed up on my Chinese class and got C+ -> if I retake it, it could push my GPA from 3.65 to about 3.8 -> is it worth it (in terms of retaking B or C+ classes)? Or do they not like people retaking? - I know its a big taboo with law firms in UK for instance

Jun 30, 2013

consultants steal your watch and tell you the time... any thoughts on that quote?

also, how is Arthur d little perceived in the consulting space?

Jul 1, 2013

I think it's an incredibly dumb quote which doesn't deserve to be justified with a response, other than that if it were truly snake oil, large successful corporations run by smart people wouldn't be paying millions and millions every year for it.

ADL is a has-been.

Jun 30, 2013

Peter, First thank you for taking time to provide help/knowledge to others. I am new on here so I do not have enough banana points to email you. Can you send me an email and possibly look over my resume. I have Deloitte experience; however, it is Deloitte Tax not Deloitte Consulting. I have a good deal of industry experience. My background is in accounting BBA accounting and MSA accounting taxation. My undergrad GPA is only 3.5 but I did both BBA and MSA in 3.5 years while working 40+ with a business I owned. I want to target a few top tier consulting firms but I will have to break in. Since college I have done quite a bit of accounting / IT. My email is andy.spurgeon1980 at gmail

Jul 1, 2013

Came here to say "thanks" for the thread and "congrats" on the move to PE. Care to elaborate on the manner of that transition and what specific traits/experience you highlighted in the interview?

Jul 2, 2013

When you first started, what surprised you the most about consulting.?

Leaving people and due diligence out of the equation, what part of consulting is your least favorite?

Jul 2, 2013

I think what surprised me was how quickly clients were looking to you vs. your boss for the answer.

Least favorite was office politics, specifically how much of a black box staffing, promotion, and bonus decisions were. I saw too many good people get screwed over.

Jul 2, 2013

Hi pettergibbons, thanks for all the input you've given us so far.

I really want to get into MBB (McKinsey especially) - can you tell me how you went about preparing? I mean, I've been solving practice tests, bought material online, practicing case interviews, etc. - is there anything else that could give me an edge?

Is the passing score on the PST really perfect? I've been getting 85+% on the tests and I'm not sure that's good enough...

If you could point me to, or send me some practice material that'd be amazing! Thank you again for your time!

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Jul 2, 2013

Hi petergibbons! Like everyone else, I just want to thank you so much for donating your time.

I was just wondering how important networking is for full time recruiting. I know for i-banking, getting a SA job all boils down to pretty much "who you know" (except for a few exceptional cases). A lot of people have told me that for consulting, the important thing is acing the case interview, but in your opinion, how true is that statement (especially if you go to a target undergrad)?

Jul 3, 2013

Thanks for doing this, I think I can speak for many of us when I say that it is greatly appreciated. Can you speak a little bit about the on-the-job difficulty? How intellectually challenging did you find the job? Was it ever significantly stressful? Any thoughts on this topic...

Jul 3, 2013

Definitely challenging and stressful at times, more often than not. There are ways to make it harder or easier, but people notice when you take shortcuts you shouldn't be taking, vs. adding additional work to your plate.

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Jul 3, 2013

First of all, thank you so much for doing this!

1/ I am from a non-target school myself and was just wondering how you were able to get in touch with consultants in general. At my school, only IT consulting firms would come for networking events; I haven't met anyone from management consulting. There are not many alumni in the industry either.

2/ I am preparing for the case interviews myself and just a bit confused about what certain things I can do to get myself ready. I have been doing Case in Point and found the frameworks extremely helpful. However, I have problems applying the frameworks (once I identify the case). I feel like I don't know exactly what information is relevant and how to approach the case in a logical way. I really think that I lack something else besides the technical tools of the frameworks yet not sure how to improve. Also, I have been looking for more practice cases and was just wondering what other resources I should look into (I am planning to do Case Interview secrets and LOMS of Victor Cheng as well).

I know you're extremely busy relocating for your new job and just want to say thank you once again for being so generous to share your experiences and insights!

Best Response
Jul 3, 2013

The resources you're using are right. Not necessarily referring to you, but what I'm sick of most of this site are people who aren't realistic about their skills and qualifications.

At a certain point, if you don't "get it", why are you trying to force-fit yourself into the industry? And if you have a 3.2 in business from Ball State University, McKinsey isn't hiring you, period, no matter how you network. There's a huge difference in needing to network because you have the profile but firms don't come to campus, and not having the profile, the network, or a particular knack for the interview process, and thinking there's a way in.

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Jul 3, 2013

Thanks so much for your reply! I completely agree with you it's important to be realistically positive and work hard towards my goal. I have started my reading for about two weeks now so I probably need to give myself sometime to improve. I am also planning on reading upon other strategies related materials too so hopefully that will help. Thanks once again!

Jul 3, 2013

Peter,

You mentioned earlier that you started at MBB and are now heading over to PE MM. What made you decide on MBB over say IB post-undergrad? Why are you happy that you picked MBB over banking (what about banking was a turn off)? Do you intend on staying in finance long-term, or move towards a different sector? What about yourself made you believe MBB was the right fit for you, contrary to another discipline? Why did you leave MBB for PE?

You also mentioned majoring in business/economics/STEM. I'm at a target b-school - majoring in finance or management. Would doubling in Econ significantly help my resume? Or is it not worth the extra effort.

Lots of questions. thank you!

Jul 3, 2013

Think I've already tackled many of these in the thread, but the things I'll add is that MBB allows more industry flexibility, and finance was highly unstable when I was going through recruiting a few years ago - a top concern was having a steady, well-paying job, avoiding layoffs and the like.

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Jan 4, 2014

I was wondering if there is any use of knowing another language if I wanted to get in MBB

Jul 4, 2013

It's not going to hurt you, but only do it if you're passionate. Only way it could help you is if you're truly fluent, and want to get staffed on projects in Mandarin-speaking areas.

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Jul 4, 2013

What advice would you give to an incoming freshman wanting to get into mbb? I am planning to major in finance at a semi-target school, so what else would you recommend I should do in order to better my chances of getting in mbb?

Jul 4, 2013

I just graduated from an ivy (with a top ugrad business program..) in History (with distinction/honors). My GPA is a 3.94.

The only courses I took that are in any way business related are Calc II, microeconomics and macroeconomics which I received As in.

I did a significant amount of research and received grants/awards for them but the only work experience I have is at a human rights organization and women's collective/non-profit in a third world country and an internship at a leading museum during high school (excluding some crappy luxury real estate non-paid internship). I've held leadership roles in student government and founded my own fashion club.

I actually entered college always with the idea of going into business in the back burner, but somehow got into the law route. I studied for my LSATs knowing it would not be hard for me to gain acceptance into a top school only to discover that the law industry is a sordid mess at the moment and a huge gamble that I'd rather not take. Sadly, all this time wasted on preparing for law school, I missed the stream of recruitment and am still in the process of job hunting.

I'm really interested in management consulting and think of getting an MBA somewhere down the road.

Do you have any advice to offer?

Jul 7, 2013
gg2:

I just graduated from an ivy (with a top ugrad business program..) in History (with distinction/honors). My GPA is a 3.94.

The only courses I took that are in any way business related are Calc II, microeconomics and macroeconomics which I received As in.

I did a significant amount of research and received grants/awards for them but the only work experience I have is at a human rights organization and women's collective/non-profit in a third world country and an internship at a leading museum during high school (excluding some crappy luxury real estate non-paid internship). I've held leadership roles in student government and founded my own fashion club.

I actually entered college always with the idea of going into business in the back burner, but somehow got into the law route. I studied for my LSATs knowing it would not be hard for me to gain acceptance into a top school only to discover that the law industry is a sordid mess at the moment and a huge gamble that I'd rather not take. Sadly, all this time wasted on preparing for law school, I missed the stream of recruitment and am still in the process of job hunting.

I'm really interested in management consulting and think of getting an MBA somewhere down the road.

Do you have any advice to offer?

I'm not OP, but have you thought about doing a one year masters program at another ivy? (doesn't necessarily have to be quant, you just need another shot at recruiting).

That+networking+case interview prep+your profile sounds like s winning combo.

Jul 7, 2013

This definitely seems like one good path to take, but not sure if that would effectively be two years down the drain (this year in a temporary-type job, plus a year doing a Master's). You could also look at the UVA and Duke MS in business programs.

I take it you decided not to go to law school? MBB is definitely not impossible coming from a top law background.

Jul 10, 2013

Yes, I am definite that I do not want to go to law school especially because of loans.
Was missing recruitment my only shot for a consulting job at MBB (or even at boutiques)? Should I try for off-cycle recruiting?

Jul 8, 2013
petergibbons:

The resources you're using are right. Not necessarily referring to you, but what I'm sick of most of this site are people who aren't realistic about their skills and qualifications.

At a certain point, if you don't "get it", why are you trying to force-fit yourself into the industry? And if you have a 3.2 in business from Ball State University, isn't hiring you, period, no matter how you network. There's a huge difference in needing to network because you have the profile but firms don't come to campus, and not having the profile, the network, or a particular knack for the interview process, and thinking there's a way in.

This is an awesome post. Just wanted to bookmark as well for further reading.

Not sure if this has been asked, but how did you get the MBB gig and how did you make the jump to PE? I assume headhunters for both?

Jul 8, 2013

I was hired on as part of a normal start class at MBB, no headhunter.

Jul 8, 2013

Hi Peter, thank you for donating your time. All that you've said has been very informative thus far.

I have two questions that I was hoping you could answer.

1) As a rising sophomore at a top liberal arts school, what would you recommend to learn about/do in the coming months/years in addition to expanding my network to help position myself for SA?

2) Throughout this thread you seem to put an emphasis on the SAT. As a football recruit, the 2100 I received the first time I took it was beyond satisfactory for me to get into school, so I didn't feel the need to take it again. Is this score a deal breaker or could I explain in interviews that I only took it once and only needed a 2000+?

Thanks again and congratulations on your PE position.

Jul 9, 2013

2100 is pretty low. It's not likely to be an issue once you get an interview, but it could definitely keep you from getting an interview.

Jul 8, 2013

Hey Peter,

Thank you for doing this thread. It's been very informative.

My question is:

What questions/comments should I ask/make when meeting with a group of recruiters? For example, if I were in a room with a bunch of recruiters from MBB should I be focused on pitching myself, demonstrating industry knowledge or something completely different?

Thanks in advance for your help.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Jul 9, 2013

Recruiters or consulting staff?

I can't speak for what recruiters looked for, but off the top of my head, the people who I went to bat for were able to have a conversation. Doesn't sound difficult, but a lot of people think that having a good question is enough. If you can respond to my response in a way that makes it sound like you understand and are curious, that definitely helps. Having a conversation helps me remember you. If you just ask a question, but don't stick around long enough to talk about what you did last summer, I might draw a blank when trying to think of your name. However, if we spent a minute afterward talking about what you liked about working in Sweden, what you thought of something that was on the cover of the WSJ today, or whatever, I'm more likely to remember you and pass along that we had a nice conversation.

On the flip side, I definitely applied a "fit" screen; if you seemed like a douche because you were talking over me/others or framed your questions in ways that made you sound like an asshole, I made sure recruiting knew that. Pitching yourself might fall in this category unless you're really subtle about it.

Jul 9, 2013

Hi Peter,

I am deciding between interviewing for MBB straight out of my non-target undergrad or doing a masters in econ/finance at LSE. Do you think that not having a target background will hurt my progression in MBB and make clients think that I'm less credible?

Thanks,

Jul 9, 2013

I think not having a target background is way more likely to hurt you in the interview process than once you're hired. Clients generally don't know or care where you went to school, and you generally don't want to tell them, because the next question they'll ask is "so, when'd you graduate"...and that gets awkward quickly.

Jul 9, 2013

1. Does GMAT replace SAT scores?

2. How many Starwood points did you accrue during your tenure at MBB? Is your firm set up where you purchase flights / hotels on a personal credit card and then get reimbursed through an expense report? Or do you have to use a company sponsored flight / hotel provider? Any tips in terms of maximizing points / flights? I got dinged for an SPG despite a 720 - 740 credit score. Any tips? Thanks.

Jul 9, 2013

Probably around 500K SPG points, but only half my projects were SPG travel (some local, some to cities with few convenient SPG options). I've definitely been spending as I go, though.

If you have a corporate Amex in your name, and make big payments for a few months because you put all your travel spend through it, you can get them to give you a pretty hefty SPG Amex if you call them, that's what I did.

Only tips I have are sign up for promos, monitor Flyertalk, do challenges and status matches. Trying to consolidate spend is great, but I ended up on a couple long projects where I had to use airlines and/or hotels that weren't my primary. As long as the projects are long enough, it works out fine.

Jul 10, 2013

Hi petergibbons, great AMA. Thanks for doing this thread. :)

I am curious what kind of laptops do you guys use? Is there any specific brand or model that MBB imposes for its staff to use? What's yours?

I've been looking for a nice business laptop (ergonomic, just right for your palms, fingers etc, lightweight yet powerful enough for simulations & programming etc.) but still undecided which one to buy...

Cheers!

Jul 10, 2013

Lenovo Thinkpads are pretty standard in the corporate world I think. I've seen some firms with Dell, but not typical

Jul 14, 2013

Is there any books do you recommend to read that relate to how MBB thinks?

i.e. barbara minto's the pyramid principle alike...

Jul 15, 2013

They publish a lot, both in short form as well as books. Seems like a good bet to start there, with a subject you're interested in.

Jul 15, 2013

Once again, thanks so much for the brilliant AMA. Really useful.

You mentioned that you were glad to have chose MBB over IB, but may I ask if you would have chosen Tier 2 consulting over a BB? If no, what about Tier 2 consulting versus a MM IB position?

To phrase my query in a different manner, I hope to find out your opinion on how much of a drop it is from MBB to Tier 2 consulting, in terms of job satisfaction, pay, prestige, etc.

Would really appreciate any input you have. Thanks!

Jul 18, 2013

What is the future of consulting like? A lot of people tell me that IB will never return to its pre-2008 heyday. What about consulting? Will there always be a need for consultants?

Jul 19, 2013

What is the future of consulting like?

* Accenture / Deloittee / PwC will continue to gobble up mid-tier players (this may include Bain, a smaller firm, in the medium term (5+ years))
* Those with the highest prices (Mckinsey, BCG, etc.) will continue to face price pressure and they may move more into "not strategy" type work

But yeah, outside advisers will always be needed. The competitive landscape may shift, but companies will always want an objective opinion. Whether that is to have someone to blame (i.e. "McKinsey said to lay-off these people...it wasn't us!") or because an outside opinion actually is pretty helpful. It's easy to get so far in the weeds sometimes that having someone outside of the situation come in can be helpful. Oh, and also the value is "cross-pollinating" as I like to call it. Basically, taking struggling companies, or companies struggling in a specific area, and sharing best practices with them.

Long story short consulting does have real value, and will probably stick around for a while, although the competitive landscape may shift around a bit.

Jul 20, 2013
BigPicture:

(this may include Bain, a smaller firm, in the medium term (5+ years))

Find that hard to believe. With Bain growing 15-20% year, I see absolutely no reason why the partners would sell their firm to a bigger player. Bain the capacity to continue growing (especially outside of the U.S.) and is in a different place from Monitor was when it was bought out.

BigPicture:

* Those with the highest prices (Mckinsey, BCG, etc.) will continue to face price pressure and they may move more into "not strategy" type work

For sure. I believe McKinsey already has. The other two will most likely follow.

Jul 20, 2013

Not sure how you define "not strategy" but all MBB do Ops, some implementation, etc etc.

Agree that the incentive to sell isn't there now, but Bain + PwC or Deloitte would scare McK and BCG.

    • 1
Aug 3, 2013

.

Jul 23, 2013

How hard is it to relocate to another office once starting (if possible)?

Jul 24, 2013

Depends on where, why, and your performance. If you're average in your class, started in Dallas and want to go to New York, it's pretty hard. If you're a rockstar and want to go somewhere, it should happen.

Jul 25, 2013

Hi Peter,

Thanks for doing this, these last few pages had been very insightful. I am curious about 2 things though:

1. Besides the brand recognition and the hard skills (Excel, PPT, etc), do you see a significant increase in your problem solving skills? e.g. if you were to again take the case interviews, what would be different this time around?

2. English is not my first language, and it is time-consuming for me to read WSJ from cover-to-cover everyday compared to a native speaker. Could you provide an example of how you would use WSJ to increase your ability, and which sections do you go through first if you are ever pressed for time?

Thank you in advance for answering my question.

Jul 27, 2013

Thanks for doing this.

Regarding the recruiting process, are your courses taken into account or just grades? Some people would take easier courses to get higher marks, but on the other hand recruiters may not know what courses are considered easy.

Jul 27, 2013

Thanks for the great read Peter, very educational.

I know you have touched on it a little bit but could you go into more detail about the recruiting process for lawyers? When I start law school next fall I will have completed two years as an business analyst at an F100 and will be attending Columbia.

Given my situation, how should I approach recruiting? Do I need to do anything to overcome the fact that I'm from a law background? Also, did you come across many lawyers in your work? Where they staffed on a different projects because of their background?

Jul 28, 2013

Hey, I'm interested in the consulting path, but I have no clue how to go about getting an internship anywhere, let alone a full-time job. Is the recruiting process similar to IB?

And I'm a STEM major at a non-target. Is there any way to make myself look like a viable candidate if my GPA is on the lower side of the equation? I'm

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