Starting in Corporate Strategy?

Hey guys,

What are the benefits of starting out of school in a corporate strategy position? All the consultants there are really pedigreed (vast majority is MBB+Target school), it's a F500 and the pay/hours are great (better or equal than MBB). However, I still have upcoming interviews with all three of the MBB, as well as some T2 consultancies (ATK/RB/OW).Realistically, I am not going to like the travel in consulting, so that is the biggest reason I am leaning towards Corp Strat. What are the pros and cons of starting in Corporate Strat vs doing MBB-->Corp Strat?

Comments (7)

 
Oct 24, 2016 - 9:53am

How is the learning at a good corporate strategy group vs MBB? I realise that getting exposure to a breadth of industry is a benefit, but there are a lot of industries (Pharma, O&G, Government) that I really don't care about but I know are big clients of MBB.

 
Oct 24, 2016 - 11:52am

Since most people who run those divisions are ex-MBB it is typically good. That said, you'll be making the depth vs. breadth trade-off you identified.

The knowledge is only useful to the extent you are willing to put yourself in a situation to apply it. If you never want to work in some industries, in may pay to cut to the chase and just learn more about the ones you know you want to be in long-term, which would make the corp. strat role more attractive.

 
Oct 24, 2016 - 9:39am

The benefit of starting at MBB is having that on your resume for future jobs & being able to come in at a higher level in the corp. strategy role. I went to work for a strategy group after ~2 years in Big 4 and the rest of my colleagues had 5+ years of IB experience and the pay difference / bonus / raises were night and day. You want to come in at that bigger base b/c once your go corporate the pay increases tend (not always) to be minimal. So if you go straight out of undergrad and realize this and want to leave - it would obv. be helpful to have MBB on your resume unless the corp strategy group has a great reputation.

 
Best Response
Oct 24, 2016 - 2:02pm

In addition to the above points about breadth of experience and accelerated career path (both very valid), I would add the following:

1) Network - Working with different clients and different teams, you will have a much larger network at a firm vs. F500. You will find knowing so many people who can vouch for you and the quality of your work useful later on.

2) Incoming Analyst class - If you're a fresh grad and moving to a new city, your incoming analyst class will be a great way to make new friends. Having a group of people to hang out with when you move to a new place and don't know anyone is definite plus.

3) B-school Resources - Consulting firms usually have much better resources for MBA applications. Things like: school admissions visits (i.e. admissions counselors from top schools will visit your office), internal mentor matching (you'll get a coach who's gone to a MBA program you're interest in and will guide you through the process), internal resources like a database of past essays that got people into certain schools, etc.

4) General Experience/Learning - After working in at both a firm and F500 strategy group, I can say that the level of expectation is much higher in client services. People are paying you lot of money and expect results. While things will often get intense and you will be stressed at times, this "trial by fire" does build character in a way that prepares you well for future endeavors.


Note: this is not to say you should pick a firm over a F500 group. It's just to make you aware of the pros/cons. You'll have to think about things and decide what's important to you.

 
Oct 24, 2016 - 3:38pm

SB'd, this is actually a really insightful post. I spoke to two friends at MBB prior to posting, and your post still adds a lot of value. The fact that you say that learning is better at an MBB - and you've been on both sides - made me reconsider prioritising a Corp. Strat group. I suppose that unless I find a corp strat group that is really spectacular (some BSD personally wants me to come work under him/her and it is a top tech company or whatever) I will prioritise getting an MBB offer as the learning aspect is really important to me.

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