Strategy& London (M&A) vs BCG Dubai

Hi Everyone!

Trying to decide between two FT offers, would really appreciate everyone's thoughts:

Strategy& London (M&A) vs BCG Dubai

A few key point:

1) S&'s work is 50% DD for PEs, 50% Growth strategy. BCG is mostly public sector work in KSA. 

2) Looking to keep open the option of PE exit

3) Comp: BCG is 2x S& (however, not key decision factor)

4) Looking to stay in London in the medium term 

Background:  MSc Finance BSc Engineering (Top5-UK)

Thanks :)

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Comments (13)

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Dec 26, 2020 - 6:36am

At max it's £55k-60k so yeah it is 2x if you compare with after tax in UK but not £80k-90k

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  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Dec 23, 2020 - 4:20pm

Several factors here to consider:

1- Will S& sponsor you to do an MBA? BCG will in 2-3 years time. If you're goal is to break into PE you can use a strong business school brand to try to make the transition. If that doesn't work, you essentially got a free 2 year vacation to do your MBA and can request to be based out of the London office

2- Have you done a LinkedIn search to check see where S& M&A people exit too? That should be a strong indicator of what options open up

3- Are you willing to constantly travel to KSA to do advisory work under an extremely bureaucratic system?

4- Did you get a sense of what the cultures are to two firms are like? 

5- I heard that it's a lot easier for BCG people in western offices to transfer to Dubai than vice versa

If your end goal is PE, your best bet would've been banking. Nonetheless you had 2 great offers but in completely different sectors and geographies. If you value brand and money, go to Dubai (you need to apply a certain prestige discount when based out of the Dubai office) and go for the MBA route. If you value work life balance, living in London, and getting relevant M&A exposure, go to S&.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Dec 26, 2020 - 3:13am

I am fairly certain that MBB offices in Dubai require MBAs for promotions. Although difficult, it's still easier to transfer internally from Dubai to London than to lateral from S&. 

  • Associate 1 in Consulting
Dec 27, 2020 - 4:47am

Am familiar with both markets and firms - would recommend you go for BCG.

While the ME office has a worse overall culture (not exclusive to BCG, all firms suffer with this in the region), it is a massive growth office for the firm which typically equates to a willingness to promote faster to keep the staffing pyramid balanced. BCG also works quite extensively with Saudi PIF and other SWF doing standard PE/ Investor advisory work including market scans, diligences, etc. Public sector work can be a little hit or miss, but many of the engagements are national agenda-setting work where you are the trusted advisor to leaders in one of the most important countries in the world... cool, potentially historical stuff if you think about it.

Once you're in BGC, it is also much easier to transfer offices internally from Dubai to London. Changing firms is quite risky even if you do secure an offer, as you will have to rebuild a network of promoters and adjusting to the new firm's way of working, both of which will lead to getting managed out if not handled properly.

Most Helpful
  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Dec 27, 2020 - 11:44am

I would pick S&. I'd avoid middle east consulting at all cost. Not a chance they'll find me in Dubai working horrible KSA projects being treated as a dog by your clients and teams, no thanks

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