Strategy& vs EY Strategy job offer help

Hello Everyone,

I was hoping to get your help in deciding between an offer from EY Strategy and Strategy& (formerly Booz and Co). Both are Engagement Manager roles and I am hoping to do my MBA in the next few years and then go into senior strategy roles for a fortune 500 company. Here is what I feel are the Pros and Cons for each role:

1) Pure strategy project opportunities- aligned to what I want to do
2) Very good brand name even with the integration of PwC
3) Competitive culture - still hires some of the top grads and professionals

1) There have been layoffs in the last few years which I am worried about. The HR recruiter and Partner told me that right now they have a 97% utilization rate but facts are facts.
2) Prestige have fallen in the last few years

1) Team is small and growing. They have exceeded revenue targets for the last 2 years
2) Stable environment with professional development opportunities
3) Specialized strategy focused on short term profit transformation which all organizations currently
desperately needs

1) Role is very specialized and not a pure strategy role. While it is a strategy role where you advise senior management of companies in corporate and operational strategy when giving recommendations, the bulk of the work is on analyzing the financial health of the company
2) role pays less

Any feedback or recommendations would be great!

Thanks everyone!

Comments (14)

Feb 3, 2018

I would go with EY. Heard a lot of bad things about Strategy& and its culture.

Feb 3, 2018

Hi Eusric,

Thanks for the reply. Can you tell me a little bit more about some of the things you have heard?

Feb 3, 2018

Here's a thread you should DEFINITELY check out. Should answer any questions you have about Strategy&.

"It is not our circumstance that controls us, but our thoughts that control our circumstance." -James Allen

Feb 3, 2018

I would caution that this community is very prestige driven. I would take culture over prestige any day and, in this case, the prestige differential is quite minimal.

On another note, may I ask how you landed the EM role without an MBA? What's your background? Thanks in advance!

Feb 4, 2018

Which market? In Europe this is not even a question as S& is probably the strongest T2 (with OW) while EY Strategy is barely T3. In the US it seems to not be that easy.

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Feb 3, 2018

This is for the US and more specifically for the Financial Services industry.

Best Response
Feb 4, 2018

In terms of general comparison between S& and EY, they are clearly a tier apart. S& is a solid tier 2 and is a better resume brand, will pay more, will open up more doors for exit ops, etc. Most of the pay differential is in bonus comp; I know for a fact hat EY FS grossly overstates expectations for bonuses when they recruit (I had an offer there and did my homework with some former employees).

This kind of comes down to your goals and risk aversion though. EY's financial services practice is a standout and considered one of the best in the industry. If you want to exit to an FS client, the specialized nature of that practice will be better branding than your run-of-the-mill EY consultant. So for direct exit ops (i.e. you were focused in risk in private wealth management and transition to risk in pwm) placement should be pretty solid. If you are talking broader industry exits, I think it's safe to say that S& definitely still has more cachet.

For MBA recruiting -S& is most certainly a step above EY. You'll see plenty of ex employees from both all along the M7 but S& more consistently place higher. I'm not convinced an MBA is a good fit for someone already at the EM level, I'd say transition to F500 and then go for executive/part time, but it's your life.

For a consulting career - EY is not up-or-out. This is big. If you're coming on as a manager and are an OK performer, you could still be there for a long time. S& is up-or-out and you will need to be a top performing manager to advance or even stick around. I would worry about this much more than layoffs (my understanding is that things are largely settling on that front post-acquisition). All of the big 4 have big layoff cycles depending on annual performance anyways - PWC and Deloitte in general are worse on this front, but EY and KPMG can also fall victim.

For consulting exits - S& is definitely considered uphill of EY. It's a step closer to MBB if that's a long term goal. Most people who go from EY to MBB/Tier 2 firms like S& are making a lateral move or even coming in for a year down a level, and it's hard to do as an individual, though sometimes higher tier firms will poach top performing groups. If you're going from MBB/Tier 2 down to EY in the future, it's lateral or UP a level. This happens quite a bit. Since your offer isn't with

I'd also bear in mind that EY is trying to consolidate a lot of their strategy work into Parthenon. I've heard that hasn't been going great and the Parthenon partners aren't all that interested in yearlong engagements in Charlotte but - I'd be asking around. At PWC, S& is top of the game, so you don't have to worry about that facet. Outside of the demographics of WSO - the industry perception of S& is still very high.

TL:DR - Broski, if your goal here is an MBA -> F500 strategy, why wouldn't you take the better perceived firm for both, in a pure strategy role that is better experience for both?

    • 8
Feb 4, 2018

Strategy& is much more selective in its candidates and on average does more impactful work, even though the integration with PwC has harmed them quite a bit. But if these two are your options, I would definitely go with S&.

On a separate note, I would think again about your MBA plans.
If you are hired to an EM role, now would probably be the right time to do your MBA.
If you stay 2 years in that role (and you should plan on staying less), you will be senior EM with a shot at becoming Principal / Junior Partner. The value of the MBA will be rather limited at that stage and your peers would be much more junior.

    • 1
Feb 3, 2018

Thanks @atleastimnotabanker for the response. I agree with you that now would probably be the right time to do my MBA. I am planning to take the GMAT in the next few months and then I will apply to MBA programs. The earliest I can probably start is in a year and by the time I finish it will be about 2.5 years. Hopefully by that time I will already have become a SM even though there is a lot of competition for that title.

Feb 4, 2018

From reading your post, it's clear, even to you, that S& is the correct pick.

Although it is true that S& lost some of its prestige after the PwC merger, it is still a premier strategy consulting shop and is at the very top of the second tier with OW and Deloitte S&O.

To address your concerns about the company, I have a very good friend who has been working there for about 2 years now, and he said the posts on here about layoffs are way overblown (S& just follows a similar up-or-out model to MBB). If you're working at a high level consulting firm that has a 97% utilization rate and you aren't being picked for projects, there is a reason why. If people write posts about how bad the layoffs are, take all of that with a grain of salt because those people have just been fired and want to make excuses. I also think the prestige is still there and that the company will get back to its Booz heights in a few years time. (For perspective, I currently work at an MBB as an EM).

Hope that helps!

    • 1
Feb 3, 2018