Well-known Life Sciences Strategy Firm v. Generalist Boutique

Current undergrad senior

Have offers from both a pretty well known life sciences firm (think Putnam, Simon-Kucher, Health Advances) as well as for a smaller, not really well known boutique that does work across sectors, plus some PE due diligence.

My question is this: I don't know if long term I want to do life sciences/healthcare long term and I think goal right now is MBA. At the same time, I don't want to pigeon hole myself into the life sciences.

Life Sciences job is slightly better pay, comparable location, more prestige, and has pretty strong MBA placement.
Boutique as I mentioned doesn't have risk of being pigeon holed in life sciences, pay slightly worse, and decent MBA placement.

If goal is MBA, is risk of being pigeon holed in life sciences worth it?

If maybe not MBA (but idk wat else it wud be at this point in my life) is the boutique worth it? Less prestige, but not purely life sciences.

Comments (3)

Oct 23, 2018

A few points to clarify. Firstly, the firms mentioned (except SK) are all boutiques. Granted, they are well known in LS but it essentially ends there and their reputation is also geography specific (no one in Europe knows about Putnam).

LS is an incredible sector (I'm in it, so am bias) with huge growth, innovation, interesting projects and potential exits to IB, AM, PE, VC, HF (all mainly focused on HC) or F500. It's not a sector you can go wrong in. You can also pivot to bigger firms that are generalists by nature and start out in the LS division from which you can also explore other sectors (MBB, LEK, ATK, RB etc).

I would also mention that if you do 1-2 years in LS you won't be branded as an LS expert and it won't hinder your ability to pivot elsewhere. If you do 3-4 years...then it starts getting problematic.

Having said that, it is hard to find generalist boutiques that are reputable because as a definition they will either offer a limited amount of services or serve a limited number of industries (due to size, knowledge of the Partners etc). Some pretty generalist firms that are quite reputable could be: Marakon Associates, Galt & Co, Goetz Partners and Mars & Co.

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Oct 23, 2018

Thanks for the feedback. I was leaning towards the LS firm just because the exit opps are better, especially if I can do a rebrand post MBA.
Wud u say at least theres a noticeable portion of ppl you've seen initially in the LS move to other fields post-MBA or do most stay in it? I know this is kind of an odd question but just testing the waters

Like with the generalist firm (which I don't think is one of the reputable ones you listed) I guess probably the most appealing thing about it was just you're not doing life sciences work 100% of the time and with someone with a life sciences background, but I wouldn't say like a burning passion for healthcare, I thot that freedom there pretty attractive (that being said, I don't really have a passion for other fields or anything).

Regardless thanks a lot of your feedback :)

Oct 24, 2018