Which MBB is best for PE Recruiting?

Just finished my summer at an MBB consulting firm and had a great experience (loved the people, the work, etc.) -- I got a return offer and I'm definitely leaning towards going back. I'm strongly interested in doing PE after spending two years at MBB and wanted to get people's thoughts on which MBB is best for PE recruiting? If the firm I'm at doesn't have a strong PE practice, is it worth re-recruiting for an MBB firm/office location that is stronger? Thanks in advance!

Comments (20)

Aug 14, 2019 - 3:10pm

You need a firm that does enough PE work, which is preferably Bain or otherwise McKinsey. McKinsey should be fine but you'll have a more painful experience as they're less well-oiled than Bain for DD work. BCG does little PE work and when they do it it's often sell-side/vendor work which is a very different experience and skillset and doesn't translate as neatly onto buyside roles..

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Aug 14, 2019 - 5:03pm

If it's McKinsey, it may or may not be worth it (if PE is your goal). It's not that much hassle after all IMO since it's just applying to one more firm. At that point, it would be just about optimizing your odds, however.

If it's BCG, I think it's definitely worth it, given your goals.

For PE, Bain is seen as the clear #1, with McKinsey trailing by a decent margin, with BCG trailing by a large margin.

Jan 13, 2020 - 3:48pm

No I don't think it makes sense to re-recruit. If you're at MBB I'm sure there is a path and better to have tenure/seniors who will vouch for you. Anyways, it's not like you can just hop into Bain Cap the minute you get into Bain.

At the end of the day though, getting into PE is really tough if you're not a banker/not attending HBS. Definitely throw everything you can at it, but it's a tough row to hoe.

Oct 21, 2019 - 7:05pm

Bain by a mile, after that it depends a bit region by region. BCG places relatively well in the US but is behind McK in most of Europe.

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Jan 13, 2020 - 4:34pm

Not sure where you all are getting your info from. I work in BCG's PIPE (PE) practice, and we do plenty of PE work. Obviously not to the extent that Bain does it (their growth trajectory has been fueled by PE work), but more than sufficient to make a career out of it and move into PE post-BCG.

Jan 14, 2020 - 9:29am

Currently on my second 3 month stint with the ring fence team in NYC. Overall, I have really enjoyed my experience. A few pros below:

  1. Fast paced
  2. See a bunch of different industries quickly
  3. Ability to shuffle between modules (i.e. market model, customer/competitor landscape, biz model, synergies, survey, and growth strategy).
    4 Most of your slides are a topic of conversation in readouts instead of potentially making a bunch of slides for the appendix
  4. General understanding of what makes a market attractive for investment/understanding of how investors think

I think the two big cons are:
1. high burn - On average, you are working 10-20% more hours than your colleagues
2. Repetitive - Once you have done a few DDs, they get a little repetitive. Obviously the industries and targets are different, but functionally you find yourself doing the same work. Take that with a grain of salt, however, because I have only done Commercial DDs (as apposed to vendor DDs or growth strategy for OpCos)

Also, whoever said BCG does mostly VDDs is just ill informed (at least in the US)

Jan 21, 2020 - 3:44pm

McKinsey to a megafund does happen but it is rare. I know someone who did BA at McKinsey to Associate at Bain Capital but this person was literally the best of the best of his McKinsey class. In 2 years after undergrad, he went from a Business Analyst to Engagement Manager direct promote. So managing post MBA associates. I think that's top 5% or higher.

  • Analyst 1 in Other
Jan 21, 2020 - 4:26pm

I think McKinsey and Bain are about equal in terms of sending people to PE firms. Bain consultants are self selected to have more interest in PE and it's PE group obviously helps, but McKinsey's prestige compensates for it being somewhat (but not that meaningfully) less active in PE. In my opinion, the only wrong choice for MBB, if you're interested in PE, would be going to BCG.

Jan 21, 2020 - 11:46pm

I'm going to frame my answer based on the implicit assumption you really want to do PE and want the best shot at it: You're asking the wrong question

Why? Because recruiters from search funds and PE firms typically recruit associates out of IB and CO by tiered buckets (i.e. MBB, T2, etc). The anecdotal cases you hear of people moving into PE are colored by individual connections of individual people, rather than the overall institutional relationships.

Here's an example: One of the Partners on my study went from our MBB to a MF and back (he was not a fan of the culture; also keep that in mind if you're so dead set on PE). This firm doesn't technically recruit directly from us, but I'd have a leg up if I decided I wanted to work there because I have a working relationship with him, and he left on good terms. The "Bain is 1A, McKinsey is 1B and BCG is 2" that you hear is an echo chamber from people reading too much into these one off occurrences. Bain focuses a higher proportion of its work in DDs, as such, the typical exit is more prone towards PE. Ergo, the Bainies you speak to are more likely to know someone who left for X fund, not because having a red arrow in a circle on your jacket magically grants you PE mastery.

Here's some food for thought: Statistically, McKinsey does the most DD's of any consulting firm and its not even close. So now does that mean McKinsey is the top dog for PE? Maybe, maybe not: you could very well make the argument that this makes it too easy for McKinsey analysts to compete with each other for PE spots because they all have easy access to DD cases. Regardless, this emphasizes my point here further: all these "stories" and "stats" don't really do much compared to having established relationships with key figures in each firms' respective PE practice.

TLDR: 80/20 it silly; the M vs B vs B for PE brand debate is the wrong 20% to focus on

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 23, 2020 - 11:01am
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