Why is MBB so sought after vs. Deloitte, PwC, Accenture, S&?

pilisopa's picture
Rank: Monkey | 40

I know this might be sacrilege but as a neophyte to the consulting world's nooks and crannies, I wanted to know why MBB is so highly regarded versus, say, Deloitte, PwC, Strategy&, Accenture, or any number of other "top" consulting firms. Sure, it looks like the salaries are slightly (though not always) higher at MBB but is that the sole reason? Is there something I'm not seeing or hearing? Is it advancement opportunities that aren't available at other firms? Although it seems to me that if MBB are hiring all the top people, the likelihood that you'll get into a senior role as a real smart cookie is lower than if you chose to go to one of the other firms and knocked it out of the park there.

My real question: is the love for MBB hype?

(Asking as a potential bschool student career changer looking for the best opportunities out there in consulting and trying to discern between the various options.)

Comments (20)

Feb 24, 2019

Short answer - better exit opportunities.

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Feb 24, 2019

And how about within the firms themselves? Does MBB offer better opportunities internally than the others?

Array

Feb 24, 2019

Most people really don't plan to be career consultants. I guess you'll get the honor of dying with Marriott lifetime super mega platinum status.

I can't speak to the promotion and responsibilities aspect of it, but better "opportunities" in my opinion could be better cases. The types of work that people are willing to pay McKinsey prices for is often sexier.

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Feb 24, 2019

MBB has been hiring the best graduates for years so they have better people.
Those better people are more highly sought after for advisory work so they get to do more interesting work and they bill more.
Because they do more interesting work and they bill more they can afford to pay more than any other company (the salaries may look similar coming out of school, but they don't stay that way for long).
Because they pay more than any other company and do more interesting work they are able to hire the best people.

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Most Helpful
Feb 24, 2019

There are multiple reasons why MBB is generally considered better than the other firms you listed. Of course, these differences vary from firm to firm, but as a generally rule the main pros of being at a top firm are:

  • Better brand, which translates into more attractive exit opportunities down the line (whether you want to pursue an MBA, go into PE or corporate)
  • More exposure to senior clients
  • Faster promotion path: at my firm (one of the MBBs), it takes you 8-10 years to make it to Partner (starting as a BA/ASc/AC) while it's more like 12-14 years at Big4/Accenture
  • Different nature of the work, as MBB work tends to be more strategy-focused, while at most of the other firms you mentioned it's more about building tools and managing IT/Ops processes
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Feb 24, 2019

Thanks for the honest feedback.

Since you're at an MBB, would you mind offering some insight into the new tracks that MBB seems to be developing (e.g. McK Digital, McK Academy, BCG Digital Ventures) and how that jibes with the traditional promotion tracks (Analyst>Associate>EM>AP>P>SP)?

Array

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Feb 25, 2019

I think the primary difference between MBB and Tier 2 Firms is the ability to recruit for PE/VC positions.

Everything else - whether it be a M7 MBA, Startup roles, Corporate Strategy roles, other Industry positions, I've seen T2 candidates break in.

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Feb 25, 2019

Can anyone comment on the reality of MBB to PE/VC? Or T2 to PE/VC? Are the majority on operating companies within PE? I'm mainly wondering about the post-MBA level.

Scrolling around linkedin and company teams, it looks like everyone in MF PE is coming from IB with an MBB alum few and far between.

Feb 25, 2019

The consulting firm I work for does a lot of S&O work with PE firms on their portfolio companies and DD's on potential acquisition targets. I can confirm there are a lot of MBB alum in these PE funds because when pitching to the PE fund we research people at the fund to see if they are MBB alums to determine if competing firms already have an "in" for that pitch.

Feb 25, 2019

You don't advance at a firm like Deloitte by being a "real smart cookie", you advance by grinding more / being willing to sacrifice more.

Talent is better across the board at MBB versus the others. Better talent means better managers when you're new, and better staff to manage when you're a manager.

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Feb 25, 2019
VodkaRedBull:

You don't advance at a firm like Deloitte by being a "real smart cookie", you advance by grinding more / being willing to sacrifice more.

Talent is better across the board at MBB versus the others. Better talent means better managers when you're new, and better staff to manage when you're a manager.

Not many people make this very smart observation. I've been a "client" of BCG and a Deloitte S&O, and this is definitely true.

Mar 1, 2019

Having seen both firms at work, how would you compare them? Is the difference in talent noticeable?

Feb 25, 2019

Hi @VodkaRedBull , would love to understand more about what you mentioned about advancing at Deloitte vs MBB. Can you further explain what you meant by Deloitte requiring more of a grind/sacrifice to advance?
Thank you!

Feb 26, 2019

MBB is known for their strategy work.(even though they are moving into ops and implementation). They been at it for a long time.

Most Big4 are just getting to Strategy and have much bigger implementation arm.

Most will consider implementation less sexy part of consulting... I personally believe executions are just as important, but they don't demand same billing rate.

It will be interested to hear whether MBB is focusing more on implementation now

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