there are several differences between traditional strategy consulting such as MBB or second tiers and in-house firms. The main ones are:
- Industry/Projects/Client Focus - In in-house consulting you will likely focus on a specific sector and practice – the one of your mother company. In strategy consulting you will normally see different industries, projects and clients. If you are not sure yet about your favourite sector and want to keep doors open, the second is always better.
- Internal career progression – In strategy consulting partners may actually own part of the company; in in-house consulting the senior team may still be represented by employees without the benefit of a partnership. This means that the final outcome between the two internal career paths is very different from a financial point of view. Moreover, in strategy consulting internal growth is normally faster than in-house.
- Exit opportunities – Given the same reputation and size, strategy consulting firms normally offer broader opportunities, as you would see more industries, more clients and benefit from a stronger brand. On the other hand, in-house consultancies may allow a smoother move to other areas inside the company.
For boutiques things are a bit different:
- You will normally have more specialization/focus than larger strategy consulting firms
- You may have opportunities to reach partnerships in the company and potentially also a fast career-track, according to the growth the company is having
- Exit opportunities are normally more limited compared to major firms due to brand recognition