BA/AC at MBB or CTO at startup?

Job offer MBB startup
New answer on Jul 29, 2021
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jul 28, 2021

Hi everyone,

I am just about to graduate from a masters degree at a target UK university. I am lucky enough to have received some outstanding offers, and I have narrowed down my options to two:

-MBB BA/AC: Totally unexpected - I received an offer to join one of their Southern Europe offices

-Startup CTO/Head of Innovation: Seed stage startup backed by some top tier UK VCs, comes with substantial equity. I have a lot of experience in their space, and the founders are top notch (ex MBB and GS). 

Base compensation is very similar, but the startup comes with extra stock options.

I am really unsure what to go for, as I would have not expected to be in this position. As much as it is a risk, I am sort of leaning towards the startup, but my biggest fear is that I will be blacklisted by MBB should I change my mind.

I would love to hear everyone's thoughts.

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Antonello
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replied on Jul 28, 2021
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi, congrats on the multiple offers! I would go without any problem to your top choice, explaining your reasons and trying to leave the doors open for the future (I confirm difficult, but your priorities are the only things that matter)

Best,
Antonello

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Francesco
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replied on Jul 29, 2021
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi there,

Congratulations on the offers – that’s a great problem to have!

I don’t think you will be blacklisted by MBB if you present clearly your reasons and in any case you will be free to apply again in 1-2 years.

In terms of the choice, I would consider the following:

  • Where do you want to be in 5-10 years? Look at the company that can help you to achieve that goal faster. Keep in mind that the startup may have a huge upside but also fail and you may have to restart from square one (still with some great experience)
  • Where do you feel you fit better? Quoting Jim Rohn, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You will spend a lot of time with your colleagues in the next years - be sure you choose a company where people are close to the person you want to become
  • What is your gut feeling telling you? Our gut feeling is able to catch elements we cannot rationalize. You may “feel” a company is better, but don’t know exactly why. Don’t base your decision on that only, but dig deeper on why you feel that way.

If you want to do extra due diligence, contact other people that followed a similar path in a startup after the Master and ask about their experience. You will learn more in a 30min call with them than with any online research you may do.

Best,

Francesco

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Udayan
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replied on Jul 28, 2021
Top rated McKinsey coach with many offers /Ex McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience/Real cases

If you are honest and clear about the opportunity, no one will fault you for going with it. People understand that these things happen and they will be happy for you.

Udayan

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Erica
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updated an answer on Jul 28, 2021
Ex-McKinsey / 100% offer rate / LBS / Principle driven / Real case/ If you get the interview, you should get the offer!

Hi there,

Well done on getting to great offers!

Of course you need to consider lots of factors, your personal interest, passion, lifestyle, etc. I'm sure you have answers to all these. 

From a pure opportunity cost perspective, I think the start-up opportunity outweighs consulting. Consulting firms have very high turnover rate, meaning they hire all the time so you will always have the chance to reapply. Since you're still at the very early stage of your career, you can always get an MBA later and join consulting afterwards.

I wouldn't worry about being blacklisted because you turn down the offer. MBB do have this freezing period, usually lasting for one year, during which you're not allowed to reapply. But if you reapply after 3-5 years, it won't be an issue.

Hope this helps!

(edited)

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Silvia
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replied on Jul 28, 2021
McKinsey| 5-yrs in consulting| Peer leader Consulting Club|MBA at LBS| up to 50% discount available

Hi there,

Congratulations for your 2 offers! 

I will choose it taking into consideration which are your personal skils, attitudes and future objectives, more than economics benefits.

Consulting will be a good school, you will learn a lot in diffierent industries. My personal takeaways from consulting are the ability to deal with different stakeholders, the flexibility in solve new and unknown problems and planning and organization skills

Choose consulting if you are not afraid of working long hours, you want to experience different industries, you want to be surrounded with people that work always with great commitment

The startup experience on the otherside can change radically depending on the startup and the team you are going to work on. You should do very well your due-diligence about the team. Depending on the industry you can start to have your career a little bit narrowed down if they work in a very specific sector

Differently from consulting your job will not probably limited to "giving advice" or doing the project management for the implementation, but you will really have to make things happen. You can also have more responsability in taking decision.

Last consideration: after some years in consulting you will definitely have the possibility to join a top start-up and your years at MBB will be recognized - viceversa you can have to restart at lower entry level on an MBB.

Saying that, if you are leaning more towards the startup, it could actually be the best choice for you, but dont do it only because the total compensation is higher at the moment

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Ken
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replied on Jul 28, 2021
Ex-McKinsey London final round interviewer

You definitely won't be blacklisted if you have not committed legally and you are also transparent with your decision. If you are excited about the start up role, I would personally take it. MBB will always be there for you as an option in the future, while not necessarily the case for a start up that you are passionate about.

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Antonello gave the best answer

Antonello

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