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Big 4 or MBB to IB

career consulting investment banking Private Equity
Edited on Apr 14, 2024
4 Answers
Pamela asked on Apr 13, 2024

I’m an associate at a Big 4 (2.5 YOE) in the Advisory/M&A area , I’ll get promoted to a Senior Associate in June. I got an offer from MBB as a Business Analyst. 1. Should I take it or wait for my promotion and apply as an Senior Associate in the MBB.

Actually, my goal is to break into IB, PE or Hedgefund but I do not come from a top school so they just keep rejecting me. I thought my only option was pursuing higher education and 2. I am between a MBA or a MSc. In finance, (for some background I have a bachelor in Engineering of Management Science).

Please HELP ‼️

Any opinion or suggestion is greatly appreciated.

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Content Creator
replied on Apr 13, 2024
Top rated Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /12 years recruiting experience

If you want to break into IB or hedge funds you might actually benefit from an MBA which is a feeder program for these roles. You could also do a masters in finance from a target school. It's not just that you didn't go to a top school that they're rejecting you it's the modeling skilset that they look for which isn't taught in consulting. Coming in post MBA they are likely to have training programs to get you up to speed. 


If you are keen on pe then yes going to mbb can help as pe hires from IB mostly but also some pe shops hire from mbb as well for junior roles. 





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Pamela on Apr 19, 2024

I appreciate your response Udayan, especially since you mention master's degrees, I understand that to obtain a good job the results of pursuing an MBA versus a Master's degree in finance are better. I am 23 years old, (24 in June) I would like to know your opinion about the correlation, age and work experience, since the university's admissions team itself has told me that it is a rare case, because I do have the YOE but not age. Do you think it's a good decision or when I finish the master's degree (that it's not cheap at all haha) I may be overqualified for the roles according my age? Is age that relevant or not at all? Again, thanks!

Udayan on Apr 19, 2024

Age is not that relevant if you have the work experience. I would strongly urge you to speak to people at banks you want to work in to see which degree they would recommend from a hiring perspective. Most would say MBA is better than a Masters in Finance. Yes it is expensive but you will pay it back very quickly after landing the job.

Content Creator
replied on Apr 13, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach


That's a tough one, but to be honest, from a long-term perspective, all options are great.

Yes, it would make more sense to stay for your promotion and then go in directly as a Senior Associate, but if you have an offer already on the table it also makes sense to take it (especially since if you have experience and perform well compared to other BAs you'll be fast tracked anyway). 

Hmm, if I'd have to choose I'd take the MBB offer and go for an early promotion. 

A couple of materials that should help with your first year in MBB:


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updated an answer on Apr 14, 2024
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA


If I understand correctly you are wondering between taking the offer vs. waiting to be promoted and then apply to a higher level.

Between these two oprtions, I strongly recommend you take the offer for the following reasons:

  1. It's hard to get an MBB offer. If you want to be at an MBB… take the opportunity while you can. You may not be successful on your 2nd try.
  2. Senior Associate is a post-MBA role. You won't get it with 3 years of non-strategy consulting experience. You will still get the same offer (or maybe a more experienced business analyst role; but still a pre-MBA role).

As such, it is clear to me you should take the offer.

I do understand that you want to get that promotion in your CV, as it will increase your market value. What you should do… it try to negotiate your entry date… to postpone it until you get the promotion factored in. We are talking 3 months here, not one year, so this should be possible.



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Content Creator
replied on Apr 14, 2024
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Pamela,

1) Should I take it or wait for my promotion and apply as an Senior Associate in the MBB. 

If you are sure you want to go to MBB, I would take the offer as there are no guarantees you will manage to land a new offer in the future. 

2) I thought my only option was pursuing higher education and I am between a MBA or a MSc. in finance 

I would compare which program leads more people to IB/PE/HF, given that's what you are targeting, and normalize for the cohort size. In general, unless the MSc in Finance you are targeting has a superior track record, I would go for an MBA so that you can join at a higher position. 

Good look!


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Udayan gave the best answer


Content Creator
Top rated Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /12 years recruiting experience
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