Boutiques - Worth it or not?

boutique consult exit options Middle East
New answer on Mar 28, 2022
8 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Mar 13, 2022

Hello

I have an offer from a boutique consulting firm in Dubai. However, the work and compensation look very attractive, I'm worried about my exit options. I'm not sure if I'll be able to move into Tech/startups if I don't go to MBB.

Any insights to offer?

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Moritz
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Content Creator
replied on Mar 13, 2022
Unearth your spike & get the offer |ex-McKinsey | 120+ coachings & interviews @ McKinsey | ESADE MBA | Transition Expert

Hi there,

I don't think that this is the right way of thinking. There's two reasons for that:

Logical fallacy: Even if it were true that MBB is a must to get into tech (which really isn't the case), you simply cannot just plan to get into MBB. It's an incredibly competitive enterprise and odds are against you. Obviously, we're here to help you beat them, but you get the point.

Sacrificing present: On a more personal note, I would advise you to not treat your life like a chess games where you make sacrifices now to be better positioned later. I have seen this becoming a never ending story too many times, where people keep chasing the next best thing and are ultimately never satisfied.

If you're happy with the offer and feel there's a good fit, don't let this opportunity get away from you. Also, you can always try to get into MBB from a lower tier/boutique consulting firm. I have had plenty of coachees in this situation, a good few of which succeeded.

Hope this helps a bit! Best of luck!

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Ankit
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replied on Mar 13, 2022
Senior Manager at Strategy& I 12 years of professional experience I Personalized experience to get you the best offer

Hello There, There is a big misconception out there that only MBB candidates can get into tech/startups. Yes your chances get high but at the end of the day what matters most is the quality of experience you get, regardless of whether its boutique consulting or any other Tier 1 or 2 firms. If you are seeing consulting as a gateway to enter into tech/startups, better to get an experience in a similar kind of tech firm. If you really want to get consulting experience for a few years, and have no other option on the table, then boutique consulting firm should be a good one. Just make sure, you clearly understand the type of projects/work they are doing to assess if it is to your liking

Good luck !

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Ian
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replied on Mar 13, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

First of all, I'm really sorry to say this but MBB (and consulting) is not the way to get into Tech/startups. Strategy consultants are “thinkers”, Tech/startups are “do-ers”. Tech startups rarely look at strategy consultants (even MBB) and say “oh, we have to have that candidate!”.

So, if you want tech/startup, my strong advice is to go straight into tech/startup. If you want consulting, go into consulting (and yes, boutique consulting is a perfectly fair start to your career!).

If you're interested in Tech, you need to get more “doing” experience (i.e. learn more coding languages, build your own github repository, launch your own product/company, get product management experience, etc.)

Good luck!

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Leonardo on Mar 14, 2022

Hi Ian, I'm not the one who asked the question, but thank you, your comment is really interesting. However I'd like to go deeper in this matter. It is said (not that I have direct experience about this) that consultants in MBB often create great startups! What do you think about this? Maybe consulting helps you founding a startup but not working for it? thank you

Ian on Mar 15, 2022

Hey Leonardo, great question! I'm speaking a bit off the cuff here as I haven't though about that much, but I'd say you're right. The reason is that MBB 1) Teaches you how to work darn hard and 2) It teaches you how to think strategically about problems and really learn ANYTHING. I would agree it's well suited to starting ANY new company. The reason it's less good for Tech is because tech needs you to have actual hard skills (programming, etc.)

Francesco
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Content Creator
replied on Mar 14, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

You can easily check the expected exits as follows:

  1. Define your exit goals
  2. Look for alumni of your boutique on LinkedIn
  3. Check how many went to your target exits

Also, be sure to choose a job that you like rather than just a good one for an exit. Even if your company is good in terms of exits, there is no reason to join and work there for a few years if you don’t like the job.

Below you can also find some recent trends in consulting which could be useful to reflect if the company is going in the direction you are looking for:

▶ https://www.case.tools/consulting-trends

Best,

Francesco

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Pedro
Expert
replied on Mar 14, 2022
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | FIT | Market Sizing | Former Head Recruiter

The best way to get into tech/startups is… going into tech/startups.

Everything else is subpar with that option. Regarding MBB vs. boutiques, doesn't make much of a difference. Actually, for MBB you're probably outpricing yourself out of the market in the case of startups. Most go to SCALE UPs, which is a different ball game, particularly if the SCALE UP is trying to become a corporate.

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Angelina
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replied on Mar 14, 2022
Digital Health start-up founder; ex-BCG; SDA Bocconi. Youtube: Angelina's Business World

Hi there and congrats on your offer.

I agree with Ian only partially: it is true that consulting does not teach you many technical skills and you mainly absorb a lot of theory, however:

1. If you are affiliated to a specific practice at an MBB or work in a boutique firm that is specialised in a particular industry, you learn a great deal about the field and become at attractive candidate to a start-up in that sector;

2. If you want to found a start-up yourself down the line, your consulting past helps immensely - something I can testify from my own experience (my firm is actually in medtech/digital health): you become more autonomous, versatile, courageous, organised - the list goes on.

Now on the topic of boutique vs. MBB - naturally, it depends enormously on the boutique firm, but I know that some juniors in boutiques might feel frustrated at times, because the ladder is not as well-structured and they might feel like they are alone without a case leader; the firm might lack tools (such as ppt macros) and processes (such as legal docs signing with a client), which complicated daily work, etc.

Bottom line, I personally think consulting is a great bootcamp regardless of the firm, full stop :)

 

Best of luck! 

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Adi
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Content Creator
replied on Mar 14, 2022
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

I couldnt agree more with Moritz..

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Andi
CoachingPlus Expert
replied on Mar 28, 2022
BCG interviewer (>175 candidates) |96% coaching success rate, if 3+ sessions | Coached 50+ candidates to MBB offers

Hi there, 

congrats, first of all!

A lot of good advice given by the other coaches. One thing i'd like to add is that if you want to get into Big Tech (FAANG etc), an MBB consulting brand will definitely give you an edge over boutique firms. For smaller start ups will matter less. In short, depending on your goal, there can be an impact on your exit options. 

Also, I'd disagree with the opinion that Tech does not value consultants - that's a myth. What is true is that smaller start ups will care less, while Big Tech (most firms at least) definitely has quite strong appetite for experienced consulting profiles - I know many many examples for that and a quick glance at Linkedin will show you the same.

Finally, if you want your final destination to be Tech, then fastest way to get there will indeed be to go and recruit in Tech. Consulting background is definitely not a must here. 

Regards, Andi

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Moritz gave the best answer

Moritz

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Unearth your spike & get the offer |ex-McKinsey | 120+ coachings & interviews @ McKinsey | ESADE MBA | Transition Expert
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