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Career growth as associate consultant after 3 years of industry experience

Bain career progression Experienced Hire
New answer on Jul 28, 2020
9 Answers
1.4 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Jul 26, 2020

Hi! I'm curious what people think of an experienced hire with 3 years experience in the tech startup industry joining MBB as Associate Consultant.

I'm now preparing for my first round interview with Bain and reflecting whether or not the potential career move to consulting is beneficial or detrimental considering my goal is to become a successful tech entrepreneur.

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Content Creator
replied on Jul 27, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

I worked at BCG and then moved to found my own companies in Europe and Asia.

To me, the main advantages and disadvantages have been the following.


  • You see a lot of sectors  Great for brainstorming ideas
  • You work with very smart colleagues  Also great for brainstorming ideas
  • It helps to signal you are smart  Useful for fundraising
  • It gives you a great alumni network  Useful for fundraising
  • It makes you stronger with communication and internal politics  Good to work with investors and manage shareholders


  • You get used to posh lifestyle  Opposite of what you do when you build a startup
  • It increases opportunity costs to switch  The more you stay the more difficult to switch to something risky with no guarantees
  • You will get a lot of “useless” general knowledge  To found a startup you need to become obsessed with a niche and do 10X better than what’s in the market – it’s not what you do in consulting
  • You won’t have much involvement in operations and day-to-day job  You are hired to make analysis and provide suggestions, not to implement stuff
  • It takes time If you start with your startup immediately, you have more time to make mistakes, learn, iterate and hopefully win

Conclusion: if you don’t have a clear idea of what to do next, consulting is a great option. If you already know which area to work on, better to start now.

Please PM me if you need more info.

Hope this helps,


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Anonymous replied on Jul 27, 2020


I think you ask the right question.

I can try to briefly summarize my entrepreneurial experience after MBB.

MBB does help a lot in the following aspects:

  • you have a larger network and it’s easier to source the right talent from the market for your startup and get advice from relevant experts
  • you have a personal brand and it’s easier to raise capital
  • you are more structured in your presentation and pitches
  • you develop the right skill sets and soft skills to manage people in meritocratic environment


  • MBB would not help you develop business sense for tech business. It’s a super specialized and competitive niche
  • MBB would not give you enough practical experience to solve operational problems in startup environment



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replied on Jul 27, 2020
Expert Financial Services | ex-FinTech Unicorn Manager | 250+ real interviews | 14y+ int work exp | ESCP Business School


very interesting question! I worked both in consultancy and a tech start-up ("fastest growing FinTech of the world"), so I'd say that I can bring some light into your situation.

In order to do so and based on your clearly communicated goal, I would also analyse your current situation and/or experience in the tech start-up - as it might be an option to stay in the start-up and tech world:
- how is current learning curve / what would you probably learn in the near future?
- what responsibilities do you have & how are you supported by the founders (if you're not the founder yourself ;-) )
- how much can you learn about the industry in your current company? can you broaden your network in the tech start-up world?

On the other side it's obviously worth to challenge questions how much the consultancy business (not necessarily on firm!) can support your future goal:
- which additional skills, knowledge and experience do you expect from consultancy?
- how much can Bain (or other companies you should apply for) support your goal? Can you work in dedicated practice leads? Do they offer further education in this area of expertise? Are tech subsidiaries an option / existing?

I think it's crucial that you're critical to youself in order to get the right answers - and you should expect very precise answers from your interview partners on your expected "added value" in consultancy.

I hope the further questions above can help in order to get some helpful answers - but so far there is no simple answer as it very much depends on your personal circumstances right know. If you would like to further discuss the situation, I am more than happy to support you!

Best - Jasper

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Content Creator
replied on Jul 26, 2020
Top rated Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /12 years recruiting experience

It depends....

The pros

  • Lots of intelligent people to co-found companies with
  • You will see many problems that can be solved with new ideas
  • Exposure to industries and problems you can't have at a startup
  • New ways to approach problem solving/creativity

The cons

  • A lot of work is in large companies where inefficiency reins supreme - very limited work in smaller companies / ones that are truly innovative
  • You could end up working on things you are not interested in
  • Working isn't the best way to be an entrepreneur - starting & failing is
  • It takes up a LOT of time and energy, leaving no time for your own ideas
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Content Creator
replied on Jul 27, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

Very interesting question.

In addition to the pros (network, "training" for hard work, business/industry knowledge, etc.) and cons (higher-level thinking, less "doing", pampering in lifestyle, etc) listed by the other coaches, I'd like to add one thing:

Why are you leaving?

I think you should think through (and tell us), why do you want to leave the tech startup industry. This is especially true given you want to return. Why not just stay?

If you're leaving because you expect to gain x, y, and z during 2-3 years at MBB, then, tell us what x, y, and z are and we can tell you if those expectations are realistic :)

In summary: Don't leave the place you want to be, unless what you expect to get by leaving is indeed what you will get!

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Anonymous replied on Jul 26, 2020

Hi Anonymous

No one I know who joined consulting at that level has ever regretted it. A career in consulting builds transferrable skills like no other profession and will likely add to your already impressive skillset from the start-up. Plus a lot of consultants do go on to become successful entrepreneurs. I would recommend


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Anonymous replied on Jul 28, 2020

Dear A,

I will be honest with you. I think that you will be misleading for your career future path because now being in tech startup, you are much closer to fiding your own company and becoming an enterpreneur, which could be you logical next step.

If you go to consulting, especially to Bain, which is highly focused on financial services and private equity, I'm not sure you will gain relevant experience as enterpreneur you need to.

If you're looking for entrepreneurship than one of the firm that have entrepreneurship values is Roland Berger or Oliver Wyman, where you also would get more opportunities to work in the tech firms.

But, in all honesty, if you want to become an entrepreneur in your sector, simply go for it as a next step.

I have also recently founded my own company and I'm happy to share with you my entrepreneural experience and insights with you.

Feel free to drop me a line,


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Content Creator
replied on Jul 28, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


I agree with the fact that, unless you have a horrible horrible personal exprience, it´s very difficult to regret a career in consulting. Not only for the knowledge, that is huge, but also in terms of branding and network.

Hope it helps!



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Erik replied on Jul 27, 2020
Founder of R2 Reliability & I developed the Road to Reliability™ framework.

The biggest advantage you is that you will see many problems that can be solved with new ideas and the disadvantage is that It takes up a LOT of time and energy, leaving no time for your own ideas

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Francesco gave the best answer


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