Career push through a degree

MBA MBB phd
New answer on Aug 30, 2022
10 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Aug 23, 2022

Hallo,

 

I am now at MBB for a couple of months. And I have few years of experience outside of consulting.

Colleagues around have MBAs, PhDs, CFAs, etc. To push the career at MBB people often are doing MBA or PhD. I had made two unsuccessful attempts to do PhD before (one was very hard topic I wasn’t ready for, another wasn’t interesting), and I still want to do PhD.

Which approach to the issue of career push inside MBB - MBA or one more PhD attempt - would you recommend? I also see some colleagues are doing PhD while working full time. How do they do it?

Thanks in advance.

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Francesco
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replied on Aug 24, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Q: Which approach to the issue of career push inside MBB - MBA or one more PhD attempt - would you recommend?

You may not need an advanced degree to progress (although this also depends on the company and geography, so I would check within your firm).

Between the two, the MBA is going to be handier and probably shorter (INSEAD for example is just 1 year).

The main advantages of an advanced degree – in particular an MBA – are the following 

  • If you leave for the corporate world it may open more doors
  • Assuming the MBA is a top one, it is a great way to build a strong network, in particular if your undergrad did not have a strong brand
  • Although it may not be required for career advancement, the time spent for an MBA could be recognized by your consulting company for career progression, meaning you won't “waste” time by doing it (and get the pluses above)

Theoretically, an MBA is also going to provide knowledge, but the extra knowledge you will get probably won't compensate for the one lost in the 1-2 years you may get working.

Overall, if your future exits require an MBA (or PhD) or you want to leverage a stronger network, an MBA could definitely make sense, in particular if paid by the firm.

Best,

Francesco

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Lucie
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replied on Aug 24, 2022
10+yrs recruiting & top BCG trainer & BCG Project leader & experienced hire & ICF coach

Hi there, 

once you are working for MBB i dont see necessary to go for additional education, unless you would like to do it. Depending what you want to do in the future, but MBA seems to be as the best option, rather than PhD. 

Lucie

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Cristian
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replied on Aug 23, 2022
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Hi there, 

I really don't believe that degrees of any sort help you once you are inside the Firm. What matters most is how good you are/become and the network that you grow around you. 

The only possible advantage I see in doing an MBA or PhD to progress your career is because it can fast track you from Business Analyst to Associate. Aside from that, I really don't see any point to it. The sort of practical knowledge you're going to develop in serving clients for 2-4 years is nowhere near that of sitting in a classroom listening to people who never ran a business or advised one tell you what to do. 

Best,

Cristian

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Emily
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replied on Aug 23, 2022
Ex McKinsey EM & interviewer (5 yrs) USA & UK| Coached / interviewed 200 +|Free 15 min intro| Stanford MBA|Non-trad

An advanced degree is not necessary. McKinsey has recognized this and removed the requirement that Business Analysts (who join the Firm after their undergraduate degree) leave after around 2 years in the role to either get an advanced degree or go on secondment. Now they can be promoted straight through to manager.

Your efforts are much better focused on being a fantastic consultant and nailing each of the projects that you do; and building your network in the company. 

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Sidi
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replied on Aug 23, 2022
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi!

An academic degree will NOT give you any push for your career within an MBB firm. The only thing that matters here is your performance. 

The reason to pursue a degree are completely external to your career within the firm! General market reputation, ego, etc. are reasons. But internally, the effect is zero.

Cheers, Sidi

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Anonymous A on Aug 23, 2022

Appreciate for sharing. Can you please uncover it more? Reality check looks different. What I see in the circle and through partners linkedin profiles is many MBB consultants are doing MBA after 1-2 years and then come back to the next level, usually it's a jump from analyst to associate.

Sidi on Aug 23, 2022

That is an option, but usually not required anymore. Many people also do it to relax for some time after two intense consulting years. ;) And also because it might well benefit them AFTER leaving consulting!

Ian
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replied on Aug 24, 2022
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Hi there,

To be honest I'm confused by the other answers here.

A *top-tier* MBA is a clear and direct funnel to get recruited at MBB. MBB comes to those school to recruit and you are directly provided immense opportunities to shoot your shot.

If your #1 goal is MBB, then please don't do a PhD, but rather an MBA.

Now, before you do, you should just try to apply now. There is nothing to lose.

Network extensively, get referrals, get your resume professionally reviewed, and then apply! 

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Anonymous C on Aug 24, 2022

Your answer has nothng to do with what was asked. He/she is at MBB already.

Kiran
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replied on Aug 23, 2022
Former McKinsey Consultant (ranked top 3-5%)|McKinsey interview coach, 50+ sessions|30% off first session|Tech Investor

Hi there, Unless your office says promotion is contingent on an advanced degree, I would argue that it is not needed to be promoted (unless you want to specialise in a very technical field).

What might be an idea is a secondment at a client/in a space you are interested in. 

The above is all optimizing for career progression, if you have a deep personal interest in either the PhD or mba then by all means go for it

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Anonymous B on Aug 23, 2022

As someone thinking through this recently at BCG I would tend to agree

Anonymous A on Aug 24, 2022

Hello, Kiran! And much appreciation for your response! Could you please explain what you mean by secondment? Is it possible that I can commit for some very long project that leaves me as part of a client?

Pedro
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replied on Aug 30, 2022
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | FIT | Market Sizing | Former Head Recruiter

What really matters is your performance, not your degrees. If you feel the need to pursue an advanced degree, an MBA will usually be better, unless your PhD thesis is on something that will untimately help the intellectual property of the firm / highly sought after knowledge topic.

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Udayan
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replied on Aug 23, 2022
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

At least at McKinsey there was no need to do a grad degree if you were performing well. I knew many partners that started as BAs and continued up to partner in record time.

Only do a PhD because you want to not because you think it will help in moving up the ranks in consulting.

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Sofia
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replied on Aug 23, 2022
McKinsey San Francisco | Harvard graduate | 5+ years of coaching| Free 15 min intro call | Personalized approach

Hello,

I agree with everyone here that an advanced degree is not necessary for career advancement at MBB! What matters is your performance and your network. If you are personally interested in getting a PhD or MBA, then go for it, but there should be more to your desire to do one of those degrees than just the desire for career progression.

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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