Choice between Big 4 and strategy firm

Big 4
New answer on May 06, 2020
8 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Mar 06, 2020

Hi folks,

I received two offers. One for senior consultant at a big 4, the other one for consultant at a top-tier strategy firm (non-MBB).

What would you recommend? Compensation package is similar.

Thanks!

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Francesco
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replied on Mar 07, 2020
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

it is difficult to provide suggestions without knowing your final goals, but in general Big 4 and top strategy firms have a different focus in terms of projects. Specifically, Big 4 work more on implementation projects rather than strategy. However, many of the Big 4 have now also a strategy branch, thanks to the acquisition of Booz (PwC), Monitor (Deloitte) and Parthenon (EY), thus moving towards strategy and more direct competition with Tier 1 and Tier 2 companies.

In general, compared to Big 4, in top strategy companies you get:

  • Higher competition
  • Stronger alumni network
  • Higher pay (may depend by the country)
  • Longer hours (may depend by the country)
  • Shorter project, more strategy focus
  • Support for extra stuff – there are specific MBB department for research and you can outsource most boring activity (eg slides realignment)
  • On average, higher budget for travel
  • More exposure to CXO level

Best,

Francesco

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Nathaniel
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replied on Mar 07, 2020
McKinsey | BCG | CERN| University of Cambridge

Hello there,

It depends on your preference in terms of career aspiration, culture, work-life balance, and others.
I would personally choose strategy firm for a couple of reasons:

  • The work strategy firms do are intellectually challenging and satisfying (Big 4 have more opertaions, not as much C-level focus work on their projects - it depends if this is the strategy arm of Big 4 or the regular consulting arm, but even then, stragy firm would still come up better)
  • Network of people you"ll interact with are more ambitious and full with achievements (depends, but typically strategy firm have more proportion in this)
  • Exit opportunities are much better for strategy firm (you can even go to Big 4 afterwards but vice versa a little bit more challenging)
  • The most important thing is look at the people and the culture, then see which one you"ll be most comfortable to work with among the two.

Hope it helps.

Kind regards,
Nathan

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Marco
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replied on Mar 09, 2020
Associate | 3 years Experience | L.E.K. Consulting | Strategy Consulting | Extensive experience in case solving

Hi,

Congrats on your offers. It really depends on your priorities

Generally speaking, in tier-1 strategy consultancies you will have:

- Higher remunaration and longer hours

- Typically shorter and more intense projects, typically strategy and operations focussed with little to none implementation work

- Stronger alumni network

- Exposure to top management vs. middle management

Hope if helps!
Marco

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Emily
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replied on May 06, 2020
BCG Project Leader | 3+ years interview experience for BCG SEA recruiting | Kellogg MBA, NTU, Peking University

I would definitely recommend to take the top tier offer.

It would give you much better exit options later, and also very likely better training and development.

Anyway congrats!

Emily

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Clara
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replied on Mar 07, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello! Congrats for the offers!

For giving you good advise, would be important to know some things, that are questions you can also make to yourself in order to decide:

  • What is your long-term goal? Since one job can be better than the other
  • Do you have a clear next step stablished after this job?
  • Does the culture, vision and mission of any of them fit better with your personal values?

Both options are good, you just need to assess which one is the best fit for you.

Hope it helps!

Best,

Clara

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Vlad
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replied on Mar 07, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

I would definitely recommend the top-tier firm for:

  • Better projects and roles on the projects
  • Faster career growth
  • Better brand
  • The quality of people around you

Best

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Luca
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replied on Mar 08, 2020
BCG |NASA |20+ interviews with 100% success rate| 120+ students coached |GMAT expert 780/800 score

Hello,

FIrst of all congratulations!! I would definetely go for the strategy firm for all the reasons listed in the other answers.

Take a look of this article that examines the difference between a top-tier strategy and Big 4: https://www.mbacrystalball.com/blog/2020/02/17/mckinsey-vs-bcg-vs-bain-vs-big4/

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Robert
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replied on Mar 08, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

If compensation package is similar anyway ... yeah, at the end of the day it's also a "gut feeling" about which firm you feel more comfortable with.

Needless to say, you need to do your homework and research how those firms fit into your personal overall career plan, but assuming you did that already, I would make the final decision based on my subjective feeling with which firm's people I bonded best and which office culture I preferred!

Hope that helps - if so, please give it a thumbs-up with the upvote button!

Robert

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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