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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:
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)
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.
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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!
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