Company brand or transferable skill - which does consulting firms care more?

New answer on May 19, 2020
6 Answers
Anonymous A asked on May 17, 2020

As consulting firms are pretty flexible to candidate backgrounds, do you think consulting firms care more about job seekers' company brand or transferable skill? For example, software sales at Microsoft vs. boutique consulting firm, which one would you choose as a good stepping stone to tier 1 consulting houses?

I understand boutique consulting firm's skills are totally transferable. But on the other hand, firms like Microsoft have a great brand and the skill set might be valued in some way.

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Content Creator
updated an answer on May 17, 2020
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Short answer: Both

I may need a brand to get in the door (Strong company brand, MBA, etc).

You will also need to then show transferable skills through excellent, sharp bullet points underneath each brand.

Put yourself in their shoes...what would you care about? Would it be a black or white one or the other? Absolutely's about the whole story!


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Anonymous replied on May 17, 2020

Hi there,

In my opinion, when I go through CVs, I pay much more attention the transferable skills. Yes, a big brand would definitely catch my eye, but if it's not a relevant work experience, then I wouldn't give it much attention.

Selling Microsoft products doesn't make you more attractive than a consultant with 2-years restructuring expertise in a boutique consulting firm.

I hope this helps.


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Content Creator
replied on May 18, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


It´s difficult to say which factor weights more, since they are normally not isolated, but "contaminated" by other factors in each of the offers.

Precisely for this, is best to focus on your specific example.

In your case, I would 100% go for Microsoft:

  1. It´s a powerful brand and this weights in your CV forever
  2. Sales skills are highly valued everywhere, also in consulting. Actually, consultng is a lot about sales and client management

Boutique firms, of those there are plenty. Microsoft is only one.

Hope it helps!



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Content Creator
updated an answer on May 17, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


  1. Sales by itself is a transferrable skill. Guess why? Most of the partners are very bad at selling. If you manage to show that you will be great at selling projects in the future - this will be relevant. Microsoft has the same type of consultative sales.
  2. Sales is a relevant functional knowledge. If you sell it as Sales and Marketing skill - you can position it as a very relevant functional experience.
  3. Microsoft brand is valuable

Even if you don't make it to consulting - sales experience will help you a lot in your future career. Just don't get stuck there



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Content Creator
replied on May 19, 2020
BCG Project Leader | 3+ years interview experience for BCG SEA recruiting | Kellogg MBA, NTU, Peking University

Short answer - both are important.

It is not a trade off interviewer has to make. Most of the time we have a lot of resumes with both good brand and good transferrable skills.

Comapany without big brand name can give you transferable skills too. Problem solving, logical thinking, communication, stakeholder management - you can build all these regarless of the role.

Boutique firm doesn't mean they always don't have brands either. Some are well known for the niche sector they specialise in.



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Anonymous replied on May 18, 2020

Dear A,

Ideally, you should have both. A combination of transferable skills together with strong brand names in your CV.

Hope it helps,

Good luck,


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Ian gave the best answer


Content Creator
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep
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