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Consulting in US vs. Germany vs. Spain (stereotypes/personal experiences appreciated!)

Anonymous A asked on Sep 30, 2018

I'm looking to narrow down my preferences in applying for MBB in the US, Germany, and Spain (I speak all the local languages and have ties to each country). I'm open to any and all information about the differences between consulting in these countries: interview process, competitiveness, type/frequency of travel, work hours, work/life balance length of assignments, moving up the firm ladder, diversity/multiculturalism/multi-lingual offices, pay, etc.

I know everything depends on something (firm/city/manager/economy/etc.) but even stereotypes would help at this point as I only know a bit about consulting in the US and basically not at all in Spain and Germany except what I've found on Glassdoor/etc.

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Elias
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updated his answer on Oct 04, 2018
Experienced strategy consultant, now running own consulting business
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Argh... I had typed out a really long answer and then clicked next to the window and it's gone...

I lived in all countries for several years, btw.

So now for the short version:

  • Macroeconomy: Germany booming, US not bad as well, Spain not so much
  • Opportunities: Mirror the macro-factors. There was rarely a better time to start in consulting in Germany than now.
  • Work culture: Spain more hierarchical and elitist (all from the same private schools and universities) than Germany and the US
  • Diversity: White boys club everywhere, but least in the US, then Germany, then Spain.
  • Pay: Probably Germany has the best package in terms of purchasing power, especially if you decide not to live in Munich.
  • Travel: All travel a lot. Spanish economy a lot more concentrated in Madrid and Barcelona than German and US economies. Germans get hired less internationally (broad generalisation) because they are too expensive in the internal service charging schemes for many countries.
  • Work-life balance: German consultants are notorious for their lack thereof and the long hours, at least in Europe.

Hope this helps. First version was a lot prettier, but I am on a schedule. Sorry bout that.

Elias

(edited)