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Economic slowdown and promotion timeline at MBB

career progression MBB promotion Recessions
New answer on Mar 16, 2023
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Mar 15, 2023

Besides the tightening in up or out, do you know if the current slowdown is also impacting promotion timelines at MBB? E.g. less ‘fast track promotions’ (or none at all?), more people needing six months more, etc.

(edited)

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 15, 2023
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi there, 

As you might expect, there's no public data on this, so the evidence is all anecdotal. 

But yes, you can expect promotion timelines to be slightly delayed. The formal reasoning for this is that there are fewer client engagements and thus fewer opportunities for consultants to create impact, fewer opportunities for them to show or develop their skills, and therefore their growth is also stunted. 

Promotions are definitely important - that's what I always had on my mind as a consultant. However, with time you realise that it's actually best to play the long-term game and then these slump periods matter actually little. 

Best,

Cristian

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Hagen
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replied on Mar 16, 2023
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

I think this is an interesting question that may be relevant for many people. I would be happy to share my thoughts on it:

  • First of all, nobody knows for certain, as this depends on the specific strategy consulting company. While for some, it might suffice to slow down recruiting, others may need to freeze recruiting altogether and apply other measures to keep personnel costs stable or decrease them.
  • Moreover, I would highly advise you to focus on preparing for your upcoming interviews. While a similar situation might happen to you in the future as well, I feel it might not be meaningful to contemplate it now.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on how to address your specific situation, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Best,

Hagen

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Ian
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replied on Mar 16, 2023
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

Yes, quite naturally it does both impact promotion timing and the intensity of up or out.

And, this works in resver. So when times were booming over the past 2 years, people who should not have gotten offers and should not have been promoted, were.

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Dennis
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replied on Mar 15, 2023
Ex-Roland Berger|Project Manager and Recruiter|7+ years of consulting experience in USA and Europe

Hi,

it really depends on the severity of the financial situation. Since consulting firms pay out their profits in the form of bonuses every year, there is usually not a whole lot of buffer. So when the project pipeline is drying out, you want to keep the cost level low - if the objective is to not lay off staff in the mid-term.

If they implemented a hiring freeze for instance, it is unlikely that they then would still hand out fast-track promotions while that is in place. However, “on-track” promotions are typically honored from what I have seen and heard. 

At the same token, the bonus pool will be impacted as well. 

But it really depends how big the struggle and how negative the outlook is

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Florian
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replied on Mar 15, 2023
Highest-rated McKinsey coach (ratings, offers, sessions) | 500+ offers | Author of The 1% & Consulting Career Secrets

Hi there,

Yes, it does, especially at the higher end of the pyramid.

It is almost impossible at the moment to make the transition from junior partner to partner and some MBB offices have started offering compensation so that people would leave (the same happened in 2008/09). The situation is much worse than what is depicted here on this forum… 

For more junior roles, I would not expect too much of a hold-up, although this strongly depends on the office. Some offices of certain firms have always been notorious for keeping people longer in their roles than usual, leading to waves of resignations in the past.

All the best!

Cheers,

Florian

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