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Got two MBB offers but for slightly different entry points - things to consider when choosing?

Someone asked on Mar 12, 2019 - 2 answers

I got offers from two MBBs, but for slightly different entry points (I'm a few years out of university and have some work experience in an adjacent industry): one for (what at BCG would be) First Year Consultant, and the other one for Senior Associate/Junior Consultant.

Obviously starting a little higher up the totem pole would have its perks ($, looks better on CV), but I'm wondering about the following additional considerations (among others):

- Should I expect to have less time to get up to speed if I start at Consultant-level versus Senior A./Junior C. level and how much higher are the requirements at that level?

- Are there many instances where people had a much harder than necessary time or even failed due to starting at a level that wasn't right for them?

- Any other things I should consider?

Has anybody been in this position and/or can share their experience/thoughts?

Thanks for your input, much appreciated!

(edited)

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Guennael replied on Mar 12, 2019
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews

Congratulations!

Great questions, I think you are looking at this the right way. Yes, starting too high leads to higher expectations and may cause heartache / failure. At the same time, a senior associate is not a beginner either so not like they won't assume you can bring value add right away.

Ultimately, I don't think you give us enough information to really form an opinion (e.g., what were you doing? who is the other MBB?). Other considerations would be who you met at each company / who you feel most at ease with, does the office already have consultants who were in your shoes a year or two ago, is either office looking to build a deeper bench in an area of expertise of yours...

My experience is not directly applicable, but I was an experienced hire and started as a first year consultant (BCG). Expectations were that I'd be better than average at client interaction. At some level, I therefore would have been better suited for a more senior role but the office correctly believed I needed to build my consulting toolkit first. You may also want to discuss with trusted members of each office and ask them the question honestly. Don't worry - they want you, and definitely will not rescind the offer.

Congrats again, welcome to the MBB family!

Francesco replied on Mar 14, 2019
#1 Expert for coaching sessions (2.100+) | Ex BCG | 1.000+ reviews with 100% recommendation rate

Hi Anonymous,

congratulations on your offers! I would not consider the difference in the positions as the main relevant element for your choice, unless the junior position implies you will need an MBA and the senior doesn’t require so. Of course, if you join at a higher level expectations are also higher, but there is no substantial difference in the tasks of a Junior Consultant and a Consultant; you may also end in more requiring projects as Junior Consultant just based on luck. At the same time, salary and the higher position are not particularly relevant either if the difference between the two positions is a 6-month – 1-year gap.

Instead, I would consider the following elements:

  1. Where do you want to be in 10 years? Based on that, look for how many alumni are more present in that field. It is not relevant if one company has more Alumni if they are not related to what you really want to do in your life. If you still don't know, everything equal the company with more alumni is stronger.
  2. If you consider the average consultant/partner you talked to in each company, which one you would like to be? As Jim Rohn said, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. And you will spend a lot of time with your colleagues in the next years. Be sure you chose a company where people are close to the person you want to become.
  3. What is your gut feeling telling you? Our gut feeling is able to catch elements we cannot rationalize, most of the time aligned to what we really want, and can help to make a decision if you cannot find a strong argument for one of the two options.

Hope this helps,

Francesco