Head of Strat vs. Tier1/2 Consultancy

Internal Strategy mbb exit change selection criteria
New answer on Oct 01, 2021
5 Answers
454 Views
Anonymous A asked on Sep 30, 2021

Hello,

this question is slightly aimed at the more senior people on the forum.

I am a senior strategy consultant at a top boutique in south Europe (Italy/Spain/France). I will exit my current role and as such I have been contacted by various headhunters for Tier1/Tier2 consultancy roles. 

I am about to face the tough decision as I have an offer as “head of group strategy” for a company of 500 FTE (better hours / average salary) vs. a senior role at a Tier1/Tier2 consultancy (longer hours, maybe more prestige when exiting in 2 years and better pay).

I have mixed feelings as both are great options, but thinking about long term implications. A Tier1 brand name would not hurt, but my heart is quite set on leading the strategy department of a firm. Which one would you pick? 

Thank you!

Overview of answers

Upvotes
  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best answer
Mehdi
Expert
replied on Sep 30, 2021
Former McKinsey JEM in Casablanca, Montreal & Paris | 200+ coached | Trained interviewer | Now working in Sports

Hi,

Congrats on the offer for the head of strategy position!

The way I see it, it all depends on what you want to do afterwards.

Take the Head of Strategy position if :

- You want to learn mostly about corporate politics and how to push through initiatives in a slower environment than consulting

- You do not care about being pigeon-holed in the company's industry for the future (or nearby industries)

- You want to see the impact of your work first-hand and over the long-term

- There is a clear path to something bigger afterwards at another company in the sector or with a bigger role in the company (keep in mind top executives can feel threatened by a younger, brighter individual, and you will lose time trying to prove your worth)

Take the consulting position if :

- It's tier 1 and you want to strengthen your CV (otherwise if it's tier 2 you may as well stay in your boutique, it will not impact your CV that much)

- You want to continue to sharpen your problem-solving skills very quickly (no place like consulting, jumping from one problem to the next, and having limited time to solve it)

- You want to accelerate your career trajectory (you will likely be able to access similar head of strategy roles in the future as you reach Manager/Junior Partner positions in consulting)

I would recommend at least applying to the tier 1 consulting positions, and see what comes out of it, and then you'll have a choice to make. But in any case you have 2 great options on the table. Don't stall ;)

All the best,

Mehdi

Was this answer helpful?
16
Agrim
CoachingPlus Expert
Content Creator
replied on Sep 30, 2021
BCG Dubai Project Leader | I will transform your thinking about Consulting Interviews

Congrats on the offers!

You've answered your own question - you know where your heart is. Thus, that is the job you will enjoy more.

Consulting can surely give you glory in a short run - but you do not seem determined to make consulting a long-term profession. In that case, if you still want to take a dip into consulting - think about how many years you can give it. The Head of Strategy role might still be open once you do your consulting tier-1 stint.

Was this answer helpful?
Adi
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Sep 30, 2021
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Hey,

When you are convinced that you have done your bit in Consulting and have learnt what you set out to, dont hesitate i.e. exit! 

In terms of industry vs consulting , you really need to look at it in terms of better fit, better alignment with your personal and professional values, alignment with career aspirations and finally manageable risk. 

Stay in Consulting for another stint (2-3 years) only if there is more for you to learn, improve your consulting skills and there are interesting roles to go after. Dont stay for the prestige or hope for a better opportunity in the future. All you can do is give your best NOW. Future events may or may not happen as planned.

Good luck choosing.

Was this answer helpful?
Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 01, 2021
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

I think you've gotten some fantastic advice from the other coaches here!

I really just have one thing to say: “but my heart is quite set on leading the strategy department of a firm”

^This ireally all you need to look at. Cut out the other noises/influences :)

Was this answer helpful?
Pedro
Expert
replied on Sep 30, 2021
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | FIT | Market Sizing | Former Head Recruiter

Hi there,

15 years of professional experience here, have been in and out and in and out of consulting (yes, twice in, twice out). So I've seen a lot and gave a lot of thought to this already in my lifetime (and had many discussions about this).

You have to understand that no one is a consultant forever (ok, maybe 0,1% is). Even partners have to leave at some point.

In other words, you may join a Tier 1, but at some point you will leave again. 

So the question is how does this offer compare with the offer you may get when you leave the MBB. Will you be applying to the same position, or same company but 1 level up? If so, grab the opportunity now and be promoted within the company.

But let me share a different angle. Because sometimes titles look great, but then they are not aligned with the real responsibility level you are going to have. 

Are you really going to manage a group of people? Are you really going to be the “head of something”? I've seen “heads” of their own head and nothing more.

So let me share a “secret” with you. In a career in management, there are 2 “jumps” in responsibility that are very hard to do, and that are much easier within consulting or when leaving consulting vs. in the industry.

The first one is managing people. A lot of people leave consulting for an analyst role in a big corporate. That's a mistake. You should only leave for a manager role. So you wait in consulting until you leave for a manager role (or are promoted to manager within consulting). The other one is P&L or executive responsibility. Same logic.

Getting back to your question. If you are going to have that managerial or that executive responsibility, then +1-2 years in consulting are making no difference. They are actually hurting you, so you should take the job. Otherwise, you should consider remaining in consulting in order to make that jump easier.

Happy to discuss in private if you want to go deeper in the discussion.

Was this answer helpful?