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How to choose which MBB offer to accept?

Anonymous A

Hello, having all MBB offers for the same city, how to choose the right one?

Is the gut feeling about how well I clicked with the interviewers the right guide? I was offered to talk to consultants working at these companies to facilitate my decision - will that help? If yes, what are the right questions to ask to figure out the right company for me?

Any tips from people who had multiple offer on how they approached the choice are very welcome!

(edited)

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Francesco replied on 03/28/2018
Ex BCG | MBB Specialist | #1 Expert for coaching sessions (1400+) with 100% recommendation rate

Hi Anonymous,

first of all congratulations for landing the three offers, that’s a great achievement! The key elements I personally considered were the following:

  • Upward mobility. In most of the countries they are very similar between the big 3.
  • Type of clients/projects across different industries. Some companies may have more focus on one sector you may find more interesting than others.
  • Office dimension. In some countries some companies have smaller office, thus less opportunities compared to the others. That’s more often the case of Bain as it is globally the smallest of the big 3.
  • Non-financial perks. One of the main variables if you are pre-MBA would be likelihood of MBA sponsorship. After MBA you could consider general perks, although they are usually aligned (most relevant: health insurance and pension contribution).
  • Exit opportunities. As McKinsey has more Alumni, it has more options for networking for your next steps as career. On the other hand, BCG and Bain could be more interesting given some specific industry focus (eg Bain for PE).
  • International exposure. McKinsey has more offices worldwide, however I did not see a real impact from that on the travelling opportunities at BCG. Bain is the smallest of the three, which may have some impact according to the geography interesting for you.
  • Gut feeling. There are a lot of factors you won’t have control on during your consulting experience (mainly the type of projects you will do initially and the teams you will join) that could influence the overall experience; if you felt a click for a specific company, it is likely that particular environment will fit more with your personality. This could become far more important than all the other elements in the long run.

Of course, if they proposed different entry packages in terms of position/salary, you should evaluate that as well. In general though offers are pretty close at least for Analyst/Associate positions.

Definitely go for the chat with the consultants to facilitate your decisions. Vlad provided a good list of elements for pain points. Some good questions you may ask to understand the culture are instead the following:

  • What is the thing you are most proud of that you have done while at your company? This will help to understand which are the inner values of the person you are talking to
  • How have you positively changed in the last years and how your company have contributed to such change? To me, the most important element in choosing a company has always been the growth opportunities it could provide. This could help to understand the perception of the consultant on what the company really gave him in terms of growth.
  • Why would you choose your current company vs on of the other MBB? Basically you are getting the answer from your question from their point of view. That’s a bit pushy, so be sure the consultant has an open attitude if you want to ask this question.

Best,
Francesco

Sidi replied on 03/28/2018
McKinsey Engagement Manager & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 35+ candidates secure MBB offers

One additional point:

If you are open on your cross-offers, firms might put you in touch with senior consultants (i.e., partners) who have worked for one of the other MBBs in the past. Obviously this will still be a sales pitch, but you can infer a lot of helpful information! (here all the diensions outlined by Francesco, Vlad and Andrea make a lot of sense!)

For examle, when I had receied an offer at McKinsey, the Firm identified a couple of persons who had prior multi year working expereince with BCG. The discussions I had with them (on the grounds of my personal objectives) were vital for me to take the decision (lateraling from BG to McKinsey).

Vlad replied on 03/27/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School

Hi,

I would look at several aspects:

  1. Brand
  2. The role that they give you (Role, not salary)
  3. Presence in your country (size of the office, projects)
  4. Career growth speed in your country
  5. Ability to relocate (Yours and company procedures)
  6. Culture

I would try to ask the friends / frineds of the friends directly what's going on. Just go through the value chain in consulting. Potential pain points:

  • Promotions
  • Openness of the leadership to feedbacks
  • Up or out policy
  • The general behavior of the leadership team
  • Communications with the client
  • Gender Equality
  • Long hours and related issues
  • Mentorship (Couriers counselor, DGL, etc)
  • Staffing
  • Performance reviews
  • Is it the same globally? Or it's just the local problem?

Best,

Andrea
Expert
replied on 03/27/2018
Former BCG decision round interviewer with 300+ real interviews in 8 years at BCG

Congrats on cross-offers! At this point choice really comes down to fit with culture and type of work/industry mix the company has. Talking with the consultants for me was extremely helpful because it allowed me to understand which firm had values closer to mine and also way to interact among peers close to mine.

Hope it helps,

Andrea

Ashwin
Expert
replied on 03/29/2018
Experienced strategy consultant with 5+ years in Roland Berger, doing over 60 Undergrad-->MBA level interviews.

Congratulations, that's amazing!

Frankly, all three are excellent unless there are differences in team size & perception for the three within your country / city. Unless that's not the case (e.g. say you're in the US or Germany), I'd try my best to figure out which team or even individual you may be working for when you get in (likely will have something to do with your background). Make sure you know who your boss may be and if he/she is someone you can click with well. If you can figure this out, you'll be able to make an informed decision.

If all ideas fail, go McKinsey. It's size and reach globally is second to none.

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