Huge pay cut for boutique consulting firm - is it worthy?

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New answer on May 01, 2020
7 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Apr 26, 2020

After several months of interview, I have failed to get offers at tier 1 & 2 consulting firms. The only offer I got is from a boutique consulting firm based in my local country, providing extremely low salary (local package at an emerging market country), and the salary is even lower than my previous job before MBA.

At the same time, I got a corporate bank relationship manager role which provides high rank (AVP) and acceptable salary in US at a tier-one corporate bank, and the salary would be 4 times compared to the boutique consulting firm. Although the salary is better, this would not be an ideal job for me, as I have aimed for more analytical roles instead of a sales role. (This is a corporate banker sales role instead of an investment banker role.) I am afraid that this role would be viewed as too sales-oriented, and would be an obstacle for me to switch to tier-one consulting firms in a few years.

On the other hand, the boutique consulting firm is quite well known in my country and would be a good place to build up my skillset. Although I am taking a long term view on my career, the obvious concern is the extremely low salary, which would be 20% lower than my job before MBA, and probably 70% lower than the corporate bank role in US. Would really appreciate any advice. Thank you so much!

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Francesco
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replied on Apr 27, 2020
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.700+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi there,

I would consider the following:

  1. Is there any other consulting firm you could apply? This may help to negotiate a better salary, even if the boutique would be your first choice vs the other consulting firm
  2. If there are no other consulting firms you could apply, I would present your concerns to the consulting firm, since it seems they are not recognizing your MBA in their offer. At the minimum, you should try to negotiate a fast-track path to the next level
  3. Apparently the consulting job is more aligned to your long-term goals. The difference in salary won’t be relevant long term, thus unless you have specific needs in the short term, the consulting job seems a better option. Having said that, I would double-check if there is a track record of people working in the boutique and the moving to Tier 1 and 2 and do the same check for the bank
  4. I would also consider what is your final goal. For many people, that is not to stick to consulting. Maybe the bank job won’t help you much with consulting, but may still be suitable for the next step in your career
  5. I agree with Emily that you should also think which country could be more interesting for you long-term

Hope this helps,
Francesco

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Luca
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replied on Apr 26, 2020
BCG |NASA |20+ interviews with 100% success rate| 120+ students coached |GMAT expert 780/800 score

Hello,

Those are 2 completely different jobs, so it must depend on your personal preferences. Do not overthink about the future options to get an MBB offer, since both of them are roles that can be attractive for a tier-1/2 consulting company.
Personally, I would go for the corporate bank option for 3 reasons:

  1. International experience and company brand
  2. Higher salary that will be a key factor also for your future job offers (they are usually based on your actual salary)
  3. Better work-life balance

Hope it helps,
Luca

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Iman
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replied on Apr 26, 2020
BCG | Strategy& |Roland Berger | Interviewed >100 candidates in formal hiring process

Hi, as someone who also started from a small local boutique I can say that both options can get you to the big consulting firms (i.e. MBB). I cannot comment much about the salary gap as that is very personal decision but I can give you a couple of points for each options for your considerations

Boutique option

  1. Reputation of the partners and the firm?
  2. Client portfolio and type of project they do?
  3. Most importantly track record of people jumping to the biggger consulting firm?
  4. You also need to keep networkign and practicing your case

RM Corporate Banking

  1. I have colleagues in BCG and Strategy& that move from banking RM and doing quite well in their job
  2. A tier one corporate bank can probably give you an interview
  3. Keep networking and practice your case interview. In the end of the day, if you pass case interview that is the best evidence that you can do the job

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Anonymous replied on Apr 27, 2020

Hi A,

I agree with Francesco to broaden your horizon and find out information about other consulting firm you could apply to.

Also try to ask yourself two question that you reflect on them:

- Where I want to find myself in my near future? Where I really want to put all my efforts?

- Why I want to take the offer in the boutique consulting firm?

Wish you get your perfect answer,

André

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Emily
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replied on Apr 27, 2020
BCG Project Leader | 3+ years interview experience for BCG SEA recruiting | Kellogg MBA, NTU, Peking University

Hi there,

Agree with Iman that both options could eventually work towards MBB. Just some additional points that you might want to consider:

(1) where do you want to be in the longer term, your local country or US? How easy/quick would it be to build up a career network in either location?

(2) is money a practical constrain for you at the moment?

(3) maybe check with people in MBB in your target country, and see what do they think of ppl coming from the boutique firm, any success stories before etc?

Best,

Emily

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Clara
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replied on Apr 27, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Indeed it´s not an easy decision.

These are the things that I would encourage you to reflect on:

  1. Which is your long term goal and which of the two offers is better aligned with it?
  2. Same with your medium term goal
  3. How important is money for you at this point? Do you need it (e.g., for living, for dependents, for paying student debts, etc.) or is it not that much of a driver for you?
  4. Which geography are you aiming for? The US is for sure an interesting market, but you seem also interested in building a carreer in your home country
    1. Which of the two offers helps you most in your targeted location?
  5. How long are you planning to stay in this initial job/step?
  6. Which one gets you a better network in the targeted geography?

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Antonello
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replied on May 01, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi, first I would try to renegotiate with the boutique in order to get better conditions (leveraging on alternatives). Otherwise, I would consider also work life balance and growth opportunity in your choice decision. I think even with your current job you can build a cv interesting for consulting (especially if you are going to gain a leadership position in the firm)

Best

ANtonello

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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