Hypothetical Question - Mck small local office + lower compensation OR Bain Dubai + much higher compensation?

Bain BCG Bain McKinsey Mck
New answer on Jul 10, 2020
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Anonymous A asked on Jun 26, 2020

Here's a hypothetical question: If one were to decide between McKinsey and Bain IF the following were true:

- McKinsey local office, about 80 people, lower compensation (in global terms)

- Bain Middle East and much higher tax free compensation + international exposure

How would you decide between the two? Which one would have better exit opportunities?

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Anonymous replied on Jun 26, 2020

Hi there,

Too many variables here and their weights heavily depend on your preferences.

Let me help you out is setting your equation with the following info:

  • Bain Dubai is the smallest of the MBBs, and is even smaller than some tier-2 players (I would say that Kearny, OW, and S& are significantly larger)
  • Yes, tax-free compensation is nice :) however life is expensive! e.g. a Gin tonic in Dubai would cost around 60 AED = 16 USD :)
  • Dubai offices have less international exposure than you might think (Dubai offices serve the middle-east region almost exclusively, with some exceptions)
  • I would say exit opportunities in the middle east are less attractive than the ones in Europe and the US - but that is my opinion :)

I hope this helps - if you have extra questions about the middle-east "habibi land" , feel free to reach out :)



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Content Creator
updated an answer on Jul 03, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

1) Where would you be happier?

Why does everyone in the consulting world forget this?!?

You need to be in the office of a country you actually like (I would personally hate Dubai, higher pay or not). You need to be at a company that fits YOU (i.e. do you get along with Bain or McKinsey people more). You need a boss that mentors you and you see eye-to-eye with. You need to be in industries that interest you.

More important than anything is: Do you end up thriving in the place you chose?

If you want exit opportunities, go McKinsey local

If you want $, go Bain Dubai

If you want a generally better life, pick the one where you think you'll have a better overall experience and be mentored/developed more.


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Anonymous replied on Jul 10, 2020

Dear A,

I'm a very pragmatic person, so if I were you I would definitely go for the company where you have the best cut feeling. If this is McKinsey in a smaller office, then it's absolutel fine, but if you really like Bain Dubai then simply go for it, because at the end of the days it's not a big difference whether you have been an alumni of McKinsey, BCG, Bain or other big companies with a good reputation. You will always find a good afterwards.

Secondly, I would also like to emphasize that you need to take into consideration that Bain Dubai has one of the worst office cultures in the Middle East, so please consider this wisely enough. Time is precious, try to get out max out of it in any option, because 90% of the consultance are going for the consulting for 3-5 years and will not make it to the partner.

If you need advice, I have created special career special on-boarding program which is called "Get ready for the first 100 days and long term career success", I'm happy to help you and navigate you throgh growth and building solid career in consulting as well as exit options afterwards.



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Content Creator
replied on Jun 29, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


For me, and perhaps and biased, I would go for McKinsey.

Consulting is normally a short career, and what matters most is the exit opportunities, alumni community, brand... this lasts forever.

And here, without doubts, McK is stronger.

Hope it helps!



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