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In Germany harder than other countries?

Anonymous A asked on Oct 01, 2018 - 4 answers

Hello to everyone. A friend who work in MBB in Germany tell me he work more and has more stress now. He worked before in other country and say it was very hard but not like Germany. I want to apply MBB and I study in Germany and want to stay here. I speak German fluent, much better than English. My country, Korea, has very bad work/life balance and work many hours, and in MBB even more than other jobs. I know consulting is very hard and personal time is not easy. That is okay but I do not want to apply MBB in Korea because it is harder life. Can someone please tell me about work culture in Germany?

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Alessandro
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replied on Oct 01, 2018
Bain & Company | University of Cambridge | CV/Resume writing | 770 GMAT
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Work culture at MBB in Germany is tough - definitely among the hardest in the industry. 70+ hour weeks are regular - although at least at Bain, weekends seem to be pretty respected. Part of what makes the job so difficult is demanding and generally very detail-oriented clients.

However, your alternative, Korea, is perhaps one of the few countries in the world with even worse hours and culture than Germany. Hours are even longer, with 80-90 hour weeks more the norm than the exception (admittedly based on a relatively small sample size of colleagues I encountered at training sessions). Compared to Germany, culture also appears to be much more hierarchical.

In the end, between your two options, I would probably choose Germany. It is the least intense of the two, and is also a much more mature market with less hierarchy. You are also based in Europe, so will potentially have a chance to work in other European countries where work-life balance may be better (e.g. the UK).

Bruno
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replied on Oct 02, 2018
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Hi there,

Adding to Alessandro's reply - you could consider going to Amesterdam. Dutch is a mix of german and english, besides many projects are international and you can speak in english (of course dutch is preferred, but I suppose with german they would accept you and expect you to learn german throughout your time there). Besides, at least in Bain, the worklife balance is quite impressive as the normal week is 55h (with 60 or 65 being the exception).

Nevertheless, bear in mind that we both work at Bain so you should consider what folks at BCG and McK have to say, because it might be a bit different.

All the best for your applications! :)

Guennael
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replied on Oct 02, 2018
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I have also heard that Korea is the absolute hardest environment.

From an acceptance perspective (and based on who among my clients got in vs. their general preparedness), I'd say Asia, Europe and North America are the toughest to get in; other areas are comparatively easier

Elias
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replied on Oct 04, 2018
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Agree with all the other answers. Germany is probably the toughest in Europe, but less than Korea or Japan.

That being said, I would add that Germans are in many ways a cultural anti-thesis to East Asia. Germans are famous for their bluntness, so there no such thing as sugarcoating or saving someone the embarrassment or saving face. For many people from other countries (stereotyping here...) that takes some getting used to...