(Includes TLDR) MBA Vs Non-Business Masters For My Situation (Consulting, IBD, Software Engineering)

business school investment banking software strategy consulting
New answer on Jul 09, 2022
2 Answers
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SB asked on Jul 08, 2022

Thanks for taking the time.

MAIN GIST OF QUESTION:

Can I do a MiF/MiM and still apply for Associate Strat Consulting or IBD because of my 3-4 years of experience? McKinsey Recruitment FAQ seems to imply that if you have 4 or more years of experience between undergrad and non-MBA Masters you can apply to Associate? How does that make sense when that way no one would pay for the 2x more costly MBAs


Background:

- UK based, Comp Sci BSc, ~ 3 years software dev in a Sales and Trading tech team at a BB bank. Don't want to do this for 40 years.

- Got an offer for tech Product Manager at a top 3 USA BB bank, which I will accept as it is the only thing (without further education) I can change to that makes me more commercial / "businessy". I did get a McKinsey Digital Strategy interview but was first case and failed.

- I want to possibly switch to strategy consulting or a finance (IBD or some other finance advisory).

- Problem: Since I want to do real business strategy consulting (and not some trap in Accenture or tech consulting), I really cant get much outside McKinsey/BCG Digital Strategy interviews (Bain, Big 4 Strategy Houses or Tier 2 like OW, LEK etc, and IBDs) since they all recruit like this:

Grad scheme -> Too out of uni for that

Free-floating Analyst/Associate -> No relevant experience (since software dev) and people with stepping stone jobs (like Big 4 Transactional Services/ Corporate banking for IBD) are a much better fit.

And I can't recruit for all stepping stone jobs at the same time.

- Hoping to better my background with MBA or non-Business Masters but a bit confused:

MBA:

- Good for Strat Consulting and IBD on Associate recruiting (where my background before won't matter much?)

- Good for better tech PM brands (Google etc) or VC (if I do a bit of PM)

Masters in Finance / Masters in Management:

- MUCH MUCH cheaper (even when assuming top brands)

- If I throw away my 3-4 years of software dev (irrelevant) experience upon entry I can do entry level IBD/Strategy Consulting applications

- Confusion arises from wondering if I can do a MiF/MiM and still apply for Associate Strat Consulting or IBD because of my experience? McKinsey Recruitment FAQ seems to imply that if you have 4 or more years of experience between undergrad and non-MBA Masters you can apply to Associate? Then, it is easier to do MiM/MiF and pay half the cost... must be a catch.

Thanks.

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Francesco
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replied on Jul 09, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi SB,

Q: Can do a MiF/MiM and still apply for Associate Strat Consulting or IBD because of my experience? 

The quick answer is that the MBA will increase your chances substantially compared to a Master and open more doors. Long-term, the additional investment is going to be irrelevant. Therefore, I would target that. 

If you want to go for consulting, probably the best bet in terms of time and money is INSEAD (1 year only).

Best,

Francesco

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Adi
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jul 09, 2022
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Hi SB,

Clearly a lot going on in your head..LOL! Thats okay. Good to think through such career decisions carefully.

Your 3-4 s/w dev experience will only be appreciated by Consulting firm with a Technology DNA- Accenture, Deloitte, EY and some other boutiques. Strat firms will disregard it very likely, so doing a top MBA is the best way to switch your career profile. Its expensive but if you plan well and get this right, its worth the investment. If you cut corners you will get what you invest.

You can get into Strat consulting without MBA or any more education provided you are willing to start from bottom and network like there is no tomorrow. Can be done!

Have a look at this article for more broader guidance on making right career decisions- https://www.preplounge.com/en/articles/how-do-i-know-which-career-is-right-for-me

All the best.

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Francesco

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