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8

Is financial advisory (big four) a good stepping stone to consulting?

After completing MBA, my application to strategy consulting firms didn't work out, and I ended up receiving an offer from one of big four's financial advisory unit. The team that offered me a role was focusing on M&A strategy. I'm wondering whether this role would be a good stepping stone to management consulting, and would the experience be adding value?

I am facing some drawbacks of this role, so I am evaluating the upside of this role:

1. Pay: local pay at emerging market, much lower comparing to MBB or other strategy consulting firms. MBA associate program doesn't exist.

2. Brand: not sure whether big four would be a brand that could help me get interviews from top tier consulting firms.

3. Experience: since the role would be focusing on M&A, I'm not sure whether the scope would be viewed as "too limited" compared to strategy consulting.

Thank you for providing your advice!

After completing MBA, my application to strategy consulting firms didn't work out, and I ended up receiving an offer from one of big four's financial advisory unit. The team that offered me a role was focusing on M&A strategy. I'm wondering whether this role would be a good stepping stone to management consulting, and would the experience be adding value?

I am facing some drawbacks of this role, so I am evaluating the upside of this role:

1. Pay: local pay at emerging market, much lower comparing to MBB or other strategy consulting firms. MBA associate program doesn't exist.

2. Brand: not sure whether big four would be a brand that could help me get interviews from top tier consulting firms.

3. Experience: since the role would be focusing on M&A, I'm not sure whether the scope would be viewed as "too limited" compared to strategy consulting.

Thank you for providing your advice!

8 answers

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Best Answer

Dear A,

Yes, this role could be seen s a step stone in consulting later on, because I know many of my former colleagues came to consulting from big4 companies. However, it also has some limitations. Apart the things that you have mentioned, you need to receive a promotion within the nest 2 years, and only after promotion you would be able to apply for more junior position in consulting. This means that when switching from big four to consulting to the more strategy role, you will be downgraded, at least for 1 grade. Nevertheless, it's better than nothing.

If you need any further help or advice, feel free to reach out.
Best,

André

Dear A,

Yes, this role could be seen s a step stone in consulting later on, because I know many of my former colleagues came to consulting from big4 companies. However, it also has some limitations. Apart the things that you have mentioned, you need to receive a promotion within the nest 2 years, and only after promotion you would be able to apply for more junior position in consulting. This means that when switching from big four to consulting to the more strategy role, you will be downgraded, at least for 1 grade. Nevertheless, it's better than nothing.

If you need any further help or advice, feel free to reach out.
Best,

André

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Hi,

Big 4 advisory and consulting practices are definitely great sources of candidates for MBB. But you would need to invest effort in differentiating yourself from other big 4 candidates.

Best,

Anton

Hi,

Big 4 advisory and consulting practices are definitely great sources of candidates for MBB. But you would need to invest effort in differentiating yourself from other big 4 candidates.

Best,

Anton

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Hi there,

Big 4 can be a stepping stone but it depends a lot on your role and how much can you achieve after a few years. Good to know that at least this role focuses on M&A strategy, which is more closer to consulting though a bit niche.

1) Pay is for sure much lower

2) Brand can be helpful, but beside the brand, you need to showcase high achievements

3) One options for you to consider is that later you try to apply to corporate development team in MBB which is more focused on M&A, as an experienced hire or expert

Best

Emily

Hi there,

Big 4 can be a stepping stone but it depends a lot on your role and how much can you achieve after a few years. Good to know that at least this role focuses on M&A strategy, which is more closer to consulting though a bit niche.

1) Pay is for sure much lower

2) Brand can be helpful, but beside the brand, you need to showcase high achievements

3) One options for you to consider is that later you try to apply to corporate development team in MBB which is more focused on M&A, as an experienced hire or expert

Best

Emily

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Hi,

I see that you've received a variety of opinions. I'll add my 2 cents as well :)

1) The brand won't hurt. If you can show career progression in 2 years AND manage to get someone to refer you in this time frame, your odds of getting an interview are very high

2) Easier said than done, but try not to make short term pay a deciding criteria. Focus on getting solid experience with a good story to tell. If all goes well, the difference in pay now will be a rounding error in your income statement 10 years later

3) You will not be pigeon holed into doing M&A, unless you're applying as an expert. As a Generalist, you're expected to do a random walk the first couple of years. Yes - you might get a lot of pull around the work you've done before. But you can be very clear with your PD manager from the first day on what kind of projects you're looking to get, and they will support you

Hope this helps!

Nirmit

Hi,

I see that you've received a variety of opinions. I'll add my 2 cents as well :)

1) The brand won't hurt. If you can show career progression in 2 years AND manage to get someone to refer you in this time frame, your odds of getting an interview are very high

2) Easier said than done, but try not to make short term pay a deciding criteria. Focus on getting solid experience with a good story to tell. If all goes well, the difference in pay now will be a rounding error in your income statement 10 years later

3) You will not be pigeon holed into doing M&A, unless you're applying as an expert. As a Generalist, you're expected to do a random walk the first couple of years. Yes - you might get a lot of pull around the work you've done before. But you can be very clear with your PD manager from the first day on what kind of projects you're looking to get, and they will support you

Hope this helps!

Nirmit

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Hi,

You're asking some questions that are slightly nuanced to each other. Let me try and clear things up.

1) Yes, this would be a stepping stone to management consulting (i.e. a lot of what Deloitte, PwC, etc. do)

2) No, this is not an immediate stepping stone to MBB (strategy consulting). If you go into Deloitte, for example, you're not coming to MBB in a few years. Rather, you need to show geuine and impressive progression within Deloitte (or elsewhere) to then move into MBB. i.e. come in as an expert

3) M&A is not too limited for strategy consulting. M&A experience lends itself well to DDs, and the PE/Financial practices at strategy firms.. Also, you said "M&A Strategy" is your role, so of course it fits with strategy!

Hi,

You're asking some questions that are slightly nuanced to each other. Let me try and clear things up.

1) Yes, this would be a stepping stone to management consulting (i.e. a lot of what Deloitte, PwC, etc. do)

2) No, this is not an immediate stepping stone to MBB (strategy consulting). If you go into Deloitte, for example, you're not coming to MBB in a few years. Rather, you need to show geuine and impressive progression within Deloitte (or elsewhere) to then move into MBB. i.e. come in as an expert

3) M&A is not too limited for strategy consulting. M&A experience lends itself well to DDs, and the PE/Financial practices at strategy firms.. Also, you said "M&A Strategy" is your role, so of course it fits with strategy!

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Personally I join David and I believe that Big4 would be an asset for strategy consulting especially for MBB.

In addition, Big4 is not like investment Banking and you will learn how to deal with change management and post integration following the nature of Big4 projects. For your information one of the M&A partners of BCG is an ex-Deloitte and the PMI experts and senior consultants in change managements are coming from Big4.

Do not waste your time, if your objective is to join MBB, I would recommend you to not take more time in passing interviews, and join Big4, make some financial and operational skills and then go back to MBB with a skill-full suitcase.

Cheers, Amir

Personally I join David and I believe that Big4 would be an asset for strategy consulting especially for MBB.

In addition, Big4 is not like investment Banking and you will learn how to deal with change management and post integration following the nature of Big4 projects. For your information one of the M&A partners of BCG is an ex-Deloitte and the PMI experts and senior consultants in change managements are coming from Big4.

Do not waste your time, if your objective is to join MBB, I would recommend you to not take more time in passing interviews, and join Big4, make some financial and operational skills and then go back to MBB with a skill-full suitcase.

Cheers, Amir

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Hi,

1. Pay will be lower. I would say - do your best to get at least MBA associate program at big 4 with comparable pay (E.g. Strategy& has these roles)

2. It definitely contributes to your resume, however, it will not add that much on top of the good MBA brand. More than that - it will be signaling that you didn't get an MBB offer right away

3. Again, it's not adding much post MBA. Consulting will be more relevant, but not critical

Why don't you consider getting some industry experience or tech? P&L ownership will add a lot to your resume and industry expertise is always a plus. In addition, you should check Tier 2 firms

Best

Hi,

1. Pay will be lower. I would say - do your best to get at least MBA associate program at big 4 with comparable pay (E.g. Strategy& has these roles)

2. It definitely contributes to your resume, however, it will not add that much on top of the good MBA brand. More than that - it will be signaling that you didn't get an MBB offer right away

3. Again, it's not adding much post MBA. Consulting will be more relevant, but not critical

Why don't you consider getting some industry experience or tech? P&L ownership will add a lot to your resume and industry expertise is always a plus. In addition, you should check Tier 2 firms

Best

Hello,

Based on my experience at BCG, Big 4 are definitelly a talent pool for strategy consulting firms including MBB. I have seen so many of my French colleagues coming from EY, Deloitte, ...

Strategy consulting firms always need people with M&A experience to work on private equity / due dilligences; so I see your ongoing experience as a clear asset for a potential future move.

Hope it helps

David

Hello,

Based on my experience at BCG, Big 4 are definitelly a talent pool for strategy consulting firms including MBB. I have seen so many of my French colleagues coming from EY, Deloitte, ...

Strategy consulting firms always need people with M&A experience to work on private equity / due dilligences; so I see your ongoing experience as a clear asset for a potential future move.

Hope it helps

David

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