is it faster to make it to partner/director at big 4 strategy or mbb?

career progression
New answer on Feb 26, 2021
8 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Dec 23, 2020

would like to understand the general time used and lifestyle between the two. Of course the latter has more prestige etc, but my general feeling right now is it's much better hours at the former, so for female in the long run, might be a bit more sustainable, though the compensation can be less *but almost the same for base given given it's strategy at big 4.

Also for internal consulting, I guess it's slower and even less comp than both 2?

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Adi
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replied on Dec 23, 2020
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Hey there,

Speed to make partner/director at Big4 strategy vs MBB

This will depend on following factors:

  • Unwavering focus & commitment
  • Your own clear expertise, brand & client network- deep industry/functional skills
  • Sponsorship & support from leadership team & loyalty to the company
  • Team followership i.e. junior people dying to work with and for you
  • Solid pipeline of work (many millions as you can imagine) and this will depend on the geography, demand, economy etc
  • Luck

If you get the above right, from analyst to partner at BIG4 roughly takes 12-15 years and about the same at MBB maybe 2-3 years shorter given they have fewer levels. If you are exceptional, you can shave off 2-3 years overall but that will require significant commitment and investment of time, effort and life :).

If you join the company as an experienced hire at a certain level, all the above factors still apply and timeline could be longer given you will need time to establish yourself.

Partners who slack off will get caught & managed out or their pay cut. This has happened across MBB and BIG4 in the past 6-9 months.

Those old glory days are over :).

Lifestyle/Work-life balance

This is such a talked about topic but my honest view is that not a single consulting firm is getting this right. They are succeeding in pockets driven by leadership and cultural nuances. But this is something you have to take control and make happen for yourself otherwise work will consume you specially at partner level. Have a look at this thread: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/does-work-life-balance-improve-with-time-8445

Compensation

Unless you are in Banking/Tech/PE, you will almost always make more in Consulting vs industry roles or in-house consulting. There can be exceptions depending on country/geography and other factors but broadly this will be the case. There are tons of salary reports available, so Google them. MBB compensation will be higher at Partner level but if you sell work and lot of it at BIG4, bonuses can close the gap.

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Ian
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replied on Dec 24, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Honestly, I have not seen a huge difference in work-life balance between big 4 and MBB. More indicative of work-life balance in the region/office in which you work.

"Internal consulting" doesn't exist. Internal strategy however does indeed have a significantly better work-life balance (pay can be lower but isn't always)

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Gaurav
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replied on Dec 23, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hey there,

the lifestyle is pretty much the same in both MBB and BIG4 and it is something only you can and should control. You can imagine that when it comes to hours you work more or less the same but the prestige - as you mentoined it - is what makes the salary difference.

Speaking about the timing, it takes on average 10-15 years to become a partner at MBB and at BIG4, depending of course on your work / on the company / its branch / on the place etc.

Hope it was helpful,

GB

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Anonymous replied on Dec 23, 2020

Hi,

From what I see in the PwC / Strategy& and comparing it with BCG the working hour at Partner level is more or less the same. E.g. in both firm I received emails late at night consistently.

In my opinion, it really depends on how dedicated and competitive are you. I do saw some Partners that are quite relax but they are not known to have good pipeline of projects.

Best,
Iman

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Clara
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replied on Dec 23, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

I am not 100% sure in Big4, but I would be surprised that is faster than in MBB.

Precisely MBB is one of the fastest carreers someone can do.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Ken
Expert
replied on Dec 23, 2020
Ex-McKinsey final round interviewer | Executive Coach

My personal impression is that there won't be a big difference as it all comes down to you. One firm may have lower average working hours than another, etc. but the nature of the job means that you will find consultants who will work super hard and go above and beyond at every firm. The power to say no and be ok with mediocracy at times is what will dictate your working hours in the long run.

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Vlad
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replied on Dec 23, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

Based on what I've seen, MBB growth is much faster and the upside is much bigger. The working hours might be extremely high at Big4 as well. Moreover, MBB have flexible programs if you don't want to work full hours (I know successful female partners working 3 days a week)

Best

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Raj
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replied on Feb 26, 2021
Strategy&| ex-interviewer | 170+ coached over career |95% success @ MBB, S&, RB, LEK, OW, Big4 [SUCCESS STORIES BELOW]

The delta between is pretty minimal especially the higher you get. Early on yes the hours may be better, but fundamentally 'selling' is the same whether MBB or Big 4 in terms of lifestyle

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Adi gave the best answer

Adi

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Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience
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