Less Intense MBB Practice Areas

MBB
New answer on Mar 04, 2021
8 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Mar 02, 2021

Hi,

I am aware that certain practice areas at firms such as Bain are more intense in terms of hours/pressure/stress e.g. Private Equity.

Are there any practice areas (industry/capability) that are less intense? E.g. is Operations one?

Thanks!

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Udayan
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replied on Mar 02, 2021
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

Less intense is often synonymous with less exciting, less learning and less growth (therefore lower compensation). It is not worth it in my opinion to go into consulting if you want to optimize for intensity and growth. You will not learn as much and the experience will be sub par at best.

List of some lower intensity roles

  • Operations
  • PMO/Project Management
  • Implementation
  • Public Sector/Social Sector work

None of the above are guaranteed to be less intense but there is a higher likelihood they will be

Best,

Udayan

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Anonymous B on Mar 03, 2021

Why lower compensation?

Anonymous C on Mar 03, 2021

Because there is no such thing as a free lunch

Anonymous on Mar 03, 2021

Still makes no sense to me...

Udayan on Mar 03, 2021

From a long term perspective, people will pay you more for deep expertise, skills that are hard to find or for your time. If you pursue a less intense role you typically do not have the opportunity to demonstrate any of these and there are more people with similar knowledge/skillsets working for lower compensation.

Ian
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replied on Mar 02, 2021
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Hi there,

If you're worried about stress/hardwork I fear you're picking the wrong profession!

After all, what's the difference between 65 hour weeks and 75 hour weeks?

That said, if you insist, the following tend to be the "easiest".

1) Transformations (i.e. long-term projects)

2) Public sector / NGO work

That's the list :)

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Anonymous A on Mar 03, 2021

The difference between a 65 and 75 hours week is about 10 extra hours per week spending time with my family or doing things I enjoy.

Francesco
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replied on Mar 03, 2021
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Hi there,

I am not sure there is an industry that structurally requires less work. Normally long-term projects allow to have better work-life balance though. The reason is, there are fewer strict deadlines from the client side to satisfy.

In this sense, due diligence projects are some of the worst exactly because they last few weeks only. On the other hand, big transformation projects (for example in industrial goods or O&G) may last several months and allow for better planning and fewer deadlines.

Having said that, I would not try to prioritize the sector where you should theoretically work less, but the one that you genuinely like the most. It is the one where you should feel the work more rewarding and less demanding.

Best,

Francesco

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Clara
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replied on Mar 03, 2021
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Hello!

You are right, PE in Bain -there is an specialized team for this- is one of the taugh taugh ones.

In general, something that will help you pick good engagements if you are concerned about work-life balance is the lenght. Longer engagements are muuuuch better. Furthermore, it´s also important to find out people/leadership that share those values and work with them.

Finally, I could not agree less with the comment of "if you have those concerns, this is not the job for you". I think this is a horrible comment. COnsulting is an amazing and super interesting job, and it´s perfectly fine to have aspirations to go home and have dinner with your family.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Anonymous A on Mar 03, 2021

Thank you for providing this helpful and informative answer Clara. I couldn't agree more, it was an extremely unhelpful comment!

Antonello
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replied on Mar 03, 2021
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Hi,

there is not a golden rule, but it usually depends on the office and on the team. Generally speaking, I would say Digital practice

Best
Antonello

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Gaurav
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replied on Mar 04, 2021
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi there,

In my opinion, it’s better to not look for the sector where you should work less, but for the one that you like and prefer the most.

Hope it was helpful,

GB

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Henning
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replied on Mar 03, 2021
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate

Private equity does indeed have the reputation to be more intense than other practices (and from my own experience I can confirm: it is ;).

I can't think of a sector that is systematically easier than others. Potentially public sector, but not all firms do this, and especially Bain that you are mentioning doesn't do a lot of public work.

There are internal roles though that you can aim for when you are into your career. Those would be practice management roles that come at more reasonable ours (but also a pay cut). (Within Bain) you can do those either as a temporary rotation (e.g. 6 months and then go back to a client facing role), or as a permanent position.

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Florian
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replied on Mar 03, 2021
#1 rated McKinsey Coach | Top MBB Coach | 5 years @ McKinsey | Author of the 1% | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

Good answers here already: Just my 2 cents:

This is always relative and the lifestyle of a project depends on many more factors:

  • Industry practice
  • Functional practice
  • The leadership team (are they close to promotion? = bad)
  • Engagement/project manager (are they close to promotion or very junior? = bad)
  • Client life cycle (is it a #1 engagement with that client = bad)
  • Client counterparts (are you working with former MBB consultants = bad)
  • Length of the engagement (usually longer projects are more relaxed since the deadlines are stretched out a bit, nothing worse than a 4 weeks diagnostic,...)

You can optimize these when doing a DD before each engagement. If there are several red flags combined, don't do it. :-)

Cheers,

Florian

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Anonymous A on Mar 03, 2021

That's a very interesting perspective, I appreciate you providing me some things to think about. Thanks!

Udayan gave the best answer

Udayan

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