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London Tier 2 vs Milan MBB (for PE later on)

London MBB Milan OC&C Oliver Wyman Private Equity strategy& tier2
New answer on Feb 26, 2024
9 Answers
422 Views
Anonymous A asked on Jan 17, 2024

Hi everyone, 

I'm halfway through my masters in London and have recently received an offer from a London Tier 2 firm (Strategy&/ OC&C/ Oliver Wyman) and am weighing it against a potential MBB role in Milan (which I have yet to recruit for but have a decent shot at). My medium term goal is to get into PE.

Leaving aside non-work considerations, the pros and cons look as follows to me:
 

London T2: in stronger and more dynamic city where most PEs are based, better WLB, better pay even when adjusted for cost of living, slightly faster progression

Milan MBB: significantly better brand often essential to being considered for PE interviews, better exits in general 

What would your opinions be as for the ideal place to start out in?

Also, an additional consideration is that from what I understand it's doable to move to both London and (more easily) Milan MBB from London T2 after a time, although this switch would probably set back going to PE by a year or two.

Thank you all!!!
 

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Yuval
Expert
replied on Jan 17, 2024
free 30 min consultation call | 1st try offer from BCG and McK | BCG Associate | 100+ hours of coaching sessions

First of all, congrats on getting your first offer, this seems like a great opportunity!

In my opinion, your decision should obviously be driven by multiple criteria other than just the PE goal but leaving that aside I will try to give you my best answer.

In my experience, your exit opportunities will largely depend on the network you successfully build during your career. 
If most PE opportunities are in London, and there is a clear exit path from T2 to PE, sounds to me like that's the way to go.

Regarding MBB in Milan, I have worked with people from Milan, and have heard overall not so great experiences. 
Both on the MBB experience (interest, compensation, work-life balance) and for exits (limited opportunities in Italy, tough competition). 

On the PE perspective, I'm not super familiar with this topic in Italy, but from what I hear, it's not very common for people to exit MBB to PE. Most likely they stay in the company, or move to one of their clients, mostly Industrial goods, insurance, energy, etc.

I would definitely encourage you to look at the whole package you're getting from your employer and what your experience will be on more than just the professional level.

 

Hope this helped you, if you would like some more guidance on MBB in Milan, or otherwise, feel free to shoot me a message!

Good luck,

Yuval 

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Edoardo
Expert
replied on Jan 18, 2024
Bain & Co | PE & VC | I helped 50+ professionals to break into consulting and reason on their next career steps!

Ok so I have experienced MBB in Italy and I can certainly say that: 1. Learning curve is great as you probably get to work with one of the most competitive people in MBB across the globe (I compared many other offices with Italian offices and always felt Italians where on average few steps ahead), 2. Confirm worse work life balance and slightly slower career progression, 3. Definitely you can make it to MBB later on after couple years in your CV at a tier 2 consulting firm , 4. PE you can make it via MBB but either entering from consultant level or at associate partner level, quite unlikely in between these 2 levels, 5. Consider also tax benefits of staying abroad few years vs Italy comeback right after the master

Overall I‘d consider couple of years abroad in tier 2 then try PE, if you fail transition to MBB and a second shot to PE. In the meantime work on PE backed clients and get the most out of it. Of course these are my 2 cents, but happy to chat if useful.

Don’t overstress, I know it’s normal, but either way you‘ll be great and you’ll make it happen!

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Anonymous A on Jan 29, 2024

Thank you, great advice!

Brad
Expert
replied on Jan 18, 2024
Expert coach | Head of recruiting for Bain | 8+ years interviewing | Free intro call

Hi there,

 

Both great options, so well done!

 

Lots of good comments in the thread here, but a couple of other considerations:

  1. The global commercial DD market is largely dominated by Bain, so assuming the same is true in Italy, if you work for them you’re going to be exposed to the (London) PE deal teams on a regular basis.
  2. Outside of deal time, it will be harder to network with the London PE firms if you’re in Italy, but not impossible. Getting folks contact details when you do deals with them, stopping in to LDN once a year and getting coffee can go a long way. So can head hunters too, though obviously you want to avoid a competitive hiring process if you can.
  3. It’s not clear what role/level you’re pitching at but note that the switch from MC to PE is a lot easier pre-MBA and post-partner than the bit in between (excluding ops teams etc).
  4. I worked with loads of Italians over my consulting career and they largely confirmed that the WLB wasn’t great although as a byproduct they were all ruthlessly efficient at their jobs (which is a great life skill).

 

Hope that helps!

B.

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Anonymous A on Jan 29, 2024

Definitely helps, thank you!

Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 18, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Congrats on the nice situation you set yourself up for!

In short, I'd go for London. 

First, you already have this offer, it's a certainty, whereas the Milan one is barely a possibility.

Two, Milan MBB offices' lifestyle is (unfortunately) one of the most notoriously difficult in consulting. So you might get to enjoy London more overall, plus, they have better compensation packages than Milan (even adjusting for the cost of living).

Third, it will be easier to transfer from London to Milan, than the other way around. And it will be easier to move from a Tier 2 to an MBB within London than try to move from a Milan MBB to a London MBB. 

Fourth, if you want to work in PE, it will matter more if you manage to do lots of work within the PE practice while in consulting, regardless of whether you do it as part of OW or BCG. So focus on that instead. 

Good luck with your start!
Cristian

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Anonymous A on Jan 29, 2024

Thank you!

Florian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 18, 2024
Highest-rated McKinsey coach (ratings, offers, sessions) | 500+ offers | Author of The 1% & Consulting Career Secrets

Hi there,

There are a lot of great answers already.

Personally, I'd choose MBB over Tier-2 any time of the day, also for the benefits that you have mentioned. (I would not include OC&C in the tier-2 bucket but rather as a tier-3/boutique firm. It is not in the same bucket as S& or OW.)

However, first, you would need to convert that MBB offer. As some others have pointed out an MBB offer - on average - is very hard to get. 

Roughly 1% likely from the start of the screening. Let's assume you pass that as you have the right profile. Once the screening is passed 10-20% likely for well-prepared candidates (esp. in Italy more on the lower end); this can be improved significantly by working with a skilled coach but still not a guarantee.

To sum this up, I would first work on the MBB offer and if it materializes, choose it over T2 or T3, regardless of the location as the lifetime benefits of reputation, exit opps, network, etc outweigh any short-term drawbacks.

All the best,

Florian

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Nikita
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replied on Jan 18, 2024
MBB & Tier2 preparation | 85+ offers | 7 years coaching | 2000+ sessions | PDF reviews attached

Hey,

Completely agree with Ian here. I've heard that “I have a decent shot at MBB” phrase a million times before from candidates who failed afterwards.

I suggest you take a London T2 offer (since it's the only one that you've got) and take it from there. If you successfully pass the MBB interviews later on, you can postpone the starting date so that you quit after you've worked at T2 for at least one year.

Good luck!
Nick

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Francesco
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replied on Jan 18, 2024
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Congratulations on the Tier 2 offer! In terms of your question:

Q: What would your opinions be as for the ideal place to start out in?

Given you have a very specific goal, first of all I would try to get a data-driven answer from LinkedIn as follows:

  1. Look for alumni of the two companies on LinkedIn, selecting the location accordingly.
  2. Check how many moved to PE in your target region.
  3. Normalize for the size of the companies in that region.

If you find the exit opportunities are equivalent for PE, unless you feel there isn't a fit with the MBB when you interview with them (fit is important), I would join the MBB in Milan if you get an offer for the better brand.

As a side point, I suspect MBB London is not an option, as you haven't mentioned it. But if it is, you might as well consider applying there instead of in Milan.

Best,

Francesco

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Hagen
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Content Creator
replied on Feb 26, 2024
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

First of all, congratulations on the (probably two) offers!

I would be happy to share my thoughts on your question:

I would highly advise you to opt for the option that better aligns with your professional (and maybe even personal) mid- to long-term goals. In order to make an informed decision, I would advise you to do the following:

  • Weigh the different criteria that are meaningful to you independently of the current options (e.g., prestige, culture, international exposure, compensation, location). After that, score the two options based on your criteria and their weighting, resulting in two scores. This way, you have covered the left-brain perspective.
  • Critically assess your initial reaction to the outcome of the scores. For instance, if you feel the urge to tweak the numbers, this is a solid indicator that you do not want this decision to become reality. This way, you have covered the right-brain perspective.
  • By doing so, you will be able to integrate both parts of the brain into the decision-making, guaranteeing a higher chance that you will still be happy with it years later.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on how to address your specific situation, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Best,

Hagen

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Ian
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updated an answer on Jan 18, 2024
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

Congrats on TWO ONE fantastic offer! Maybe accept that one…

Now, you're making a career decision that will fundamentally change your trajectory. Why not hire a career coach?

Before you think I'm self promoting, we are case coaches here :) Get a career coach. Seriously. Invest a tiny % of that signing bonus to make sure the choice matches your goals/aims.

My second point is: You have ONE offer. Not two. Take the offer man. “decent” shot at MBB only ever means 20%. Sure, recruit, but make your decision once you actually know if you even have one to make.

 

(edited)

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Yuval gave the best answer

Yuval

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