Main differences between Dubai and Doha (offices)

doha dubai MBB Middle East
New answer on Mar 06, 2020
5 Answers
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John asked on Feb 25, 2020

Hi guys,

I am considering applying for consulting in the Middle East and was wondering what the main differences between the Dubai and Doha offices of MBB are. I couldn't find much information on preplounge or on the internet in general.

I suppose offices in Dubai are much larger and more established - i.e. many projects in different sectors, many international colleagues etc?

How is the consulting market in Doha, considering the Qatar - UAE/Saudi relationship in the last couple of years? Are consulting firms growing there, would it be easier/harder to get into Doha offices compared to Dubai? What is the outlook? And how does life in Doha compare to life in Dubai in general?

Would be very thankful for any thoughts.

Cheers,

John

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Anonymous replied on Mar 06, 2020

Hi John,

I’ve spent a couple of years in the Middle East (Office Dubai) on my own.

So here is my take on your questions:

  1. The main difference is that Doha is laying behind Dubai for 5-7 years and quickly catches up. It is still a “hidden champion” and not yet very well known. However, it has a huge ambition and plenty of resources from gas to put it on the map, especially through FIFA World Cup 2022. It is not yet as liberal as Dubai, but it’s completely copying its approach.
  2. Dubai is economically seen the center of the region (even if KSA is the biggest market) and most HQs are located here. Doha, by contrast, is way smaller and since the beginning of the isolation war in 2017 the economy has suffered a lot, but quickly recovered. Qatar’s consulting market would be less international (there no direct flight to other Gulf countries except Iran and Oman) and more domastic.
  3. Nevertheless, Doha is now the right place to be. While Dubai and UAE’s economy is in the hidden recession since 2018, Qatar is booming. Many companies most recently started their business in Doha and set up offices. One of the example is Roland Berger, which started their operations in spring 2019 in Doha. The year has been tremendously successful and all consultants were very quickly promoted to the next level already in December 2019. So if I were you, I would definitely go to Doha now due to even greater career prospects in the coming years!

For further information about the current market developments in the Middle East (incl. Dubai and Doha) please check my post in the other Q&A here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-are-the-consulting-career-opportunities-in-the-middle-east-dubai-qatar-and-kse-5924

Hope it helps.

Feel free to reach out if you have any further questions or need help.

Best,

André

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Luca
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replied on Feb 26, 2020
BCG |NASA |20+ interviews with 100% success rate| 120+ students coached |GMAT expert 780/800 score

Hello,

Which would be your target company?
Dubai office is by far the larger office in the ME. That means that you will have more opportunities to grow and a wider offer of projects. Regarding the "life" consider that most of the projects of the Dubai office are based in Saudi Arabia, so you will be spending at least 4 days per week there.

Best,
Luca

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Antonello
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replied on Feb 29, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

It depends on the firm. Generally speaking Dubai is starting to be a consolidated market for MBB, while Doha is fast-growing (like Dubai 2-3 years ago)

Best,
Antonello

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Clara
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replied on Feb 26, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Which firm?

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Ian
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replied on Feb 26, 2020
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi John,

It does depends which of the MBB you're talking about.

I can't provide you with as thorough/hollistic response as I would like but I can tell you Dubai has a huge expat community, is pretty lively and has no income tax. I can also presume that offices would be more established there, and work would be more varied (i.e. not just Oil & Gas, but government projects, transformations, etc)

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