Is MBA sponsorship at MBB still commonplace? I’ve heard at McK you can choose to do MBA or be directly promoted - are there any benefits of either for your consulting career (except for the network and additional skills that come with MBA)?
Sponsorship still commonplace yes (30% of class in US). Would definitely suggest to take opportunity to do an MBA if you are sponsored for the following reasons (besides networking you mentioned): break from work, opportunity to intern in different company and gain experience, you have a top X MBA on your resume which sometimes is a nice to have criteria for when you move out of consulting to prestigious companies.
If not sponsored, choice is up to you and points highlighted by others give you a great framework to think about it.
Hope it helps,
MBB sponsor their high performing associates/business analysts to pursue an MBA and then they "lock them in" for 2 years after they return. Usually companies pay for tuition and give a living expenses stipend ($10-20k).
I've never heard of MBB sponsoring someone who joins the company as a senior consultant.
Hope this helps,
Companies may sponsor in 2 ways:
- You get the sponsorship for the tuition and some living expenses. After MBA you have to come back for 2 years. Or you have to repay the loan (terms are not that bad btw)
- You didn't take the sponsorship and paid yourself but you decided to get back. In that case, the company will reimburse you what you've paid. The option is not available across all the countries and all offices. The option may work as well if you are making a transfer to a different country.
The 2nd option is in general better since you get a significant fellowship as a non-sponsored student (up to 70% of tuition across Harvard and Stanford. up to 90% in Harvard starting from this year). For Big3 firms, it's also better since they reimburse the discounted amount. And you are always free to switch to a different company during MBA.
If you just join MBB the first time after MBA you get a sign-on bonus of 30-50k
Further answer to this question
Indeed you can be directly promoted in McKinsey if you have a great performance (T+ or Distinctive depending on the office / country).
If you want to continue your career in consulting I see 3 benefits:
- Network - potential project sales when you become a partner
- You can take a 1-2 year break (and in many cases, you really need one)
- Knowledge - depending on your interests top schools can provide you great knowledge and develop your business judgment
- You can have an internship / work in parallel with some other companies / industries and try if its yours
- If you don't look mature enough for an EM role MBA can help
- Relocation opportunity to the country of your MBA / other countries. In many cases, it's easier to do via MBA rather than when you work in the Firm.
Pros of not taking an MBA:
- You basically save 1-2 years of career growth
- You still save a bunch of money
- Opportunity costs - you earn your salary
It's up to you to make a decision.
Hope it helps,
I can't edit my answer below, but following Andrea's point let me clarify:
- I was indeed referring to people that join the company in entry role positions and progress within the comapny; while at Mckinsey most of the people do the MBA between Business Analyst and Associate roles, most of my MBA colleagues from Bain were already Project Managers (senior consultant then!)
- besides, I also know of a McKinsey guy from the London office, who joined as Junior Associated (experienced hired), and still got an offer to do a Sponsored MBA (he declined it though)
Yes, MBB firms definitely sponsor consultants to do their MBA programs! I'm just finishing a sponsored MBA :)
However, the actual details of the sponsorship (full tuitions, partial tuitions, some living costs, etc) depend not only from company to company, but also varies across locations/offices. The same applies to the lock in period after MBA, but in most of the cases you should expect a 2 year period.
Further answer to this question
Let me just build on top of Vlad's great points: some McKinsey offices/geographies are now actively promoting that their Analysts to progress directly to Associates (rather than the traditional through MBA progression) as far as you have a good performance - namely in the US and some offices in Europe!
And personally I couldn't underline more the reason about taking one/two years off, it's something you will definitely need!
If you have had 2-3 years of broad (working on projects across sectors, functions, geographies) exposure stint at Mck/BCG/Bain, then there are not many hard/tangible advantages of MBA. Especially if you are considering to continue in consulting post MBA.
- Knowledge/Frameworks/Approaches - Consulting is called 'extended MBA' for a reason. If you have worked on enough variety of projects in big firms, there is limited value add on this front.
- Career Progression within consulting - Don't see MBA adding too much value add. Will it accelerate the way forward? Don't think so. Will it help you change sector focus/office - probably, but if you are selected for MBA sponsorship, means you are a stellar performer, in any case you can apply for global rotation programs etc. MBA degree influence is minimal.
- Monetory considerations - Spending during MBA and opportuity cost of not working for 2 years means, its a significant monetory investment
HOWEVER soft benifits galore! Opportunity to network with diverse group of people, people coming from other regions, other walks of life definitely add a few perspectives to your thinking. And of course, the break from 2-3-4 years of grueling analyst lifestyle is a welcome one. It's a nice time to recharge your batteries and get ready for the EM->Partner roles.
Ultimately, it all boils down to your long term career strategy. Spend some time evaluating your options, do talk to those from your office who have taken MBA sponsrships and who have not. A clearer picture should emerge.
All the best. Feel free to get in touch for further guidance.