MBB in Eastern Europe or tier2/big4 in Western Europe

europe mbb big4 western europe
New answer on Mar 23, 2020
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Mar 17, 2020

So as the title suggests currently thinking about strategy involving appliying to several consulting companies.

I like western europe and I definitely see myself living there in the future due to higher standard, optimistic people mentality (as opposed to depressing in EE) and better career opportunities.

However I also see that I will have a better chance of applying to MBB in one of the countries of EE due to me knowing one of the languages when compared to me not knowing the local language in WE. The best possible career path for me is my top priority, but I do not want to end up in an office in a country where I do not want to live, with relatively speaking much lower salary due to lower standard. Of course I can always transfer but I feel like that is going to take a few years and its always a long shot + why would they take some guy from EE?

Now don't get me wrong, I do not want to berate someone (please forgive me if I offended someone) but I feel like working experience in a tier2/big4 would be more valued(and I could grow a lot more in western europe due to higher quality of clients/people mentality) in the western europe or worldwide (i.e if i ever wanted to work in the middle east) than an MBB exp from eastern europe - so at this point I am even wondering whether it is worth putting some of the EE offices as my 2nd / 3rd option or just scrap them all together and focus on tier2/big4 in western europe.

many thanks

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Anonymous replied on Mar 19, 2020

Hi A,

I don’t know your full story, but in all honesty why do you have that limitation in your thinking “Either MBB in EE or Tier1/2 in WE”?

In fact, you may have both!

I tell you my story.

I am born Ukrainian (so from EE as you might recognize). I started my consulting career with an internship in Kyiv in 2010. After my studies in Ukraine and Germany I applied to several consulting companies, got multiple offers including MBB and decided to go for RB in Munich HQ.

Over the past years I used to work and live in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Russia, Far East and Middle East where I spent roughly two years.

So if your long-term objective is to live in WE and work for it – then simply go for it!!!

If you need any help, I am happy to share my experience.

Good luck,

André

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Francesco
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replied on Mar 18, 2020
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

I agree with Luca and in your situation I would target MBB (and if that doesn't work, Tier 2 and big 4) in EE rather than try applications in Western Europe for a couple of reasons:

  • If you are not fluent with local language your options are limited in terms of location. you can target only London (or for some companies Amsterdam and the Nordics) with English only. This will make a lot less likely that they invite for interviews, in particular in the current economic situation. This is true for Tier2 / Big 4 as well
  • MBB brand is far stronger. Long term this will be more beneficial in terms of exit opportunities, salary, networking, MBA etc. In 10 years, no one will look whether you work in MBB in London or EE, but the brand will keep its weight
  • You can always transfer in few years via MBA/internal transfer. This won’t be necessarily easy but probably easier than applying now abroad in a recession period to London only.

Best,

Francesco

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Anonymous A on Mar 18, 2020
Maybe I should have been more clear in my question - I am currently studying in WE so if we are talking about applying in general then its easier to do it in WE.
Francesco on Mar 18, 2020
Hi, you still need to be fluent in the local language to apply for an office in WE, thus this limits you to London since you mentioned you don’t speak the local language in WE (Amsterdam and Nordics may also apply for some companies). Applying to London is in general more competitive than any other office. Unless the local office in your home country is particularly small/not hiring, you should thus have better chances in your home country. Hope this helps
Luca
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replied on Mar 17, 2020
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Hello,

I would suggest to go fro MBB in Eastern Europe. Even if there can be some downsides in the short term, you have to consider the following points:

  • Transfer: If your long term goal is to work for an MBB in Western Europe, it's far easier to get a transfer to another office than do again the entire application process (if you refuse an offer, you could have even a ban). You don't have to wait much time: in BCG, for example, you are eligible for the program "Associate abroad" after 1 year
  • MBA: MBB will give you more chances to do an MBA that is a game changer if you plan to leave consultancy sooner or later. More over, with an MBA you wil have for sure a lot of good exit options also in Western Europe
  • Exit opportunities: if you have a MBB experience on yor CV, it will help you a lot in terms of future career opportunities. The brand of the company has more value than the country where you worked.

Hope it helps,
Luca

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Daniel
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replied on Mar 19, 2020
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MBB for sure

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Clara
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replied on Mar 18, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

My answer would depend on some key constrainsts, such as whether you speak the local languages and have/envision any VISA issues.

  • If you don´t have two 2 issues, I would not discard applying in WE.
  • If you do, 100% EE

Things to be taken into consideration:

  • MBB is a brand, so regardless of the where, you meet a bar that is internationally recognized.
  • If living and working in WE is your long life target, applying directly there is not the only way. All this companies (big 3, big 4, etc.) have good internal mobility programs if you are patient enaugh.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Antonello
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replied on Mar 23, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi, I would definitely go for MBB

best,
Antonello

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