MBB in Southeast Asia vs Big 4 in US

Big 4 MBB mbb big4 Southeast Asia United States
New answer on Nov 27, 2022
8 Answers
95 Views
Anonymous A asked on Nov 24, 2022

Hello. I am an undergrad at a target school and am very fortunate to receive offers from an MBB in its Southeast Asia office and a Big 4 firm in the US (strategy arm, i.e. Strategy&, EY Parthenon). I don't have preferences with regard to location, so my main concerns would be the level of prestige, the types of work, exit ops, etc. 
Would appreciate your thoughts on which one is “better.” Thanks.

Overview of answers

Upvotes
  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best answer
Rushabh
CoachingPlus Expert
replied on Nov 24, 2022
Immediate Coaching Available! | 50% discount on mocks! | BCG Expert | Middle East | 60+ mocks delivered | IESE & NYU MBA

Hello,

Congratulations on receiving the offers! Well done :)

To answer your question directly on the criteria you have mentioned:

- Prestige: For sure the prestige of working in an MBB overbears other firms, regardless of the location. Even if you DID have preference for location and were prestige sensitive, then I would recommend you to still take the MBB. Since you do not care much about the location, its a clear decision to choose MBB!

- Types of Work: While the type of work seems to be same, it is quite often different. Here's how:

a) MBBs work with a premium level of clients. Big 4 will not always be working with premium clients, and may work with price sensitive clients (often T2/T3 clients too). 

b) MBBs get much more strategy related projects, whereas Tier 2 and Big 4 get some strategy projects and a lot of implementation/detailed level of projects. Its upto you on what you prefer.

c) MBBs also have a bit more leverage to push back to client when it comes to unreasonable deadlines/pressure thus the work life balance is slightly better in MBBs than in Big 4

- Exit Opportunities: Exit opportunities depend a lot on Prestige and Types of Work. Thus MBBs > Big 4

Let me know if you need any further help via DM. All the best! 

Rushabh

Was this answer helpful?
Florian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Nov 25, 2022
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

Congrats! :-)

  • Prestige: MBB
  • Type of work: MBB gives you access to more senior clients, more responsibility, higher-impact projects, potentially worse lifestyle (hours), South East Asia as a developing region should be more interesting in terms of the project scope and delivery (building something new) vs. US (managing the status quo)
  • Pay: I would assume higher in the US, yet comes with higher living cost
  • Exit ops: MBB wins by a large margin

These are the hard facts, yet at the end of the day it comes down to personal preferences as well. If you do not care about the location and potentially lower pay at the moment (higher lifetime income in the long run though) I would go with MBB.

Cheers and all the best,

Florian


 

Was this answer helpful?
Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Nov 25, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Congratulations on the offers! In terms of your questions:

Q: I don't have preferences with regard to location, so my main concerns would be the level of prestige, the types of work, exit ops, etc. 

I would classify them as follows:

  • Prestige: MBB wins
  • Type of work: depends on the office. You can check with consultants that worked there as reported below
  • Exit ops: in general, MBB wins. However, it will be easier to exit in the respective geographies

You can easily check exits on LinkedIn for your favourite industry/country. You can do so as follows:

  1. Look for alumni of the two companies on LinkedIn
  2. Check how many moved to your target industry in your target region
  3. Normalize for the size of the companies in the region

In this way, you should get a data-driven answer specifically for your target geography and industry.

If you want to do extra due diligence, you can contact Alumni of your university (not current consultants) that worked in that office. You will learn more in a 30min call with them than with any online research you may do.

Best,

Francesco

Was this answer helpful?
Benjamin
Expert
replied on Nov 25, 2022
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer with ~5 years of interviewing experience

Hi,

Congrats on the offers! 

1. Level of prestige

  • Hands down MBB is more prestigious

2a. Types of work (projects)

  • The reality is that the difference in types of work between Big 4 and MBB are starting to get blurred, especially in the recent few years
    • Transformations and large implementation cases are also a big focus for MBB now
  • That being said, prestige and branding is still real, and you will have some clients that will only choose MBB for their most critical/important type of projects (normally strategy related)
  • Another important point is that given SEA is still a developing market, there are more growth projects vs what you might have in the US

2a. Types of work (travel)

  • This is also an important consideration 
  • Working in SEA means you will be staffed across the different SEA countries
  • US work tends to be within the US, so most do not travel out of the US (sometimes Toronto / Chicago share a same staffing pool)
    • You will still travel, but best to be clear about what type of travel your specific office does (if any at all)

3. Exit ops

  • Generally speaking, MBB has better exit opportunities
  • However this really depends on your own personal goals
    • if you want to exit into US then working there helps a lot
    • Similarly, if you want to stay in SEA, makes alot more sense to work here first

4. Internal opportunities 

  • Good if you can also evaluate the internal opportunities of your 2 firm options
  • I do believe MBB has more structured, and better internal mobility opportunities 
  • This has been a key focus of BCG, and BCG has a range of mobility options like the  “Ambassador” programs, Social Impact secondments, externships etc

Lastly, while you may not have a preference in location, would still be good to be clear on what living in a certain location is really like. 

  • E.g. Jakarta vs Singapore vs KL can be really quite different
  • E.g. traffic in Jakarta is very real.. just as traffic in LA can be very painful
Was this answer helpful?
Udayan
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Nov 25, 2022
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

MBB has a higher prestige factor and does more strategic work with the c-suite than other firms.  If location is not a factor then MBB hands down because of the opportunites during and after your time there. 

Was this answer helpful?
Emily
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Nov 27, 2022
Ex McKinsey EM & interviewer (5 yrs) USA & UK| Coached / interviewed 200 +|Free 15 min intro| Stanford MBA|Non-trad

This is a really hard one! MBB has the better prestige, however, being in the USA gives you access to the US jobs market with the right to work (depending on your visa situation) - which will in the long run give you access to higher salaries and a much more diverse set of career opportunities. 

It really depends on where you want to live - how important access to the USA is vs., being in SEA. 

Good luck!

Was this answer helpful?
Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Nov 27, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Congrats on both offers!

If your priority is prestige/exit ops, then MBB is going to win regardless of the region. In terms of type of work that's going to be highly dependent on the specific office (and company)! If this is a real deciding factor then you need to ask them what their main type of work is (we can't generalize all of SE Asia and the US)

Was this answer helpful?
Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Nov 27, 2022
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Congrats!

For me it's a no brainer, I would do 110% MBB. 

 

Cheers, 

Clara

Was this answer helpful?
Rushabh gave the best answer

Rushabh

CoachingPlus Expert
Immediate Coaching Available! | 50% discount on mocks! | BCG Expert | Middle East | 60+ mocks delivered | IESE & NYU MBA
2
Meetings
465
Q&A Upvotes
2
Awards
5.0
2 Reviews