Moving from MBB London to Dubai/Singapore

dubai London MBB Singapore
New answer on Feb 28, 2021
9 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Dec 14, 2020

Hi all,

I am currently an entry level consultant at an MBB firm in London. A few years down the line, I want to move to Dubai/Singapore as I want to move closer to my home country in Asia. I don't have an MBA at the moment but have an advanced Masters degree. Which of the following options makes most sense for me?

1. Is it easy for me to lateral to my firm's Dubai/Singapore office? Would I need an MBA to do this? What are the concrete steps that I can take?

2. Is it easier to recruit for another MBB/T2 firm in Dubai/Singapore? Would I get hired at a post MBA level, without an MBA, in lie of my experience at my current MBB firm in London?

3. Is my best shot getting an MBA so that I can recruit with firms in Dubai/Singapore post my degree?

Thanks for your help!

(edited)

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Ian
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replied on Dec 14, 2020
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Hi there,

Let's cut to the chase with your 3 bullets, all answered by the same sentence :)

Your best option by a mile is to stay with your current MBB firm and work your way towards an office transfer If your timeline is "a few years down the line" you can absolutely make this happen.

I've transfered a few times within companies and have the following advice:

How do you snag an internal transfer?

1) Build a stellar reputation - do good work, work hard, and be known as "the guy/gal" for xx

2) Build your network - network agressively (yes, networking doesn't end once you've gotten the job offer). Make sure you're known by and have allies in people who make decisions such as staffing managers, Partners (specifically those responsible for recruiting/resources and who are heads of industry/function verticals), etc.

2) b). When I say network "aggressively" please don't be needy/annoying :) There's nothing worse than someone who is obviously working the room or trying to please!

3) Look out for opportunities - look for office transfers, short-term projects, ambassadorships, etc.). Transfers can have a range of "labels" :)

4) Practice patience and be flexible - This will take time. Once you "execute", you'll also need to be ready to go at the flip of a coin. But, of course, once you've made this decision I'm sure you will be!

Bide your time, keep pushing, be smart, and you'll get there!

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Francesco
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replied on Dec 15, 2020
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Hi there,

1. I agree with the points mentioned by Vlad. The most important things are:

  • do projects there
  • create connections with partners
  • perform well
  • have solid reasons to move

You don’t necessarily need an MBA to do so, however both offices are very competitive. An MBA could help to compensate for some of the previous points if they are missing.

2. Better to stick to your current company and look for an internal transfer. I would look at other options only if that’s impossible

3. Better to stick to what listed in point 1. Also, Dubai used to be flexible in terms of visas, but Singapore is not. I helped a lot of people from INSEAD and many found it difficult to apply in Singapore even if they were studying here due to that.

Best,
Francesco

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Adi
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replied on Dec 14, 2020
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Hey, exact same question was asked a few weeks ago. Have a look at this thread: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/moving-from-mbb-london-to-dubaisingapore-8400

If your main goal is to be closer to home, you can get there via many firms. By sticking to the MBB route you are creating complexity for yourself. Obviously try that option, but keep others open.

Also, you dont need an MBA to recuit for firms in Dubai/Singapore. The two are not linked. You must have good reasons to do an MBA and not just to get hired by a specific firm in a specific geography- although this becomes part of a broader plan. Have a look at this thread too: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/what-is-the-value-of-mba-and-how-do-i-differentiate-myself-against-my-colleagues-8197

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Gaurav
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replied on Dec 14, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hello there!

Transfer to MBB Dubai would be easier, as Singapore is too competitive.

The steps to this could be the following:

  1. Perform well in your current position
  2. Build a good network
  3. Find out about transfer.

Getting an MBA isn't necessary for it.

Do you need any further help?

GB

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Vlad
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replied on Dec 14, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

1. MBA is not required. Try to a) Do projects in the region and get to know local partners b) be a top performer c) Have some valid reasons to move there

2. It'll be easier to transfer within the company. Don't overcomplicate it

3. Nope, I believe its a totally unnecessary step

Best

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Udayan
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replied on Dec 14, 2020
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

The short answer is - easiest to be within your current MBB firm in Asia given the network you have built. You will need to spend time building connections in Asia and for them to want you in their office. This is a much smoother transition than going anywhere else. Also my strong advice is not to go to T2 in Asia.

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Raj
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updated an answer on Apr 03, 2021
Strategy&| ex-interviewer | 170+ coached over career |95% success @ MBB, S&, RB, LEK, OW, Big4 [SUCCESS STORIES BELOW]

Clearest choice here would be an internal transfer. If anything you'll probably join at a higher level than you are at in London, plus your relocation expenses would be covered. That is by far the best option.

(edited)

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Clara
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replied on Dec 16, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

  • Yes, easier to Dubai than Singy -at least in McK-. Taxes play a role there. No need for an MBA!
  • No, I would say it´s better to mantain your offer and re-locate to capitalize on your prev. gains.
  • Not needed

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Anonymous replied on Dec 15, 2020

Hi,

Internal transfer is quite easy with several caveat:

  1. You need to be a top performer so your destination office would be interested with you
  2. You start establishing contacts with people in the destination office

Having said that, MBB SEA office is in general recruiting aggresively at the moment so you will have larger chance to transfer internally even without MBA.

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Ian gave the best answer

Ian

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