Negotiating a MBB offer

MBB salary negotiation
New answer on Dec 03, 2021
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Nov 24, 2021

Broad Question: How to negotiate (if at all) with a MBB firm about the specifics of the offer without coming across as impolite? 

Context: I am an experienced hire from non-consulting background. I received an offer for EM/PL role (generalist) from one of the MBB offices in the US. I am grateful and excited, and seek guidance from the experts in this forum about offer negotiation. 

The offered base salary is within the range typical for the position (based on data at glassdoor and management consulted). It is also higher than my current base salary and I did not apply for or seek any counter offers. Since I do not have any justification to ask for anything higher, I am not too keen to negotiate the base.

I could not find any info on typical signing bonus for the EM/PL role. For context, the offered amount is a tad lower than Associate-level signing bonus reported on Management Consulted.

Specific Questions:

(1) Is it considered appropriate to negotiate the amount of signing bonus in the MBB world? 

(2) If yes, what would be a reasonable ask, for example 1.25 - 2 x offered amount? Also, do these reasons sound reasonable for negotiation -  (a) I would be leaving bonus & stock plan vesting from my current employer, and (b) since no relocation is involved, the employer is not having to spend on that count, and may be that could be considered against signing bonus. 

(3) Any tips on how to have such a conversation in a professional manner? 

Overview of answers

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Best answer
SJ
Certified
replied on Nov 25, 2021

100% ok to negotiate signing bonus. I did, and they matched the maximum for the cohort level (which ended up being 2X the original amount offered). Leaving your bonus on the table is a valid reason to ask for higher signing bonus, and from my experience, they're very willing to get you to join the team once they've made you the offer. They might have a ceiling on how much the signing can be for EM/PL level, but they can and will go up to that ceiling if you negotiate. Good luck!

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Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Nov 25, 2021
#1 Coach for Sessions (3.700+) | 1.300+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (www.case.tools/results) | Ex BCG | 8Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Congratulations on the offer!

Normally you need some “opportunity cost” to negotiate. It could be either a counteroffer or, for the bonus, what is offered by your current employer.

The base salary is normally non-negotiable in strategy consulting. However, you may be able to negotiate the signing/relocation bonuses or the seniority you join if you have valid reasons.

The strongest argument in your case is the lost bonus and stock options of your current employer, as that’s the real opportunity cost you have. This would be a reasonable argument to bring and it is fine to mention this to your new employer.

Good luck!

Francesco

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Nov 25, 2021
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

The key principles are to re-iterate your interest in the firm, come off as polite, but also say you need x.

For MBB, your best bet it to negotiate on signing bonus, and defend it with something (market rates, upcoming promotion/bonus, relocation, etc.).

Feel free to shoot me a message - I've gotten $400k+ in added benefits to candidates+friends/family to-date from negotiation support and I personally doubled my signing bonus when joining BCG.

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Nov 28, 2021
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Congrats on the offer! It´s hard, but it can be done, precisely easier in cases like yours of experienced hires. Feel free to PM me about this

 

Cheers, 

Clara

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Pedro
CoachingPlus Expert
replied on Dec 03, 2021
# 1 Rated Bain Coach | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | FIT | Former Head Recruiter | Principal

(1) Is it considered appropriate to negotiate the amount of signing bonus in the MBB world? 

Sure it is. While the base salary is fixed, and it makes no sense to negotiate, it is different on the sign up bonus. The arguments are what you mentioned: 

(2) If yes, what would be a reasonable ask, for example 1.25 - 2 x offered amount? 

It doesn't work that way - you need to know the range that they usually use in your region and your rank. And you have to tie it to the reason you provide for needing something higher. 
In general, I doube they would be able to increase more than ~25-30% the initial offered ammount.

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Marco-Alexander
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Nov 30, 2021
Former BCG | Case author for efellows book | Experience in 6 consultancies (Stern Stewart, Capgemini, KPMG, VW Con., Hor

(edited)

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