Offer Decision - Bain VS Growth Equity Portfolio Ops

offer decision
New answer on Nov 28, 2020
9 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Nov 26, 2020

Hi everyone!

I'm fortunate enough to receive two offers coming out of undergrad, but need help with the decision. Both offers are in APAC.

Offer 1: Bain&Co - Associate Consultant

Pros: Well-designed training, global network, wide exposure in terms of functions & industries, Travel (if possible, coming straight out of undergrad so still acceptable)

Cons: Can't see impact, might be staffed on "bad" projects, pay, hours 60-80/week

Offer 2: $8B USD Growth Equity - Portfolio Ops Analyst (I have been interning there for 4 months now)

Pros: Highly flexible in terms of learning (worked on various projects for their portfolio comps), C-suite exposure - reporting directly to multiple 1B+ valuation company C-suite officer/ fund partners, team is extremely lean and top heavy, our partners directly control the portfolio comps as C-suite officers, Pay - starting offer is 20% higher than Bain with up to 50% performance bonus. Potential equity options as career progress, Hours ~60/week so pretty chill in general

Cons: No peers, less structured training program, limited industries compared to Bain (TMT, Healthcare, Real Estate, New Media)

Personal concerns:

My long term goal is C-suite at unicorn or entrepreneurship, but don't have a specific industry preference yet. Had been working towards the MBB trophy for a long time, but never wanted to stay in consulting long term. MBA is a potential consideration. Currently operating an e-commerce business with friends, would prefer to keep working on it with 5-10hr commitment per week. Thank you!

TLDR: Bain vs Growth Equity Ops straight out of undergrad, which one should I choose?

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Anonymous B replied on Nov 27, 2020

Hi, I'm in a very similar position. I'm close to graduating undergrad and long term I want to run my own unicorn startup and was between a growth equity investment position (slightly different, less ops) and McKinsey. Moreover, I also run my startup which has just proven product-market fit and we're starting to raise a round now. I also have many friends at Harvard and Stanford who are working at McKinsey with me for the summer & full-time for a year or two before committing on our ventures or joining Y Combinator etc.

I chose McKinsey because it has a much stronger brand name and I truly believe that you can't learn entrepreneurship. Plus, even if I did want to switch paths, all the doors will be open. McKinsey is the training ground for C-suite executives at F500 as well as numerous startup founders, and I don't see why it cannot produce C-suite executives at unicorns (ever heard of Sheryl Sandberg?)

Sure, growth ops will teach you broad growth strategies for Series A, B, C but it is only a small part of entrepreneurship. As I said, entrepreneurship isn't something you can just practice. It requires true creativity, unreal passion, and a set of skillset that is hard to develop apart from learning on-the-job or getting advice from your advisors and investors. That's all part of the fun to me.

Ultimately, I think here's the crux of the answer. The Bain brand name will help you raise funding down the line and doesn't close any doors if you decide to go down the entrepreneurship route and you can certainly pick growth projects with smaller clients if you want. If you decide to go down the C-Suite unicorn route, I think Bain will also provide you with more credentials than some growth op at a fund. Moreover, you can just move from Bain back to the fund if you're so inclined.

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Anonymous A on Nov 27, 2020

Hi - Thanks for the note, really appreciate it. Coincidentally my side gig has been getting some traction and is hoping to raise funding in the next 6 months as well. I definitely agree that MBB provides unparalleled options + brand name in comparison to the GE. However, one more context to share is that the GE invest all the way from A to pre-IPO round, so I'd be exposed to the 1-10 and the 10 -100 stage of various companies. But again, like what you said, entrepreneurship can't be practiced. Since either option will provide me with the opportunity to get on the funding call, MBB could potentially give me additional operational touch. Thanks again!

(edited)

Anonymous B on Nov 27, 2020

Are the guy who responds to everything? Haha. Nice touch. Ok - now that's a different story, and I've been interested in working with VCs for a while too. I just saw you have ~20-70% greater pay in the GE role so you could definitely consider it. Again, I think it comes down to pigeonhole & no-name and get paid vs big name & broad exposure and get paid much less. If I'm a CS student for example, I'd rather go to Harvard even though they have a less established CS program than to go Caltech if I'm accepted into both because Harvard is a credential that will be useful no matter what I do in the future. Also - another thing you have to factor is location and culture. Where do you get along with people better? At the end of the day I think it's closer given the pay and the broad exposure.

Adi
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replied on Nov 26, 2020
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Wow great offers! Thats special in these times. Enjoy it.

Here's some pointers to help you make the decision:

  1. Is the job and industry in line with what you want to do i.e. can you be joyful and give your best and not drag your feet everyday thinking there is something better out there or you should have taken the other job
  2. No one knows what the world is going to look like in 5 years let alone in the next 6 -12 months. Think about all the regulations & lifestyle changes we are going to experience with climate change and many other aspects. So consider that into your planning. Focus more on what you can do now and next 12 months and build from there
  3. Whats your current risk appetitie i.e. if your move fails whats plan B?
  4. Whats the pipeline of work in the companies you are looking at?
  5. As with every situation/event/choice in life, nothing will be perfect. Be mindful of this and work accordingly. Regardless of which job you take, there will be ups and downs and you cannot make that perfect choice as there will always be something a little better. So remove this pressure

Considerations to avoid at this stage:

  1. Easier path
  2. Peer pressure
  3. Salary if the delta between the two offers is 10-15% or under

Good luck choosing!

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Anonymous A on Nov 26, 2020

Thanks Adi!

Ian
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updated an answer on Nov 26, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there!

I think you know your decision already :)

While I was reading your position descriptions, I was genuinely thinking "Ah, tough choice!"

However, here was the kicker for me...and you said it all:

"Long term goal is C-suite at unicorn or entrepreneurship, but don't have a specific industry preference yet. Had been working towards the MBB trophy for a long time, but never wanted to stay in consulting long term"

Go with what you truly enjoy/want. You don't want MBB! You want unicorn/entrepreneurship! So, you want Offer 2 AND your side hustle. Not only are you going to be happier, more fulfilled, etc. but it's the far more direct route to your end goal.

In life, don't go for trophies that other people want. At the end of the day the trophy sits in your room and no-one else cares. Make your own trophy.

(edited)

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Anonymous A on Nov 27, 2020

Thanks Ian. Really appreciate your opinion. I guess what's holding me back are 1) Not certain about long term goal (While I like my side gig as employee No.2 and seeking funding soon, I am not certain that it is my final goal) 2) Portfo comp at GE are all in the hot industries projected for massive growth - but again, not sure if its what I want to do. Big question here is: would few years at MBB help me figure that out?

Francesco
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replied on Nov 27, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Well done with the offers, it is a good problem to have ;)

Bain is going for sure to help to achieve your goal of C-suite or entrepreneurship. For entrepreneurship in particular, the MBB brand is very useful for fundraising – it helped me a lot with my first startup.

With the Growth Equity option it seems you can have a great career. Seems also more impactful and less “power-point” based. However, it seems more aligned with a long-term commitment – possibly grow in the fund till senior positions. As mentioned by Vlad, you should also check if there are possible bottlenecks in terms of internal growth.

To decide, I would check the internal growth trajectory and exit opportunities with the fund. If it allows to move to what you are planning as an exit, it seems better than Bain on paper. You will lose in terms of brand, but likely get faster to your final destination. If you find exits are not aligned with your final goals – due for example to lack of brand recognition or internal bottlenecks – I would go for Bain.

Best,

Francesco

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Ken
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updated an answer on Nov 26, 2020
Ex-McKinsey London final round interviewer

Both are great options but I would go for Growth Equity Ops if your longer term goal is to be leading a successful startup. Bain will be a great way to develop your professional skills and breadth, but the experience and network will not be direcly relevant (i.e., Bain will be more dinosaur business problems) and it will always be there if you choose to pursue it later. Additionally, if you value having flexiblity with your time then continuing where you seem to be successful already makes more sense too.

(edited)

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Anonymous A on Nov 26, 2020

Thanks Ken. In terms of the network or MBB brand name, do you think it makes a material difference? The Growth Equity is not as well-known (from the non-investors' perspective), but should carry some weight among the investor circle.

(edited)

Ken on Nov 26, 2020

Good point where it's hard for me to say without knowing which Growth Equity fund and geography you are in. Having said that, my sense would be that your direct network (i.e., people/clients you work closely with) in Growth Equity would be more relevant for your longer term career ambition. Yes, Bain will give you access to a large global network but the reality is that your intimate network will still be quite limited especially if you are only considering staying for 2-3 years max.

Anonymous A on Nov 26, 2020

Agreed. Thanks for sharing!

Henning
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replied on Nov 26, 2020
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate

Agree with what the other coaches said. One additional lens (I know, doesn't make it easier!) is the reputation. Having MBB in your CV can be a consideration for VCs when you're looking for seed funding, so if that should be a possibility some point in the future, it the Bain position does have it's merits.

Thinking a bit outside of the box here: Is this really a binary decision? Why not both? E.g. discuss with the Growth Equity team if they could also see you coming back after going through 2-3 years in consulting.

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Anonymous A on Nov 26, 2020

Thanks Henning. I did propose the possibility of swinging back to the GE team after spending 2-3 years at Bain, but the GE team mentioned that since they are extremely lean, they might recruit for a replacement (most likely from MBB) and might not need an analyst/associate in 2-3 years.

Clara
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replied on Nov 27, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Congrats, both are great, so for sure you cannot make the wrong choice here. Good problem to have.

Given that your long term goal is Csuit and/or entrepreneuriship, I would go for Bain, since being a consultant for a while will give you wonderful foundation. However, also growth equity as you described it sounds great.

Best,

Clara

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Vlad
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replied on Nov 26, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

I would go for Growth Equity since it's a great exit option post consulting. You have a chance to get this job directly after school. One thing I would check - do they require an MBA for further career growth or not.

Best

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Anonymous A on Nov 26, 2020

MBA does not seemed to be a requirement, but I might pursue MBA for learning purposes. Would GE role hinder my opportunity at top MBA compared to Bain?

Gaurav
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updated an answer on Nov 28, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi there!
Congratulations! It`s amazing to get 2 offers from such successful companies. When I Was reading your question I understood that you already know your answer to this question. I am sure that you would like to choose a second option and I think that this will be the most appropriate solution for you. Please choose that option which you feel you will more enjoy and that will give you the best results in the future.
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GB

(edited)

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