Please help - should I take this "backup choice" or continue job searching?

recruiting
New answer on May 19, 2020
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on May 18, 2020

I have graduated from a top-ranked one year MBA in 2019 December. Long story short, during MBA my original focus was financial industry, which didn't work out. So I started case preps and interviewed with a few consulting companies, but didn't manage to get an offer in the end. I feel the opportunities existing on the market now are quite limited.

Recently I got an offer from a boutique consulting firm. Here’s some pros and cons of the role:

Pros: the job skill set will be applicable and transferable for my next step to consulting, and I could end my “career gap”. Also, the job itself sounds interesting and I had a great conversation with the managers.

Cons: the brand is mediocre, and I don't know whether the brand would damage me since it signals that I didn't manage to get an offer at a respected consulting firm straight out of school. Also, pay is not good comparing to MBB level, but acceptable given that living cost in my country is low. In fact, the pay is lower than my pre-MBA salary given that this is a localized firm, and my pre-MBA salary pays quite good. In my country, local firms usually don't pay a much higher salary to MBA candidates compared to those with a master degree. (i.e. salary is based on rankings instead of education degree). So getting into MBB is the only way to get a global pay.

Honestly, I applied for this job initially as a "backup". I am puzzled on what I should do now: (1) Accept offer and start the job. Probably work for 1-2 years and reapply for better consulting firms. (2) Accept offer but continue job searching before onboarding, and renege offer if I get an ideal one. (3) Decline offer and continue job searching, which is very risky in my point of view.

Since I have already been out of job market for 6 months, I feel really worried to be unemployed for an even longer period. I feel quite desperate and I don’t have the confidence that I could get my “dream job” in a few months of time.

Would you think I should spend more time to do job searching for my ideal job? Or use this one as a stepping stone? Thank you for your feedback!

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Emily
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replied on May 19, 2020
BCG Project Leader | 3+ years interview experience for BCG SEA recruiting | Kellogg MBA, NTU, Peking University

Hi,

Just my two cents.

In this situation, suggest not to compare this back up option vs your dream job. Coz your dream job is not a real option for you to choose from. So whether the pay is lower than MBB (or even your pre-MBA job) is irrelevant. The real options are between taking this offer and continuing unemployed for at least a few months longer.

Agree with Ian that taking the offer probably makes more sense, while you continue to explore your options afterwards.

Best,

Emily

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Anonymous A on May 19, 2020

Thanks for the advice! I find it "risky" still applying to other firms while accepting one already...Would reneging an offer damage hugely my reputation in the consulting industry?

Ian
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replied on May 18, 2020
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

I have a feeling you know the answer to this one :)

But let me assuage some fears (which I personally think is fomo getting to you)

Brand - if you rise up quickly in this company, and show that you've done a lot with them, this shouldn't be a problem (especially with your top-ranked MBA)

Pay - well, you're getting paid nothing right now, right?

Future opportunities - You can re-apply for better consulting firms whenever you want.. I.e. tomorrow..you're not beholden to the 1-2 year timeline

Summary, option 2 sounds pretty reasonable in my view.

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Anonymous A on May 19, 2020

Thanks for the advice! I find it "risky" still applying to other firms while accepting one already...Would reneging an offer damage hugely my reputation in the consulting industry?

Ian on May 26, 2020

Hi, in short, given your early stage in your career and the size of the industry, noone would likely know. It's not great etiquette/best practice, so not a good habit to form. However, if you have to, you have to.

Anonymous replied on May 19, 2020

Dear A,

I would you strongly recommend you to take this offer and also to continue to look for new opportunities. Now, during the onboarding phase and also later, until you find another option.


If you need any help to secure your interviews ad transfer them into offers, drop me a line.


Good luck,

André

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Anonymous A on May 19, 2020

Thanks for the advice! I find it "risky" still applying to other firms while accepting one already...Would reneging an offer damage hugely my reputation in the consulting industry?

Vlad
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replied on May 19, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

It's a bit hard to say without knowing your market. If it is a developing country (looks so based on your description) - you can leverage your MBA and get a great position in the industry. It's a bit tricky taking into account the Covid situation, but your MBA brand / alumni network can help

Best

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Francesco
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replied on May 19, 2020
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.700+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi there,

did you check the exit opportunities from the boutique to your target companies? Maybe the brand is not as bad as you think.

In general, I would exclude 3. Even if the brand is not amazing, your signaling for future employees will be even worse if you stay unemployed longer.

Between 1 and 2: I would go for 2 first and if that doesn’t work, move to 1.

Best,

Francesco

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Anonymous A on May 19, 2020

Thanks for the advice! I find it "risky" still applying to other firms while accepting one already...Would reneging an offer damage hugely my reputation in the consulting industry?

Francesco on May 20, 2020

Hi there, not really, I know many situations where that happened. It is not ideal, but sometimes you cannot avoid it. Obviously it will be difficult to work for that company in the future, but that is unlikely to be the case. Good luck!

Clara
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replied on May 19, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

To me is honestly quite clear.

You loose nothing with accepting, seeing how it goes -particularly to close that gap you were mentioning-, and on the other hand keep looking!

Like this, it´s only upside.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Emily gave the best answer

Emily

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BCG Project Leader | 3+ years interview experience for BCG SEA recruiting | Kellogg MBA, NTU, Peking University
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