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Project Manager or Team Lead - what is a bigger advantage for experienced hires?

Experienced Hire Industry experience
New answer on Sep 09, 2020
5 Answers
1.1 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Sep 09, 2020

Hi there,

I work in the pharmaceutical industry and am interested in switching to consulting. In my current company, I have been offered two new roles, one as project manager without direct reports and one as team lead of a group for digitization. I am interested in your opinion, which job would be of higher relevance or regarded as a bigger advantage by recruiters in MBB or big4?

Looking forward to your responses. Thank you!

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Anonymous updated the answer on Sep 09, 2020

Of course it always depends on which firms you are targeting and what responsibilities you will have in detail in the potential new roles.

Assuming you are aiming for MBB and just looking at the labels without further detail, a team lead for a digitization team looks much more desireable for MBB. All firms are educating their workforce on digital transformation and weighing these skills high in their recruiting priorities.

Having said that, if the PM role includes driving high-priority initiatives for the CEO or the board and give you access to many different parts of the business, potentially in cooperation with external consultants, this might be a door opener as well. It might help you build a network and work on very strategic projects that provide you with great experience that you can leverage in the application process.


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Content Creator
replied on Sep 09, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

I agree with Henning that the Team Lead position seems more interesting, mainly for the following reasons:

  • You will lead a team of people
  • Digitalization is hot in consulting now

Of course, it also depends on what exactly will be your tasks in the two positions.



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updated an answer on Sep 09, 2020
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers


I agree 100% with Henning. Just one additional notion for MBB:

If you would opt for the Team Lead option and then switch over to an MBB, you need to be aware that you would NOT be able to join as a Project Leader / Engagement Manager. This is important to understand - directly working in this role is almost impossible for experienced hires without comparable top consulting experience. So you would then start your career at the MBB in a Senior Associate/Senior Consultant Role, before starting to lead project teams after maybe one year or two.

Cheers, Sidi


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Anonymous on Sep 09, 2020

Yes, fully agree with that! Hires into Manager positions require quite senior (and long) experience before joining consulting.

Anonymous replied on Sep 09, 2020

Dear A,

The answer depends on what positions you are offered, what you are looking for (smth might be closer to your previous experience) and what is your CV.

If you need any further help or advice, feel free to reach out.


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Content Creator
replied on Sep 09, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

First, congrats on being offered this opportunity!

I genuinely think both look appealing. If optimizing for future career, I would select the role where the exhibited skillsets/responsibilities are the least like what you've already had. In this sense, you can fill in gaps in your resume.

So, if you have not directly managed a team before or led a digitization effort, pick the team lead. If you have never had project management experience, pick PM.

I think both can be leveraged well on your resume.

That being said, management of a team AND Digitization are quite compelling adds, so if I had to pick, I would personally pick team lead :)

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