Quitting MBB less than a year. Is it career suicide?

consulting
New answer on Sep 09, 2020
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Anonymous A asked on Sep 06, 2020

I am at one of the MBBs and due to things going on in my personal life, I don't think this lifestyle is for me. I have been here only for 5 months. Can I quit now or will that mean that industry hiring managers will black list me. Is it career suicide?

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Robert
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replied on Sep 06, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

Unfortunately it's really hard to understand MBB lifestyle fully before joining them, and yes - it's definitely not for everyone.

But don't worry - there are lots of folks out there in similar situation as you. Definitely, as a recruiter I will question this short tenure and unless I have some proof otherwise I need to assume that you just did not perform as expected and thus were asked to leave the firm.

Therefore it proved useful to have a clear documentation of your up-to-par (or above) performance. In this case I'd even see it positively that you know now what you want and in which environment you function well.

However, of course there will be a risk that some recruiters won't even consider you - this singular case is definitely realistic but you can only hedge as much as you can as described above.

At the same time it's a question of alternatives as well:

  1. Leaving MBB now
  2. Staying at MBB for another 1.5 years or so > is it worth ruining your mental and potentially physical health, or would it be easy to do so for you?
  3. NOT hiring for another job but building your own business (you implied that another recruiter will look at your application documents - but is it really the smartest and most suitable next step?)

Hope that helps - if so, please be so kind to give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

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Vlad
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replied on Sep 07, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

It's really hard to answer without knowing your previous experience and your next career goal. Pls keep in mind several things:

  • If you leave now, 5 months from the start - it's better not to put this experience in your resume at all
  • If you leave after a year - pls find a new job before leaving. The worst scenario will be to leave in a year and get stuck in the job search
  • It's a tough time on the job market now, so it will be extremely hard to find a new job. Pls keep it in mind.

Best

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Francesco
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replied on Sep 06, 2020
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Hi there,

Sorry to hear it is a difficult period. The first months in consulting are always the most challenging. Before assuming it is not for you, I would talk with people you trust that can support you and express the challenge you are facing to your manager, to try to find a solution.

If after that you still want to change, I would recommend that you actively look for your next job while employed. Also, if you can wait until you reach 1 year of seniority, the transition will be easier.

I know a few people who stayed in consulting for 1 year and had a successful transition. However in general they moved to:

  1. Found their own company
  2. Unrelated field (eg VC)

Moving to a corporate role will be more challenging as you don’t have seniority. If you want to move to do a transition to a corporate role, you would be better off waiting at least until you reach 2 years of seniority.

Moving to your next job will be a lot easier if you interview while still employed. You will still need a good story, but the transition won’t be as challenging as in the case you don’t have a job.

Best,
Francesco

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Anonymous replied on Sep 06, 2020

Dear A,

Sorry to hear about about such dissapointing about consulting. Yes, I agree, it's not for everyone.

Regarding your question, first you have to answer, what do you want to do in your life next? Go on in the corporate sector, start your own business or what?

Also, it's always good to look broader at the opportunities, that you have.

If you need any further help on your career path, feel free to reach me out.

Best,
André

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Anonymous B replied on Sep 09, 2020

Hello friend,

I can relate with your experience as I left after 6 months whilst working as a consultant for a big 4 firm (in the Middle East). The answer to your question, itdepends on what you want to do in the future. To give you a bit more context I left for the following reasons:

- The projects I was doing at the Big 4 firm, were implementation based and they involved loads of admin work (setting up meetings, going to ministries for paper work etc). Basically not the responsibilities that I signed up for.

- I was one of the few with a master's degree and more specifically the only one from an elite university. Basically I felt I was wasting my time and potential there (which turned out to be right). Comparing the quality of talent there with other organizations that I have worked, it was very low.

If you decide to leave please bear in mind of the following:

- In case you want to work for another MBB you need to explain why you left the one you are. Simply saying that the lifestyle was not for you will not work. From my undestanding MBB have the same lifestyle in terms of workload and demands.

- Be prepared to spend various months in looking for other jobs if you leave. I spent 5-6 months before being able to land another gig.

NOW, you also need to decide what alternatives you have other than leaving the firm and thus extending your time there. Deciding to quit should be the last of your options, when you have tried EVERTHING else to imporove your situation and it has failed. Some examples are:

- Speak with HR and see what can be done. Dont be afraid to do that, especially when you feel that the only option you have left is to quit.

- Speak to your mentor if you have one, about the issues you are facing etc

- See if you can take unpaid time off to resolve the issues going on in your personal life.

- Consider taking a long sick leave as a break so you can extend the time you are there and apply for other jobs.

There are many options for you to take and they depend on your personal circumstances. I personally tried many things with my previous organization and things simply didnt work out. That is completely normal.

When you leave a firm and especially when you dont have something lined up I know that it can be a very stressful situation. However, its not the end of the world or career suicide. It might feel like that in the beginning.

Current Status: At the moment I am working as a freelance consultat for a startup, helping them define their growth and sales strategy to new markets. Also have another gig lined up to develop a business plan with a set of Professors from an Oxbridge University for a healthcare business idea.

Quitting is not suicide, its simply a choice. With time things do work out. I can tell you from my personal experiece.

Wish you all the best

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Antonello
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replied on Sep 09, 2020
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Hi, I would not define it a suicide, even if a 2-year period is usually recommended. I advise you to start looking for a good exit opportunity, to leverage your current position at MBB. Then you will have the chance to spend the correct amount of time in your next company building a good CV history

Best,
Antonello

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Sidi
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replied on Sep 07, 2020
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi!

I believe you can be open and honest about your situation. You are already having the MBB stamp in terms of your basic calibre - so being confident about the fact that the lifestyle is not a good fit for you is totally fine in my view. There are many employers who position themselves exactly for this type of motivation in order to get MBB calibre candidates. So my advice would be to actively seek for opportunities while being employed at the MBB. Just to give you some conext: almost every MBB starting cohort has one or two individuals who discover that the job is not for them, and they quit after a couple of months. This is totally fine - and I have never seen a substantial harm from this move. All persons that I know still continued a quite successful path.

Just one word of caution - given your low tenure you will like be put on a junior role. But this might not be a bad thing if it comes in return for a much better life style which meets your personal needs.

Cheers, Sidi

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Ian
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replied on Sep 08, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

It is career suicide if you are not going straight into another role.

So, if you can help it, please don't quit before you have another job!

Coming from MBB you can land a lot of jobs. Coming from outside of MBB you're really stuck unfortunately :/

I would highly recommend you ask MBB to help with the transition (they have a lot of services and want to place their employees into good roles...they truly do want you to succeed...for not just altruistic reasons).

One other thing: The first 6 months is the hardest. It may be worth just seeing if you can stick it out a bit longer until you get the knack of things.

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Anonymous replied on Sep 08, 2020

Hi,

I would recommend to discuss with your mentor or anyone you trust on the next steps.

Then I would suggest to take advantage of the Firm's Career Transition Support to makes it easier for you in finding the next job while still employed.

Having said that, I would prioritize finding an approach to makes the lifestyle sustainable for you. MBB would as much as possible try to support their employee to succeed.

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Udayan
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replied on Sep 08, 2020
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

Hi,

Leaving before 2 years is generally not viewed favorably by hiring managers as it can be seen as a sign of either poor performance or not being able to handle the demands of a consulting career. That being said, your mental health is very important and if you are not enjoying your role especially in a demanding place like MBB it is difficult to perform well so it may be advisable to quit. If you leave now, make sure you find a job that truly excites you and one where you can see yourself spending at least 2-3 years. It will not look good if you leave two jobs in quick succession.

Another alternative is to reach out to HR and/or mentors at your firm, explain to them what is going on and hear them out. Quite often this can be managed by switching projects, trying a different track within the firm (e.g., implementation consulting) or taking an extended break.

All the best to you,

Udayan

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Luca
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updated an answer on Sep 07, 2020
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Hello,

It really depends on different elements:

  • Is your curriculum strong enough even without a significant MBB experience?
  • Do you have an attractive alternative?
  • Are you sure that you wouldn't like to be a consultant for the rest of your life?

If the answer to these questions is yes, I wouldn't be so scared of leaving MBB. You have proven that you have the qualities to be hired and work there, then it's only a choice that one can do.

Best,
Luca

(edited)

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Robert gave the best answer

Robert

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