Reasons not to join MBB?

Bain Bain & Company BCG McKinsey
New answer on Nov 03, 2020
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Nov 01, 2020

I'm a few years in the tech startup space and thrilled to have received an offer from an MBB firm. I'm now weighing pros and cons to have a better grasp of what I'm potentially getting into.

We always talk about 'why consulting' here but what are the 3-5 biggest reasons otherwise successful individuals would not last long or enjoy being in the space? What are the reasons not to go to MBB? Did you have regrets spending your years in consulting?

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Adi
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replied on Nov 01, 2020
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Hey there, fantastic question and congrats on the offer! As with every option/situation/event in life nothing is perfect and it all depends on what we make out of them!

So here's my top reasons for not joining MBB/Consulting :)

1. Constant feeling of insecurity : Generally everyone is as smart or smarter than you are, so you end up feeling on the edge a lot. There is pressure to be liked and prove yourself. Over time people become very edgy and transactional and sort of stop being themselves. Self promotion is through the roof- just look at how people behave on Linkedin :)

2. Dreaded work-life balance & pace: Not much to say and am sure you know enough about this

3. Death by powerpoint: Life revolves around making mind blowing PPTs and its just overdone in my view. Many times it become style over substance. Things are changing but its slow

4. Up or Out: This may not be a formal policy but most consulting firms dont want you if you are not getting promoted within a certain time window

I spent 9 years in consulting and overall thoroughtly enjoyed it. It transformed me inspite of all the difficult moments/weeks/months I faced. I have no regrets but having said that this is not for everyone.

So my advice to you will be this- if you have absolute clarity on your self (strengths, weakness, skills, talent) and these align with consulting, go for it. If not, you can explore and understand and make an informed decision. Otherwise, what the hell..just plunge in and try or else you woudn't know. Some risks have to be taken. 2-3 years in MBB will open up your career bigtime on top of making you battle hard.

I recommend this book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Management-Consultant-Mastering-Consultancy-Financial/dp/0273730878

All the best!

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Ken
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replied on Nov 01, 2020
Ex-McKinsey London final round interviewer

Congratulatoins! No regrets personally and you will rarely find people regretting their time at an MBB. Having said that, you will always have a skewed response as there are much fewer people who turned down a MBB offer (i.e., the accepatance rate is very high!).

I have a good friend who was in exactly your position and chose NOT to join McKinsey over his own start up. I think it comes down to the fact a few factors:

+ He knew what he wanted to do after MBB where it made more sense for him to pursue that directly than take a detour

+ His start up was going through a super exciting growth phase which made no sense to miss where he could also join an MBB afterwards

+ He had a retrospective realisation that he had always performed best and was more personally happy when he was working on his own terms than others. He knew that the MBB lifestyle would get to him eventually where the trade off of spending less time with his friends and family was too large

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Ian
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replied on Nov 02, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep
  1. Lack of work-life balance
  2. High stress levels
  3. Death by powerpoint

How do you decide?

If you're happy today. Happy in the tech startup space. Don't leave.

If you're unhappy, unsatisfied in tech, consider leaving (but make sure MBB is the right thing to leave into!)

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Udayan
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replied on Nov 01, 2020
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

Great question! One I wish more people asked before even applying to the firms because just like any job MBB also has downsides

Some of the biggest ones in my opinion

  • Complete lack of work life balance - you are usually always flying to a client site or working extremely long hours (and usually both). Outside of when you are not staffed you just do not have any time to pursue any other interests or much of a social life. Or at the least time is very restricted and completely out of your control. Many people do not understand how bad it can get until they actually start the job
  • Limited choice of projects - unless you come with a certain skillset or are hired for a particular role, you are usually staffed wherever there is a need. There is some room to negotiate but if you come up for staffing when nothing that excites you is available then too bad. This changes once you get more established and build a network etc.
  • Stressful work environment - everyone around you is the best of the best and everyone is trying to do a good job and get ahead etc. It is stressful and you always have to put in your 100%. Sometimes this can get overwhelming
  • Powerpoint madness - there are a number of 'turns' to be taken on every slide until it is perfect. You will spend hours on formatting, perfecting the language on the slide and ensuring the visuals are the best ones to capture the message. There are many reasons to do so of course but at times it all seems like overkill

I am sure there are more just like there are many upsides. Feel free to DM me if you have any more questions.

Best,

Udayan

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Clara
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replied on Nov 02, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello !

This one is as easy as the Why Consulting? one:

  • Poor work-life balance
  • Very little control over your agenda, even on weekends
  • Low pay/hour

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Gaurav
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replied on Nov 03, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

I can count same reasons like poor work-life balance, high-level stress, a lot of travels and unregulated weekends.

BUT, there must be one or two major reasons or motivations that will work for you sepcifically.

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

GB

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Adi gave the best answer

Adi

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Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience
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