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Should I focus or generalise my projects as entry level MBB consultant?

Anonymous A

Hi everyone!

In a few weeks I will start at MBB as an entry level consultant and I'm very excited! :)

I'm wondering now, though, whether I should pick different type of projects or focus on a specific industry for example automotive which interests me a lot. While I want to consider my personal interests, I'm also concerned which strategy will help me more for my future career and potential exit options. What is your advice or what would you do?

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Vlad replied on 09/26/2017
McKinsey / Accenture / More than 300 real MBB cases / Collected all Big 3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

In McKinsey chances are high that you'll have an opportunity to specialize early on. Though you will definitely specialize in a manager role

Pros of specialization:

  • You'll start your specialization earlier
  • You will build relationships with clients/partners
  • Potentially faster growth

Cons of specialization:

  • It will be harder to get staffed on other projects (lack of expertise)
  • If someone in a promotion committee will not be sure about your case, they may ask you to work with a different team and get more various feedbacks

Best,

Vlad

(edited)

Francesco replied on 09/24/2017
Ex BCG | MBB Specialist | #1 Expert for meetings done (1000+) and recommendation rate (100%)

Hi Anonymous,

as an entry level, you cannot normally specialize on specific sectors only in MBB; they will instead allocate you to different projects till project leader (BCG) /engagement manager (McK) levels, according to the needs of the firm. Having said that, you can express your interests for a specific sector, and, everything equal, they will try to put you on that particular project. Whether you express your interest or not, you will never just focus on a sector at the beginning; I would suggest thus to give your preference, as you would not risk anyway to specialize too much too early.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

Eric
Expert
replied on 09/24/2017
Interview coach with detailed, actionable feedback (McKinsey & Google)

Hi,

There are tradeoffs and it really depends on what you're looking to get out of the experience long term. Going the generalist path would give you a broder exposure and is more transferrable to various roles/industries. Whereas if you are set on specialising in automotive, within your MBB firm on in industry, specialising will build your knowledge expertise and reputation on the subject and helps you with quicker promotions, etc.

At the end of the day, there is no wrong path. Your attitude will really help you succeed. All the best!

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