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Denis

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5

Starting in the US vs in Europe?

Hello! I have an offer from BCG after university, but I am debating whether to apply to the Madrid or Milan offices in Europe and starting there. I am a US and Spanish citizen, and have lived in Italy before, and know that I see myself in Southern Europe in the future. I heard that transferring offices internationally is very difficult and only for top candidates, so I thought it could an option to just start my career in a European office. However, will this give me a disadvantage professionally? Starting off in Europe vs the US, I know salaries in EU are less competitive by a lot

Also, I was thinking I could do 2 years in the states, apply for a transfer to Italy (ideally, or if not Spain), if I don't get it, the experience at BCG on my resume could serve me well to apply to a higher up position in Italy in another company (perhaps an industry I would get experience on in the US)

I was also wondering, what industries does the Milan office (also Spain if you know) focus on? I was thinking maybe I should try to get more experience in those areas. I'm thinking automotive, luxury goods, etc

Thank you!

Hello! I have an offer from BCG after university, but I am debating whether to apply to the Madrid or Milan offices in Europe and starting there. I am a US and Spanish citizen, and have lived in Italy before, and know that I see myself in Southern Europe in the future. I heard that transferring offices internationally is very difficult and only for top candidates, so I thought it could an option to just start my career in a European office. However, will this give me a disadvantage professionally? Starting off in Europe vs the US, I know salaries in EU are less competitive by a lot

Also, I was thinking I could do 2 years in the states, apply for a transfer to Italy (ideally, or if not Spain), if I don't get it, the experience at BCG on my resume could serve me well to apply to a higher up position in Italy in another company (perhaps an industry I would get experience on in the US)

I was also wondering, what industries does the Milan office (also Spain if you know) focus on? I was thinking maybe I should try to get more experience in those areas. I'm thinking automotive, luxury goods, etc

Thank you!

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Book a coaching with Denis

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Hi,

I just went through the same reasoning for my new post-MBA career Investment Banking. Same as you I see my future in Europe for sure. Couple of thoughts:

In short: if you have the mental energy for it - I d start out in the US, set myself a timeframe, perhaps 2-3 years. This should allow you to build a network within the firm and think more about this situation. I d then make my switch over to Europe. This should also put you in a nice bucket to perhaps do a MBA in the US.

  • Real income is the same you get - US is much more expensive on the CPI, all big firms adjust accordingly. Your living expenses will be lower in Madrid than in the US, so do not be worried too much about money. Moreover, some US offices do not get as many perks (e.g. a fancy comapny car). Quality of housing and groceries is much lower in the US (lived in NYC and Chicago before)
  • Employee protection laws: not something that should be prio 1 but be clear that working in the EU gives you more rights as an employee. MBB being able to just lay you off wont happen here
  • Focus on reputation, expected size and frequency of projects. How would Madrilenos think about you after you may have worked for 2 years in the US first? From my experience I d say this could give you the edge in either Milano or Madrid where most ppl lived studied and worked only in Europe before.
  • What happens if a transfer from the US does not work out? I think this is not likely - if you tell BCG for family reasons you d like to go back to Spain or Italy and they WONT make it happen this would be a clear reason for me to switch firms, i.e. go over to McK or Bain. But in case you find out that consulting is for you, having been in the US may give your more options in terms of exits. Also a MBA in the US should work out well given US work experience.

Hi,

I just went through the same reasoning for my new post-MBA career Investment Banking. Same as you I see my future in Europe for sure. Couple of thoughts:

In short: if you have the mental energy for it - I d start out in the US, set myself a timeframe, perhaps 2-3 years. This should allow you to build a network within the firm and think more about this situation. I d then make my switch over to Europe. This should also put you in a nice bucket to perhaps do a MBA in the US.

  • Real income is the same you get - US is much more expensive on the CPI, all big firms adjust accordingly. Your living expenses will be lower in Madrid than in the US, so do not be worried too much about money. Moreover, some US offices do not get as many perks (e.g. a fancy comapny car). Quality of housing and groceries is much lower in the US (lived in NYC and Chicago before)
  • Employee protection laws: not something that should be prio 1 but be clear that working in the EU gives you more rights as an employee. MBB being able to just lay you off wont happen here
  • Focus on reputation, expected size and frequency of projects. How would Madrilenos think about you after you may have worked for 2 years in the US first? From my experience I d say this could give you the edge in either Milano or Madrid where most ppl lived studied and worked only in Europe before.
  • What happens if a transfer from the US does not work out? I think this is not likely - if you tell BCG for family reasons you d like to go back to Spain or Italy and they WONT make it happen this would be a clear reason for me to switch firms, i.e. go over to McK or Bain. But in case you find out that consulting is for you, having been in the US may give your more options in terms of exits. Also a MBA in the US should work out well given US work experience.

(edited)

Thank you so much, Denis!!! Double taxation shouldn't be a problem or does this usually affect transfer decisions? Also, if I move to Europe with 2-3 years of experience, am I likely to get a decent paying job outside consulting (ex. Google, Pepsi, etc), and skip the entry level position? (I also have an offer from Google, their business side, but I consulting I think has a steeper learning curve and can speed up my career) — Anonymous A on Jan 21, 2021

Double taxation will not be a problem. There is a good chance, depending on where you work that you may even save taxes. With 2-3 yrs of BCG I would be surprised if you wouldnt find a good job of your choice. Key is to start looking early. If you know you want to be in Europe, start networking now and keep doing so while you are in the US. Reach out to headhunters, contact ppl on linkedin, exploit your US uni network and your European connections. There is a good chance that you like your work at BCG and perhaps want to stay in consulting - then in Europe. — Denis on Jan 21, 2021

Hi Denis! Thank you so much!!! I've also heard that work in consulting in Souther Europe as opposed to the US is a bit tougher, hours wise, so it also makes me think that even though quality of life in Europe seems more appealing, if you work more there, can you even really enjoy it? That's why I think maybe if I make the move to Europe eventually, it might be better to leave consulting. Has it been better quality of life wise for you there? — Anonymous A on Jan 26, 2021

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Hi there,

I am not sure I understood your initial statement – you have an offer but can choose the office to join? That’s quite unusual.

I worked at BCG Milan and can tell you the goal for many was to move to the US and UK. Career opportunities are definitely better there and the work-life balance in Southern Europe is one of the worst in consulting. Plus, unfortunately, I don’t see a great future for the Italian economy in the next years.

If you join as a generalist in the US and want to move later, the easier way to transfer is to network with partners of the office where you want to move, plus have a great performance in your first years.

Overall, unless you have strong personal reasons to go to Spain / Italy now, the US should allow far better opportunities for growth and would choose that, in particular if you are considering a transition to the Finance world later on (eg PE).

Best,
Francesco

Hi there,

I am not sure I understood your initial statement – you have an offer but can choose the office to join? That’s quite unusual.

I worked at BCG Milan and can tell you the goal for many was to move to the US and UK. Career opportunities are definitely better there and the work-life balance in Southern Europe is one of the worst in consulting. Plus, unfortunately, I don’t see a great future for the Italian economy in the next years.

If you join as a generalist in the US and want to move later, the easier way to transfer is to network with partners of the office where you want to move, plus have a great performance in your first years.

Overall, unless you have strong personal reasons to go to Spain / Italy now, the US should allow far better opportunities for growth and would choose that, in particular if you are considering a transition to the Finance world later on (eg PE).

Best,
Francesco

Hi Francesco! Thank you so much for your response. My offer is in the US, but since I am living currently in Milan, my office in the US got in touch with the Milan office to ask if I could start there. So the Milan office is aware of my profile and my interest, however, they said right now they aren't looking for an intercontinental transfer. BCG suggested that I could also apply separately to European offices and interview again with them, but my offer right now is in the US. You mentioned that work-life balance in Souther Europe is one of the worst (in regards to consulting). How is it different from the US? Because I enjoy the quality of life in Souther Europe, but if I won't have the time to even enjoy it, I might as well start in the US. If I work 2-3 in BCG US, do you think it would be difficult to find a decent paying position in Milan (not in consulting, but perhaps in an industry with less demanding hours)? (Also considering I come from a top Ivy League college) or would this essentially be career suicide ? (Thank you!) — Anonymous A on Jan 26, 2021

Hi there, I see, so basically you would have to interview again. Not sure about the exact comparison US vs Italy, but as mentioned Southern Europe is quite bad for work-life balance. I have a friend who started in BCG US and moved then for 1 year in Europe still with BCG after few years, that may be a good option if available for you, as you won’t have to interview again. If you are fluent in Italian, have a network in Italy and don’t have visa problems, I don’t think it should be difficult to find a position in Milan after BCG, but you won’t probably have a salary comparable to the one in the US. For other questions please feel free to PM me. — Francesco on Jan 26, 2021

Thank you so much Francesco!!! — Anonymous A on Jan 26, 2021

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Hi there,

Ultimately, yes you can transfer (it just takes some work + patience).

I think the question you should ask is "where do I want to be for the next 2 years?" I genuinely think you'll be able to move around at the 2 year mark more or less flexibly.

You're right that you'll earn more in the US...but, be prepared for when you ultimately move to Europe and get that pay cut!

If you're risk averse and worried about not making it to Europe in the future, then apply directly to the Madrid/Milan offices.

You also have another option...apply to all 3! BCG should allow for 3 office selections. Perhaps fate will decide for you :)

Hi there,

Ultimately, yes you can transfer (it just takes some work + patience).

I think the question you should ask is "where do I want to be for the next 2 years?" I genuinely think you'll be able to move around at the 2 year mark more or less flexibly.

You're right that you'll earn more in the US...but, be prepared for when you ultimately move to Europe and get that pay cut!

If you're risk averse and worried about not making it to Europe in the future, then apply directly to the Madrid/Milan offices.

You also have another option...apply to all 3! BCG should allow for 3 office selections. Perhaps fate will decide for you :)

Hi Ian! Thank you so much. In 2 years I would ideally like to be in Souther Europe, my though is if the firm doesn't want to transfer me I can seek another position, because I hear transfers are extremely difficult to get. Do you recommend trying to focus on specific industries during my firsts years in the US to make me more eligible for a transfer? — Anonymous A on Jan 26, 2021

Book a coaching with Clara

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Hello!

I was in Madrid, PM me for more info if you wish.

Cheers,

Clara

Hello!

I was in Madrid, PM me for more info if you wish.

Cheers,

Clara

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Hi there,

First of all, congrats on your offer! Great job securing a position right after university.

Regarding your questions: you probably have better exit options if you start in US, and yes - transfering might be hard - but not impossible!

As to the industries Milan focuses on, I remember a similar question asked just recently here on Preplounge:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/mbb-focus-industries-projects-location-8927

Hope it helps!

In case you are looking for a coach/transition expert to be your guide, friend, sounding board, best practice advisor, feel free to get in touch with me. I have been a coach during the 'First 100 days in consulting role' for several candidates from PrepLounge who have made it to MBB. Happy to support you as well.

Cheers,

GB

Hi there,

First of all, congrats on your offer! Great job securing a position right after university.

Regarding your questions: you probably have better exit options if you start in US, and yes - transfering might be hard - but not impossible!

As to the industries Milan focuses on, I remember a similar question asked just recently here on Preplounge:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/mbb-focus-industries-projects-location-8927

Hope it helps!

In case you are looking for a coach/transition expert to be your guide, friend, sounding board, best practice advisor, feel free to get in touch with me. I have been a coach during the 'First 100 days in consulting role' for several candidates from PrepLounge who have made it to MBB. Happy to support you as well.

Cheers,

GB

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