Startup Employment prior to MBB

Client and MBB Corporate Strategy startup
New answer on Apr 04, 2022
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Apr 02, 2022

Hello Guys,

I currently work in Microsoft as a presales engineer and is looking to divert to strategic consultancy in one of the MBBs. I feel like my work domain is very different (very technical, not customer related) and hence won't get me an interview there.
I recently interviewed for a fintech startup to start working in a business development position. The startup is still not well known but has manage to gather incredible funds in only a year.  I feel like the work I do for it will have a greater impact and make me shine through the thousand of applicants applying to MBB but I'm in doubt. So, could you advice here?

Do you think moving to this fintech startup as a business developer increase my chances at MBB interviews later or will it actually do the opposite as its not well known and would not be significant as opposed to working in Microsoft?

 

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Daniel
Expert
updated an answer on Apr 02, 2022
Experienced Consultant - Startup Exec|Ex-McK EM, Booz & Co. Consultant | INSEAD MBA

As having left MBB to join a Start-Up, with a name-brand like Microsoft under your belt, I would recommend you ask yourself: 

1) Beyond your future (whether it be MBB or not), are you looking for a new way to be challenged in you career? (Honestly, early stage start-ups are not structured and you will have the opportunity to be in a constant flux between strategy and hands-on)

2) Do you genuinely share the vision of the founding team? Working at a start-up can be intense with low pay (as it is all usually equity and the upside you see in it). What will drive you in your day to day will not be a good salary but the opportunity to (a) grow professionally and (b) partake in the future upside of the company. 

Leaving Microsoft to join a start-up will not hurt your chances. You already have a name brand in your CV. If anything, you will come out a more well-rounded professional with great operational experience and with amazing stories you can tell come recruiting season (e.g., how you failed at launching a new product and what you learned from it, how you refined the value proposition to onboard new clients, how you helped scale a product to increase its adoption). 

What is most important in my view are the two questions I outlined. 

Hope this was helpful. 

Daniel. 

(edited)

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Anonymous A on Apr 02, 2022

Thank you Daniel seems like a great way to look at it as well, I will definitely keep those factors in mind and reasses these questions to guide me! :)

Charlotte
Expert
replied on Apr 02, 2022
Empathic coach, former McKinsey Engagement Manager |Secure offers from top consulting firms

Dear candidate,

in my opinion you can make somethign great out of each opportunity, but just judging superficially your Microsoft role will give you a bigger chance of being selected in a standard interview screen than the startup role, given that it doesnt have a brand. So the type of work is not as important. Also business development could also just mean cold calling hundreds of potential customers, then meeting with anyone who accepts and trying to sell to anyone who shows interest. It may sound great, but in a startup may not actually be a strategic role. However maybe you can land a strategy role somewhere or maybe you can just start networking for a consulting role already given that you currently work at a strong brand. Also consider switching within Microsoft to a more managerial role. 

Best regards

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Anonymous A on Apr 02, 2022

Thank you so much for the answer, it would make me reconsider the choice again!

Francesco
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Content Creator
replied on Apr 02, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

It depends on the exact activities you will do in each job

Just from what you mentioned, the startup may offer more opportunities to do strategy-related activities, as the focus of your current job at Microsoft seems very niche. You may also verify that by looking at how many people moved from Microsoft to MBB via LinkedIn from your division in the Middle East.

If you do see evidence that people are moving from Microsoft to MBB, but you like more the new startup job, I guess the best strategy to move to MBB would be to:

  1. Apply now to MBB (this will also validate if your current job is a good fit for a transition)
  2. If you don’t get an offer, move to the startup, apply again in 1-2 years (as mentioned, do your due diligence on what exactly you would do there to verify it is better than your current option)
  3. If you still don’t get in, do a 1-year MBA and apply again

Finally, be sure to choose a job that you like rather than just consider what it could lead to as next steps. Even in case the startup is better in terms of exits, there is no reason to join and work there for a few years if you would not like the job.

If you want to get invitations, it would be useful to land a referral. Plus, it could be good to understand which are the new trends in consulting (useful to understand new skills they may look for). You can find more on that below:

 How to Get an MBB Interview

 11 New Consulting Trends You Must Know 

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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Moritz
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Content Creator
replied on Apr 02, 2022
Unearth your spike & get the offer |ex-McKinsey | 120+ coachings & interviews @ McKinsey | ESADE MBA | Transition Expert

Hi there,

There is no need to overcomplicate things by looking for a solution for a hypothetical scenario i.e. joining said startup because you got rejected at MBB. You haven't even tried yet!

What you should be focusing on is getting the interview at MBB! You would be surprised how many people like yourself work these places, a lot of which never had any customer experience. McKinsey is particularly good for recruiting experienced professionals, often quite specialized.

Myself for example - I used to be a Petroleum Geoscientist and went from that to McKinsey and had a great run with amazing client relationships!

Hence,  if your goal is MBB then get busy working on your CV, find the firms and roles you really like, and start networking to land a referral.

Hope this helps a bit! Happy to help if there's anything you'd like to discuss. Best of luck!

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Ian
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Content Creator
replied on Apr 03, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

I think every coach has given a fantastic answer from a different lens - I urge you to really read/consider all of them!

Now, a few key thoughts:

#1 - I totally agree with Francesco that this is so dependent on the role/responsibilities you have/will have in each firm. You need to think about what you would physically put in your resume as a result of working in these 2 places. The one that has much more consulting-based responsibilities and activities is the one that will help you more

#2 - I also completely agree that if you are only looking to switch to another company because of an ultimate goal of working for MBB, you are likely to be disappointed. This is particularly because this new role isn't even a logical segway into MBB in the first place!

Join this new company because you want to. Because it looks exciting, you like their vision, you want to do the job, and you think you'll be happier than at Microsoft. Do not join just because you hope/wish that maybe one day it might possibly improve your chances to work at MBB (which you might not even enjoy once you're there)…

#3 If you really want MBB, then go there directly! How? First, get more consulting-related experience! Launch initiatives/programs at Microsoft. Participate in pro bono consulting (there are a million sites that offer this). Revamp your resume. Network extensively. Then, when ready, just re-apply directly! 

 

Good luck!

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Angelina
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replied on Apr 04, 2022
Digital Health start-up founder; ex-BCG; SDA Bocconi. Youtube: Angelina's Business World

Hi there, 

I believe that if you are applying to a data analysis position in MBB (such as BCG Platinion or BCG Gamma), you do not need the start-up experience. 

However, if you are going for the traditional consulting role, then yes, you absolutely need it. Unfortunately, I've seen brilliant engineers rejected due to the lack of “business sense”: consultancies do want to see that a candidate has a good grasp on business terms and notions -  either via a business degree or business experience.

Hope this helps.

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Daniel gave the best answer

Daniel

Experienced Consultant - Startup Exec|Ex-McK EM, Booz & Co. Consultant | INSEAD MBA
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