Stay on as Associate or pursue an MBA - McKinsey

MBA McKinsey
New answer on Aug 07, 2022
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jul 31, 2022

Hi guys,

 

Should I go for an MBA (sponsored) or stay and probably climb up to to EM during the same timeframe? 

 

What would be the deciding factors in your experience?

 

Additional info: I’m 29, promoted to Associate in a few months hopefully, planning on staying in consulting for a couple of years still.

 

Also I have heard of firms who offer to hire you away when you come back from MBA and pay McKinsey what you owed them for tuition. How often does that happen in your experience?

 

Thanks for your help guys!

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Rami
Expert
replied on Jul 31, 2022
Ex-BCG | 100+ coachings & interviews @ BCG | I will teach you the core skills needed to ace your fit & case interviews

Hi there,

Great question - my partner experienced a similar situation recently. The key question here is: what is your priority at this stage of your life? More specifically:

  • Are you looking to stay in consulting?
  • How important is the pace of career progression / promotion for you?
  • How much do you need a break from consulting right now?
  • Are you looking to pivot externally?
  • Do you know what you're looking for or do you need time to explore?
  • Can you get the opportunities you want directly post-consulting without an MBA?
  • Do you need new skills / certifications to legitimize your move?

I would first reflect on the above to have more clarity before making a formal decision on the MBA. Bear in mind that consulting typically offers quicker career progression than industry, so a few more years in consulting can help you land a more senior role elsewhere. Others also argue that the more senior you get in consulting, the more difficult it is to pivot elsewhere given you always work in an “advisor” capacity rather than a “decision-maker” capacity, with limited implementation-related experience needed by industry.

Many industry firms (especially tech) indeed offer attractive post-MBA sign-on bonus / packages that pay a big chunk of your tuition. It's a good factor to keep in mind if you consider taking the sponsorship from your firm at the start, and then paying it back afterward if you decide to pivot during / after your MBA.

Hope this helps!

Rami

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Sofia
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replied on Aug 01, 2022
McKinsey San Francisco | Harvard graduate | 5+ years of coaching | DISCOUNTED SESSIONS Sep 2022 | Free 15 min intro call

Hello,

I also agree with Christian that an MBA is most useful in order to get promoted to Associate, if your goal is to stay in consulting for a while.

However, ultimately, this is a very personal decision. What are your goals and priorities? Are you looking to stay at your current firm for a while, or change firms/industries at some point?

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Cristian
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Content Creator
replied on Jul 31, 2022
#1 rated and most recommended McKinsey Coach | 97% success rate (tracked) | Honest feedback: no sugar-coating

Hi there, 

Interesting situation. Honestly, my take on this is that it's only worth doing an MBA to get fast-tracked to Associate, not once you're an Associate already. 

If you're planning on leaving consulting at some point, firms are likely to pay a lot more for your EM skills rather than the skills you gained during your MBA. 

Best,

Cristian

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Ashwin
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Content Creator
replied on Aug 07, 2022
Ex Manager Bain and company | INSEAD

Hey there , 

This would be a very personal decision  but I would recommend you evaluate MBA as a long term investment which opens up career opportunities in other industries. 

Thanks 

Ashwin 

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Ian
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replied on Aug 01, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

I agree with Christian that it's more worth it before you're an Associate.

That said, there are benefits in that it's fully paid for. The MBA can add credentials to you, serve as a nice break from consulting, and build out your network. Just remember that you're locked in to work with them for multiple years after, and it will have actually set back your career progression (within McKinsey)!

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jul 31, 2022
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

I did an MBA after McKinsey in MIT Sloan, non-sponsored, that is a 3rd way to the problem you are proposing (so you don´t owe anything and aren´t obliged to come back). 

PM if you want to chat about it!

Hope it helps!

Cheers, 

Clara

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Rami gave the best answer

Rami

Ex-BCG | 100+ coachings & interviews @ BCG | I will teach you the core skills needed to ace your fit & case interviews
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