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Strategy Departement of Top Tier Bank vs MBB vs Tier 2 Consulting?

Anonymous A

Hi Guys,

How do you view the opportunity to start your career at the strategy divisions of top tier banks like UBS, Citi, Credit Suisse, Barclays etc.? How would you rate such a position against MBB and/or Tier 2 consulting firms e.g. ACN Strategy, Deloitte Monitor, Simon-Kucher & Partners?

Thank you

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Francesco replied on 04/09/2017
Ex BCG | MBB Specialist | #1 Expert for meetings done (800+) and recommendation rate (100%)

Hi Anonymous,

the job is likely to be pretty different, as you are comparing in-house vs general strategy consulting, and as a consequence also the career progression. As reported in a previous post, the differences between in-house and strategy consulting can be summarized as follow:

  1. Industry/Projects/Client Focus - In in-house consulting you will likely focus on a specific sector and practice – the one of your mother company (in this case – financial services). In strategy consulting you will normally see different industries, projects and clients. If you are already sure about you ideal industry, the first option may be the best alternative. If you are not sure yet about your favourite sector, the second may be better.
  2. Internal career progression – In strategy consulting partners may actually own part of the company; in in-house consulting the senior team may still be represented by employees without the benefit of a partnership.
  3. Exit opportunities – Given the same reputation and size, strategy consulting firms normally offer broader opportunities, as you would see more industries and, in particular, more clients. On the other hand, in-house consultancies may allow a smoother move to other areas inside the company.

You can find the whole article here:


Given that, it is difficult to say which option would be better between in-house in a top bank vs strategy consulting: it would depend on how you preferences on the previous points, and in particular on what you would consider the next steps after such experience.

As for the names you mentioned, the top tier banks recognized worldwide are Goldman Sachs, JPM Morgan and Morgan Stanley (in some regions also Citi and Bank of America); all the others would be considered below that, similarly to MBB vs second tier consulting firm.




Francesco replied on 04/11/2017
Ex BCG | MBB Specialist | #1 Expert for meetings done (800+) and recommendation rate (100%)

Hi Anonymous,

thanks for the clarification; as for the points above, the internal strategy division can be considered equivalent to the in-house consulting (of course, with a very specific focus).

You have not mentioned that explicitly but it sounds that you are considering/have offers for Internal Strategy and a Tier 2/3 consulting company. Unless the Tier 2 is Oliver Wyman or ZS Associates, which have strong positions in Financial Services and Pharma respectively, it sounds Internal Strategy would fit better your goals. After MBB indeed you have mentioned you would like to move to internal strategy division of a bank/pharma company anyway, therefore moving there before sounds a more natural option. Unless you go for OW/ZS, in a Tier 2/3 you may end analysing industries unrelated to Pharma or Financials Service, thus marking your goal more difficult to reach.

Compared to the ideal path of MBB+Internal Strategy, you will likely move a bit slower as for a career path (with MBB before, you could likely skip a couple of years of junior position), but you would also have the advantage of understanding better the environment.

Feel free to let me know in case you would need more information.



Anonymous A replied on 04/09/2017

HI Francesco,

As always, thank you for your great answer.
The position in the bank I am describing is in the strategy/business development division. I did not have inhouse consulting in mind (as this divsion also exists in the bank).
My goal was it to join MBB and then transition to either to the Strategy departement in Pharma or Financial Services. I have no intentions to make partner in consulting (I did 2 consulting internships). For now I have no chances to join MBB. How do you view my particular situation now?
Is it worth it to work the long hours in tier 2/3 consulting compared to joining the strategy departement of bank directly Uni (MSC in Finance)?


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