Switching from Big4 consulting to MBB

Riccardo asked on Jun 26, 2019 - 4 answers

Dear all,

Does anyone know how hard it is to switch from a big4 consulting firm to MBB? Or has anyone in the community had a similar experience in his/her career?

My background: graduated in dec 2017, I am an associate consultant in a Big4 consulting firm with 1 year of experience. My team is classified under the management consulting line of business of the firm and we are mainly focused on operations, specially finance, logistics, hr, and back office processes with clients in various areas, mainly consumer goods, industrial, and banking.

Thank you for your responses!

4 answers

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Anonymous updated his answer on Jun 26, 2019

Hi Riccardo,

It's always hard to get into MBB. However, previous consulting experience helps and people do come in from the Big4 (albeit it with much more experience).

That being said, 1 year as an associate isn't nearly enough time. I recommend you 1) Continue to build up your work experience 2) Consider an MBA to jumpstart this process and/or 3) Network like hell to see if you can impress someone.


Thanks Ian. Yes I know, and I'm thinking about staying at least 2 more years and then consider an MBA. Networking also is a great way to impress someone within this firms. I will definitely follow your advices. — Riccardo on Jun 26, 2019

replied on Jun 26, 2019
McKinsey Engagement Manager & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 100+ candidates secure MBB offers
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Hi Riccardo,

direct switches from Big4 to MBB are rather rare, and if so, on more senior levels. The indirect way, however, is quite common: Big4 --> MBA at top school --> MBB.

Cheers, Sidi

Thank you for your answer Sidi. I am definitely taking into consideration an MBA in the next years. — Riccardo on Jun 26, 2019

Anonymous A updated her answer on Jun 29, 2019

I actually come from a big4 background, moving to McKinsey soon. I had 1 year experience as well at a big4 doing M&A (similar to investment banking day to day job with deal focused work).

Jumping to MBB is definitely difficult, passing resume screening is the most challenging part I think. It'll help if you (i) come from a target school background (ii) have someone refer you.

Generally I've known people in my firm who pursue MBB and failed. Personally don't know anybody who moves to MBB directly from my company, but since I'm able to do it I would say its not impossible. The only downfall I find is that you'll start from the bottom again at MBB almost like your big4 experience doesnt count.

I'd say focus first on networking and getting shortlisted, then focus on preparing for cases and interviews. If it doesnt work, just like most people suggested, ideally you can jump by doing an MBA.



replied on Jun 27, 2019
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With 1 year of experience, you can apply now for a starting position. The chances depend on the country and the particular office. I would do the following:

  • Try now (ideally via recommendation)
  • Do MBA and apply after that
  • Alternatively build unique expertise relevant for MBB (Ops, Digital Etc) and apply with more experience in 3-4 years.