Switching from Tier-2 to MBB?

career progression
New answer on Mar 14, 2021
10 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Mar 02, 2021

Hi,

Following a 12 year progressive career in industry and an Executive MBA (target school) I made a switch to strategy consulting joining a Tier-2 company as Manager one year ago. The ambition however has always been to switch to MBB. I now have an offer to join an MBB but as a consultant (C1). Overall compensation is 15% less compared to what I am currently making.

Compensation is not my main concern - I should be able to make up the difference quickly as salaries are generally higher at MBB. However, I do feel that I might be "discounting" my experience too much considering my experience prior to consulting (GM and Regional Manager seniority) and the 1 year experience as Manager in a Tier-2 company.

I realize that this might not be the typical question for this forum but your feedback and input will be high appreciated.

Thank you.

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Ian
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replied on Mar 02, 2021
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

This is a great question for the forum! This is exactly why we're here - to help with hard questions like this.

I would personally say this is quite a hard downgrade to swallow. You're a manager at a tier 2 with 12 years industry experience...I'm surprised they're low-balling you with a consultant offer. Are you coming in as a general or specialist?

All this said, think about your priorities - are you looking to reach Partner ASAP (i.e. stay in the tier 2)? Do you want to get the "holy" grail of consulting (MBB) with the cost of a slower rise?

It's hard for us to answer for you, but this is a downgrade with future upside.

That said, I do recommend one thing: Talk to HR and ask if you can come in as a C2. As in, be a consultant for 1 year before project lead/engagement manager promotion.

^If they agree to this, it's a fair offer (and, in fact, somewhat preferred...starting as a project lead is HARD).

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Torben
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replied on Mar 02, 2021
Volkswagen Consulting| Your Automotive and Mobility Expert | Inhouse Consulting | China

Hi there,

I must say I probably disagree with what has been posted prior.

Please consider thoroughly if MBB is really the life dream you have been working for (in that case, ok, go for it).

In all other cases: Joining as a consultant (e.g. BCG) will put you on the same level as someone straight from Uni with 2-3 years of experience at BCG. I understand BCG's reasoning behind it: They want to make sure you're possessing all relevant capabilities before putting you in charge of a team, but considering your 12 years of experience + the MBA, you're most likely selling yourself short here. No doubt you will probably excel rapidly at the consultant position and get to move forward (maybe faster than others), but still..

Advice: Depending on the industry you're working in, maybe check in-house consulting opportunities instead. I feel like you'd get a much better return on the value you're bringing to the table.

Let me know if you need any help or advice on that.

Best, Torben

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Anonymous A on Mar 02, 2021

Hi Torben. Thanks a lot for the good advice. Just to clarify - I would be joining as Consultant which in the company would be same level as candidates with full time MBA.

Denis
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replied on Mar 02, 2021
Ex-Bain 5 yrs | Goldman Sachs Investment Banker NYC | MBA Chicago Booth | Passed > 13 MBB > 20 IB interviews

Hi A,

if possible please provide some more info on what your rank in your current tier-2 is (e.g. x years post MBA) vs. what MBB is offering. If you "lose" 1-2 years but get to work in MBB, I d do it.

Also, I doubt that it should be a problem to go back to a tier-2 if you really want to a couple of years into MBB. I do not see a red flag except maybe you being the oldest C1 on a case (which would not bother me, because you will also most likely be the most mature and bring the most experience and actual street smartness / execution experience that just comes with having more life experience).

In short, I d do MBB because of limited / no downsides, however more infos would be beneficial.

Best,
Denis

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Ken
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updated an answer on Mar 02, 2021
Ex-McKinsey London final round interviewer

To be honest, I feel like you may already have "discounted" your experience choosing a Tier-2 Manager role after 12 years in industry, although this is largely dependent on the specific role and company. Recruiters and company's have a tendency to focus on your most immediate role as opposed to your prior experiences.

I feel it really comes down to what you are looking for in the longer-term, especially post-consulting. If you are focused on becoming a consulting partner than the move feels like a no-brainer as progression (you should find yourself in a manager role after 1.5-2 years) and the broader proposition will be worthwhile. If you are intending to go into industry, it's worth exploring whether the switch has any incremental value especially in context of your industry experience. For many, especially early in their careers, it has a big difference in terms of exit options but if you have extensive experience in a specific area which is where you see your self moving to, then the additional consulting and MBB experience will not help you other than your personal satisfaction, which arguably is also an important consideration.

Good luck!

(edited)

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Antonello
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replied on Mar 02, 2021
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi,

first of all congrats on the offer!

I can confirm it's classical to have 1-2 steps down in terms of role switching to MBB, but the growth will be quicker than standard colleagues since you already worked as a consultant

Best

Antonello

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Adi
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replied on Mar 02, 2021
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Hey, my first reaction is that this move to MBB sounds like a downgrade for you given all that experience, MBA etc. But then again, need more details on your background, type of work, achievements etc to guage correctly.

Make sure the moves you make are part of a story you can tell externally & to future recruiters. If this move is about taking a risk, then that okay. But dont make moves out of frustration, desperation as course correction become a bit harder later on.

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Florian
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replied on Mar 03, 2021
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

This is common practice. For instance, if you join McKinsey from a Tier 2/3, your starting position will be one level lower than your previous role. There is a reason for that...

Your personal answer depends on your time frame. If you are long-term oriented, you should go for the MBB, since it was your ambition all along. You will:

  • catch up with the salary quickly and have much higher lifetime earnings
  • move up the ranks quicker based on your experience (starting at a lower level does not mean you will have the same trajectory; if you prove yourself, your promotion will come early). This is common in other industries as well btw.
  • after 1-2 years benefit from the MBB experience and prestige and have access to much better exit opportunities

All the best with your decision.

Cheers,

Florian

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Raj
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replied on Mar 14, 2021
Strategy&| ex-interviewer | 170+ coached over career |95% success @ MBB, S&, RB, LEK, OW, Big4 [SUCCESS STORIES BELOW]

I would argue you are severely discounting your experience. I understand why the firm is pushing for this given in their eyes putting you straight in as a Project Lead untested would be a stretch. However, it is not as though you are an untested quantity given your extensive experience and MBA.

Almost certainly, with that experience you are equipped with the toolkit to perform at Project Lead level.

My suggestion would be push for C2/3 with an accelerated promotion timeline to Project Lead.

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Gaurav
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replied on Mar 05, 2021
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi there,

Congratulations on the offer!

What about your question, this isn't a common practice. Since you are already worked as a consultant, the growth will be faster. If it’s your dream, put all the efforts needed to achieve it. But make sure you are making right decision personally for you.

Hope it was helpful,
GB

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Clara
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replied on Mar 03, 2021
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

This is a great question, since many people have posted something similar in the past.

My personal opinion would be to go for it, since in the long term you will make up for those loses -of "tenure" and money"

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Ian gave the best answer

Ian

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