Tier1 vs Tier2

Bain BCG Mck strategy& tier1
New answer on Dec 07, 2019
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Dec 04, 2019

Hey,

I just finished my interview rounds and have different offers from Tier1& Tier2.

My current thoughts:

Reputation/Prestige Tier1 vs. Lower Working Hours & Higher Salary Tier2

How much of a difference does working in Tier1 or Tier2 make (in terms of work itself, exit options)?

Curious about your thoughts on this topic and what factors you would take into account when making a decision.

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Antonello
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updated an answer on Dec 04, 2019
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi,
first of all big congrats!

In most countries working hours are comparable, e.g. in Italy, there is no much difference between tier1 and tier2 in terms of that. Instead, for brainstorming I would consider:
- Reputation: brand prestige will be important in your CV for exit options (however consider that most of the times consultants leave the firm for joining a client. Since clients are often the same for the different companies, your opportunities will be similar)
- Industry served: depending on the geography there could be many differences between companies in terms of industry served (banking vs pharma vs retail vs ...). Do you have any preferences?
- Practice expertise: same topic about typical practices of the office (M&A, ops, Strategy, ...)
- International experience: possibility to work for clients abroad?
- Size of the office: a smaller office can be considered a pro in terms of visibility
- MBA sponsorship: do every company you are considering offer it? If yes, any differences on the policy?
- Salary: include also bonuses and upgrades year-over-year (some companies for entry-level roles do not offer upgrades until you reach the next position after 2-3 years)
- Environment: your perception during interview process or experiences of your friends

Hope it helps,
Anto

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Francesco
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replied on Dec 07, 2019
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

congratulations on your offers. Exit opportunities are a lot better for Tier 1. Some companies (eg some PE firms) hire exclusively if you come from MBB for example.

It is unlikely that hours will be particularly different in a Tier 2, even if they say so.

In general terms, there are no real reasons to go for a Tier 2 if you have a Tier 1 offer, unless:

  • You hate the culture of the Tier 1
  • The Tier 2 is considerably stronger in a sector where you are sure you want to focus on
  • Location is different and you have a strong personal plus with the location of the Tier 2

I coached two people who opted to stop the recruiting process for a Tier 1 once they got an offer from a Tier 2 as they were fine with that (I personally recommended against that, but of course it’s a personal choice). In both cases, they reapplied and got into MBB after few years, as they found this could open a lot more doors and opportunities.

Unless you fall in any of the reasons above, I would strongly recommend a Tier 1 over a Tier 2 – it is going to have a lifetime impact on your career.

Best,

Francesco

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Clara
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replied on Dec 05, 2019
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello and congrats!

Don´t be mistaken, working hours don´t not be necesarily better in tier 2. However, for sure salary and exit options are worse.

For me it´s a no brainer!!

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Udayan
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updated an answer on Dec 04, 2019
Top rated MBB coach with many offers /Ex McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience/Real cases

Congratulations! That is an envible position to be in

In my mind the Tier 1 firm in general makes for the better option for the following reasons

1. Branding and Prestige - which is a big part of why a lot of people look to consulting

2. Exit opportunities - much greater choice of opportunities post T1 exit vs T2 exit. This is because proportionately, a lot of T1 alumni are in top roles across all industries. They often help others from MBB to also get into these companies and are excellent at responding to requests for help etc.

3. Pay - yes it may appear like the T2 is paying more to start off with, but pay progression in T1 is usually much quicker and greater than T2

When to consider T2

1. Lifestyle - Definitely more emphasis on a better lifestyle than T1

2. Industry or function expertize - some firms are excellent in doing particular types of work and are well known for it (e.g., ZS associates for mapping pharma sale rep territories). If that work interests you more than general consulting then it is a better choice

All the best,

Udayan

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Vlad
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updated an answer on Dec 04, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

Will disagree with some of your statements:

  • Prestige - definitely better in Tier 1
  • Salary - Tier 1 usually have higher salaries. If it is not your particular case - it will be compensated over time by faster career growth. The growth is driven by a clear pipeline of projects / revenue
  • Working hours - will be similar
  • Exit options - In general better for Tier 1. However some Tier 2s provide great industry and subject matter expertise.
  • Culture - depends on the company / office. But in Tier 2 I would expect less pressure and thus better culture
  • Relocation / projects abroad - usually works better in Tier 1 since they can afford related costs

Best

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Deniz
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replied on Dec 06, 2019
BCG | A.T. Kearney | University of Cambridge | 350+ coachees | 5+ years of consulting experience in London, Dubai and Istanbul

Hi,

There is almost no difference between Tier 1 and Tier 2 when it comes to the working hours (I have worked at ATK and BCG).

The real difference comes from the type of projects, the profile of clients, network and exit opportunities.

Best,

Deniz

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Antonello gave the best answer

Antonello

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