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UK MBA: Transitioning from Growth/product role at a startup into consulting

consulting MBA transition UK
New answer on Apr 14, 2024
4 Answers
143 Views
Anonymous A asked on Apr 12, 2024

A little bit about me:

  • UK resident/national
  • Undergraduate degree from a top 10 UK university 
  • Approx 700 GMAT score  
  • 4.5 years experience at a UK fintech startup/scaleup in growth and product roles (inc managing teams)
  • Pretty much the first hire at the company and the company has grown to 100+ people and a 9-digit valuation

I'm keen to transition out of startup life into consulting but wondering what my options are to do this.

I have been considering doing an MBA at one of the top UK schools (Ox, Cam, LBS, Imp etc…) but it is a pretty big cost to pay from my savings.

Is this the best route? Is it a bad route i.e., I wouldn't stand a chance at getting into consulting?

Additionally, I am not the MBB or die type, I would be just as interested in going into Tier 2 firms.

Any advice is much appreciated.

Thanks!

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Best answer
Udayan
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 12, 2024
Top rated Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /12 years recruiting experience

You have a great profile from a work experience perspective! 

  • In terms of MBA - I would not look outside Top 7-8 schools in the US, LBS and INSEAD. You will be severely limiting your chances to get into a top consulting program outside of these schools
  • Outside an MBA - you have a solid chance to get into a good consulting firm with two things to bear in mind
    • Networking - you have to reach out to and build relationships with senior people in the firms you are interested in and leverage these for an interview
    • Overall market for consulting - no matter how strong one's profile, in a down market (which it sadly is right now) people just aren't hiring much which makes timing of when to switch important

In general you will have the best chances with firms that want to leverage your experience to sell to their clients (so your expertise, the vertical your company was in, and any specialized skills and knowledge you bring)

All the best,

Udayan

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Liam on Apr 15, 2024

Hi Udayan, Thanks so much for your input. LBS would be ideal, but I just don't think I will have the capital to fund this myself. I was looking mainly at Oxford/Cambridge/Imperial as I should be able to self-fund an MBA here. I appreciate MBB may be challenging from one of these universities, but what about other firms post MBA e.g., Accenture, Kearney, Strategy & + others? Would an MBA from there help with that or would it be a waste? Many thanks. Liam

Udayan on Apr 15, 2024

In my opinion an MBA is less valuable if not from a top school as one of its top selling points is brand recognition and network. Said, Judge etc just do not have that. Yes you can still leverage it for a job in consulting but it will be much harder to do. It is better to take a loan for a top MBA program vs self fund a cheaper alternative.

Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 13, 2024
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Q: Is this the best route? Is it a bad route i.e., I wouldn't stand a chance at getting into consulting?

Your profile looks solid. Before enrolling in an MBA, though, I would apply directly. If you are rejected, you can then apply again after the MBA. I would also not limit the MBA to be in the UK, unless you have personal restrictions to be there.

Overall I would recommend to:

  1. Apply now for a consulting position without an MBA. If possible, try to find a referral. You can find more on that here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/articles/networking-as-part-of-the-management-consulting-preparation-process
  2. If that doesn’t work and you believe an MBA could help your career in any case, complete a top MBA and apply again afterward.

Best,

Francesco

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Liam on Apr 15, 2024

Hi Francesco, Thanks so much for your feedback. The reason I was considering Oxford/Cambridge/Imperial is that I should be able to cover all costs through my savings, whereas LBS is considerably more expensive (although I suppose I could take a loan out to fund this element). Would Oxford/Cambridge/Imperial impede me from a role at a second-tier consultancy e.g., Accenture, Kearney, Strategy &, etc....? I appreciate that MBB would be very hard if not from LBS but what about other consulting firms, would they still be attainable? Thank you!

Francesco on Apr 15, 2024

Hi Liam, I would check on LinkedIn where candidates from those schools ended up and adjust for the cohort size, this should give you a data-driven answer to your question and allow you to compare the schools with other options. Good luck!

Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 12, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

You don't need an MBA. 

You have a cool enough background and skills that are already 2x better than those of most starting consultants. 

You need a good strategy for the application process and a smart way of getting referrals. These materials should help to begin with:

The MBA would help, of course, but don't see it as a pre-requisite. 

I also wrote a piece on this with a decision framework to figure out if you actually need the MBA or not:

Best,
Cristian

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Pedro
Expert
replied on Apr 14, 2024
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

Here's what I suggest.

1. First, apply directly to your desired target firms. Why go for the MBA route if you don't need that to apply? Just apply.

2. Second, if you don't get a chance to interview, then the MBA route is a good one. It usually pays off, even if you are paying from your pocket. But… it has to be a Top MBA. Not a Top5 in the UK, but rather a “Top 5 in Europe”. Lower ranked MBAs actually have lower payoffs (your real cost is the tuition + the salary you don't get while doing the MBA… and the the return is what you get during your whole career). I know, if I state like “Top 5” in Europe it may sound as too difficult, but the point is… get in the best one you can, and it has to be a top MBA school.

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Liam on Apr 15, 2024

Hi Pedro, Thanks so much for your feedback. The reason I was considering Oxford/Cambridge/Imperial is that I should be able to cover all costs through my savings, whereas LBS is considerably more expensive (although I suppose I could take a loan out to fund this element). Would Oxford/Cambridge/Imperial impede me from a role at a second-tier consultancy e.g., Accenture, Kearney, Strategy &, etc....? I appreciate that MBB would be very hard if not from LBS but what about other consulting firms, would they still be attainable? Thank you!

Pedro on Apr 15, 2024

They are still attainable... but less likely. I don't think the return on investment is the same vs. LBS.

Udayan gave the best answer

Udayan

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