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What are the advantage of working in consulting vs working at big companies (e.g FAANG, or consumer giants)

Corporate MBB tech
New answer on Dec 30, 2023
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Dec 20, 2023

Hello,

I am having interviews soon with two MBB in Italy and I already have one offer from Google and one from P&G. 
I am curious to know which would be the advantages of a career in consulting vs. a corporate one and vice versa. 
 

Thanks 

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Francesco
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replied on Dec 20, 2023
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Q: I am curious to know which would be the advantages of a career in consulting vs. a corporate one and vice versa.

The main advantage I personally see in consulting is the broader exit opportunities. Most people don’t know what exactly they want to focus on after graduation and prefer to keep options open. After an experience in a top consulting company, you can basically still do whatever you want. That’s not necessarily true for corporate jobs. So if you are still not sure where you want to specialize, consulting provides an advantage in terms of that.

A second advantage is that it might help to join a corporate company at a higher level after a few years. This doesn’t always happen though.

Additional advantages include:

  • Possibility to cover more industries
  • Strong learning curve
  • Strong network via alumni of that firm, in particular for MBB

Having said that, if you are sure you want to focus on a career at Google or P&G, it could make sense to join there from the start.

If you get all the offers and are not sure which to accept, I would recommend the following:

  1. Define what is important for you in terms of a career. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years? What would you enjoy most? Try to eliminate the "noise" of what people think/expect you should do (a great book on that is The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch).
  2. Check which career path could lead you more easily there. Check the alumni of the different companies and see which are more present in the field you want to go to. 
  3. Talk with alumni of the two companies (ideally alumni of your school) who have already entered that field. Try to understand if you would like to follow their path and collect your opinion on the best option.

Good luck!

Francesco

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Ian
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updated an answer on Dec 20, 2023
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

Ok, this is certainly a big question! Know that even all the answers here won't quite do it justice - make sure to speak with people that are actually working at these firms….phone calls and in person chats are the BEST way to get a deeper understanding of these sorts of things.

All 3 of these (FAANG, Big Brand, MBB) are going to advance your career.

The thing is, they will advance your career in different ways.

Your Tech journey begins with FAANG. Your consulting journey begins with MBB. Your Internal Strategy/Consumer Goods journey beings with P&G.

It's like asking “What's the advantage of playing Football for a Big Ten school versus playing Basketball for the Big 12”

You're talking about 2 different sports here bud.

Make sense?

Pick your career, then pick the firm accordingly. If you're short and stout, and hate running probably don't play basketball. 

Do what you love/enjoy. Pick Google if you want a Tech career, MBB if you want a consulting career, and P&G if you like that industry/type of work. It's that simple…

(edited)

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Lorenzo
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replied on Dec 20, 2023
University of St.Gallen graduate | Learn to think like a Consultant | Personalized prep | CV review

Congratulations on receiving job offers from Google and P&G, and best of luck with your upcoming interviews with the MBB (McKinsey, BCG, Bain) firms in Italy. The decision between a career in consulting and a corporate role depends on various factors, and each path offers distinct advantages. Here are some considerations for both consulting and corporate careers:

Advantages of a Career in Consulting:

Diverse Exposure:

  • Consulting provides exposure to a wide range of industries, business challenges, and clients. This diversity can accelerate your learning and broaden your skill set.

Problem-Solving Skills:

  • Consultants are often hired to solve complex problems. Working in consulting hones your analytical and problem-solving skills, making you adept at addressing diverse challenges.

Networking Opportunities:

  • Consulting firms offer extensive networking opportunities with high-profile clients and industry leaders. Building a strong professional network can be advantageous for future career opportunities.

Fast-Paced Environment:

  • Consulting is known for its fast-paced and dynamic environment. This can be appealing if you thrive on challenges, adaptability, and a variety of projects.

Leadership Development:

  • Consulting roles often involve leadership responsibilities early in your career. You may lead project teams and interact with senior executives, contributing to your leadership development.

Advantages of a Corporate Career:

Industry Expertise:

  • Working for a specific company allows you to gain in-depth industry knowledge. Over time, you can become an expert in your field, which can be valuable for career progression.

Stability and Predictability:

  • Corporate roles often offer more stability compared to consulting. If you prefer a structured and predictable work environment, a corporate career may be a better fit.

Long-Term Impact:

  • In a corporate setting, you have the opportunity to contribute to long-term projects and witness the impact of your work on the company's success. This can be personally rewarding.

Work-Life Balance:

  • Corporate roles may offer a more predictable work schedule and better work-life balance compared to the demanding nature of consulting.

Specialization:

  • Corporate roles allow you to specialize in a specific function or area within the company. This specialization can lead to becoming a subject matter expert in your field.

Considerations for Decision-Making:

Career Goals:

  • Consider your long-term career goals. Consulting may be a better fit if you aspire to work on diverse projects and industries, while a corporate role may align with a specific industry or company.

Work Preferences:

  • Assess your preferred work environment. Consulting involves frequent travel, client interactions, and project-based work, whereas a corporate role may offer a more stable and office-centric environment.

Learning Style:

  • Reflect on your learning style. If you enjoy rapid learning, exposure to new challenges, and solving complex problems, consulting may be a better match. If you prefer a more gradual, in-depth approach to learning, a corporate role may be preferable.

Company Culture:

  • Consider the culture of the companies you are considering. Evaluate factors such as work culture, values, and employee satisfaction to ensure alignment with your preferences.

Ultimately, the decision between consulting and a corporate career depends on your personal and professional preferences. Both paths offer unique opportunities for growth and development. Take the time to evaluate what aligns best with your goals and values, and consider the specific roles and cultures of the companies you are considering.

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Benjamin
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replied on Dec 30, 2023
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer & top performer

Hi,

This is a really broad question. 

Fundamentally, you are comparing life in an advisory role, versus life in a corporate (I'm gonna assume its -not- a support role e.g. Strat). 

Some broad generalizations:

Consulting 

  • Pros
    • Diversity of exposure (variety of projects) and growth
    • Fast and structured career trajectory
    • Travel 
    • Working in an intense environment with high bars of standard
    • Build skills which are useful for various exit paths
  • Cons
    • Long working hours
    • Stressful - given the bars for standard is high
    • WLB is difficult
    • You are only doing advisory work - this is a con for some people

Big corporate

  • Pros
    • (Depending on role) work in an actual business (not advisory) role that has executive decisions over impact/value
    • Build up expertise in a specific / particular field
    • Potentially work on really interesting/impactful stuff as well
    • Generally better WLB and more ‘forgiving’ corporate culture
  • Cons
    • Often structured progression but less fast given its not an up or out culture
    • If you are stuck with a bad boss you are stuck with that bad boss for a long time potentially
    • Pace may not be as quick depending on your role

Fundamentally they are 2 different paths - and in many ways the pros and cons will also differ based on your personal goals/aspirations as well. So it's really hard to give a strong POV without understanding your situation better. 

Happy to have a quick chat if helpful, just drop me a dm!

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Alberto
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updated an answer on Dec 20, 2023
Ex-McKinsey Associate Partner | +15 years in consulting | +200 McKinsey 1st & 2nd round interviews

Hi there,

I will give you my personal and general view (take into account that this might be different comparing different companies, geographies, positions, etc.). In general, consulting would be better in this areas:

  • Higher salaries for same tenure and high salary increases
  • Quicker learning curve as you work in short projects in different topics and industries
  • Broader exit opportunities (if you don't specialize in any industry)

Best,

Alberto

Check out my latest case based on a real MBB interview: Sierra Springs

(edited)

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Cristian
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Content Creator
replied on Dec 20, 2023
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Wow, that's a big question that this Q&A is unlikely to settle. 

Honestly, you'd be able to form an opinion if you have several discussions with people from each field. You need to understand what their day-to-day looks like, what are the things they value in their work, what they wish were different and so on. 

High-level consulting is seen as a field of accelerated growth and opportunity, but it's also a bit like sitting too close to the sun - stay exposed for too long, and you might get burned out. This is why many people transition into big companies where the pace is more predictable, if not slower. 

Sharing with you a guide on what the consultant life looks like, but as I mentioned, I encourage you to network and hear it from the people themselves:


Best of luck!
Cristian

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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