What are the main things that differentiate SBA from BA? What should I showcase to enter the firm as a SBA?

business analyst McKinsey
Recent activity on Aug 28, 2018
3 Answers
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Vasiliy asked on Aug 28, 2018
Preparing for BCG in a couple of weeks

This might be more relevant to Russia & CIS

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replied on Aug 28, 2018
Collected McKinsey & BCG offers/ Ex-McKinsey consultant/Harvard/WBS/MSU

Hi Vasily,

This is an interesting question for all applicants. To be honest there are no differences in the role of BA and SBA in terms of your daily responsibilities.

For SBA you should have 2 years of experience in other field. Master degree is not essential as long as you have the experience.

I recommend entering the firm as SBA, as you will move faster in the career ladder. Besides, interviewing process and selection criterias are the same. As for the other arguments

  1. Up or out policy is strict, thus if you do not perform no matter of BA or SBA, you will be out.
  2. If you want to get MBA and go to BIG3 to get it, I am 100% sure you will make it in 2 years.
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replied on Aug 28, 2018
ex-Manager - Natural and challenging teacher - Taylor case solving, no framework

Hi Vasily,
Depending on the firm the recruitment policy on the entry level may vary.
Basically if you just graduated you'll be hired as a BA. If your have a 1-2 years of exp. you could apply for SBA position.

The differences in the job : very similar tasks, but more autonomy required on SBA role. Meaning that you can structure an analysis on your own, including the calculation cross check
. As SBA, you have more opportunity to get exposure to the next grade, with potential management of trainee (depending on the scope of the mission), but also more pressure

My recommandation would be to follow the naturel grade the firm is offering. Consultants firms are very rewarding if you perform well, and you can expect being fast tracked if you were hired too low compared to your actual performance. On the other hand if you are hired a bit to you high you may have to face some more pressure on your performance.

Hope this helps



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updated an answer on Aug 28, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


It depends on the economic cycle. 5 years ago you could get SBA just for having a master degree. Currently, you need to demonstrate a couple years of experience / be the top performer during the internship.

I personally recommend entering as a BA:

  • You'll have more time to make mistakes and improve them
  • You'll have an extra time for MBA prep if you decide to get one
  • You'll have more time / opportunities to get on international projects and potentially relocate (it becomes harder on Asc level since you become more expensive)

Feel free to reach me with any questions.



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Egor gave the best answer


Collected McKinsey & BCG offers/ Ex-McKinsey consultant/Harvard/WBS/MSU
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