Cookie and Privacy Settings

This website uses cookies to enable essential functions like the user login and sessions. We also use cookies and third-party tools to improve your surfing experience on preplounge.com. You can choose to activate only essential cookies or all cookies. You can always change your preference in the cookie and privacy settings. This link can also be found in the footer of the site. If you need more information, please visit our privacy policy.

Data processing in the USA: By clicking on "I accept", you also consent, in accordance with article 49 paragraph 1 sentence 1 lit. GDPR, to your data being processed in the USA (by Google LLC, Facebook Inc., LinkedIn Inc., Stripe, Paypal).

Manage settings individually I accept
7

What are the weaknesses of a candidate with a PhD instead of an MBA?

What are the specific weaknesses that you would expect in a candidate with a science PhD when compared to a candidate with an MBA? In other words, what are the skills that I should make sure to emphasise on my resumé in order to stand out as a well rounded candidate if I come into consultancy from a PhD?

What are the specific weaknesses that you would expect in a candidate with a science PhD when compared to a candidate with an MBA? In other words, what are the skills that I should make sure to emphasise on my resumé in order to stand out as a well rounded candidate if I come into consultancy from a PhD?

7 answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best Answer

I think Guennael covered everything well, so won't repeat the various differences in expectation.

However, as an important side note: generally PhDs Don't enter at the same level as MBAs - PhDs will usually join as a "Junior Associate" (Mck) / "Junior Consultant" (BCG), and at Bain may even enter as a normal Associate Consultant but with opportunity for fast track promotion.

I just say this to stress the fact that expectations are invariably different, as you will be entering at a different level in the firm.

I think Guennael covered everything well, so won't repeat the various differences in expectation.

However, as an important side note: generally PhDs Don't enter at the same level as MBAs - PhDs will usually join as a "Junior Associate" (Mck) / "Junior Consultant" (BCG), and at Bain may even enter as a normal Associate Consultant but with opportunity for fast track promotion.

I just say this to stress the fact that expectations are invariably different, as you will be entering at a different level in the firm.

Dear Paul,

It all depends on the market. For instance, PHD candidate are higher valued in Germany and Central Europe than the MBA candidates, therefore it depends a lot on location and particular office policy. In general, I would say that MBA have a way more practical business experience than PHD and therefore it is easier for them, coming from business school environment to land an offer in top firm.

Nevertheless, you can also train skills either on your own, with peers or with coach.

If you need any help, reach out.
Good luck,
André

Dear Paul,

It all depends on the market. For instance, PHD candidate are higher valued in Germany and Central Europe than the MBA candidates, therefore it depends a lot on location and particular office policy. In general, I would say that MBA have a way more practical business experience than PHD and therefore it is easier for them, coming from business school environment to land an offer in top firm.

Nevertheless, you can also train skills either on your own, with peers or with coach.

If you need any help, reach out.
Good luck,
André

Book a coaching with Guennael

99% Recommendation Rate

284 Meetings

1,396 Q&A Upvotes

USD 319 / Coaching

I actually view PhD/JD/MD candidates as the perfect applicants: You are smart, driven, typically highly quantitative, yet do not take the case for granted and are ready to learn.

I have both a Masters in Management and an MBA but wasn't better prepared to MBB than any one of you. Yes I thought I could prepare alone, and crashed on 3 separate occasions before finally hiring help my last (and ultimately successful) application.

To answer your question more specifically, I expect you to:

1. perhaps suffer a little more through some of the business concepts. You can get around this easily by reading the economist or WSJ for a few weeks and looking up foreign concepts

2. be better in math / statistics

3. above all, know how to develop a hypothesis and actually know how to prove/disprove it.

4. related to (3), know the difference between a hypothesis and its proof.

(3) and (4) should put you in the top quartile of the interviewees, right off the bat. You got this! good luck...

I actually view PhD/JD/MD candidates as the perfect applicants: You are smart, driven, typically highly quantitative, yet do not take the case for granted and are ready to learn.

I have both a Masters in Management and an MBA but wasn't better prepared to MBB than any one of you. Yes I thought I could prepare alone, and crashed on 3 separate occasions before finally hiring help my last (and ultimately successful) application.

To answer your question more specifically, I expect you to:

1. perhaps suffer a little more through some of the business concepts. You can get around this easily by reading the economist or WSJ for a few weeks and looking up foreign concepts

2. be better in math / statistics

3. above all, know how to develop a hypothesis and actually know how to prove/disprove it.

4. related to (3), know the difference between a hypothesis and its proof.

(3) and (4) should put you in the top quartile of the interviewees, right off the bat. You got this! good luck...

Book a coaching with Vlad

97% Recommendation Rate

409 Meetings

11,433 Q&A Upvotes

USD 239 / Coaching

Hi,

There are certain things you can emphasize:

  • The relevance of your PHD topic to consulting
  • Your work with some real companies to verify your research
  • Awards, publications, etc
  • Startups / any commercialization of your research

Best

Hi,

There are certain things you can emphasize:

  • The relevance of your PHD topic to consulting
  • Your work with some real companies to verify your research
  • Awards, publications, etc
  • Startups / any commercialization of your research

Best

Hi Paul,

I would obviously expect less "business school mumbo-jumbo" from a science PhD. Whether that is a weakness, I leave for you to judge ;-)

So if you want to present yourself as a well-rounded candidate you probably want to emphasize that you didn't spend the last years completely locked away in an Ivory Tower but have a solid grasp of reality and maybe can connect the scientific world with the business world (may be hard to do if your PhD is in particle physics...). And then you just need to show that your analytics chops beat any business school graduate out of the water ;-)

Hope this helps

Elias

Hi Paul,

I would obviously expect less "business school mumbo-jumbo" from a science PhD. Whether that is a weakness, I leave for you to judge ;-)

So if you want to present yourself as a well-rounded candidate you probably want to emphasize that you didn't spend the last years completely locked away in an Ivory Tower but have a solid grasp of reality and maybe can connect the scientific world with the business world (may be hard to do if your PhD is in particle physics...). And then you just need to show that your analytics chops beat any business school graduate out of the water ;-)

Hope this helps

Elias

(edited)

Book a coaching with Clara

100% Recommendation Rate

57 Meetings

15,616 Q&A Upvotes

USD 229 / Coaching

Hello!

Weaknesses is no the right word here. Both are indeed valued, but MBAs have been traditionally a great FIT in MBBs due to their backgrounds, but it does not mean PhDs could not be an equally good pitch.

Cheers,

Clara

Hello!

Weaknesses is no the right word here. Both are indeed valued, but MBAs have been traditionally a great FIT in MBBs due to their backgrounds, but it does not mean PhDs could not be an equally good pitch.

Cheers,

Clara

Oh, and it's always cool if you can say (as one of my ex-colleagues liked to do): "So, I'm a rocket scientist. Like... literally."

Oh, and it's always cool if you can say (as one of my ex-colleagues liked to do): "So, I'm a rocket scientist. Like... literally."

(edited)

Related case(s)

MBB Final Round Case - Smart Education

Solved 17.5k times
MBB Final Round Case - Smart Education Our client is SmartBridge, a nonprofit educational institution offering face-to-face tutoring services. The client operates in the US. The mission of SmartBridge is to help as many students as possible to complete studies and prevent that they drop from the school system, in particular in disadvantaged areas. The client is considering starting operations for its services in the Chicago area. They hired us to understand if that makes sense. Due to the nonprofit regulation, SmartBridge should operate on its own in the market, without any partnership. How would you help our client?
4.6 5 622
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

Our client is SmartBridge, a nonprofit educational institution offering face-to-face tutoring services. The client operates in the US. The mission of SmartBridge is to help as many students as possible to complete studies and prevent that they drop from the school system, in particular in disadvant ... Open whole case

Bain 1st Round Case – BlissOttica

Solved 2.0k times
Bain 1st Round Case – BlissOttica Our client is a BlissOttica, an Eyewear Manufacturer that is looking to reach a 10% increase in profits. How would you help our client?
4.2 5 101
| Rating: (4.2 / 5.0)

Our client is a BlissOttica, an Eyewear Manufacturer that is looking to reach a 10% increase in profits. How would you help our client? Open whole case