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What should I do? Reserach vs. Consulting

Anonymous A asked on May 18, 2019

Hi all

I'm currently working at a big4 advisory division. Been thinking about pursuing consulting (specifically MBB and AT Kearney). A few days ago, a McKinsey HR happen to reached out to me on Linkedin offering the opportunity to be a junior research analyst (financial institution). Generally I am more interested in the consulting track due to 2 reasons: (i) client facing (ii) being a generalist. But, a part of me feel like this is opportunity presenting itself and currently am considering research for a few reasons: (i) high pay still, prolly less hours? (ii) its Mckinsey, so the brand name (iii) possibly can move to consulting track? (iv) great opportunity for insights generation.

Anways, the HR mentioned that they're hoping to close applications in 10 days, so interviews will be fast paced. So I'm quite concerned for underperforming since I havent done any prep for case interviews.

Please help answering these questions:

- What should I do?

- If you think I should pursue research, what do I do with the fast paced interview timeline?

- If you think I should pursue consulting track, what do I say to the HR? should I turn the research opportunity down? is it possible to ask them about business analyst role instead?

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Ian
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replied on May 19, 2019
BCG Consultant | MBA Stern | 100% interview success rate (8/8 incl BCG, A.T. Kearney, Strategy&) |Personalized interview prep
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Hi,

I think if you're on the fence, it's always important to keep doors open until you've made up your mind (while respecting other's time of course).

I don't think we should advise you on which path to take, but we can certainly let you know about the pros/cons, working environment, and career journey of consulting. There's a lot of content out there already on this as well.

One thing I can say, is, ask for more time to prepare for the interview! 10 days isn't enough and you get one shot at this!

Alberto
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replied on May 18, 2019
McKinsey Associate | Coached 80+ MBB candidates | INSEAD MBA & CDI MBA
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Hi,

congratulation for being approached by McKinsey, first of all!
Personally, I think that it really depends on your aspirations. It seems pretty clear to me that you want to be a generalist, so I definitely discourage you to pursue the research path, if possible.

I worked for more than 3 years for McKinsey, and I can tell you that:

  • if you are a performing researcher, you would definitely have the option to transition to the generalist (aka integrative) path;
  • ‚Äčfrom research analyst to business analyst, the recruiting process won't change much: the business case is still the main part of it.

However, 10 days are not enough to get prepared, if you have not done any preparation yet. You definitely need to run multiple expert sessions, but this would not make it 100% sure to nail the interviews.

My suggestion is the following:

  1. Try to understand with the HR if they may be interested in your profile as a generalist consultant (worst case you go on with the researcher path and then you transition later);
  2. Communicate to the HR that due to personal problems you won't be able to interview earlier than 1 month (at least);
  3. Reach out to an expert (as I am) to work out the best preparation scheduling, according to your current level.

Best of luck!