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What's the difference between MBB and other top tier consulting firms?

consulting firms difference MBB Middle East Resume tier1 Top tier
New answer on Oct 12, 2023
21 Answers
18.1 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Mar 09, 2017

Just focusing on the quality of work (type of projects etc.), is there a difference between MBB and other top tier consulting firms? If yes, what is it?

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Originally answered question:

Interviewed by Tier 1 dinged by Tier 2

Robert
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 15, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

While the overall search criteria are basically the same, details vary by company. Also consider that recruiting and screening is not only an exact science, but also some kind of art - it's not always black or white.

But that's only one part of the question. Also consulting firms are profit-oriented companies and need to balance HR demand (projects) with HR supply (recruiting). Low level of project and order intake = less recruiting.

Getting dinged could relate to your profile - but could be also solely relating to the HR demand of the firm!

Hope that helps - if so, please be so kind to give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

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Originally answered question:

Which consulting firms are within my range?

Emily
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Aug 25, 2022
Ex McKinsey EM & interviewer (5 yrs) USA & UK| Coached / interviewed 300 +|Free 15 min intro| Stanford MBA|Non-trad

Hi there! 

Well, with a summa cum laude I'd expect that you can apply to any firm that takes your fancy! I'm happy to take a look at your resume if you'd like to send it over. 

Emily

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Originally answered question:

Interviewed by Tier 1 dinged by Tier 2

Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 15, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

No difference in approach!

For all of them you need to network beforehand, have a strong resume/cover letter, and apply on time!

There's a lot of luck/chance to this and you could absolutely be asked to interview by all of MBB and no tier 2s.

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Vlad
Expert
updated an answer on Mar 31, 2017
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

I have experience in working in both 2nd and 1st tier consultancies. According to my experience:

  1. Quality is much Higher at MBB. To give you a sence, what you are doing as an analyst at big4, at mck will be done by research department or even outsorced students. Though it's worth to say that if your director at big4 will be ex MBB, quality will be much higher
  2. Knowledge base - McK knowledge base is extremely deep and helpfull. You have tons of materials on various topics
  3. Support - at MBB you will have lots of people taking care of extra staff - doing research, visual design of slides, sophisticated models, oursourcing for making surveys in the field. At big4 you'll do that staff yourself
  4. Costs - you will have better hotels, better dinners, better airline tickets, etc. This is important if you spend 90% of your life out of home
  5. Exposurte to senior management may be higher, though it depends on the country. Since the projects are more expensive at MBB, you may have more senior people involved
  6. Relocation to different countries - options highly depend on the org structure of MBB/Big 4 companiy. I've seen good and bad example in both. But since you have higher salaries and per diem, at MBB you'll definitely have a better lifestyle at MBB if you do relocation

(edited)

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Originally answered question:

Which consulting firms are within my range?

Lucie
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Aug 26, 2022
10+yrs recruiting & BCG Project leader

HI there, 

i think most people can give you quick feedback on your CV, but I would not “outsource” which firm to apply, rather be more proactive here. I think this is good thing to do on your own, as only you know what drives you and what environment will make your strive. I would recommend to spend time investigating what firm could be the best fit. 

Lucie

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Originally answered question:

Which consulting firms are within my range?

Sophia
Expert
replied on Aug 25, 2022
Top-Ranked Coach on PrepLounge for 3 years| 6+ years of coaching

Hello,

PBK + summa are great signs that you should be able to apply wherever you like! I would be happy to take a look at your resume if you want to send it over.

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Originally answered question:

Interviewed by Tier 1 dinged by Tier 2

Anonymous replied on Oct 15, 2020

Conrats for the invite! These decisions are made using a myriad of parameters, as well as demand, desired profiles of the company. And lastly the CV screening is not perfect so every once in a while a great candidates slips through the raster....

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Benjamin
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replied on Oct 12, 2023
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer & top performer

Hi,

Sharing my perspective having starting at a T2 before moving to MBB.

  • Types of projects: in today's world, there is greater overlap than ever before. But i will say that MBB still gets a higher share of the most ‘prestigious’ or ‘sexy’ projects versus T2
  • Types of clients: there are some clients that will typically only hire MBB, though this is getting rarer. It is not uncommon for larger clients to hire multiple firms, or change it up once in a while
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Originally answered question:

Which consulting firms are within my range?

Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Aug 31, 2022
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi there, 

Based on this high-level description you would be a target candidate for most firms. I think you should first reflect on what your target firms are and then what are the requirements in terms of the application process. i.e., don't think where you can get in, think about where you want to get in.

Best,

Cristian

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Originally answered question:

Which consulting firms are within my range?

Nauman
Expert
replied on Aug 25, 2022
Experienced BCG (UK) alum with several years of consulting experience pivoting to Big Tech BizOps & Strategy

Hi there,

As others have said, you have great credentials. The pivot to MBB/Tier 1 companies should not be a huge lift but would still require a solid resume and some networking. 

I'd also recommend developing your story as to why you want to go from a healthcare focused firm to a more generalist/strategy consulting organization. 

Happy to take a look at your resume and provide feedback on your resume but also help you craft your story for when you do reach out to Tier 1 organizations.

Best of luck! 
Nauman

 

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Francesco
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replied on Mar 15, 2017
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

Vlad and Hemant have provided some very good points, I would just add a couple of elements below. Notice that the answer would also depend on what you consider as other top tier consulting firm. I would personally not consider big 4 as 2nd tier, while Vlad did. In the comparison I would consider as other top consulting firm A.T. Kearney, Oliver Wyman, Roland Berger in Europe and this may change the answer provided. Also, as your question was specific on quality of work, I just focused on that.

  • Previous experience in similar industry. MBB have more offices than other top strategy consulting firms, thus it would be easier to get access to previous material on a particular project done in a different location; you would not need to reinvent the wheel most of the time thanks to that.
  • As for travel expenses, relocation, exposure and salaries (before partner level), in my experience (Italian market) there are no big differences between top consulting firms; I actually got a higher offer from a non-MBB firm when I started my career. That may be true just in certain countries, but I guess that happens as MBB also weight the brand name in the proposal, as they know this allows better exit opportunities compared to other companies.

Francesco

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Originally answered question:

Which consulting firms are within my range?

Pedro
Expert
replied on Aug 30, 2022
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

With that academic record, I should be able to target any company.

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Anonymous replied on Mar 12, 2017

1. Scope: work at MBB has a wider scope since they have the most number of consultants (~9000 for McKinsey) and have global reach, so you can switch around on different project types or sectors more (reality is slightly different -- typically you'd eventually want to focus on one sector)

2. Reach into C-level: most MBBs focus on "strategy consulting" vs "operations" and by nature of that work, it's for C-level audiences.

3. Exit Opportunities: MBB offers better and wider exits mostly as a direct result of #1 and #2 above.

4. Better networked: MBBs tend to "stick together" far more after their stints and hire each other to key roles typically. Not directly related to your Q, but it does impact the quality of work you do later in life.

Hemant

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2
Originally answered question:

Tier 1 and 2 Middle East and differences

Anonymous E updated the answer on Aug 18, 2020

Here is how MBB and T2 compare in the Middle East based on recent trends and news:

1. BCG, the hand of the king. They are simply dominating the market righ now thanks to the record-breaking win of 2017 with the biggest consulting project in the history: KSA Vision 2030 Strategy and Planning. They are the ones that are basically distributing projects for the entire consulting industry right now. No need to comment on their prestige and the quality of the work they deliver.

2. McKinsey & Co, because they are simply McKinsey. The brightest and biggest consulting firm in the world bringing the wolrd best experts to the table at each project. Again, no need to comment their prestige and the exceptional quality of work they deliver.

3. Kearney, underdog no more! They have been growing like crazy in the region for the 3rd consecutive year (+30% per yr) and are literraly smashing the market right now. They have some wonderful and bright people from around the globe and deliver reamarkable quality of work. They are currently heavily understaffed and could surely go for more.

4. Strategy&, formely Booz & Co, the Historical titans. With a bright historical presence in the region, the brand has been badly affected from the PwC acquisition as it lost many homegrown leaders to competitors. However, they finally managed to turn this deal to their advantage exploiting PwC wide range of services in many of their projects to beat competion. They are currently doing pretty fine rebranching to their prestigeous roots and are the biggest player in the region in size.

5. Oliver Wyman = Bain, Quality over Quantity. Both firms are still very small in the region but deliver exceptional work to their reduced selection of clients. They are pretty diversified in their portfolio and don't only depend on KSA, they are very present in Qatar and Abu Dhabi. Even though they are the smallest in size, they do manage to cover a lot of ground from various clients, including PEs (pretty uncommon in the region). OW has been very focused lately on upskilling their workforce to the latest technology skills. The culture in both firms is great as you can truly feel a lot of maneuvering in the different career pathes both firms offer.

6. Roland Berger, a great European firm! The company has also been growing very fast in the region and is slowely installing itself as a reference for innnovation and insutrial projects. The exclusive European workforce and the entrepreneurship spirit make the environement really unique.

You can also mention Booz Allen Hamilton and Monitor Deloitte that somehow compete with the rest on certain projects providing good career alternatives to anyone interested in their core competencies (Defense, Cybersecurity, AI etc..). Please note that all of these players do provide MBA sponsorship to all their top performers as well as competitive remuneration, in this everlasting and arduous battle for talents.

(edited)

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Anonymous H on Aug 18, 2020

This is not accurate - lots of mistakes here

Originally answered question:

Which consulting firms are within my range?

Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Aug 28, 2022
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

First of all, you loose nothing by applying, so sky is the limit!

You can post here sanitized and get some feedback from the community also :)

Cheers, 

Clara

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Originally answered question:

Which consulting firms are within my range?

Antonello
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Aug 26, 2022
McKinsey | NASA | top 10 FT MBA professor for consulting interviews | 6+ years of coaching

Hi, I think the profile is potentially interesting for strategy consulting. In addition to CV/CL prep, II would work to get referrals from consultants inside the firms

Best,
Antonello

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Originally answered question:

Interviewed by Tier 1 dinged by Tier 2

Anonymous F replied on Oct 20, 2020

Dinged by Strategy&, LEK without an interview and got interviews at all MBBs. Context: MBA candidate from M7. My friend (AP at McK) says probably because I am a target school for MBB but not for Strat& and LEK. Yes, my school's brand might be "higher" but I don't look like the candidates they typically hire is what he said

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0
Originally answered question:

Interviewed by Tier 1 dinged by Tier 2

Gaurav
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 20, 2020
#1 MBB Coach(Placed 750+ in MBBs & 1250+ in Tier2)| The Only 360 coach(Ex-McKinsey + Certified Coach + Active recruiter)

Hi A,

In fact, there is no difference if your targeted firm is top or tier 2 because the approach for the application process remains the same. You still need a polished CV and a strong cover letter as well as a referral to secure the interview invites.

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GB

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Robert gave the best answer

Robert

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