Which one will lead to better future, Generalist or Digital Consultant?

career progression Digital exit opportunities Future generalist prospect
New answer on Oct 23, 2020
7 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Oct 22, 2020

Hello,

I'm currently weighing up between generalist role or digital role in MBB ('Digital consultant', not data scientist role in McK Analytics or BCG Gamma). Which one would give better career future in your view? I understand that it could depend on many factors, but given everything is equal and comparable within the same firm (e.g. McK vs McK Digital or BCG vs BCG Digital), what would be the differences in:

1. The total compensation during and post-consulting.

2. Speed of career progression should I remain in consulting.

3. Exit opportunities should I decide to leave consulting after 2-3 years.

Thanks!

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Pascal
Expert
replied on Oct 22, 2020
Ex-Bain Manager | 10 yrs MBB experience | 250+ people interviewed | Written case expert | Open to give limited discounts

Hi Anonymous,

Don't think about what will give you a better future, think about what you are most passionate about.

Consulting is a marathon, not a sprint. And in order to stay in consulting for the long run (>3 years), you'll need to be motivated. Think about this: if you have more passion for your job, you will stay motivated, work harder, perform better, learn more, and become a more accomplished (digital) consultant.

Cheers,

Pascal

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Robert
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replied on Oct 22, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

Essentially it's a bet less on the jobs themselves, but more about the general economic development drivers over the next decades. What has been made clear for many companies during pandemic situation is that they are far from being ready for a digital age - and looking at stock exchange, digital/tech companies increased massively while many sectors lost ground massively. Even though I see still demand for generalist consulting for many reasons, I strongly believe that the future will be much more digitalized than today.

Furthermore, it's also about your career plans afterwards. If you want a boring classical management role in a big enterprise, generalist consultant is the better choice. If you want to do some more exciting stuff and are also inclined to start your own business digital skills will be an enormous asset.

Hope this helps - if so, please give it a thumbs-up with the upvote button below!

Robert

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Adi
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replied on Oct 22, 2020
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Hey there,

The question is not about which track offers you a better future but which track you want to pursue that will make you joyful. Success will come automatically if you do the right things in line with your interests and talent.

Just pause for a moment to reflect on what COVID-19 has done. Companies with broad sector diversity have seen seen small revenue uplift or have flat-lined. The unlucky ones are those who have developed niche business models within hospitality, events, travel, high-street retail.

But, pharmaceuticals/life sciences/online retail have seen exceptional growth. Plus government backed industries including central & local government, healthcare and utilities have fared well.

Digital transformation agenda has accelerated exponentially. There will be more and more offering in cloud services, architecture and transformation leading the way in consulting offerings.

Good luck!

Adi

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Ian
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updated an answer on Oct 23, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Here are my answers:

  1. The same
  2. The same
  3. The same

I think you get my point :)

You can't measure this decision on these numbers/rates but rather where you see yourself in 5-10 years! You need to consider what type of work you like to do better, and where you will most likely thrive.

By the way, I have a bonus answer for you if you're trully undecided...

It is generally much easier and more common to go FROM generalist INTO specialist

(edited)

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Ken
Expert
replied on Oct 22, 2020
Ex-McKinsey final round interviewer | Executive Coach

I don't think there's much of a difference during and post-consulting as you have enough flexiblity with both. It is slightly office dependent but many digital consultants work as generalists while generalists have access to digital client work too. As a result, you could be a generalist with extensive digital experience and may choose to puruse a related exit opportunity as well. Ultimately it comes down to whether you want to become a Partner focused on Digital or not.

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Henning
Expert
replied on Oct 22, 2020
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate

I would not expect this to make a massive difference in the career progression within the firms and the quality of the exit opportunities proabably depends on what you're asking for.

I don't think anyone can make a judgement on what leads to higher compensation in the long run - if that is what you're aiming for. A digital track would certainly position you more towards digital or technology roles vs strategy roles (think CDO vs CEO). If that is what you're aspiring to do, go for it.

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Francesco
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replied on Oct 22, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

There is no overall “best career” per se. It really depends on your goals.

If you are interested in digital trends and are considering an exit in the digital space, I would suggest to go for the digital division. If you are still unsure of what to do or are not interested in digital, your best bet is the generalist pattern.

In terms of the differences between the two career paths, the main is that you exit opportunities will be related to the projects you will do, thus digital in case you opt for that path.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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Pascal gave the best answer

Pascal

Ex-Bain Manager | 10 yrs MBB experience | 250+ people interviewed | Written case expert | Open to give limited discounts
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