Why do most consultants at MBB leave after about 2 - 3 years?

attrition rate Change Job consulting exit
New answer on Aug 03, 2019
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Anonymous A asked on Aug 02, 2019


Given that the majority of people want to work with MBB, why is the attrition rate among MBB seemingly high? I said seemingly because I don't have hard data, just based on ex-MBBs that I know. Most people leave after 2 - 3 years. And is it also true that some MBB counsel some of their consultants out before they are able to make partner?

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updated an answer on Aug 03, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


The average lifetime as a consultant is 2.5 years. Thre are multiple reasons:

  • Up or out policy - you have to leave if the performance is below expectations
  • Leaving for MBA and not coming back
  • Hard lifestyle - not that many people can work 16 hours a day or travel 3 times a week. Partner life is not a dream one as well - depending on the region you'll have to travel almost every day doing mainly sales
  • Better job alternatives coming earlier. There are more jobs for narrow specialists (e.g. product managers) than for generalist consultants who haven't seen the real problems
  • Other industries (e.g. tech) paying comparable salaries with much better lifestyle
  • In consulting you can't really grow as a leader. Your teams are motivated by high salaries and up or out policy. Many people are looking for "real-life challenges" and personal growth



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replied on Aug 03, 2019
BCG | Kearney | 350+ trainees | 5+ years of experience in London, Dubai and Istanbul


As Vlad said, it's usually because two main reasons. First is the involuntary leave due to up or out policy. MBBs are quite strict with this and would transition consultants who do not get promoted. Second, due to highly demanding working hours, consultants leave to other sectors.



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Vlad gave the best answer


McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School
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