Work life balance in Asian MBB firms

New answer on Dec 08, 2020
8 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Nov 10, 2020

Hi All,

Curious to know from the experienced bunch. What is the actual work life balance across MBB firms in South East Asia specifically.

At every firm, they claim to have their weekends to themselves and not work nights etc to new candidates incoming. Could someone please share a more realisitic expectation?

Thank you

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Anonymous replied on Nov 10, 2020


Consulting lifestyle doesnt give you work life balance, if thats what you are looking for then you shouldnt get into consulting. Lot of consulting firms are trying to sell that we have made blah blah changes to our policies so our employees have the right work life balance, but I wont take it af face value. Bottom line is be prepared for long hours during weekdays and also some work on weekends if you want a career in consulting.


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Content Creator
replied on Nov 10, 2020
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

The realistic answer is that when you are staffed on a project you will be working hard. It's usually 9 am to 11pm on most days. You will also get most weekends off but as you progress it's expected that you will spend a couple of hours on the weekend to prepare for the week ahead.

In between projects you can take time off and recover. If lifestyle is important to you do not join MBB. It's not lifestyle friendly.

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replied on Nov 10, 2020
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate

I agree with the others on the general points on work in large consulting firms. To also give the perspective of WLB in SEA vs other offices: The overall reputation of SEA offices is somewhere in the middle of the pack between comparably sustainable offices (Australia, US, some European offices) and more demanding environments like east Asia, MEA and a few others).

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updated an answer on Nov 10, 2020
Ex-McKinsey final round interviewer | Executive Coach

One of the unique lifestyle challenges with MBB SEA is/was travel (i.e., being away from home) which will likely presist once COVID-19 has subsided where it is more of a regional office. Having worked across SEA/Asia as well as Europe/US, there is a broad cultural difference where I personally found less people, particularly managers and partners as well as clients, being concious of improving sustainble lifestyle driven by a slightly more hierarchical and work ethic driven bias.

Not working weekend is expected but when you are on a client project, working until 10pm-midnight is typical (except Friday's) and not much different to other regions. What you shoud expect is flexibility around when and where you work after your team has "checked out" for the day.


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Content Creator
replied on Dec 08, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hello there!

I would also suggest you looking for the information on Glassdoor, there are plenty of reviews from current and former employees.



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Content Creator
replied on Nov 12, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


Totally depends on firm and office.


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Content Creator
replied on Nov 10, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Unfortunately, the reputation that Asia has for workng hard does indeed transcend into MBB. I would put Germany as the most feared from a worklife balance perspective. Asia and the ME come in as a close second (in particular, Singapore, S Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China).

You should basically have 0 expectations...would just lead to disappointment.

On a more positive note: Take a look across the Q&As! There are many ways to create a better work-life balance for yourself and to prepare yourself for what's coming!

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Content Creator
replied on Nov 10, 2020
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Hey, I lived in Singapore for 8 years and through friends who worked in MBB, I know that work-life balance is a dreaded thing in that office and generally across the bigger offices in SEA. This is true of any sought after office around the world. But this subject has been much talked about over the years and sadly companies are using this as a marketing gimmick.

Based on my personal experience and everything I have seen in consulting, work-life balance is something you take control of and use the people/process/tools around you to make it happen. Its in human nature to go one up against the person next to you and this is rampant in consulting- so they slog or at least pretend to slog. Check out this thread for more insights on work-life balance:

You dont get into consuting to be loved but to acelerate your career, learn a lot and perhaps move out in a few years. Its like using the escalator vs taking the stairs.

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