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Working in MBB - Intellectually difficult or just demanding?

Anonymous A asked on May 04, 2018 - 4 answers

Is working in MBB actually difficult once you are inside? Are the problems tough to crack - do they require a high IQ and excellent quant ability...OR is the major factor that you are somewhat smart and good with people, but more so your ability to work extremely hard to complete tasks under pressure tough time constraints?


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updated his answer on May 04, 2018
McKinsey Engagement Manager & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 100+ candidates secure MBB offers
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Hi Anonymous,

your certainly need to meet a certain threshold regarding cognitive smartness ("IQ"). However, you do not need to be Albert Einstein for sure! If you meet that required IQ floor level, it is much more important that you

  • are able to navigate social/political client settings,
  • build trust quickly,
  • have the work ethic to put in the hours, which can be brutal at times.

This is why you need a well-rounded profile as a consultant - if it was only about cognitive smartness, the firms could just go and offer huge salary packages to the best graduates from the most difficult programmes at universities around the globe.

Cheers, Sidi


replied on May 04, 2018
Former BCG decision round interviewer with 300+ real interviews in 8 years
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Depends on the industry/practice and types of projects you'd like to pursue. As a generalization, is not the most intellectually difficult job, but definitely can provide an healthy intellectual challenge. That challenge becomes quite significant due to time pressure.


replied on May 04, 2018
Current partner @ Andreessen Horowitz (VC firm). Ex-Mckinsey, ex- strategy guy at Google.
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Nothing requires even a fraction of intellectual horsepower as does pure sciences, arts, or to a degree, engineering. MBBs are to be seen as training grounds: stress management, networking, branding, going broad vs deep, dealing with ambiguity x-functionally, etc.

An (Jack)
replied on May 13, 2018
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Yes - some intellectual horsepower is required - driven by short timelines and need to get up to speed on new subjects very quickly and find the right answer. Also equal parts emotional intelligence though - it is a client facing role dealing in management decisions, understand people, motivations / biases, building trust are critical skills.

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