Work/life balance across regions

dubai London MBB tier2
New answer on Apr 30, 2022
7 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Apr 23, 2022

Hi everyone. I'm currently contemplating two consulting offers - tier-2 tech consulting in tier2 London, and MBB in Dubai. I graduated from a European school and have previous experience in valuation & financial services. I am not exactly hung up on the roles themselves, but rather I'm more focused on exit opportunities and work/life balance. Currently I have no clue what differences different regions bring. Would appreciate it if anyone familiar would chime in and give their perspective on whether work life balance is different in this case, and what I should expect. Thank you.

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Francesco
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replied on Apr 24, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Congratulations on the offers! In terms of exits, they are related to the projects/geographies where you will work. Therefore likely exits will be:

  • Tier-2 tech London ⮕ Tech in EU
  • MBB in Dubai ⮕ Big companies in the ME - could be a variety of sectors from O&G to Hospitality according to the industries where you will work (I have a few friends in MBB there and they regularly receive offers from big state-owned companies)

You can double-check the exits for your specific companies as follows:

  1. Look for alumni of the Tier 2 and your MBB on LinkedIn
  2. Check how many moved to your preferred exits in a region
  3. Normalize for the size of the Tier 2 and your MBB in the region

I would not bet on work-life balance in consulting regardless of the company and geography, so personally I would not focus much on it. Instead, I would consider the following:

  • Where do you want to be in 5-10 years? Look at the company that can help you to achieve that goal faster. As mentioned, you can check LinkedIn for that. If you don’t have specific preferences, the MBB brand is stronger.
  • If you consider the average consultant/partner you talked to in each company, which one would you rather be? Quoting Jim Rohn, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You will spend a lot of time with your colleagues in the next years - be sure you choose a company where the people are close to the person you want to become.
  • What is your gut feeling telling you? Our gut feeling is able to catch elements we cannot initially rationalize. You may “feel” a company is better, but don’t know exactly why. Try to find out why you feel that way, do some research on that and try to understand if that point is valid.

If you want to do extra due diligence and possibly learn more about work-life balance, you can contact Alumni of your university (not current consultants) that worked in that office (bonus if they worked for both companies). You will learn more in a 30min call with them than with any online research you may do.

Personally, assuming that (i) the MBB option aligns with your exits, (ii) you had a good impression from the team and (iii) you are fine with the region, I would go for MBB in Dubai (the international experience + brand + zero tax is a nice combo!), but you have to consider your own priorities. If you want to work in tech, see exits to your desired companies from the Tier 2 and prefer Europe, the Tier 2 could be a good option as well.

Best,

Francesco

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Lucie
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updated an answer on Apr 24, 2022
10+yrs recruiting & top BCG trainer and coach & BCG Project leader & experienced hire & ICF coach

Hi there, 

congrats on your offers!

The decision is ultimately yours but I just wanted to summarize few points from my experience:

1. Exit opportunities, MBB is likely the winner because

  • MBB is a diamond name on your CV
  • Steep learning curve (problem solving, dealing with C levels, commercial excellence etc.)
  • Amazing networking access including becoming alumni with its advantages
  • MBB can actually secure you a job

but if you want to specialize in Tech (and the MBB job offer is not in the area), I wouldnt go for MBB

2. work life balance

I don't know how small consulting companies work, but I can confirm that MBB work-life balance is not the best, 14 hours a day is a norm.

Good luck!

Lucie

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(edited)

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Adi
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replied on Apr 25, 2022
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

If you are purely looking at the exit opportunity lens, then MBB is a better choice.

Work life balance is bad across the board. Dont let that be you main deciding factor. Please have a look at these threads for more discussion on this topic:

For more guidance on how to choose between offers have a look at this article-https://www.preplounge.com/en/articles/how-do-i-know-which-career-is-right-for-me

All the best.

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Andi
CoachingPlus Expert
replied on Apr 30, 2022
BCG interviewer (>175 candidates) |96% coaching success rate, if 3+ sessions | Coached 50+ candidates to MBB offers

Hi there,

suggest you think about how you would prioritize these criteria. Here some food for thought..

  • Exit opportunities: generally speaking, wherever you want to go after, MBB will likely give you an edge, unless it's a very specific niche / industry that the tier 2 firms are known to be better. Geography becomes a bit secondary here 
  • Work/life balance: will usually be better in the UK, at times significantly better (I experienced in both geographies, so this view is based on first-hand experience)

Hope this helps - feel free to reach out via PM to learn more. Happy to discuss further.

Regards, Andi

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Udayan
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updated an answer on Apr 27, 2022
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

To add to the answers

There is no doubt that MBB Dubai will give you the most exit opportunities of either of those options. However, the London firms are likely to give you more access to opportunities in London/Europe as you will build a network there and work with clients based out of there. If being in London in the long run is important to you it is worthwhile doing your due diligence on where alumni of these firms have ended up in the past.

As for work-life balance. In any field where you have clients (consulting, banking, law etc.) the work-life balance is rarely good. Clients tend to pay a lot of money for these services and hence are very demanding of what they expect in return. As a rule of thumb, the more prestigious the firm the worse the work-life balance is going to be. I would expect MBB dubai to have poor work-life balance and the IT consulting firm the best out of the 3 options.

 

At the end of the day, you are at an enviable position and have some really solid options to choose from.

Best,

Udayan

(edited)

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Ken
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 25, 2022
Ex-McKinsey London final round interviewer

Exit opportunities:  MBB - even if you want to move back to Europe, the MBB brand will give you plenty of opportunities

Work-life-balance:  UK Tier2 tech consulting - one obvious difference will be the travel where working in MBB Dubai will mean you will travel every single week which comes at a cost of lifestyle.  It's extremely unlikely that you will travel as much for a local UK tech consulting role and generally speaking, tech consulting is more predictable and resourced than MBB consulting

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Ian
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replied on Apr 24, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

The exit opportunites are going to be completely different!

Tier 2 Tech is going to give you Tech exits and primarily in the UK + Europe.

MBB in Dubai is going to give you strategy consulting + internal strategy exits in the Middle East.

It's not really rocket science here! Of course, the MBB brand is immense (especially if it's McKinsey or BCG), so consider this factor in your choice (a lot more doors open with MBB, but not necessarily in the tech world).

Good luck!

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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