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Moving from Deloitte consulting to MBB or equivalent

 
#1 Moving from Deloitte consulting to MBB or equivalent
18/09/2011 22:13

jimmy_24

I have just started at Deloitte Consulting but ideally I wish to transfer to work at one of the top MC firms. My background is in languages but i did not study at Oxbridge and my brother insists that because of this i do not stand a cat in hell's chance of securing an interview let alone an offer. I had been considering applying this year or next for a graduate role (i know square one but the brand name alone would make it worth it), is this a realistic proposition? I would be grateful for any insight, advice and tips you can throw on this. Thanks.

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#2 RE: Moving from Deloitte consulting to MBB or equivalent
19/09/2011 09:07

Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) to jimmy_24 (#1)

Jimmy - I've written at quite some length in our recently published "Definitive Guide..." on the subject of the credible entry points for joining a consulting firm. The route (and timing) you're proposing I would say isn't one of them. Suggest you read the full piece accessible via:

http://news.top-consultant.com/guide_to_consulting_firms.aspx

In short:

  • Your academics sound like you're going to face at uphill struggle interesting MBB firms at this stage of your career, when they have a plethora of candidates from Oxbridge fighting for places
  • It is not that common for consultancies to take people into their graduate schemes who have already built up professional experience elsewhere, so your more likely entry point is at experienced hire (possible if you get lucky with the sector experience you gain) or at MBA graduation point.
  • The latter - MBA - route is the most credible, for which you'd need to be aiming to secure a place at a top business school (think INSEAD, LBS, Harvard, etc.) and then join MBB upon graduation from there - so likely three or more years from now.

Take a look at the article in the guide and if you've any follow-on questions feel free to post here.

Rgds, Tony Restell

Top-Consultant.com

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#3 RE: Moving from Deloitte consulting to MBB or equivalent
20/09/2011 21:38

jimmy_24 to Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) (#2)

Hi Tony,

Thanks for clarifying the situation and confirming some of what i've heard on the forum grapevine. I've gone through your book-a far more informative book than others in the genre-and looking at the options mentioned and which you listed above, these are my thoughts and i would be grateful for any comments you might be able to offer:

-Experienced Hire

How long would it be wise to wait for till i could start applying to the first and second tier firms?

Also how likely are McKinsey or Monitor etc. to employ someone from Deloitte Consulting?

Following on from that question, you pointed to the importance gaining good sector experience-which sectors would be most desirable for me to work in and in what specific competency (i would expect them to have a, not entirely unjustifiably, snobbish attitude to the sort of strategy work we do-would it therefore be better to do operations or risk etc.?) in order to stand the greatest chance of success?

-MBA

This is a very costly option, and to my mind you're paying well over 100k in fees and lost earnings simply to be able to put a brand name on your CV. I can quite well appreciate it should guarantee interviews at the top firms and I should be able to more than recoup the original investment over the course of my career. Even so it is a very big hit to take at the current point in my life and I do not much fancy the prospect of returning to university only two years after graduating. For these reasons I am very much disinclined to actively considering this option.

-PE/Investment Banking etc.

A friend of my brother's who works for a leading Oil PE firm, much in the news recently, says that consultancy is an excellent career as it opens up the option of careers in Private Equity where the pay is as good as IB. He doesn't know a great deal about Consultancy (his background is M&A) and my understanding, correct me if i'm wrong, is that most of the consultants who transfer into PE worked for 1st or 2nd tier firms, rather than Deloitte or PwC. Also, as with lateral hires, i was wondering how long would be best before trying for such jobs and what sort of experience would be most desirable.

I might also add that but for my lack of an Oxbridge degree, my academic credentials are the equal to and in many cases better than many Oxford and Cambridge students. I have straight A*s at GCSE and 4As at A level as well as a First at University. My worry is that I had to settle for Deloitte as I lacked the Oxbridge/LSE/Imperial brand name to help secure a top consulting firm the first time round and now i will be further burdened by lacking a top MC firm on my CV. My brother advises that the most important thing is to work hard and even more importantly produce good work. I feel though that it is essential that i do not stay longer than 2 or 3 years unless i intend that Deloitte be the pinaccle of my career. What would your general consulting and career advice be?

Jimmy

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#4 RE: Moving from Deloitte consulting to MBB or equivalent
21/09/2011 01:08

ChristopherCrocodile to jimmy_24 (#3)

Have you considered going for a smaller firm - perhaps a well respected niche firm - as a stepping stone?

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#5 RE: Moving from Deloitte consulting to MBB or equivalent
21/09/2011 07:28

Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) to jimmy_24 (#3)

Thanks for the positive feedback regarding the guide Jimmy. Happy to share my thoughts regarding your various questions:

-Experienced Hire

How long would it be wise to wait for till i could start applying to the first and second tier firms?

Also how likely are McKinsey or Monitor etc. to employ someone from Deloitte Consulting?

Following on from that question, you pointed to the importance gaining good sector experience-which sectors would be most desirable for me to work in and in what specific competency (i would expect them to have a, not entirely unjustifiably, snobbish attitude to the sort of strategy work we do-would it therefore be better to do operations or risk etc.?) in order to stand the greatest chance of success?

-> sticking with any job for less than 2 years I would say is regarded with suspicion by recruiters, so I would say you're looking at making a flying start to your career at Deloitte - with top performance grades and career progression on a par with the most fast-track amongst your peer group - before looking to make any move

-> straight from Deloitte without an MBA, almost unheard of to get into MBB. I've just done a LinkedIn search of people currently at McKinsey with Deloitte also in their profiles. I get back 15 matches (worldwide) and if you read through these I get the overwhelming impression that an MBA has been the stepping stone to making the move.

-> experience is a lottery I'm afraid. MBB firms WILL hire outside their usual hiring parameters when there's a real shortage of talent in sectors where they are experiencing unusually high growth. So over the last decades there have been windows of opportunity for people with eg. mobile telecoms, financial services and public sector expertise to secure career moves that a few years either side wouldn't have been possible. But here you're into the realms of trying to guess what will be boom areas for strategy consultancies where they will simultaneously face a challenge to hire experienced staff. Clearly not something you could guess at with any certainty. If I had to take a punt I'd say environmental consulting or focused experience working with Chinese clients would both potentially be in demand in the coming years. But I wouldn't bet the house on it.

-MBA

This is a very costly option, and to my mind you're paying well over 100k in fees and lost earnings simply to be able to put a brand name on your CV. I can quite well appreciate it should guarantee interviews at the top firms and I should be able to more than recoup the original investment over the course of my career. Even so it is a very big hit to take at the current point in my life and I do not much fancy the prospect of returning to university only two years after graduating. For these reasons I am very much disinclined to actively considering this option.

-> I'm not sure the cost will be as great as that if you pursue a 1 year option like INSEAD, particularly once signing on bonuses are factored in. See this thread for detailed data on the financial implications of doing an INSEAD MBA:

http://forum.top-consultant.com/UK/73785/1/The-Value-Of-An-INSEAD-MBA/

-> The cost of doing an MBA is lower the earlier you do it in your career, as the earnings you are foregoing are reduced and the number of years you have at inflated post-MBA salary to recoup the cost are greater.

-> It sounds to me like you don't want to do an MBA and this is tainting your opinion of what is the most promising route for getting you where you want to get to. A word of caution - the only reason I didn't get a First in my degree is because I invested the greatest time in doing the courses that I most enjoyed and correspondingly less time studying for my statistics course which was my weakest area. If I'd done the reverse - and focused on doing what was necessary to get the end-result rather than what I wanted to do at that time - I'd have had a different outcome. I'd caution you not to be similarly blinkered about your career.

-PE/Investment Banking etc.

A friend of my brother's who works for a leading Oil PE firm, much in the news recently, says that consultancy is an excellent career as it opens up the option of careers in Private Equity where the pay is as good as IB. He doesn't know a great deal about Consultancy (his background is M&A) and my understanding, correct me if i'm wrong, is that most of the consultants who transfer into PE worked for 1st or 2nd tier firms, rather than Deloitte or PwC. Also, as with lateral hires, i was wondering how long would be best before trying for such jobs and what sort of experience would be most desirable.

-> Without exception, the interactions I've had with recruitment firms hiring from consulting to move into PE/Investment Banking have all had a top strategy consulting background as a minimum requirement for progressing candidates. I don't have enough exposure to this industry to say categorically you'll not be able to make the move, but I've never had any discussions with recruiters that would lead me to believe this is a career switch you could plan on making with any certainty.

I might also add that but for my lack of an Oxbridge degree, my academic credentials are the equal to and in many cases better than many Oxford and Cambridge students. I have straight A*s at GCSE and 4As at A level as well as a First at University. My worry is that I had to settle for Deloitte as I lacked the Oxbridge/LSE/Imperial brand name to help secure a top consulting firm the first time round and now i will be further burdened by lacking a top MC firm on my CV. My brother advises that the most important thing is to work hard and even more importantly produce good work. I feel though that it is essential that i do not stay longer than 2 or 3 years unless i intend that Deloitte be the pinaccle of my career. What would your general consulting and career advice be?

-> Jimmy, firms' snobbery about academics has very little to do with the capability of the candidate; rather it's a function of what their clients are going to demand from them. Clients paying McKinsey type consulting rates expect to be provided with a team of high-flyers and top academics is often a prerequisite for client acceptance of a consultant onto their project team. Now it's usually your most recent professional experience and academic achievements that carry the most weight - so if you were to get an MBA from a top school then that would overcome any deficiency arising from the university you've attended (you've not stated what this is, understandably as it'd more easily identify you to your colleagues). The network of contacts you bring to the firm (and therefore your future potential to be a business winner for the business) is the other reason firms like hires from an exclusive set of universities and business schools. The two factors combined make it a rare occurence for MBB type firms to diverge from hiring from this limited pool of institutions.

ChristopherCrocodile's comment that you might consider a niche firm as another route is potentially valid - smaller niche firms tend to place more emphasis on the fit of the consultant to their team, with less of a strict adherence to academic "must-haves". So you might get lucky going this route and not have to pursue an MBA, but it's a riskier option.

You asked for my advice and my suggestion would be that you knuckle down and get off to a flying start at Deloitte. Accept that thriving there is going to be essential to your future career direction - and to you general happiness and wellbeing. Just park these thoughts for now and come back to them in 12-18 months' time. All the options that have been proposed to you here will be open to you still then - and the only factor that you can influence which will keep these options open is to maximise how well you do at Deloitte. You may well find you're working on challenging assignments and the £800k per Partner profits at Deloitte don't look like such a bad career option after all!!

Good luck.

Tony Restell

Top-Consultant.com

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#6 RE: Moving from Deloitte consulting to MBB or equivalent
21/09/2011 08:31

Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) to Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) (#5)

NB the salient bit of info being that 69% graduating from INSEAD and going into consulting received a sign-on bonus, averaging €22,700 in the consulting sector.

Tony Restell

Top-Consultant.com

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#7 RE: Moving from Deloitte consulting to MBB or equivalent
21/09/2011 12:02

Geronimo to jimmy_24 (#1)

As you haven't mentioned it in your posts (as far as I can see), you are currently in the Strategy competency at Deloitte? As if not, answers will be somewhat different...

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#8 RE: Moving from Deloitte consulting to MBB or equivalent
21/09/2011 23:59

jimmy_24 to Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) (#6)

Tony,

Many thanks for the comprehensive answers to all my questions. This forum is a fantastic resource and i wish i had known of it last year when i had been applying for jobs.

More likely than not i'll be in touch in 18 months time, planning my exit strategy!

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#9 RE: Moving from Deloitte consulting to MBB or equivalent
22/09/2011 05:47

ChristopherCrocodile to jimmy_24 (#8)

It's worth remembering that Deloitte itself is a very big and impressive name in general, and working as a management consultant at Deloitte is well beyond the reach of most of the population. And although they take on a big haul of graduates each year, there are more people who apply and don't make it in than those who do, and only the top end of graduates get a chance to apply in the first place.

So although I personally admire and sympathise with the desire to work at the very top end of the sector, it's worth remembering that landing a role at a Big4 is nothing to be sniffed at, and you should try to think positively about it, bearing all of the above in mind.

Plus, if you really are good enough for MBB, then at Deloitte you have a really good opportunity to stand out and excel, and that should excite you.

Incidentally, given your academic record, I was wondering did you apply to Oxbridge? If not, was there any particular reason?

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#10 RE: Moving from Deloitte consulting to MBB or equivalent
22/09/2011 18:32

jimmy_24 to ChristopherCrocodile (#9)

Mr Crocodile,

Indeed I did. The admissions tutor, unbeknowest to me, had studied Classics at Uni (he lectured in a totally different subject) and proceeded to question me on the finer points of Greek grammar-i wasn't applying for Classics but another set of languages and hadn't brushed up on my Latin and Greek prior to the interview.

As regards Deloitte, my primary concern was initially reputational, but now it is more a question of its culture; everyone is incredibly driven and this is combined with this fake smarmy sense of team-work redolent of the sort of atmosphere which prevails on episodes of the Apprentice. In a top firm I would proudly join in this competitive jostling, but at Deloitte I refuse to partake in it.

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#11 RE: Moving from Deloitte consulting to MBB or equivalent
22/09/2011 23:03

ChristopherCrocodile to jimmy_24 (#10)

Haha, why is that culture alright if the firm name begins with M or B but not D? I'm not sure how you can consider it beneath you to be driven and competitive just because you're working at Deloitte rather than McKinsey. Admittedly it might be more par for the course at a firm where the application process is far more competitive in the first place, so you might reasonably be expecting it more at MBB, but I'm still not sure I understand why that means you're not willing to accept it at Deloitte?

Incidentally, it's that 'Apprentice' atmosphere that put me off those top tier firms - I have the sneaking suspicion that everyone is deliberately played off against everyone else in order to get people to work absurdly hard.

Also, on the Oxbridge interview: were you taking Latin and/or Greek at A-level?

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#12 RE: Moving from Deloitte consulting to MBB or equivalent
23/09/2011 18:38

jimmy_24 to ChristopherCrocodile (#11)

Well there are certain expectations that one brings to the table when you apply for a particular company. Considering that I am working for what is arguably a third tier firm, you do not expect everyone to be quite so full of vim and vigour. I had in fact been rather hoping that I would at least have been able to take it relatively easy here but I have had my illusions, to that effect, swiftly dispelled.

It is also becomes somewhat grating when you hear for the nth time that in working for Deloitte Consulting, we are employees of the no.1 consulting firm. I am far too well brought up to correct my managers or peers on that point, to say nothing of my wish not to commit career hari-kari.

Don't get me wrong, Deloitte is a good firm. It is rather like driving a Lexus a nice car no doubt about it, but no Porsche.

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#13 RE: Moving from Deloitte consulting to MBB or equivalent
25/09/2011 01:47

ChristopherCrocodile to jimmy_24 (#12)

It is also becomes somewhat grating when you hear for the nth time that in working for Deloitte Consulting, we are employees of the no.1 consulting firm. I am far too well brought up to correct my managers or peers on that point, to say nothing of my wish not to commit career hari-kari.

Haha, yes, that would probably wind me up a bit too.

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#14 RE: Moving from Deloitte consulting to MBB or equivalent
27/09/2011 17:39

Radiant to jimmy_24 (#12)

Jimmy, it's typical for consultants not to be satisfied with the status-quo :) but I would say they are also optimistic in general. I think it's quite childish of you to think that Deloitte culture shouldn't be competitive and proud because they are not MBB. In my view your refusal to adjust to this culture will only take you farer away from MBB. In your case I would definitely ask myself if I'm comfortable enough with this kind of culture, 'cause you will get plenty of that in MBB! If you really want to get to MBB - take this as a training.

And as a good consultant maybe you should devise for yourself a plan to get there, where you can include steps such learning how to carry yourself in a competitive place, making friends with people who can put you in the more strategic projects rather than IT/operational ones, seeing how fast you can go to an MBA & start saving money for it, etc.

My advice is to be more optimistic and to make your stay in Deloitte a successful one (if you think of yourself good for MBB, then you should be a star in Deloitte, right?) and with a clear progress, then get an MBA and then apply to MBB.

Cheers,

Radiant

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#15 RE: Moving from Deloitte consulting to MBB or equivalent
03/10/2011 15:44

BConsultant to jimmy_24 (#10)

Hi Jimmy,

I have to second the good advice on this forum about focusing on making a good impact in the next two years - no matter where you go next, a bad or lackluster performance at Deloitte will only hinder your progression.

You say you've just joined Deloitte - is that on a graduate scheme? Do you have an assigned competency yet, and can you change it? If you would like to work in Strategy then you should try to get a role within that competency at Deloitte. Your fear of being tainted by reputation would be massively outweighed by the benefits of relevant experience.

Do you have the chance to get involved in M&A work?

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#16 RE: Moving from Deloitte consulting to MBB or equivalent
03/10/2012 16:19

mgmtconfused to BConsultant (#15)

Jimmy - I stumbled upon this thread after searching for something quite different. Interested to hear the route you followed......?

Rgds

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