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You are planning your consulting applications. You are probably dreaming about McKinsey of BCG, but then someone advises you to apply to smaller consultancies or larger services firms which have a new strategy division. It’s the consulting experience after all, they say. Plus you get more exposure in a smaller consultancy and the environment is friendlier. You are still fascinated by the allure of McKinsey, but all in all it doesn’t sound like such a bad deal. Maybe it's all the same... Well, the truth is that it isn't. Life at a top firm is very different than life at a "just another" consultancy. 

A different life: Be surrounded by the best of the best

Top consultancies are focused first and foremost in attracting and retaining top talent. This means you, hopefully. But it also means you'll be surrounded by sharp minds, interesting and driven colleagues in every project you join. The result? You'll enjoy working there. You'll learn every second you're on the job, and you'll be inspired to grow by meeting the best of the best. On a second tier consultancy, you'll find a lot of bright people as well. But you'll also likely have periods where your environment won't be stimulating, and your growth will stall. At the beginning of your career, that's a risk you don't want to take.

And the difference doesn't end when you walk out the door. If one day you do move on to another role, you'll quickly understand the monumental gap in the quality of the networks you get to tap into. Once you leave MBB, that line on your CV/Linkedin will continue to open doors for you:

First, anyone with a vague knowledge of the business world will know you're the real deal when they find you worked at MBB. When the CEO asks "who are we interviewing for the Strategy VP position?" the HR guy will confidently say "Jane, she's Ex-Bain, I feel really good about her profile". That brand will open doors for you, time and time again.

Second, no matter where you are in the world, colleagues from your old firm, even the most senior ones, will cherish the chance to have a chat with you. One of our MCC coaches recently flew halfway across the world to a new continent and was able to set up coffee chats with 6 of his firms' alumni working in PE in the city. All within 48 hours. You don't get that a second tier firm. 

A different life: Work the cases that matter

Corporates often ask themselves “Why do we need consultants?”

There are two main reasons that might justify engaging a consulting firm: 

  1. “The project is too important for us to handle it on our own, we need the best minds we can get on this”
  2. “Hiring someone to do it would be too time consuming, it’s quicker to get consultants”.

Do you see the difference? When a corporate is in the first situation they hire the best, regardless of the price. Would you be cheap on the doctor you go to when it’s a matter of life and death? Obviously clients expect a lot from you, even if you might be 20 years younger than them. Similarly they will be willing to talk to you as a trusted advisor and to build long-term relationships with you.

However, if the answer is the second... Well, things won't be as fun. Corporates will often go for a second-tier cheaper firm.  As a consultant, you will be interacting with the lower ranks of the organization and your ability to produce slides quickly will be more valued than your problem-solving skills. Is that the type of consultant you want to be?

A different life: Be valued and taken care of

Top firms find the best talent to tackle the most challenging cases. The last thing they want is for that talent to go to waste. For that reason, they will spare no expenses to make sure you're as focused as possible on the problem at hand. The top firms charge exorbitant amounts to clients, so they can afford to spoil you and shower you with perks.

Your own travel department booking trips makes traveling less hectic, and flying business allows you to hit the ground well rested. Your own graphics department for churning out slides allows you to spend more time thinking and less time aligning text boxes. High dinner allowances mean that you don't have to check the menu before walking into that fancy new place, and you are able to relax after a long day over a nice meal. And getting those miles & loyalty points for staying at 5 star hotels? Well that's just kind of cool.


Getting into top consultancies is worth the effort, and it will change your life.

But getting there is not only about being sharp and quick. It is also an art that you can master. Consulting candidates are overachievers with impressive track records. However, possibly for the first time, they are competing with people equallly impressive, and just as driven. The stakes are much higher and there is no second chance. 

So what do smart candidates do? They take all the help they can get. And helping is what we're here to do: 

Our case interview method

 Our case interview course has been developed by MBB consultants with clear goals in mind - To teach you how to think, act and communicate like a world-class strategy consultant. By going through it you'll become equipped not only to ace the interview process, but also to be a top performer at your firm. 

Other methods focus on helping you memorize dozens of frameworks and pre-packed structures. We take a different approach. We believe that distinctive candidates and distinctive consultants don't rely on crutches and that they use their own minds to solve the toughest problems. We're here to help them master the concepts and processes they need to be able to shine. We can support you in:

1) Understanding business fundamentals: Get your mini-MBA with our Marketing, Strategy and Economics, Accounting & Finance modules

2) Learning how to crack a case:  Identify the problem, Build a problem driven structure, Lead the analysis and how to provide recommendations.

3) Shaping your approach with our building blocks: Master profitability analysis, competitive dynamics, pricing discussions, among others. 

Our coaching sessions

Coaching can help the best candidates to pinpoint their development points and turn them into strengths. They will give you self-awareness about your profile and how to best position yourself for that MBB offer. Equally importantly, they will give you the confidence to know you can succeed in such a challenging process. 

Remember: No consulting firm is bad, but working >12 hours a day at your dream Firm or at your backup plan will be very different. And your future career will be as well. 

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