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Exit from boutiques

#1 Exit from boutiques
18/02/2008 19:23

Recent offer

I have recently completed milkround interviews for strategy reaching 3 final rounds. The offer I got in the end was from a smaller boutique - which pays well and I perceived as having a down to earth and interesting culture. The client base are apparently blue chips, and it's an international consultancy so should provide exciting and interesting experience.

My only concern is what my exit options would be after 2-3 years? When embarking upon the strategy consultancy job hunt, I was excited by the work, but also somewhat seduced by the exit prospects after 2-3 years from MBBB. Now I have secured an offer with a firm, which I maintain a strong interest in, and am almost certainly going to join, I would be very interested to hear comments about potential exits from boutique strategy consultancies with "lower brand value" than MBB, especially from those who have seen it and/or done it.


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#2 RE: Exit from boutiques
18/02/2008 19:38

onlywayisup to Recent offer (#1)

interesting question, I am also in a similar position and haven't found much information on this topic from looking around the existing forum threads.

Be very interested to hear perspectives on this from people who have seen it first hand.

My assumption would be that MBA opps are still there (then subsequent routes into industry); possibility of joining a client and going into industry; also possibility of joining bigger firm (with bigger brand) after a couple of years? and maybe possibility of MBA and trying to get into PE?


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#3 RE: Exit from boutiques
18/02/2008 19:43

Recent offer to onlywayisup (#2)

Thanks for your reply onlywayisup, did not consider the possible path of using experience at smaller firm to get into the "bigger brand" firms. Do people think that this would be a strong option?

Also - with regards to opps. following MBA - how easy is it to get into top 5 MBA with boutique consultancy on CV (I believe that the firm i got an offer from had 500 apps and gave only 3 offers, which suggests a good level of merit); and how much harder is it to get into PE or high level industry (with or without MBA)

Thanks again, would welcome further advice/comments..

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#4 RE: Exit from boutiques
21/02/2008 15:44

Cheryl to Recent offer (#1)

Depends on the boutique. I work at Decision Resources Consulting - a boutique life sciences consulting firm. After 2-3 years here, our consultants can pretty much write their own ticket into high-paying pharmaceutical, biotech and med device industry jobs in business development, new product planning, market planning, etc. Our brand, while virtually unknown to the job-hunting community, is gold in our industry. Before I joined DR, I worked for a boutique life sciences consultancy that nobody's ever heard of and my prospects would only have been great at direct clients.

The majors rarely hire out of the boutiques, in my experience...

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#5 RE: Exit from boutiques
21/02/2008 17:55

Tony Restell ( to Recent offer (#1)

You'll not go far wrong taking this offer, based on the info provided. Niche firms are often extremely well regarded within the sectors they serve, often more so than the MBBB firms. So your doors into client organisations will remain very much open. Top business schools will certainly take consultants from niche firms and the MBA graduation point would represent an excellent opportunity to break into the MBBB firms, if you decide you do want them on your CV. The only real downside is if the sectors this niche firm serve are not the sectors you ultimately want to work in then you are going to become more of a sector specialist than you would at an MBBB (where you'd be a generalist for a number of years).

Good luck in any case and hope the contributions help you reach an informed decision

Tony Restell

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#6 RE: Exit from boutiques
26/02/2008 22:34

Recent Offer to Tony Restell ( (#5)

Thanks very much for your responses Tony and Cheryl.

Tony - You mention that "niche firms are often well regarded within the sectors they serve" - While the firm is a generalist strategy boutique it works on the basis of non-compete agreements and tailored solutions, with strong relationships from what I gathered. It is hard to pin down exactly what its "niche" may be apart from this.

During interviews, it was conveyed that most people who left the firm to go to industry ended up joining one of the firm's clients. This seems to tie in well with your suggestion that niche firms are regarded well in certain circles. It was also suggested that the firm has close links with Harvard and people currently pursuing an MBA there.

The biggest draw for me is that there is a lot of travel and cross staffing between international offices, which to me is an opportunity rahter than a disadvantage. There also seems to be high potential for earlier responsibility than the larger MBBB firms.

I don't wish to be a career consultant, and am looking at getting experience in the industry for some time while improving my CV, skill set and finding my preffered direction. My real interest lies within PE, industry and/or enterprise in the long term and I hope that this experience will help me prepare for this track.

Thanks a lot for your comments and any further advice would be fantastic. Also - if it isn't apparent till now, I decided to accept the offer.


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