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Choice: Prestige and stability or salary and chance?

 
#1 Choice: Prestige and stability or salary and chance?
06/03/2008 22:20

offer holder

As a perennial year postgraduate, I have narrowed my IT consulting offers to two London-based firms. One is a big 4 with a good reputation, respectable salary and great opportunities for growth. The other is a global IT-centric firm with a mixed past. The latter is offering a significantly better salary and position… though with less certainty. I don’t want to name names, but I would welcome any insight you might have into the decision process.

Generally…

Do you always take the McKinsey over the KPMG over the technical specialist?

Do you think you can move between ‘prestige levels’ given competence and experience?

How much weight do you put into a name and how much into a salary?

Thanks for the comments in advance!

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#2 RE: Choice: Prestige and stability or salary and chance?
06/03/2008 22:29

anon to offer holder (#1)

"Do you always take the McKinsey over the KPMG over the technical specialist?"

- It depends on your career aspirations

"Do you think you can move between ‘prestige levels’ given competence and experience?"

Yes, provided you have solid experience and demonstrable progression

"How much weight do you put into a name and how much into a salary?"

At a junior level, a strong brand name is more important. However, for example, if your career aspiration is to be the best Network specialist in the country, then somewhere like Cisco will serve you better than Deloitte, Accenture, IBM

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#3 RE: Choice: Prestige and stability or salary and chance?
08/03/2008 09:32

offer holder to anon (#2)

Thank you for your response. My intent is to remain in consulting (focusing on IT/business strategy) for the foreseeable future, perhaps moving into industry for a bit 5+ years out.

My dilemma is exactly as you assume: strong brand co and good offer vs. a second tier co with significantly better salary. (Salary matters b/c I am a Londoner with substantial student loan debt.) The first option is safe; the second has potential but also pitfalls.

My concern is my long-term career, especially as I come with relatively little experience and a strong desire to build a long-term, international career.

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#4 RE: Choice: Prestige and stability or salary and chance?
08/03/2008 12:07

I'm GW Bush and I endorse this message to offer holder (#3)

go for the brand name company, as long as the salary differential is under 20%

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#5 RE: Choice: Prestige and stability or salary and chance?
08/03/2008 21:20

Expat to I'm GW Bush and I endorse this message (#4)

Why is the first option safe? Because it's a big brand name with a good reputation? That doesn't necessarily guarantee you career progression or job security.

I have no idea about the IT business, but I would say that you have the potential to gain more varied experience and possibly more career development at a smaller niche consultancy, though it's not clear to me whether the second option fits that description.

In any case, don't discount the importance of salary. I think that the comment above about a 20% differential is valid. On the other hand, if it's 25%+ then it's going to make a substantial difference over two or three years.

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