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A restart at MBB

 
#1 A restart at MBB
31/01/2012 19:06

MonkeyInABox

Hi all,

I've been browsing for a little while and found what's on here very helpful, but I'd really appreciate some thoughts on my specific situation..

So as a little bit of background on me personally, I studied at an Oxbridge college achieving a 2.1 in a scientific subject as well as being involved with a fair amount of extra-curricular activities, most particularly sports. Nothing new here.

Anyway, while thinking about careers at uni I was initially planning to go into IT/technology consulting. While IT was still my plan I did an internship at a big 4 firm, and then for various reasons discovered that IT really wasn't for me. However as I liked the firm but not the specificity of IT, I interviewed and switched my offer to the general management consulting grad scheme instead.

So here I am, 4 months in to my first year consulting at a big 4 firm. I've really enjoyed the one major project I've done so far (Oct-Jan) but throughout my time training and working at the firm I've been slightly frustrated with the pace of the scheme and the ability and ambition of my colleagues. I have never considered myself to be overly ambitious or career-focussed, but I've been wrestling a little bit with wondering if I've settled for second best, and that's not something I'm really familiar with or like the idea of!

This isn't a sob story though, I am where I am and that's partly down to me and partly down to circumstances. So, looking ahead, I'm trying to evaluate what my options are and what the best direction to go is, and whether it's worth going for a bit of a restart at MBB (B, etc...).

Obviously this may not happen, but with the naive assumption that it did, would I have to wait until the next milkround to apply? Are they less likely to take me as a grad rather than an undergrad (even if I'm only a year ahead)? Would it be possible for me to go for a start before September 2013, around when I'd be hoping to go for promotion at my current firm anyway? And If I did have to wait until Sep 2013, in your most valued opinions would it be worth the step-back of two years and associated relative "demotion" for the opportunities that I'd have at a top Strat House?

Just to clarify, the status of these firms is only a small part of what attracts me to them, the work that they do and the development they push you through is what looks more appealing.

Long post, apologies, but I wanted to explain the full situation.

Comments/thoughts/advice appreciated!

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#2 RE: A restart at MBB
01/02/2012 09:59

MonkeyInABox to MonkeyInABox (#1)

So I realised just how long that post was. Headlines:

Currently at big 4 on grad scheme (sep 2011 to sep 2013) and feeling a little frustrated.

Missed milkround for Sep 2012 intake at strat houses. Are there opportunities to join before Sep 2013?

If sep 2013 is as early as it gets, and if I could get an offer, then would it be worth going for a Sep 2013 start at an ~MBB firm, despite then effectively being 2 years (and 1 level) "behind" where I would be if I stayed at this big 4?

In case I didn't make it clear I'm UK based. Thanks for your thoughts :)

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#3 RE: A restart at MBB
01/02/2012 12:18

marsday to MonkeyInABox (#2)

be cautious monkeyinabox..you thought you wanted IT...and decided it wasnt for you, then you decided you wanted more generalist MC with a Big 4, and now you think it isnt for you..and now you wonder if strategy is for you. And what happens when you blow your Big 4 opportunity to try for MBB and just find out maybe its not for you...? So you settled for second best. Second best for what exactly? Big 4 and MBB dont do the same type of work, so in what way is Big 4 second best to someone whey dont compete with? I think you are continuing to be naive, and run the real risk of winding up with nothing at all. Also I would be wary of being 1 year behind my peer group in MBB - life will get more brutal at Big 4 as time goes on, but not to the same extent as MBB, where 1 year behind your peer group you you will always be working 200% just to overcome the (perhaps unfair) perception frankly you should be doing more and better because you are 1 year older and a little more experienced.

Settle down and get on with the job in hand. Big 4 carry real prestige in your career, and moves from Big 4 to strat are known to happen. But for the sake of continuity give yourself a year there. Frankly I would have expected more due diligence from an oxbridge grad - you seem to go into things without knowing much about them, then get distracted by the next bright, shiny thing. But each time you do, you become less bright and shiny to potential employers. You might want to think it through carefully before deciding to change again so soon.

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#4 RE: A restart at MBB
01/02/2012 16:08

MonkeyInABox to marsday (#3)

Marsday, thanks for takin the time to reply. I'm fully aware of the problems of flittig around too much, and you're right in that there's always the risk that the grass always seems greener. This is a risk I think I would be prepared to take, but also one I'd be interested in people's opinion of (in terms of whether it actually is greener, which is only ever going to be subjective).

There is no question of me giving up my job here before I have an offer elsewhere, and while thinking about all this I'm not neglecting my work. I will also have been working for this firm for over a year by the time I would receive an offer from anywhere else, assuming this comes through the milkround, so will then have a clearer idea of my thoughts. No harm thinking about it now though.

When I said second best I wasn't referring so much to the specific type of projects, but of the level of the firm overall which would encompass a range of other factors too.

What you said about the dangers of being a year or two older than classmates at an MBB firm was interesting, that's not something I had considered or expected before. There are several colleagues here at the same level but significantly older, and as far as I can tell nobody thinks any the worse of them. Is this likely to be a problem elsewhere? Does anybody have any experience of this?

I may not have a huge amount of experience, hence my questions here, but I feel I'm relatively aware of the risks associated with moving, and I hope I'm not too naive about my position. Ending up in this situation is partly circumstances and partly me. In my final year at uni, already having a job offer, I spent my time and efforts elsewhere, assuming (perhaps naively) that this job wod be what I had hoped for. And here I am doing my best to evaluate and possibly correct previous decisions. Again, thanks for your reply.

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#5 RE: A restart at MBB
01/02/2012 19:43

baykus to marsday (#3)

One minor point - I wouldn't worry about the age thing. Noone cares how old you are - BAs are of course as a rule young, but you will be expected to perform at a level linked to how long you've been in the firm (if you get in, any previous experience you have will not count towards your tenure).

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#6 RE: A restart at MBB
02/02/2012 15:53

alexandermeerkat to MonkeyInABox (#1)

No point in leaving after one year to go to MBB i would say. If you really are better than everyone else at big 4 presumably you'll get promoted quickly etc. After two years is the time to look around for a first move - maybe you'll go into industry or something or will have picked up a specialism that will facilitate a move into another consultancy.

So yeah stay where you are and try and get the most from it, keeping an eye on what to do next and ways to develop yourself outside of work (start a business on the side, get fit, learn karate, programming whatever)

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#7 RE: A restart at MBB
07/02/2012 16:38

Ecoenv to MonkeyInABox (#1)

Hey just wanted to briefly weigh in, I have an offer from Mckinsey (am in my final year at Cam) and on the offer day met an ex Accenture guy who is ex-Ox and joining for very similar reasons. I think it is definitely worth applying.

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