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Booz & Co versus AlixPartners

#1 Booz & Co versus AlixPartners
18/04/2012 22:30



I have c.2 years of post MBA experience and I try to decide between Booz & Co and AlixPartners offers for London offices.

1. Booz - Associate level with possible faster promotion

2. AlixP - VP level operational improvement team (in line with my industry experience)

It is a difficult choice and I would like to understand what would be the best option with regard to the brand strength, work environement, type of projects and as the result future exit options. How much the brand matters in this case and what might be my exit options in a few years time.

Appreciate these firms have slightly different business models.

I would be grateful for your advice.

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#2 RE: Booz & Co versus AlixPartners
19/04/2012 14:29

baykus to Nick_n (#1)

Generally, Booz brand is better and you'll have a greater selection of exit opps.

But if turnaround work excites you Alix has a very strong reputation, and specialising in a niche area can sometimes be an amazing career move.

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#3 RE: Booz & Co versus AlixPartners
19/04/2012 15:00

marsday to Nick_n (#1)


You are at one of the main entry gates post MBA. If you dont take this opp to join Booz you could be waiting a long time for another chance.

The stronger brand of the two, but slightly hampered by a lack of clear identify i.e. just what are they for? Not derogatory remark, but since the split from BAH havent really asserted their distinctiveness in Europe. Alongside OW the strongest of the Tier 2 strat houses.

Strategy heritage now being expanded with more ops work. No idea how strong this has been yet though.

Specialisation is enforced - no generalists at Booz until very senior. You'll get real depth in a niche but you'll be working only in that niche. Limits exit options but makes the ones which do arise very good ones ie SME

Usual review mechanisms. Perform or out.

Stabilised since the split but fared less well through the recession than MBB who went through it more or less intact.

Progression can be rapid. Main bottleneck is at the level below partner so you wont exhaust your run rate too early if you make it long term


No specific entry gates beyond basic hiring criteria, so you could join AlixP anytime rather than be restricted to certain points of your career like a strat house.

Less recognised brand than Booz

Few natural competitors in Europe as priced higher that the insolvency practices of the Big4. Strong reputation but still a bit 'uberBig4'. Dont do strategy - its all execution heavy.

Have historically lost very few people.

Business is up for sale so uncertainty about the acquirer and what will happen but the business is fiercely independent so should be able to maintain this.

VPs at AlixP gain more senior client stakeholder time than Associates at Booz but progression likely to be slower - Directors and Managing Directors at AlixP are heavyweights by any measure - VPs can take time to get up to snuff to position themselves for a Director role, and stagnation at grade is easily possible.

Not specialists - you might sit within an industry or functional area of expertise but will broaden out from this quickly

If you have previous consulting experience I would probably suggest AlixP - if not you really need a big brand on your CV before moving into a specialist house, take Booz.

Exit options are very good from both firms.

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#4 RE: Booz & Co versus AlixPartners
19/04/2012 21:57

Nick_n to marsday (#3)

Many thanks, great overview and advice.

My concern is that I am already two years after MBA so Booz Associate might look to recruiters and possibly feel for myself like a downgrade from my current position. But I do agree that for recruiters it does represent a better brand name and training/development might be more structured than in AlixP.

On AlixP side I was concerned that they have very short history in Europe relative to others therefore small number of alumni and not that big recognition among employers. I agree on a career progression side and on the point that people are very experienced.

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#5 RE: Booz & Co versus AlixPartners
20/04/2012 07:48

marsday to Nick_n (#4)

it wont look like a downgrade to go to booz 2 years post MBA - recruiters will just focus on the fact you got into Booz at all, an achievement in itself. One of the features of the strat houses is how they level off joiners without much regard for previous experience - so you could be joining at same level as people with less or more experience - which in many cases will be a sacrifice to make to get the development and brand name on their CV.

AlixP do have a short history in Europe, but then they have a short history anyway considering they were founded in the 80s. But they also have a formidable reputation, and to establish this in Europe with such a short track record speaks volumes about the people.

I'll be very interested to know your eventual decision - this is a close call.

And of course congratulations on getting offers from two very strong firms!

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#6 RE: Booz & Co versus AlixPartners
22/04/2012 10:04

londoner85 to marsday (#5)

Hi, excellent advice marsday, thanks. I'm also considering an offer from AlixP. What do you mean by "uberBig4"?

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#7 RE: Booz & Co versus AlixPartners
26/04/2012 12:32

Tony Restell ( to Nick_n (#1)

As Mars rightly says, firstly congratulations on securing offers from both these firms. Mars is closer to the detailed workings of these firms and has provided ample steer on the angles to consider, so I've not much to add in that respect.

What I would say (in part having worked at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants at a time when they were barely established in the UK market) is that you probably don't need to worry about recruiters undervaluing you should you join AP. In reality, anyone who recruits in the consulting space is likely to have a very good knowledge of firms and their prestige. Should you find yourself looking to switch consulting firms - or move to industry - a few years from now, at the senior levels you would be moving at the recruiters will all be of a calibre that they'd know the market and the various players. It's only at dinner parties where you may find yourself with a bit of explaining to do!

From a career perspective, what is important is the quality of the client base you'll be serving and the nature of the assignments you'll be working on. These should reflect where you want your career to go in the coming years.

The other thing that I always stress is the importance of cultural fit. In which of the two firms did you feel most comfortable, where did you get the best vibes from the consultants you interacted with? This is a key consideration when you think of the amount of time you'll be spending with these people, potentially away from home too. It may be that there was little to choose between the two in this respect; but if your gut feel is that you culturally preferred one over the other then I'd give that a lot of weight.

Hope this helps, congratulations again and good luck with your decision.

Tony Restell

Founder, and

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#8 RE: Booz & Co versus AlixPartners
26/04/2012 13:49

marsday to Tony Restell ( (#7)

ultimately Nick there isnt much to choose between them, and instinct/gut feel, as Tony points out, will play a major part in deciding. AP is very much a firm where your face will fit or it wont. Booz perhaps a little more diverse in that respect.

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#9 RE: Booz & Co versus AlixPartners
27/04/2012 00:28

Nick_n to marsday (#8)

Tony, Mars

Many thanks for your feedback.It is extremely helpful. I can't agree more on all the points you mentioned. Thank you once again for all your help.

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