Find all School-related info fast with the new School-Specific MBA Forum

It is currently 25 Oct 2014, 16:05

Close

GMAT Club Daily Prep

Thank you for using the timer - this advanced tool can estimate your performance and suggest more practice questions. We have subscribed you to Daily Prep Questions via email.

Customized
for You

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Track
Your Progress

every week, we’ll send you an estimated GMAT score based on your performance

Practice
Pays

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Not interested in getting valuable practice questions and articles delivered to your email? No problem, unsubscribe here.

Events & Promotions

Events & Promotions in June
Open Detailed Calendar

Culture comparison of PE and Consulting

  Question banks Downloads My Bookmarks Reviews Important topics  
Author Message
3 KUDOS received
SVP
SVP
User avatar
Joined: 11 Mar 2008
Posts: 1634
Location: Southern California
Schools: Chicago (dinged), Tuck (November), Columbia (RD)
Followers: 8

Kudos [?]: 181 [3] , given: 0

Culture comparison of PE and Consulting [#permalink] New post 16 Jan 2009, 18:02
3
This post received
KUDOS
3
This post was
BOOKMARKED
Alright, I gotta say that I really enjoy this guys commentary. This is another gem from PE_Wharton_Guy on BusinessWeek. He worked at McKinsey immediately post-MBA and he now works in PE. He posted about the culture and work differences at both.

I was hoping you could comment a little on firm culture, both yours and that of other firms (i.e. do your bosses seem like they would eat their own young?) Care to share some anecdotes? How about comparing the work environment at McK vs. your current PE shop?

McK is a very tough place to work and you need very thick skin. People there are hyper critical and you will be thoroughly evaluated all the time. I found the experience to be a good one in retrospect but I honestly disliked it when I was there. I actually found banking to be more tolerable and less exhausting.

That said I got ALOT out of the experience. And working for McK signals something unique to the market place. I am not saying better, but unique. For instance working at Goldman signals something entirely different. Additionally I found it to be incredibly helpful to work in a broad variety of industry and business challenges. The exposure of multiple company problems was very helpful to me in my current job. When I go into a due diligence prcess, I often know exactly what I am looking for. Think about it, there a million possible things that could go wrong with a company once you buy it. But certain types of companies and industries tend to have similar problems. When you have been exposed to many of them, you get a sense of what to prioritize.

What was most surprising to me about consulting is that it is the most hierachal place I have ever worked. There is huge power distance between each level. The guy directly above you might be 1 year your senior, but if he is a promotion ahead, he OWNS you.

PE in contrast is extremely flat. Its wierd, I can walk into a senior partners office anytime to chat about something I've thought of. A senior partner at a top PE, ironically is MUCH MUCH further up the food chain that a partner at MCK. I think partners at consulting firms get dumped on so much by their clients that they need to feel like their are the king of something......

One thing I dawned on me recently is that consulting partners are very very low on the pecking order of business. If you have the CEO, or a board member at the top of a business ecosystem, consultants are near the bottom, below the banker, the accountant, the lawyer, etc. Why? Unlike these other vendors, you never really need a consultant. You can't raise capital without a banker or even sell you portfolio company. You can't possibly function without a law firm or an accounting firm. For all of these other service providers, the question is not whether to hire them, its is soley WHO to hire. With a consultant, the question is not first who, but whether to hire a consultant at all.....

So if you are a partner at a consulting firm trying to sell work, you are not only trying to get picked, you are also trying to justify why you even exist so to speak. This tends to lend to a pretty pathetic senior existence. Believe me, I don't care which consulting firm you work for, the partners there are constantly nervous and have to grovel all the time. It sucks....

I feel like at McK we spent an enormous portion of the day on non-value add activities. So for instance, one time I was tasked to brainstorm a list of possible items to put on a KPI dashboard. I thought of usual things such as revenue, EBITDA, growth, headcount, market share, etc. I handed this list to my boss. He called me into my office and then proceeded to lecture me for 45 minutes about the importance of "exhaustive and mutually exclusive" lists. He said I need to spend more time thinking through the order of my bullet points and I need to develop a framework and defend my logic. Why Revenue on top of EBITDA. Why not market share??? Ect. ect. And of course this came in my formal project review as a core area for development.....

The reason why McK, BCG people in particular tend to have extremely painful people to work for is because of their hiring practices. Its no mystery that these firms LOVE academic pedigree. I have never seen such a congregation of 3.97 GPAs walking around. Think about people who get that kind of GPA from an ivy league school. You don't get a 3,97 at Yale by being a cool guy and giving it an honest to goodness try. You get that GPA because you are an obsessive perfectionist and the thought of getting an A- makes you want to jump infront of the first train you pass by. Now imagine you work for this guy.... Fun. If you are not extremely detailed oriented by nature and are not a highly structured person, you will NOT enjoy consulting. No free spirits need apply. The brochure from these places are a joke. Also the lifestyle absolutely blows. I used to tell candidates that"its like investment banking but at half the price: and now it has wings." That used to piss off the recruiting team immensley.

PE the stress is very very different. You are actually accountable for your work. As a junior guy, you are somewhat insulated from the consequences of your actions. But by the time you are a principal, you had better not miss anything in due diligence. If you do, EVERYBODY will know this in due time. Its tough because people here expect you to have a point of view and defend it. But if you are ultimately wrong, its your ass. So its hard to want to put your neck on the line for any deal. I tend to try to look for reasons to kill deals versus trying to find a reason to do them. From where I sit, the balance tips heavily in favor for being pessimistic. But as you become more senior, you realize that you can't make money by NOT doing deals. Thats the problem. At some level, you are forced to put capital to work and you have to pull the trigger on stuff you have only rough visibility on. I ALWAYS get nervous when we actually sign a purchase and sales agreement. I am ALWAYS nervous that the company will whiff the 1st quarter out of the box.

That said, I still love my job and count my blessings every day. In life, all you can ask for is a chance at bat. And indeed, you will have your chance in this industry...

_________________

Check out the new Career Forum
http://gmatclub.com/forum/133

VP
VP
User avatar
Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 1443
Schools: Chicago Booth '11
Followers: 7

Kudos [?]: 150 [0], given: 12

Re: Culture comparison of PE and Consulting [#permalink] New post 17 Jan 2009, 09:57
This guy keeps impressing. Did anyone contact him about coming over to gmatclub yet?
Joined: 31 Dec 1969
Location: United States
Concentration: Marketing, Other
GPA: 3.64
WE: Accounting (Accounting)
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 70 [0], given: 78716

CAT Tests
Re: Culture comparison of PE and Consulting [#permalink] New post 17 Jan 2009, 13:57
Excellent post
SVP
SVP
User avatar
Joined: 04 Dec 2007
Posts: 1689
Schools: Kellogg '11
Followers: 13

Kudos [?]: 179 [0], given: 31

Re: Culture comparison of PE and Consulting [#permalink] New post 17 Jan 2009, 14:45
Interesting.

PS I really hope this guy is for real and isn't making stuff up - given what we hear about PE lifestyles, it seems strange that he has this much time to spend on posts and stuff :)
SVP
SVP
User avatar
Joined: 11 Mar 2008
Posts: 1634
Location: Southern California
Schools: Chicago (dinged), Tuck (November), Columbia (RD)
Followers: 8

Kudos [?]: 181 [0], given: 0

Re: Culture comparison of PE and Consulting [#permalink] New post 17 Jan 2009, 15:16
isa wrote:
Interesting.

PS I really hope this guy is for real and isn't making stuff up - given what we hear about PE lifestyles, it seems strange that he has this much time to spend on posts and stuff :)


He is far too well-informed to be making this stuff up. Anyone in PE will confirm that. Things are fairly slow at any PE firm or investment bank right now. These are just one guys thoughts and they may be biased, but I certainly don't question his background and credibility.
_________________

Check out the new Career Forum
http://gmatclub.com/forum/133

Director
Director
User avatar
Joined: 14 Sep 2007
Posts: 908
Schools: Kellogg '10
Followers: 6

Kudos [?]: 87 [0], given: 15

Re: Culture comparison of PE and Consulting [#permalink] New post 17 Jan 2009, 15:35
That's a really good post. The more I read about consulting jobs the less interested in them I am.

I do disagree with one of his comments though:

agold wrote:
You can't raise capital without a banker


I've been a part of a number of financings in which we didn't use bankers (private placements, of course). In fact, it has always been easier and more successful when we didn't use them.
_________________

http://www.fantasticcontraption.com

Get the best GMAT Prep Resources with GMAT Club Premium Membership

CEO
CEO
User avatar
Joined: 17 May 2007
Posts: 2995
Followers: 57

Kudos [?]: 443 [0], given: 210

Re: Culture comparison of PE and Consulting [#permalink] New post 17 Jan 2009, 15:37
Most of the stuff about consulting is pretty true. Its the same at most top consulting firms (non Mckinsey, tech consulting etc. etc.) ..

No matter where the crowds are running consulting is a no-no for me :)
SVP
SVP
User avatar
Joined: 11 Mar 2008
Posts: 1634
Location: Southern California
Schools: Chicago (dinged), Tuck (November), Columbia (RD)
Followers: 8

Kudos [?]: 181 [0], given: 0

Re: Culture comparison of PE and Consulting [#permalink] New post 17 Jan 2009, 15:38
Agreed rca215. His point stands in a majority of cases related to PE firms and F500 companies, but there are obviously plenty of people who raise capital without bankers.

The main point of his message still sticks. Consultants are an extremely discretionary expense. It truly boggles my mind that so many MBAs this year are running to consulting like it's some sort of gold mine. Do they really think those firms are doing well? It just seems like the madness of crowds to me, once again.
_________________

Check out the new Career Forum
http://gmatclub.com/forum/133

1 KUDOS received
Current Student
User avatar
Joined: 01 Aug 2007
Posts: 157
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 12 [1] , given: 1

Re: Culture comparison of PE and Consulting [#permalink] New post 18 Jan 2009, 01:13
1
This post received
KUDOS
I work in a tier-2 consulting firm and can vouch for the veracity of his opinion on work-life balance in consulting and the stress of being a partner.

I cant imagine how much painful to be a partner at this time ( of course there are some old timers and people in good-books who will always have jobs even if they dont sell work for years)! Our company had shown doors to several partners during last review cycle. It is tough to be a partner, especially the amount of time and effort you spend schmoozing for only a 12 week engagement!! Now think about maintaining at least 60% chargeability in a year!!!no fun.
Current Student
User avatar
Joined: 05 Aug 2008
Posts: 1262
Schools: Ross 2012
WE 1: 5 Years at Fortune 50 Company in Manufacturing
Followers: 17

Kudos [?]: 164 [0], given: 20

Re: Culture comparison of PE and Consulting [#permalink] New post 18 Jan 2009, 01:53
Hmmm... we need a consultants view also... This is depressing me... George is getting angry...

Would it be better comparing IB with consulting since from reading AC's PE/VC post it looks near impossible to go into PE right now (with the exception that you're already in PE, or BBB/Big3 AND H/S/W).

Can anyone give an opposing view. I'm thinking consulting in hopes of going back into industry. I've always seens consulting as a freeway, it's not my destination, but a fast way to get to whereever I'm going. Where as PE, IB, VC, you're trying to make partner and then make money, there isn't an out until you retire. Or am I wrong?

I just want to be CEO of Google, is it that hard?? I'll settle for apple.
_________________

Get the best GMAT Prep Resources with GMAT Club Premium Membership

1 KUDOS received
Joined: 31 Dec 1969
Location: United States
Concentration: Marketing, Other
GPA: 3.64
WE: Accounting (Accounting)
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 70 [1] , given: 78716

CAT Tests
Re: Culture comparison of PE and Consulting [#permalink] New post 18 Jan 2009, 09:14
1
This post received
KUDOS
bsd_lover wrote:
Most of the stuff about consulting is pretty true. Its the same at most top consulting firms (non Mckinsey, tech consulting etc. etc.) ..

No matter where the crowds are running consulting is a no-no for me :)


I have to agree with him also. Although I don't work as many hours as MC, the general culture is the same at my firm - it's not a rewarding environment in the industry I am in, lots of work, stress, and little recognition if you're not at the partner level or have government/military contacts. Clients continually want you to justify why you exist, and even if they do need you there, the default is to throw you under the bus even if their organizational issues and structure do not allow for success. It's a lose-lose situation for many major projects I have seen, I very rarely ever hear of huge successes -> which I do believe is due partly to my specific industry in government IT, and also because of the consulting culture.
SVP
SVP
User avatar
Joined: 11 Mar 2008
Posts: 1634
Location: Southern California
Schools: Chicago (dinged), Tuck (November), Columbia (RD)
Followers: 8

Kudos [?]: 181 [0], given: 0

Re: Culture comparison of PE and Consulting [#permalink] New post 18 Jan 2009, 09:41
Thanks for your insights, jlola21 and filmcity. +1
_________________

Check out the new Career Forum
http://gmatclub.com/forum/133

SVP
SVP
User avatar
Joined: 11 Mar 2008
Posts: 1634
Location: Southern California
Schools: Chicago (dinged), Tuck (November), Columbia (RD)
Followers: 8

Kudos [?]: 181 [0], given: 0

Re: Culture comparison of PE and Consulting [#permalink] New post 18 Jan 2009, 10:25
GoBruins wrote:
Hmmm... we need a consultants view also... This is depressing me... George is getting angry...

Would it be better comparing IB with consulting since from reading AC's PE/VC post it looks near impossible to go into PE right now (with the exception that you're already in PE, or BBB/Big3 AND H/S/W).

Can anyone give an opposing view. I'm thinking consulting in hopes of going back into industry. I've always seens consulting as a freeway, it's not my destination, but a fast way to get to whereever I'm going. Where as PE, IB, VC, you're trying to make partner and then make money, there isn't an out until you retire. Or am I wrong?

I just want to be CEO of Google, is it that hard?? I'll settle for apple.


GoBruins,

You're probably right. IB and MC is probably a more valid comparison as these are both fields that career switchers can target pretty easily out of the top schools. However, this guy chose to post his opinions on PE and MC -- I was just relaying them. If anyone else wants to make a comparison of IB and MC, that'd be great.

This post is not meant to anger anyone or kill anyone's dreams. However, it's very important to always look at potential career paths with a clear lense, not a rose-colored one. There are obviously upsides to doing MC (namely exit opportunities and variety of experiences/work), but there will also be many downsides. The same will hold true for most career paths. I thought this post was unique because it explored some of the downsides of MC -- these are not typically posted or talked about as often as say, the downsides of IB (everyone slams IB pretty consistently for the hours, etc.)

Be sure to consider all viewpoints and features of the career path you choose. If you decide it's still for you - go for it full spead ahead.
_________________

Check out the new Career Forum
http://gmatclub.com/forum/133

Joined: 31 Dec 1969
Location: United States
Concentration: Marketing, Other
GPA: 3.64
WE: Accounting (Accounting)
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 70 [0], given: 78716

CAT Tests
Re: Culture comparison of PE and Consulting [#permalink] New post 18 Jan 2009, 10:36
Good point about not trying to crush anyone's goals -
When reading my post, remember I am also a career switcher, and many people have had much better experiences than me. Consulting has also done great things for me - like management experience, becoming a 'jack of all trades' for IT, great client exposure, and the government environment can sometimes be a very stimulating environment because of our closeness for policy success. Each firm is different, and MC is also very different than government IT.
Current Student
User avatar
Joined: 04 Jan 2005
Posts: 283
Location: Milan
Schools: Wharton, LBS, UChicago, Kellogg MMM (Donald Jacobs Scholarship), Stanford, HBS
Followers: 6

Kudos [?]: 134 [0], given: 3

Re: Culture comparison of PE and Consulting [#permalink] New post 18 Jan 2009, 14:19
Wonderful reporting agold, +1.

I can vouch for everything the guy said, as I know lots of people at McK and BCG. Bain is very, very different. Some considerations obviously apply to the whole industry of MC (consultants are not needed -true; partners are constantly selling -true; partners are not that high up in the overall scheme of business -true), but the hierarchical/constant-rat-race thing is true of Mck and BCG only.

Remember that BCG and McK were founded much earlier thank Bain and still enjoy the goodwill of being more established. Also, it's no wonder that Bain's PE practice dwarfs McK and BCG's ones.

Terp26 is right, go tell the guy to come here, he's wasted on the BW forums.
Re: Culture comparison of PE and Consulting   [#permalink] 18 Jan 2009, 14:19
    Similar topics Author Replies Last post
Similar
Topics:
Considering switching to IB/PE/consulting/etc. Help! careerchange14 0 12 May 2014, 20:51
14 Experts publish their posts in the topic Price Comparison of MBA Consultants and Links to their Sites farful 16 11 Oct 2013, 10:13
CUHK Career Consultation in VC/PE, Marketing and Consulting CUHKMBA 0 18 Mar 2013, 19:56
1 Experts publish their posts in the topic Consultant Fees Comparison - Basic simmy818 1 18 Mar 2011, 08:13
Which Admission consultant company (cost/quality comparison) dmittal 16 04 Nov 2007, 14:37
Display posts from previous: Sort by

Culture comparison of PE and Consulting

  Question banks Downloads My Bookmarks Reviews Important topics  


GMAT Club MBA Forum Home| About| Privacy Policy| Terms and Conditions| GMAT Club Rules| Contact| Sitemap

Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group and phpBB SEO

Kindly note that the GMAT® test is a registered trademark of the Graduate Management Admission Council®, and this site has neither been reviewed nor endorsed by GMAC®.