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Final pre-MBA Job: Big Consulting vs. Small Companies

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Final pre-MBA Job: Big Consulting vs. Small Companies [#permalink] New post 02 Aug 2012, 08:24
I'm in the process of weighing/finalizing offers for my next job. I'll be in this role for 1-2 years, at which point I'll be entering a FT MBA program. The tenure of the job and MBA entry depend specifically on which offer I wind up choosing. I'm trying to gauge which one of these offers would best enhance my b-school apps when I apply. Compensation between the 3 does not vary widely enough to be a decider, the most important deciding factor is the impact on my future b-school applications and profile.

Option 1: Senior Consultant (one promotion level in) with Booz Allen Hamilton in their new commercial practice (note, this is Booz Allen, not Booz & Co.)
Pros: big company experience, brand recognition, credentialzer. Seems to be the safest, most risk-averse option.
Cons: large pool of consultants applying to b-schools, BAH not as well recognized as MBB, or Deloitte/Accenture?

Option 2: Consultant (one promotion level in) with Avascent, a boutique strategy consulting firm catering to the defense, aerospace government services industries.
Pros: Firm works on strategy, growth, go to market consulting engagements. Works on corporate strategy and new revenue opportunities for clients, not ops/implementation.
Cons: Smaller firm without brand recognition, limited industry interest (don't want to be pigeonholed in the Defense/Fed. Gov. sector)

Option 3: Corporate Strategy Associate for a small, rapidly growing software company.
Pros: High risk/high reward. Have great responsibility working directly with CEO and upper mgmt. to build and execute the company's business plan and work on key strategy issues. Looking to grow tremendously in the next 12 months. Report directly to CEO/board, interact with wide variety of stakeholders, build pitch decks for outside fundraising, etc.
Cons: Small company, no brand recognition, limited interest in software industry.

My background in business has been working for a boutique IT Services firm specializing in analytics in the fed space for the last few years. I've done some corporate strategy as well as client-facing work. Post b-school, I'd like to either work in strategy consulting (MBB), or corporate strategy, product/brand management for a Fortune 500 company. I have limited to no interest in remaining in the government services or IT services sectors.

Given my background and post-MBA interests, which of the three above options would best enhance my b-school application? Or, does it really not matter that much, and is based more on what I accomplish in my tenure at any of these 3 companies?
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Re: Final pre-MBA Job: Big Consulting vs. Small Companies [#permalink] New post 19 Aug 2012, 05:44
I would start by saying it shouldn't matter so much - I think you pick out the downsides pretty well, though Booz Allen Hamilton is perfectly well known. In a lot of ways I would say go with option 3. It will give you a much more unique experience. I seem to remember Ginetta who used to be on here did start-up work like that and is now at MBB. If it doesn't work out you can sell it any which way when you go for business school applications.
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Re: Final pre-MBA Job: Big Consulting vs. Small Companies [#permalink] New post 24 Oct 2012, 00:58
Just out of interest, post-MBA I see that a lot of people go into the large consulting firms. Do small boutique consulting firms recruit MBA grads or is it easier to make the switch after working a couple of years in the large firms?
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Re: Final pre-MBA Job: Big Consulting vs. Small Companies [#permalink] New post 29 Oct 2012, 09:57
I would go with Booz. Brand recognition will never hurt you. You will have plenty of opportunities later in you career to switch from a big company/consulting firm to a smaller firm if you so choose. I think doing the opposite (going form a small company to a large company) is more difficult, but maybe I am wrong.
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Re: Final pre-MBA Job: Big Consulting vs. Small Companies   [#permalink] 29 Oct 2012, 09:57
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Final pre-MBA Job: Big Consulting vs. Small Companies

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