Leave Amazon for MBB consulting?

Amazon WACC
Aug 1, 2018 23 Comments

I'm a 2016 MBA graduate. Deeply unhappy with Amazon and Seattle and have been interviewing. I recently got an offer from one of McKinsey/BCG/Bain in NYC/LA/Chicago.

I'm actually not too keen on consulting itself but am seriously considering it for the following reasons.

1. Transferable business skillset and exposure to senior leadership at major companies.

2. Amazing exit opportunities. For non-tech MBA graduates, Amazon's exit opportunities are very limited.

3. If things go well, larger financial upside.

4. The people at MBB are smarter, better credentialed, and more accomplished than my Amazon colleagues. I know this sounds super elitist, but there are so many idiots at Amazon who went to mediocre schools. I don't feel privileged to work here, and my MBA classmates look down on Amazon.

5. Finally, I really hate Seattle, which has surprised me, as I thought I would be ok with it when I first moved here.

It would be great to hear from current or former MBB consultants.



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TOP 23 Comments
  • Apple / Other Manhattan
    Can u tell more about the interview process, please PM if you don’t want to provide confidential info
    Aug 2, 2018 6
    • Amazon WACC
      Sure. Glad to help.

      I was referred by my classmate, who works at the office that gave me an offer. The first round interview was in Seattle with 2 engagement managers (that's one level above associate). After brief behavioral questions (which quite frankly aren't that important) we did the case studies.

      The first case involved a private wealth management firm in Latin America that is trying to compete with the bigger players. The key question was the following: what is the most effective way to go about that? It was an easy case once you realize from looking at the data that was provided that the firm is small but it's clients have a much higher average net worth than the bigger firms. At the same time, the firm offered a type of niche service that was not offered elsewhere Thus, the appropriate strategy was to increase ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) by offering more specialized services to ultra high net worth clients rather than focusing on geographic or market expansion.

      The second case involved an airline company debating whether to implement a one-time fleet maintenance. The key to cracking this case was to identify the # of routes that will not be in operation due to the maintenance, and whether the cost savings from the maintenance exceed the lost revenue. It took me a few minutes to identify that key question, but I solved it pretty fast.

      After passing the first round, the company flew me out for final round. Like with the first round, I had 2 case studies but with a principal and a partner. The cases were a lot harder, in large part because they both involved health care, an industry I know very little about. The first case was about a U.S. company that manufactured a lung cancer drug and is debating whether to enter China or Mexico first. After gathering my thoughts and asking a few clarification questions (this is a good way of buying some time), I knew that this was simply a market entry question. Hence, I needed to know the respective market size of China and Mexico. This meant that I had to know the # of people in those countries that suffer from lung cancer and how many of them can pay for the drug through health insurance plans. This is important since China and Mexico have very different health insurance structures. Once I asked the right questions, the partner provided me with data, and I quickly calculated the market size and concluded that as of now, the Mexican market is larger. However, you also need to go one step further with final round cases. I asked whether our client can go into China at a future date, and he replied yes. I then asked about the growth rate of China and whether we anticipate any changes in China's insurance system. My executive summary was that our client should enter Mexico now, and then enter China within 5 years. After the case, the partner said I did well and that this was an actual case that he worked on a few years ago and that the client did exactly what I suggested.

      The last case was absolutely brutal, and I still can't believe I passed it. This case was different from the others, as it was a written case. I was placed in a room with around 25 powerpoint slides. I had to read them, and pick only 7 slides that I felt was the most relevant. I then had to use those slides to support my recommendation. The case involved a company that manufactures recyclable surgical tools. Its main clients are large hospitals, and it has been seeing declining profits. There was so much information to go through within the one-hour allotted time. I took notes, divided the slides into buckets and identified the 2 key problems affecting the client: 1) lack of a robust marketing campaign to raise awareness of the efficiency of these tools, and 2) not taking advantage of better growth opportunities in international markets. After I presented, the principal only asked one question, so I thought I bombed. Much to my surprise, I got a call from a recruiter a few days later and got the offer.

      Sorry for this super long post but hope it was helpful. In a nutshell, make sure you understand frameworks, don't make any math mistakes during the cases, make sure to translate your analysis into a succinct actionable recommendation, and know when you are going down the wrong path because the interviewer will throw out clues.
      Aug 2, 2018
    • Apple / Other Manhattan
      Really appreciate your insights
      Aug 2, 2018
    • Apple / Other Manhattan
      How did you practice?
      Aug 2, 2018
    • Microsoft NOW69
      What was the timeline for applying and interviewing? What level is the offer?
      Aug 3, 2018
    • Amazon / Product

      Amazon Product

      Be careful OP! Your case interview details narrow down the firm and office.
      Oct 31, 2018
  • Facebook / Product Imgur
    I was a MBB out of college and left. Ended up as PM at Facebook. Comp is certainly less than partner but I wouldn’t have made partner (to be realistic- I don’t work that hard).

    MBB is whatever - the hours are tough, the work is glorified data science plus interviews, the clients are idiots. Slides are king. I felt like I was watching my life slip by instead of living it; no control over what I worked on. Depending on what you do at Amazon - could be better or worse.

    Agree w you that coworkers are a mixed bag at FAANG. MBAs outside product org have tended to not impress me, surprisingly. And I spend just as much time on low value shit here (chasing down engineers) as I would have in MBB (chasing down clients). You win some and lose some. You also learn a lot about running a P/L in ops and PM that you don’t learn in strategy.

    Personally I think tech is the future, and wanted to be in the industry where the future is built up (ML, adversarial systems, etc). Upside from my role is comp from VC / PM director roles and I think of consulting as a fallback if the bubble bursts.
    Aug 1, 2018 0
  • Google / Eng

    Google Eng

    Amazon, Uber, Facebook, Microsoft, Netflix
    Senior Director, TC = $1.8M. FU money from pre-ipo@Goog, FB and Netflix.
    Generally people try to actively leave MBB for FAANG, not the other way around. I have to deal with a bunch of MBB consultants all the time and think they are complete fucktards but we hire them to provide external validation of what we already know, like any big corp.
    Aug 2, 2018 0
  • Microsoft


    TL;DR ex MBB folks try to get jobs as PMs at places like Amazon. In fact several of my colleagues are also ex MBB

    Ex MBB here did it for a few years. My assumption is that you’re a pm @ Amazon. I also assume you went to a top mba program. Your peers will all look identical to you on paper. And you’re right, on average they will probably be more competent. There are just far fewer employees and these days amazon isn’t very selective. There will still be a good mix of smart state school kids even at MBB. And you’ll still deal with tons of idiots, too (even at MBB). You’ll also deal with tons of people who are generally intelligent but have no clue what they’re talking about (especially in tech or any field that requires any rigor). And you’re right that if things go well your comp curve will be faster/higher. The massive caveat here is that it almost certainly won’t go well. Even if you’re a hard worker and generally smart, that won’t be enough to crack partner from principal. You need partner sponsorship. That basically means that the partner thinks you’re so incredible that you’ll bring in more work. This is like winning a lottery ticket. You’ll also be slower initially than others that were sponsored for their mbas. You’re absolutely at a disadvantage if you’re striving for partner. In fact, I was a 1 every year and it would’ve still been a crapshoot for me and I don’t think I had a realistic shot. The other points I would make are that the exit ops are absolutely overblown. Ex mbb will largely be targeted for Corp strat and bd roles at f500 companies at places just like Amazon. In fact, most of my mbb friends would kill for a job as a pm at amazon. The other thing that some mbb folks strive for is exiting into dd work at a pe firm. As for the actual work you do, you’ll be doing a lot of hand wavy “analysis” of data and a ton of aggregating expert interviews before you hit pl. You’ll have little control over your life and be forced to do this hand wavy analysis over and over again for hours on end and spend tons of time making slides and then redoing them and trying to get the slide messaging right.
    Aug 2, 2018 0
  • Apple / Other Manhattan
    Actively pursuing the same route

    I feel its a great move

    Would love to know you Interview experience
    Aug 1, 2018 1
    • Microsoft fofx
      Same here, hard time getting an interview call. Masters tho and no mba
      Apr 30
  • Google S1mone
    If you are not keen on consulting, don't do it. The travel, long hours, and (often) unglamorous work will make you miserable. When you are running away from something you may not be thinking rationally
    Aug 1, 2018 0
  • Oracle zvbsji9p
    It is a declining industry from pre-tech era.

    And even back then, it has little to boast about, with more embarrassments than accomplishments. Rollingstone has a good article on Romney/Bain/Bain Capital and it was basically a scam. McK head was part of that big insider trading case. The secrecy isn't really about propriety info...

    The whole concept is not set up to succeed. The guy paying the bill is more often than not part of the problem and isn't looking for a real solution, not that consultants with random liberal arts degrees would have it anyway.

    But hey, if you're unhappy, things can only go up.
    Aug 2, 2018 0
  • Microsoft UMbR31
    Number (4) alone speaks a lot about you, and suggests you're going to feel right at home at MBB. Nothing wrong or right about it, career is about finding the right fit, I'd suggest taking up the offer and staying at least till you make EM/PL.

    Also, your English suggests you're Indian. MBB US experience will give you better exits to India if ever you want to move back.
    Aug 1, 2018 2
    • Amazon WACC
      Nope. Not Indian. Born in the U.S. Since I'm writing this on my phone, my grammar and diction are sloppy.
      Aug 1, 2018
    • Microsoft fofx
      Lol I love how you came to a conclusion that he meant you are indian caz you were sloppy in your grammar. Make America great ...., wait what?
      Apr 30
  • Amazon Planck
    Why not aim for an exit to Director of Product or similar at a fast growing mid-stage startup with product market fit? Or for a people management role in FAANG? If you just hate Seattle and Amazon, there is a ton of opportunity in the Bay Area and lots of smart people. Do that for a few years while networking your way to a VC role. MBB seems an odd choice given where you are now.
    Aug 2, 2018 0
  • Bain & Company uqRH20
    Honestly man - everyone in consulting is trying to leave. You're in a good place. Some of the best exit opps are FAANG and you're there. Not sure what's wrong with you for wanting to go to consulting.
    Apr 30 3
    • Amazon 22/7
      He probably needs more “Prestige.”
      Apr 30
    • Oracle zultn
      Why is everyone trying to leave?
      May 1
    • Bain & Company BR23
      Just to put the balance on this - one awesome thing about the culture (at least where I’m at) is that they don’t see wanting to leave as a betrayal. It’s pretty understood that retaining us is the company’s responsibility. I think it really improves the quality of conversation about career paths. It also creates the perception that everyone is trying to leave, which is not true. Anyone who wants to leave can do so easily (hence, not trying if they are still here). All that’s going on is that we are more able to talk about it openly, which creates the perception in this post
      Jul 9
  • Amazon / Mktg Myotis11
    Seems like you just don’t like IT industry, but prefer Fancy industries like consulting and hedge funds. I have non tech friends from consulting/hedge funds, and tech friends from FANG, they look down on each other.
    I have to agree with your #4 though, I would say 50/50, but it’s the same everywhere
    Aug 2, 2018 0


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