MBB or Tech Company?

Question:

First of all thank you so much. I bought your books on Amazon and devour your newsletters and this has been an essential part of the exciting story I'm about to tell you. I want to give you a very short version to see if I'm so lucky as to get your advice.

I am an engineer from a developing country, I have no MBA or any other degree. I'm married and have two kids. Medium term I want to settle in Silicon Valley and found my own company.

Thanks to your material and my hundreds of hours of preparation, I've been offered a post-MBA position in one of the big consulting firms (M/B/B) for their [South American city] Office. At the same time one of the big tech companies has offered me a position in Silicon Valley... as an inside sales associate for half the salary than the consulting offer.

I'd love to make use of this extremely unique opportunity and take the MBB offer, but I've heard that it is a nightmare and almost impossible to be transfered permanently to the US in consulting. Is this true?

I want to follow my heart and logic and take the consulting offer but I fear that I may prove extremely hard to relocate to the US in the future.

Thanks for any word that you can give me.

My Reply:

Congrats on the offer!

In terms of your question, here's my brutally honest advice.

Assuming you don't have any Visa restrictions to relocating back to the US after a stint in [South American country], and barring any personal factors you haven't mentioned, career wise it is a no brainer to take the MBB offer for 2 years. Assuming living in that country isn't a problem, forget the transfer, just quit after 2 years (or heck even 18 months) and move to the U.S. and look for a tech job.

International transfers are difficult, they typically do not happen until year 3 and only for the honest level performers, and even then it's not a guarantee.

A good segue for you would be a business development job, looking for strategic partnerships or mergers and acquisitions, or product management.

Inside sales in tech is a dead end job. The upward trajectory is limited, you never deal with strategic issues, it doesn't set you up to be a founder in either skills, connection, reputation or credibility.

I don't know of any unemployed ex-consultants in Silicon Valley. A job search from [the other country] is difficult, so you will want to save as much money as you possibly can so that you can afford to just move to Silicon Valley without a job and give yourself time to look for one. You will have to network a lot, and it won't happen immediately, but it is totally doable.

As an engineer + MBB + tech business experience, you could raise financing from a VC if you wanted. As an engineer + inside sales, that's a very rare profile in terms of self raising capital.

If you need to stay in the U.S. for spouse and kids, then stay. If you have flexibility, the MBB path will be better for you in the long run. It gives you more higher level job options in tech, and gives you fall back employability if your startup struggles or fails.

Good luck !

Additional Resources

If you found this post useful, I suggest becoming a registered member (it's free) to get access to the materials I used to pass 60 out of 61 case interviews, land 7 job offers, and end up working at McKinsey.

Members get access to 6 hours of video tutorials on case interviews, the actual frameworks I used to pass my interviews, and over 500 articles on case interviews.

To get access to these free resources, just fill out the form below:

First Name *
Email *

Note: All registrations require you to confirm your email address.
Please type your email address carefully, entering your email also subscribes you to my Case Secrets Email Newsletter.

mail
Facebookgoogle_pluslinkedin
1 comment… add one
  • [email protected] Apr 30, 2013, 9:20 am

    Cheng, I am impressed by your knowledge of MBB for someone who only spent 2,5 years at McKinsey and at really junior level….
    Thumb up

Leave a Comment