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Management Consultant MBB Big4 etc etc etc

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Old 01-08-2016, 05:18 AM
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Default Management Consultant MBB Big4 etc etc etc

Hey guys,

I'm learning these days what the consulting landscape looks like in Singapore. I'm currently in the US doing my PhD study. After my undergrad in Singapore, I was in government sector for 3 years. I came to the US to further my study afterwards. I'm toying with the idea of coming back to Singapore or stay in the US for more experience.

Regarding the consulting jobs, I don't see any discussion or a bit of interest in local community here. I might be wrong. I checked the current salary thread, and didn't see much info for consulting jobs. I wondered if it's because all consultants from MBB never visit this site to post their salary or we don't have any info for their current market salary? OR consultants population in Singapore is very low?

I knew from my personal experience that MBB in China are now aggressively hiring PhD graduates in the US. I don't know much about Singapore though.

If you have any idea, I'd like to listen to yours.

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Old 01-08-2016, 12:55 PM
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Most MBB management associates are from international branded schools who already secured an offer before graduation, that's why you are not going to see much discussion online.

As for Big4 "management consulting", it's very different in SG compared to US. Over here their branding is not much different from entry auditors - more like sweatshop mass hires of average grads and ranked lower than even associate hires of local banks/GLC.

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Old 02-08-2016, 12:14 AM
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I see.

Yes, it's hard to find any information on consulting landscape in Singapore although it's plenty here in the States.

Thank you so much!

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Old 02-08-2016, 03:34 AM
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I was with MBB in Singapore. US MBA. Most of the ASEAN business is outside of Singapore. I.e. Indonesia can be 50% of the region's revenue. So you fly out on Monday and return Friday, and repeat the cycle.

What specifically would you like to know? Pay is about 80% of US scale.
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Old 02-08-2016, 04:11 AM
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I'd like to know more about the workload and exit options. Can I PM you?

Seems you don't have an account.
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Old 02-08-2016, 09:25 AM
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Former consultant here. European MBA. Why don't you post your questions here so everyone can benefit...


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Old 02-08-2016, 10:40 AM
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Well, first I don’t see much of the discussion on Singapore consulting here. So I thought it’s not very public here in Singapore.

My understanding is McKinsey first opened their SEA office in Indonesia and later spread to other regions. Considering the heavy workload nature of the region, Singapore doesn’t seem to have much of the management consulting to do (highly educated, highly efficient working policy in place, etc etc, I’m not talking about auditing.) whereas you can have so many management policy in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, or Philippines. They still have so many rooms to grow like business expansion, start up companies, M&A etc etc etc.

Bottom line is Singapore is a developed country, and almost saturated with all the working policy in place. All others are still developing. So management consulting would be more beneficial to them rather than in Singapore. I’m not taking a swipe at other regions. I’m being realistic about what’s going on in the region. Based on that perception (correct me if I’m wrong.)

1. I venture to guess if there would be more recruitment of consultants in those countries in near future, Thailand, Malaysia or maybe in Vietnam (I saw one flyer consulting recruitment for Vietnamese office at my school campus.) phasing out Singapore office (reduction) and gradually going upwards ?

2. Since you all are ex MBB consultants in Singapore, can you share your travelling schedule? It depends on your project or which region you travel the most?

3. You said 80% of the US pay scale (I don’t know who is who, all are unregistered here). For e.g., It is USD 100k in the US, so it would be USD 80k in Singapore. Converting to SGD, it would be ~ SGD100k?

4. Since you all are ex-consultants, would you mind sharing why you decided to switch to other professions?

If any of you could shed some lights on your experience and where you are heading now, that would be really appreciated.
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Old 02-08-2016, 12:54 PM
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I am the ex-MBB US MBA posting above.

Your point re: Singapore is valid. In ASEAN countries, demand for management and strategy consulting tends to be the inverse of the state of market and human resource development. Less developed countries tend to be the bigger markets. Keep in mind also that many MNCs in Singapore, though they are Asia / ASEAN HQs, get their direction from US / Europe and thus have little discretion (or budget) for strategy engagements of their own. So, much of the revenue is from locally-born businesses and govs, and these tend to be from Indonesia, Thai, Malaysia, Phil, etc.

Major client industries are Financial Service (by far), Oil & Gas and Telecom. There are some sprinkles of Retail, Manufacturing and Public Sector/Gov. Why FS is by far the largest? This is mainly driven by # of clients who can afford an MBB rate. When there are many potential clients, you can fill a revenue pipeline. When your client base is smaller (fewer telcos vs. banks in a typical country), your revenue gets lumpier.

Yes, McK (and BCG) got their start in ASEAN doing Oil & Gas in Indonesia back in 1995-6. Bain joined the scene much later.

A PhD is valued by MBB. But I believe McK values it more, and you may find more PhDs at McK. McK also invests more in economics think tanks like MGI than BCG and Bain do, if that kind of work appeals to you. I think they want to speak at Davos more than the rest

Travel schedule varies according to firm's staffing model and your specific client / engagement situation. McK in general is a more global firm than BCG or Bain. The more global the firm is, the likelier long travels (6 hours+) are. BCG in ASEAN tends to focus solely on regional clients and build stronger local roots, so your travels are not long (2-3 hours max). YMMV, but if you are an expat consultant from US wanting a 1-2 year stint in Asia, McK model works for you since you have a built-in chance to rotate back to home. If you are a local, perhaps BCG model is more to your liking. Also, some clients are more flexible, others demand you to work at their sites (and have strict control over client data).

Regarding MNC pay in Singapore, what I tend to see is a range of 75-80% of US comp structure. This includes MBB. Pay is very much related to client hourly charging, and the hourly rates in ASEAN are about 80% of US rates. I am now at a US tech MNC and my bonus structure is pegged at 75% of my US colleague.

Mind you that you have to work harder for that 80% than your US colleagues do. Even at only 80% of US rates, MBB rates are considered very high by ASEAN clients, so the tendency is to over-scope engagements for the amount of revenue we are getting in order to win business. This means overwork as large scopes are executed by fewer consultants. Unfortunately, this is a typical situation for frontier offices, whether it be ASEAN, South America, or Africa.

Why I switched? The paragraph above is some of the answer, although for me it's not the entire picture. On the whole, I enjoy my time at MBB, enough to stay for 5 years. I like the colleagues and the client works. I simply found an opportunity outside of it that I like as much (if not more) and provides me with an equivalent financial benefit.
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Old 02-08-2016, 11:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
I am the ex-MBB US MBA posting above.

Your point re: Singapore is valid. In ASEAN countries, demand for management and strategy consulting tends to be the inverse of the state of market and human resource development. Less developed countries tend to be the bigger markets. Keep in mind also that many MNCs in Singapore, though they are Asia / ASEAN HQs, get their direction from US / Europe and thus have little discretion (or budget) for strategy engagements of their own. So, much of the revenue is from locally-born businesses and govs, and these tend to be from Indonesia, Thai, Malaysia, Phil, etc.

Major client industries are Financial Service (by far), Oil & Gas and Telecom. There are some sprinkles of Retail, Manufacturing and Public Sector/Gov. Why FS is by far the largest? This is mainly driven by # of clients who can afford an MBB rate. When there are many potential clients, you can fill a revenue pipeline. When your client base is smaller (fewer telcos vs. banks in a typical country), your revenue gets lumpier.

Yes, McK (and BCG) got their start in ASEAN doing Oil & Gas in Indonesia back in 1995-6. Bain joined the scene much later.

A PhD is valued by MBB. But I believe McK values it more, and you may find more PhDs at McK. McK also invests more in economics think tanks like MGI than BCG and Bain do, if that kind of work appeals to you. I think they want to speak at Davos more than the rest

Travel schedule varies according to firm's staffing model and your specific client / engagement situation. McK in general is a more global firm than BCG or Bain. The more global the firm is, the likelier long travels (6 hours+) are. BCG in ASEAN tends to focus solely on regional clients and build stronger local roots, so your travels are not long (2-3 hours max). YMMV, but if you are an expat consultant from US wanting a 1-2 year stint in Asia, McK model works for you since you have a built-in chance to rotate back to home. If you are a local, perhaps BCG model is more to your liking. Also, some clients are more flexible, others demand you to work at their sites (and have strict control over client data).

Regarding MNC pay in Singapore, what I tend to see is a range of 75-80% of US comp structure. This includes MBB. Pay is very much related to client hourly charging, and the hourly rates in ASEAN are about 80% of US rates. I am now at a US tech MNC and my bonus structure is pegged at 75% of my US colleague.

Mind you that you have to work harder for that 80% than your US colleagues do. Even at only 80% of US rates, MBB rates are considered very high by ASEAN clients, so the tendency is to over-scope engagements for the amount of revenue we are getting in order to win business. This means overwork as large scopes are executed by fewer consultants. Unfortunately, this is a typical situation for frontier offices, whether it be ASEAN, South America, or Africa.

Why I switched? The paragraph above is some of the answer, although for me it's not the entire picture. On the whole, I enjoy my time at MBB, enough to stay for 5 years. I like the colleagues and the client works. I simply found an opportunity outside of it that I like as much (if not more) and provides me with an equivalent financial benefit.

Thank you so much for your insight.
I'd appreciate it.

Here in the US, most of the consultants went to PE after several years of consulting. I asked the exit option in Singapore, not because of commitment issue, rather a viable option if things don't work out.
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Old 03-08-2016, 10:42 AM
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Exit options from MBB are varied. In ASEAN, there are the family-owned conglomerates, MNCs of all kinds, banks, and yes PEs. I see many of my ex-colleagues went to local conglomerates. This is interesting since my gut instinct told me that most would go to US MNCs. It turns out that for the same pay, the conglomerates give them higher positions and responsibilities, so that is a definite draw.

PEs are not (yet) a prominent fixture of the capital market in Southeast Asia. Unlike in the US where the VC/PE market has a balance of techies, ex MBBs and ex IBs, in Singapore my sense is it is dominated by ex IBs. This probably has to do with the fact that most of the deals so far are later-stage or mature deals where the emphasis is in "doing the deal"... vs. early-stage investments where you have a better chance to shape the business. This may change given the wave of tech startups that have been coming to the scene in the last 1-2 years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thereo View Post
Thank you so much for your insight.
I'd appreciate it.

Here in the US, most of the consultants went to PE after several years of consulting. I asked the exit option in Singapore, not because of commitment issue, rather a viable option if things don't work out.
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