MBB consultancies push back some MBA start dates to next year

20 April 2023 Consulting.us 2 min. read

McKinsey & Company, Bain & Company, and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) have delayed the start dates of some new MBA hires to 2024, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

McKinsey on Monday informed the slate of new hires who would be starting in 2023, and on Wednesday notified those starting in 2024.

BCG in the last few weeks told its MBA hires their start dates, which are staggered across the second half of 2023 and into January 2024.

Bain, meanwhile, has been offering incentives to convince new grads to hold off a bit longer. If they agree to push their start date to April 2024, the firm will pay them $40,000 to work for a non-profit or $30,000 to learn a new language, MBAs with offer letters from Bain told WSJ.

MBB consultancies push back some MBA start dates to next year

Consulting firms are among the largest recruiters for MBA grads from top-flight schools such as Harvard and Wharton, often eclipsing other suitors such as major investment banks and technology firms. Highly ranked MBA programs sent hundreds of grads to the MBB consultancies last year, according to school employment records.

MBB firms pay top-dollar for Harvard and Wharton grads, with median salaries reaching $175,000 for the class of 2022.

The start date delays arrive amid a wave of layoffs at the consulting firms amid cooling demand, and point to consultancies’ wider concerns about the economy. EY and KPMG have announced workforce cuts of 5% and 2%, respectively, mostly falling on their consulting divisions – which have seen reduced demand for IT and transactions consulting following high pandemic-era demand and hiring sprees.

McKinsey, meanwhile, is cutting 3% of its global employees, with job losses hitting support and administrative functions.

Consultancies are reticent to cancel MBA offers outright, since doing so might jeopardize their reputation as a top destination for future cohorts. Entry-level hires are also relatively cheap and form the bulk of on-the-ground consultants sent to project sites. Firms, as such, might prefer to axe low-performing managers instead of narrowing the supply of MBA grad hires.