I have a question for you that I imagine is somewhat unique.

First of all, I want to thank you for the programs you’ve put together. The free program and Look Over My Shoulder® have been invaluable in preparing for case interviews.

As a result of the help you’ve provided, I’m currently in a position where I have an offer for Oliver Wyman Financial Services, but it’s for a brand new role that isn’t pure consulting. The role at Oliver Wyman would be primarily internal research and thought leadership, with only about 20% of my time billing out to clients on cases. On the other hand, I’m to the final round for Seabury Group, a premier Aviation Consultancy started by former Bain guys.

At Seabury Group, I’d be in a traditional consulting position with a lot of opportunities for international travel, but I’m not sure what the difference would be in terms of long term opportunities. If I stayed at Oliver Wyman, I could likely transition over to a consulting role after a year or two in the initial position.

I need to make a decision [this week] in order to hold onto the Oliver Wyman offer. Any thoughts on the benefits or disadvantages of either role? In the Oliver Wyman case, I’d have a lot of ownership over my own position, but my opportunity to advance in the consulting career track would likely be better at Seabury. I’m interested in aviation, but am not particularly passionate about it, so I’m unsure if narrowing myself to that niche at this early point in my career would be advisable.

For a bit of background, I graduated from an Ivy almost 3 years ago, and have been working in a few market research firms.

My Reply:

Congratulations on the offers.

There’s really no right or wrong decision. It’s the tradeoff of stronger brand + less responsibility vs. less known brand + more responsibility. Not sure what your goals are, but if B-school is under consideration, both can get you there — probably more time needed for OW, given your starting point.

If you’re looking to work in industry, the easiest crossover is from OW to financial services or Seabury to aviation. If you do want to work in industry, but not those particular industries, you either need B-school as the transition or a lot of networking. It will be harder to get an interview with Seabury on your resume when applying totally out of the blue. If you apply via networking or a very strong cover letter, be sure to reference Seabury as a Bain spinoff – a way to sneak in the Bain brand name.

I hope this gives you greater clarity with respect to the offer you end up accepting, the downside of that offer, and the things you can start doing to offset it.

Also, if you haven’t already, you might want to sign up for my newsletter just for first-year consultants.