Consulting

Genuine question: what is the prestige of the big 4? New to all of this and curious as to why people from other industries and walks of life are so impressed with us

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Because consultants, whether it’s MBB, big 4, or even boutique firms, are typically fairly smart, driven individuals who are paid very well — (we bicker about MBB vs Big 4 or whatever, but we are all way above the poverty line fresh out of UG) — to solve complex problems our clients need help with — (again, there are cynics who think strategy guys are gods amongst implementation, but all the work is needed and usually appreciated by the clients). However, I would also not drink the kool aid too much. There are plenty of very smart, even smarter people, in other walks of life, whether that be finance & tech or, yes, even the organizations paying us for help. Trust me

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Trust me, we aren't impressed when you say you're from the Big 4. I usually smile and nod to be polite though

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Tell us how big you are

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Anyone I come across that isn’t in this industry has no idea nor cares that I work for a Big 4.

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I'll add, the most "in the know" about what firms might constitute the Big 4 are the ones who look at me like we are the most boring people to exist but want to know deets on if we were the ones who screwed up the Oscar envelopes. Surprisingly frequent question. No shade, PwC. Apparently we are a collective in the minds of many on this point.

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There is no prestige. It’s false perception the Big4 have of themselves. “I work at Deloitte” typically elicits a “you’re an accountant?” reaction, if not “what’s that?”... other industries couldn’t care less, and even amongst business buyers, big 4 is not like “oooh damn big guns are here!”. But hey... MBB is mostly in the same boat. Now if you said “I work for Google”...

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Many companies sell widgets. We sell our time at very expensive rates, and many of the biggest companies in the world pay for it. People recognize that this isn’t a standard job to be in. We are also one of the largest, most recognized, and most reputable professional services firms in the world. The impression is natural.

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It took a lot of consolidation over a few decades to form the big 4 . Then ethics violations nearly killed most of them , but they survived in various ways and have thrived .

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