Consulting

My several-hundred person firm does not have MDs, only partners. Why would someone pursue an MD role over a Partner role? Just trying to understand.

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At my firm, MDs are simply non-equity partners. Either they didn’t want to pursue that career track or some folks make MD bc they weren’t invited into partnership.

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If I’m purposely pursuing the MD track, it’s because I don’t want to have ownership and would much rather maintain a consistent salary. If you’re offered partnership, it’s likely because you pursued it so the situations of someone going the partner route and getting the invitation to then change their mind and choose to be an MD is slim to none.

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There are a lot of reasons. At Deloitte the partnership financials don’t work after a certain age. I know partners that have shifted to MD to focus on the work they really care about and is their best value to the firm. I know MDs who’s spouses wouldn’t let them become Deloitte partners after the Anderson disaster earlier in their career. I may go MD vs. P because it’s more flexible and it’s easy to pursue some other life passions over time. Others are forced that way because the firm is making more MDs then P right now.

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It’s just nomenclature. Could mean anything just depends how the firm is structured. Are you the boss? Do you own part of the firm? Then who cares what you’re called.

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At Accenture we're public and only have MDs which must own equity.

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C2, there is a purchase program that allows us to buy stock with a match. But the match has a vesting period and there is no discount.

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We get an options grant that vests by the time we must own equity. We also participate in an equity plan and get restricted grants for performance.

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Good discussion. It does depend on the firm. Many partners who are forced to retire at their firm’s mandatory retirement age become MDs elsewhere. They get to continue doing work they enjoy without the risk or the associated complexities. As someone else mentioned, for some, the economics don’t work for either party unless the candidate can commit or is willing to commit a minimum number of years into the partnership with mandatory retirement as one of the factors. For others, at a private firm, they may choose to get paid more and paid consistently than a new partner might be, as a highly accomplished MD. Not all MC’s are focused on making a life commitment. Then at firms like Accenture, there are only MDs at multiple levels. They get equity. Interestingly so do their top performing SM’s, as do other top performers, something partnerships do not do. That feels remarkably smart.

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At some firms the non equity partners play slighty different roles. Like 60/40 delivery/sales rather than 40/60. In the IT side of things, if you’re someone who likes focusing on something like technology delivery and architecture rather than client relationship building then that might be more your speed. Also, as others have said, mandatory retirement might not make it financially sensible and risk of ownership may make it not palatable. On the whole I believe partners have a little bit better growth ops for compensation but both get very respectable salaries. Well more than enough to be financially set provided there are not extensive other personal debts or drains on income

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