Pros/cons of becoming a partner at a private vs public firm, in terms of $, growth, influence/autonomy, politics, etc.

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I’ve been a partner at a boutique, “partner” in a public, worked in industry (non-tech), and partner at a B4.

The public firm had more quarterly pressure as you’d imagine. While the private firms had less time pressure, but limited personal backstop. You had to make your numbers quickly in a private. I think there is more rope in a public company.

The money is different, but I’ve done well at either. Whether through equity compensation or the draws.

Autonomy is more driven by size IMO. At my 250 person boutique I had complete autonomy. And risk. At a B4 I have great autonomy, but there are limits.

Politics. Nothing is harder than corporate politics in industry. Consulting business politics is child’s play compared to industry. I know that’s not your question. I found the politics similar between my public and private firms. Maybe a few more people to pay attention to in the Public (eg. CFO is a much more important role in a public v private).



Jesus Christ the politics at the VP+ level makes me want to tear my face off sometimes. I couldn’t imagine living that everyday.


I’ve only been a partner at a private firm, but there’s something very liberating about not being accountable to “the street” for our results. We don’t have to spend any energy worrying about hitting quarterly numbers and can make investments as we please.

The economic theory would presumably say that $ is better on the private side (partner held… not PE-owned) since the partnership gets 100% of the profit rather than having to share with other investors. I’m not sure there are enough “like for like” firms to really validate that this is how it’s playing out in the marketplace. From where I sit, people move back and forth between IBM and Accenture and B4. Oliver Wyman attracts top talent as part of a publicly held company. So 🤷


Private company shareholders make more, on average. How could they not?


Would imagine politics are the same, influence is likely the same.

Only difference maybe for pvt companies (specifically audit) that you cannot hold specific securities because of independence. Public, you can hold whatever.


Public - you probably get a good chuck of TC as stock

Private - you probably get all your TC paid out

Average big 4 partner comp is $1M+

MBBs which are also private $1.5M maybe more

I’ve heard average Accenture MD or IBM / Capgemini etc. comp is significantly less, although the compensation scheme is very different since they’re public making it hard for comparison.

I could be wrong, just speculating.

I make more at Accenture than I did at Deloitte as first year partner. So yes, overtime private makes you more, but it’s easier to make cash earlier in public.

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