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Intelligence Briefs

Big four consulting grads value prestige, curiosity over cash

Paul McIntyre
Executive Editor

12 August 2019 2min read

The best and brightest university graduates are opting for the "deferred compensation" of below-average salaries at the big four consulting firms because they saw it as a good career move (AFR).


Key points

  • The average starting salary for a bachelor degree holder across the big four ranged from $54,000 to $64,000 - about 10 per cent lower than the $65,691 average graduate salary reported by The Australian Association of Graduate Employers 2019 survey.
  • Graduates at McKinsey, however, start at $85,000 and sometimes hit $100,000-plus
  • The big four hired 2500 graduates this year
  • Associate professor Andre Sammartino at Melbourne University's business and economics faculty says his students see management consulting as a way to stay curious. "They don't want to get bogged down in a single industry, even though ironically that's what often happens." 

My Takeout

Intellectual curiosity was the primary reason for new graduates to take lower salaries to work with the big consulting firms. It's more evidence for why emerging talent across the marketing, agency and media sectors have to step-up to stay match-fit with their emerging competition. Mi3 covered the challenges for media agencies with agency CEOs in this piece. As optimistic as agency bosses are, the status quo won't cut it. The comments from Andre Sammartino, Associate professor at Melbourne University's business and economics faculty are telling: "My students who have gone into consulting have been very intellectually curious and they see management consulting as a way to stay curious."

Market Voice

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Guy Burbidge, Managing Director

Val Morgan Cinema

16 August 2019 3min read

Why media company activism is risky but crucial in driving culture change for Australian women

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Brendon Hill

CEO - Bauer Media