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Any hopes?

 
#1 Any hopes?
22/02/2006 17:53

Canadian

Hello All,

I am vastly benefited by the discussion threads and other resources available on this forum. I live in Canada but have been actively looking for a consulting career in the UK. When I apply for any UK based job, I quote my London contact address rather than the Canadian one - in order to not scare away the recruiter/employer.

My experience comes from manufacturing - chemicals, petrochemicals and heavy industries. I am a chemical engineer with 7 years of international experience and an MBA from one of the top 20 business schools. Till now, I have applied to many of the big as well niche consulting firms. I am also in touch with several recruiters. Looking back, I have had mostly negative or not-so-positive responses from these consulting firms/recruiters.

Does the future look bleak for me for securing a consulting job in the UK market? I am a bit confused/disheartened at the moment and do not know where to change my approach. There are very knowledgeable people on this forum and I request you all to spare a few moments to help me. Your advice and insights for further improvements are much appreciated. Thank you very much.

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#2 Re: Any hopes?
23/02/2006 08:32

dd

Stay in Canada - you'll ultimately benefit from post peak oil era. The Canadian and Russian economies are the powerhouses of the future due to their huge reserves of fossil fuels (tar sands and oil/gas respectively). The UK is a creaking old relic of a country.....why would you want to come over here?

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#3 Re: Any hopes?
23/02/2006 11:01

s

I suspect Canada and UK recruitment requirements are quite similar. Therefore if I were you I would approach an agency in Canada to ask for their advice on whether you have the right background for consulting and whether this is appropriately presented in your CV. Ideally talk to them face to face.

It is very tough to get in as an experienced hire without prior consulting experience and/or a strong network that will allow you to generate business.

Some commentators suggest we are enjoying a boom in recruitment. It does not feel like it as a candidate. I had an interview recently where they had 200 applicants after filtering i.e. they felt all 200 were good standard but could only interview 10. So once you have made sure you have the right background and a good CV you still need to roll the dice.

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#4 Re: Any hopes?
23/02/2006 12:19

anon

Hi Canadian MBA,

Know the feeling! An MBA from a top school, some decent experience and every time you put your toe in the door they politely ask you to remove it and slam the door shut.

My own view is that the market over here is improving, but it's starting from a low base as it was a much more severe downturn in consulting versus the economy as a whole. The good news is that the recovery is now stronger in consulting than the economy as a whole. That's partly to do with some of the reasons clients hire consultants (demand increases in this part of the cycle), but also because the cost-cutters often got it wrong in the downturn (i.e. they overdid it, often made cuts in the wrong places and now they are short-staffed).

So as to your first question I would say generally no, but suggest you read an up-to-date UK consulting market report if you have not already done so. There are real reasons to be more positive.

As to changing your approach - go for areas where there is demand and meticulously rewrite your CV to demonstrate it. Example : I don't specialise in your sectors, but the Oil/Gas/Energy sector has a much higher recruitment demand over here than say heavy industry/manufacturing (slowest to recover). Petrochemicals (to people like me who don't really know seems to straddle both). The thing is HR people are probably not really going to know either, but you need to get past them to meet partners and experts in your field. I would play up your experience/knowledge in the petrochemical/oil industry and play down your heavy industry expertise. Target consultancies with existing expertise/clients in your field.

Another thing to consider is targetting consultancies with offices in both the UK & Canada, to keep your options open for the future (plus they will probably be more receptive to your background). However London is so international, that if you have the required work permit, a UK address and can get to interview it is very unlikely to be an issue.

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#5 Re: Any hopes?
24/02/2006 13:38

Erik

Hi Canadian MBA

In my opinion you should continue looking! My background is somewhat simliar to yours, having worked for a chemical company for 5 years now after my Batchelor and MBA - and I just got a job as senior consultant at one of the large consultancies. However, I got my position in Switzerland/Germany.

Before getting this position I was off course also declined by some companies - but at the end I had a chance to choose between two of the largest players, CG and ACN.

So my advice to you is to keep up the good work, have someone take a critical look on your CV and covering letter - and keep going!

I wish you the best of luck!

Erik

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#6 Re: Any hopes?
25/02/2006 20:26

Canadian

Erik, Anon, S and dd

Thank you all for sharing your insights and advices. I would like to clarify here that I am determined to make a career in consulting rather than staying put in the engineering arena. Calgary economy is certainly booming thanks to the oilsands but the city does give me the business exposure and the lifestyle I am used to. Of course, its a great place if you are just concerned about making money.

On the other hand, I was glad to read these two positive responses from Erik and Anon....thank you very much guys.

One last question, I am planning to come to London and actively scout for jobs for the next two months. Do you think thats a fair enough time to go around and get some interviews? If any of you can suggest any firms that I can approach, I would certainly appreciate it.

Also Erik - looking at your industry background and personal experiences, I might be benefited from your insights. Would you be open to share your advice? I can write to you directly if you can give me your email. My email is Vic.Karambelkar05@gmail.com in case if you prefer to email me.

Look forward to hearing from you soon.

And needless to say, this email invitation is for anyone who can share some real advice. Thank you once again and have a nice weekend.

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