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My chances at entering consultancy with a PhD?

 
#1 My chances at entering consultancy with a PhD?
30/03/2006 19:18

Richard

Hi there,

I was wondering if I could get a professional opinion on whether I'll be able to get onto a graduate scheme with a management consultancy with the following (not strictly 'business')credentials:

BA English Language & literature (King's College London, 2003)High 2.1

MA Linguistics (UCL, 2004)- full scholarship

and a PhD in linguistics (Sheffield, to be completed 2007) - full scholarship. I'll be 27 when I wrap up the doctorate.

Which scheme/company might be best for people with PhDs?

Also, can someone please tell me which consultancies offer work with public sector bodies such as government and universities, and whether consultants specialising in this area earn as much as those handling private contracts?

HUGE THANKS IN ADVANCE!

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#2 Re: My chances at entering consultancy with a PhD?
30/03/2006 22:01

Barry Scott

Your academics will probably be fine for most firms, but what work experience (including research positions) do you have?

You'll need to demonstrate that you've done something substantial besides the PhD to account for the up to six years headstart others applying for the graduate positions will have on you.

Also, as you say, your studies haven't been business-related so you'll need to work hard to demonstrate your acumen, commitment to a consulting career, lifestyle, and all the usual generic skill requirements that graduate recruiters look for.

PhD's in quantitative subjects can be advantageous for some financial consultancies, but I don't know of any management consultancies that favour PhD's in their own right (i.e. without the corresponding experience in an area that they can sell directly to clients). Perhaps look at some of the smaller and newer consultancies as they are likely to have more flexible career models?

There are quite a few consultancies focussed on the public sector - some exclusively and some which have developed strong public sector practices to take advantage of the recent relative strength of that market. In fact many consultancies have been involved in the public sector recently since there have so many big contracts/sub-contracts going.

All the usual names (PA, CapGemini, IBM, etc.) have opportunities in public sector, but I'm sure you'll know of them already. Other firms you may want to look at are RSe Consulting, Tribal, Serco, Capita Consulting, Hedra and Oakleigh. Try searching the jobs section on this site for ideas too.

Unfortunately, public sector consulting doesn't generally offer as much as other areas. The gap is closing a little though as there is currently high demand for public sector consultants with experience. Have a look at the top-consultant salary surveys for more detail though.

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#3 Re: My chances at entering consultancy with a PhD?
31/03/2006 00:24

Richard

Thanks Barry. In reseponse...

I've lectured in linguistics at King's College London, done administrative work for a university English department and the NHS, and written a handful of research papers for journals in linguistics.

Extra curricular activities - I've written for the union paper, been the chair of a debating society, had a flying scholarship with the RAF.

I'm thinking of applying for internships for my final PhD year (2007) - do you think this will overall make a good package for an employer (particularly one of the bigger firms such as Accenture and Capgemini?)

Also, the graduate schemes operated by most firms ask for a 2:1 in any discipline and 24 UCAS points. Clearly I meet these requirements so would this not automatically be enough for me to enter the field? (I suspect not from your earlier response...)

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#4 Re: My chances at entering consultancy with a PhD?
31/03/2006 11:23

Honor

Richard. I regularly interview grads at Accenture and I would be happy to have someone like you applying. Incidently I did undergrad and postgrad degrees in an arts subject prior to joining a big four grad scheme. All the best!!

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#5 Re: My chances at entering consultancy with a PhD?
31/03/2006 17:45

Richard

Dear Honor,

Thank you so much for the vote of confidence...It's really nice to know such a thing happens. I must admit I intend to apply even if it runs against the mill and Accenture is on my list.

:-)

V best,

Richard

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#6 Re: My chances at entering consultancy with a PhD?
31/03/2006 20:40

Corinne Duchamp

For the consultancies in that tier which only look for a 2:1 and 24 UCAS points, you should be fine with the academics and experience you have.

Sorry if that that "tier" thing sounds snobby - I'm sure you know what I mean: Accenture, Fujitsu, IBM as opposed to McKinsey, Bain, BCG. Possibly the other response had more in mind this second group with his/her advice.

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#7 Re: My chances at entering consultancy with a PhD?
01/04/2006 14:53

Richard

Thanks for your take Corinne - I've been planning to gain more commercial work experience between now and the end of my PhD in order to increase my marketabiity to ANY of these employers.

What exactly would McKinsey et al look for that I don't (yet) have? In the long term, my ambition would be to work at the very top of strategy consultancy.

Reply much appreciated...

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#8 question
02/04/2006 01:15

[grad] john mcbride

I know about this pecking order in management consultancy:

mckinsey > accenture > wee kid down the street who can do it for a tenner

However - is accenture not a technical services type of company, so it ain't even on the same ladder as mckinsey.

Who would you consider to be at the top of the technical ladder - as this is my motivation for joining accenture, and if you have any suggestions for a better place I may apply there.

Regards,

Techie and proud

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#9 Re: question
03/04/2006 01:10

douglas

John, how is your question in any way relevant to the thread?

Not exactly sure what you're suggesting...you're an Accenturian, or a wannabe Accenturian? Proud to be at Accenture? And what?

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#10 Re: My chances at entering consultancy with a PhD?
03/04/2006 08:37

Grad

Mckinsey and BCG both specifically target PhDs and MDs from a number of backgrounds. If you were to join either of those firms you would go in above grad level.

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#11 Re: My chances at entering consultancy with a PhD?
03/04/2006 18:56

BCG Consultant

I'd say intensifying your commercial work experience will stand you in good stead regardless of to whom you apply. Your academic record is spot on if you can also show business acumen at interview, selection centre, etc. Would be great to see a real linguist amongst the ranks at BCG so do apply.

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