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A piece of advice: am I fooling myself?

 
#1 A piece of advice: am I fooling myself?
27/03/2007 15:03

Cheyenne

Hi guys!

I am a recent PhD graduate in Physics and joined a boutique firm in management consultancy a few months ago. Having zero experience I signed up a contract for £27000 p.a. + 15% maximum Bonus o.t.e. and felt I got a good deal.

But now, a few months later, what worries me is that several friends of mine with just a BSc in physics and zero experience as myself have been offered contracts with the same salary as mine, while a few have been offered even £32000 + bonus.

Where do I stand? Am I underpaid or am I in the UK average? I am just worried about the fact that having a PhD counts nothing and I have simply wasted 4 years of my life to get a PhD in a red-brick university.

Therefore:

what are my career opportunities (as well as possible average pay raise against time/experience) in the next 5 years?

Thanks a lot...

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#2 RE: A piece of advice: am I fooling myself?
27/03/2007 15:40

martin to Cheyenne (#1)

It's an ok starting salary in a boutique, but it sounds like you've been hired as a graduate with zero experience.

In my experience a PhD is only valuable if its field is relevant and beneficial to the firm. Everyone in consulting has good academics. A reasonable but irrelevant PhD isn't much use I'm afraid.

your career options should be the same as everyone else's.

Good luck.

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#3 RE: A piece of advice: am I fooling myself?
27/03/2007 15:52

Mr T. to Cheyenne (#1)

You're pretty much on the dead centre of average I'd say. You're on par with the graduate salary at PA Consulting - they openly benchmark themselves at the median, with above-average bonus potential (which yours is - most firms don't pay bonus to graduate hires).

Whilst it's annoying if some people are getting offered more, you can take comfort that most people joining at your level are on the same package as you so you haven't been particularly screwed over personally.

Without getting into the merits or demerits of further study, I presume when you chose to do a PhD you realised that it was an academic not a business-oriented qualification and that you didn't make the choice primarily with a view to enhancing your career.

Don't get hung up with regret about having taken time out to stretch yourself academically. Instead, enjoy the opportunities you now have to develop professionally.

In answer to the question of what your career opportunities are now, that will depend a lot on what your consulting specialism is and how you perform and develop. Assuming you remain in consulting and progress at a decent rate, you could have a look at the salary surveys and job adverts on this site and others to get a feel for where you might head over the next 5 years.

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#4 RE: A piece of advice: am I fooling myself?
27/03/2007 16:26

Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) to Cheyenne (#1)

I think I would struggle to name you a consulting firm that offers a meaningful salary premium for those joining with a PhD compared with those joining after a Batchelors or Masters. The PhD does two things for you - it makes you more likely to get hired in the competitive race for graduate entry positions; and it enhances your chances of fast-track promotion.

I witnessed both these patterns when I was in strategy consulting with Roland Berger in London. PhDs entered at the same level and on the same salary rung as all new graduate entrants. However in the first years on the job those with PhDs generally outperformed the rest in terms of securing fast-track promotion. This might be due to their greater maturity and enhanced credibility with clients; might be that the skills learnt doing a PhD made them adjust to the challenges of consulting faster than their peers.

I'm quite certain that in just a few years from now you'll be wondering why you were fussing over £5k. The big prize is being in a place where high-performers are fast-tracked. Making project manager a year or two earlier than your peers could make tens of thousands of ££s difference to your financial wellbeing. I'd therefore be more worried if you think you're in an organisation where there's no scope for your achievements on the job to be recognised by faster promotion. That - rather than your starting salary - is what will leave you feeling either well-rewarded or grossly-undervalued a few years from now...

Best of luck

Tony Restell

Top-Consultant.com

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#5 RE: A piece of advice: am I fooling myself?
27/03/2007 17:03

Cheyenne to Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) (#4)

Thanks a lot Tony, I really appreciate your answer, as well as the other's.

Yet, now you prompted me to another question: would it make sense to stay 2-max-3 years in a boutique firm where you usually get a broader exposure to the business than in top-tier ones and then move to a bigger firm where career opportunities are greater and probably my achievements on the job are recognised by faster promotion than elsewhere?

I have the feeling that in a boutique firm you would get to the project manager level much earlier than in a bigger firm, yet once you move to a bigger organisation you would still be hired as a project manager.

Is it valid the inequality: salary in small firm < salary in big firm (for the same job title)?

PS: my employer is a strategic management consultancy firm, benchmarking-oriented...is this good or bad for future career opportunities in bigger organisation?

Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge and experience with an unexperienced consultant like me.

Regards

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#6 RE: A piece of advice: am I fooling myself?
27/03/2007 17:13

Cheyenne to Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) (#4)

Thanks a lot Tony, I really appreciate your answer, as well as the other's.

Yet, now you prompted me to another question: would it make sense to stay 2-max-3 years in a boutique firm where you usually get a broader exposure to the business than in top-tier ones and then move to a bigger firm where career opportunities are greater and probably my achievements on the job are recognised by faster promotion than elsewhere?

I have the feeling that in a boutique firm you would get to the project manager level much earlier than in a bigger firm, yet once you move to a bigger organisation you would still be hired as a project manager.

Is it valid the inequality: salary in small firm < salary in big firm (for the same job title)?

PS: my employer is a strategic management consultancy firm, benchmarking-oriented...is this good or bad for future career opportunities in bigger organisation?

Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge and experience with an unexperienced consultant like me.

Regards

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