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Imminent Decision Dilemma - Strategy or? Brand Management?

 
#1 Imminent Decision Dilemma - Strategy or? Brand Management?
07/01/2008 15:18

Anon

I am currently in a tricky situation, holding offers in Strategy Consulting (LEK) and Marketing/Brand Mgmt (P&G).

Because the two are so different I'm finding it hard to weigh up the pros and cons (aside from thinking purely in terms of salary, where consulting pays notably higher at the entry level).

I hear that Brand Managers with 3-4 years experience find themselves in demand for consulting positions (e.g. Engagement Managers at McKinsey) - is this something anyone has experienced?

I would be prepared to go with the lower starting salary at P&G for the short-term benefits of higher responsibility and more rounded development of general management skills, but would want reassurance that this won't prove a relative 'backward step' in the long term alongside the opportunity to move straight into a role with a respected Strategy firm. I can see both jobs suiting me personally, albeit in slightly different ways.

Any thoughts most welcome, need to get my head around this asap with deadlines looming...

Thanks.

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#2 RE: Imminent Decision Dilemma - Strategy or? Brand Management?
07/01/2008 16:12

Mars A Day to Anon (#1)

P&G. The quality of experience (provided you are prepared to make the most of it) is staggering - imho they are a good 5 years ahead of their nearest rivals in terms of marketing thinking and the P&G brand is almost second to none in industry with enormous cache consulting side; BCG hire from them as a preference for the case thinking you acquire and most consumer centric consulting firms like P&G people. LEK is a great firm but heavily quant biased in approach and not much recognition outside strat consulting itself, so you will find your pace of progress slowing with an LEK launchpoint at more or less the same moment your P&G launchpoint starts to gain enormous momentum - i.e. around the 3 year mark. At 3 - 4 years exp, even within P&G you won't be looking at EM at Mckinsey I think, but nonetheless you will be in demand.

Also there is a world of consulting out there which is outside the MBB model and - frankly - far more fascinating and just as financially rewarding; the LEK route will likely preclude you from some of the really interesting stuff.

The problem with P&G is that after a certain period with them you have to go to Geneva, and this is the juncture at which they tend to lose people, and as they generally promote from within to senior levels this can create headaches - but equally if you can take the Swiss bullett you should find that post circa 5 years P&G you are a very rarified animal indeed.

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#3 RE: Imminent Decision Dilemma - Strategy or? Brand Management?
07/01/2008 16:32

Anon to Mars A Day (#2)

Mars A Day, thanks a lot for your thoughts, they're most helpful and much appreciated.

If anyone else has more to add I will be extremely grateful.

Thanks.

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#4 RE: Imminent Decision Dilemma - Strategy or? Brand Management?
08/01/2008 13:00

anon to Anon (#3)

Agree with Mars - I'd choose P&G, though it depends how passionate you are about brands and marketing, particularly their brands.

Most grads at LEK (and I've known several) leave within 1-2 years because the hours are very long and the work is CDD biased, number crunching etc.

You'd struggle to move to MBB as a Manager after 3-4 years, but probably a Senior Associate or similar.

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#5 RE: Imminent Decision Dilemma - Strategy or? Brand Management?
08/01/2008 13:48

k to anon (#4)

But if the original poster wanted to move into PE/VC/banking at some stage, wouldn't the CDD, modelling skills and cross industry knowledge acquired at L.E.K hold him in better stead?

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#6 RE: Imminent Decision Dilemma - Strategy or? Brand Management?
08/01/2008 14:10

Mars A Day to k (#5)

Probably would K, but that's a narrow and closely defined target; most PE/VC firms like to hire from the banks anyway, and only a very few of the top % of MBB who want to move into PE/VC will make it. Anon also makes a good point - about passion for brands and marketing. But brand management within a firm like P&G functions much like a business unit in its own right (albeit a small one) so get broader exposure than just at a brand building level, and it's much less about the creative element than one might expect. Also brand management within P&G is closely aligned internally to strategy as a function, and their whole take on the branding space is very commercial.

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#7 RE: Imminent Decision Dilemma - Strategy or? Brand Management?
08/01/2008 14:14

Zbigniew Brzezinski to Mars A Day (#6)

Back at Cornell University, there is a piece of equipment called the FAC34C electron microscope. This is the most powerful, technologically advanced microscope in the world able to elucidate the the structure of atoms and molecules, the infitessimable building blocks of life. Anon, if was using that microscope right now, I still wouldn’t be able to locate my interest in your question.

ZB

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#8 RE: Imminent Decision Dilemma - Strategy or? Brand Management?
08/01/2008 14:29

Mars A Day to Zbigniew Brzezinski (#7)

ZB you complain constantly about the non-consulting related content of some posts and then post this yourself - learn some manners, stop being a hypocrite.

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#9 RE: Imminent Decision Dilemma - Strategy or? Brand Management?
08/01/2008 14:36

.... to Mars A Day (#8)

Are you Pear In Disguise ZB?.....

My plan now, if I get really bored is to go onto forums (or should it be fora?) for subject areas I am not interested in and post abusive messages about how boring I find the subject material.

I am sure I will finf one about horse racing somewhere... let's start with that.

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#10 RE: Imminent Decision Dilemma - Strategy or? Brand Management?
08/01/2008 15:23

anon to .... (#9)

Pear doesn’t hang with us any more. He’s graduated to the vault where his escapades have no doubt become even more amazing.

What a guy.

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#11 RE: Imminent Decision Dilemma - Strategy or? Brand Management?
08/01/2008 15:34

Anon to .... (#9)

Thanks ZB. Though I'm afraid I can't see why my question isn't directly related to this forum, given it's contextual concentration on careers in consulting in the short and long term.

My concern over whether or not my post is of particular interest to yourself is even more infinitessimally small than yours for my enquiry.

My intention was to seek the experienced advice of those better-placed to objectively assess my situation. With this in mind, and with the exception of your own comment, the response thus far has proved of considerable value.

Thanks, Anon.

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#12 RE: Imminent Decision Dilemma - Strategy or? Brand Management?
08/01/2008 17:27

anon to Anon (#11)

You must have forgotten about my comment about pear; that was pointles and had no apparent value.

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#13 Decision Time
18/01/2008 14:32

Anon to anon (#12)

I'm almost set on P&G now, though the £12,000 extra I will be losing out on in basic salary and starting bonus is making it a harder decision than I sense it should be!

Mars A Day (or anyone else for that matter), you seem quite well informed on the P&G ABMs and their credentials - do you know anything about the remuneration side (I know they review on a graded system but nobody's given me any typical % or £ figures to consider).

On the L.E.K. side, given what was said about them in a recent post ('Starting with L.E.K.?') could this actually be a shrewd move?

Ultimately, key considerations for me are: early (and meaningful) responsibility; variety of work; focus on interaction (client/internal); competitive salary and career progression; keeping a broad range of options open

Any last minute thoughts much appreciated. Thanks a lot.

Anon.

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#14 RE: Decision Time
18/01/2008 15:12

Mars A Day to Anon (#13)

First off Anon we have not given you the credit for getting 2 offers with such outstanding firms - so well done.

Weigh it up side by side if you like:

P&G: their marketing strategy training, thinking and approach is miles ahead of their competition and is market defining. Think about category management for example, how that essentially IS retail these days, and consider this was a P&G initiative, and you are getting there. Progression is fast - you are joining marketing, or marketing, strategy and planning as it falls into internally, and as such you are considered the annointed. The future is bright for you at P&G, although you wont make as much £££ early on as you will at LEK. Keep it up and you will be a classical marketer, no sales to dilute the mix. Give it a few years and you will be gold dust. Rock their world at P&G and you will be rock star material. I'm not kidding you. After P&G you could go to consulting if you want (approach any FMCG or marketing orientated practice in a good consulting firm and they will take you seriously), take your marketing experience (which will be at the leading edge of FMCG and therefore, in the minds of many, at the leading edge of marketing full stop and go to any other sector which wants more consumer centric branding, category driven thinking etc, and these days that is practically everyone).

LEK: heavily quantitative approach, but much less travel than say MBB. They are a second tier strat firm, very very good in healthcare sector, but with little real brand recognition outside their opposite numbers client side. You will learn to crunch data like cornflakes, and probably have a decent enough launch point to move into corporate strat roles in house or within banking, but you will be competing with proven bankers from tier 1 IB, and when you decide to go the VC route - which you will as the only natural end point of the game LEK will have you embark on - you will be competing with those top % from MBB who have the analytics, more client exposure AND the brand which LEK simply cannot compete with. You will earn more - quite a lot more - in your first 4 or 5 years than at P&G after which the consulting salary curve will start levelling off just as the marketing salary goes more towards the vertical.

Pound for pound the P&G experience weighs more in the long term.

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#15 RE: Decision Time
20/01/2008 01:47

Anon to Mars A Day (#14)

Can't thank you enough for that Mars, I actually read it after saying no to L.E.K. and deciding to go with P&G, but what you say is certainly reassuring...

Best of luck to yourself in future!

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