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Why is consulting a "Tough nut to crack"?

 
#1 Why is consulting a "Tough nut to crack"?
22/01/2008 11:29

Sky

I come from a third world country where the education system was far below par. I didn't do A-levels, because the only two choices were accounting or the sciences. Nothing interesting.

I joined a college which offered an Advanced Diploma in Business Administration (from a UK body) as an alternative to A-levels and a fast track to an MBA. I worked for 5 years after that in middle and senior management roles, then I went and got my MBA from a UK University.

During my MBA, I interned with Deloitte for 3 months, and after completion of the degree, I have now worked for 2 years in a global bank. My last role was Business Planning Manager and I reported directly to the CEO.

I applied for an HSMP visa and I got it in December. Now I want to move to the UK and I want to work in consulting. The way I see it is I'm at least better than a fresh graduate. I have a UK degree, have worked in Strategic Planning and Financial/Performance Analysis, and I am VERY highly Excel Literate.

I spoke to one of the senior recruitment agents in BLT and I was told that I would find consulting to be a tough nut to crack. I don't agree and I don't see why. Even if I need to start in the lower echelons, I'm sure I can get myself noticed in as little as 6 months. Why am I finding it so hard to get into consulting when my cousin got in with a Biology degree? I must be doing SOMETHING wrong.

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#2 RE: Why is consulting a "Tough nut to crack"?
22/01/2008 12:22

anon to Sky (#1)

OK some well meant advice:

"The way I see it is I'm at least better than a fresh graduate." Comment: That what matters is the way the recruiter sees it...fresh graduates can be a much more attractive proposition in relation to people with 2 years of experience depending on business requirements and internal structure. This CEO/CIO/CXO stuff...everyone writes that on his CV..

"I have a UK degree," Comment: 200,000 people a year graduate with a UK degree and compete with 10's of thousands of people with other degress (US, Indian etc)... The key differentiator here would be: did you finish top of your intake? Did you win an award/prize?

"have worked in Strategic Planning and Financial/Performance Analysis, and I am VERY highly Excel Literate." Comment: good skills..but again there are a lot of folks out there who can do magic with excel...as a consultant you are hired for your interpersonal skills (Presence, gravitas, presentation/client skills, analytical/problem solving skills).

"Why am I finding it so hard to get into consulting when my cousin got in with a Biology degree? I must be doing SOMETHING wrong." Comment: What's wrong with Biology? Maybe she got hired into a health/life sciences practice...

Final comment: You come across as slightly disgruntled and having lost focus and unbiased perspective...Focus on extracurriculars and try to build upon your existing experience. A FTSE company/Bank is not a bad start...it might be easier to move to consulting when you reach a more senior position.

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#3 RE: Why is consulting a "Tough nut to crack"?
22/01/2008 14:18

another view to anon (#2)

With 5 years in middel to senior management roels and an MBA why are you even comparing yourself to graduates anyway? Surely you would want to come in as an experienced hire - with knowledge o the industry you were working in (and the skills from the MBA).

It sounds to me like you don't really understand how consultancies work, and how they can sell their people.

Often experienced hires are hired for their contacts rather than their skills so are you a good networker? Did you ever work with consultants in your senior / middle management roles?

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#4 RE: Why is consulting a "Tough nut to crack"?
22/01/2008 15:17

Mars A Day to Sky (#1)

Sky I think the point you need to realise here is that neither you or anyone else has a right to be considered for a position in consulting - or for anything else for that matter. Your tone suggests a certain indignation at not finding it much easier to secure a role in MC. It's competitive - either accept this and approach it as such, accepting that you will find it difficult to get in and the competition is fierce, or give up on MC and focus on something else.

You say you came from a third world country, education system below par etc etc. And? When MC firms can pick from the best % of each peer group why should YOU get special consideration? It is an accident of life that you didnt get the break you probably deserve and as such are well behind the pack. Deal with it and think more constructively - you secured an MBA, interned with Deloitte, have industry experience - so stop trying to race the fresh faced grads and stop explaining why you are not one of them; like another view said, you are an experienced hire. Lose the chip on your shoulder, stop feeling hard done by and accept that it is competitive selection and you will start putting your probably immense energy into getting that role in a UK MC.

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#5 RE: Why is consulting a "Tough nut to crack"?
23/01/2008 06:26

Sky to Sky (#1)

Thanks for all the feedback. I wasn't expecting this many this soon.

I suppose I do have a chip on my shoulder. To be honest, I've been trying to get into the Management, Strategy or IT Consulting for a while, ie: I wouldn't have joined the bank if I could've gotten a consulting position.

What you all say does make sense about the fact that networking and presentation skills are more important. I obviously wouldn't have a network if I moved to the UK, but I have interpersonal skills, or so I like to believe. In terms of presentation however, I'm sure I can hold my own.

I guess what I'm trying to portray is that even though I started "at the bottom of the barrel" so to speak, I've been able to climb up to the level I am at now, and I want the opportunity to climb higher, preferable in consulting, but it's beginning to look like you have to belong to a certain crowd to make it in consulting, and that's what gets to me.

I'm not even setting my sights on the MBBBs of the world. I'm more interested in joining one of the Big 4 so I can learn a more well rounded and "big picture" lesson in consulting. This is something I've wanted for so long, I don't even know what else I could do. Yes, I know that's a negative, but I've been focused on working in this industry for years.

Thanks for all your feedback and comments.

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#6 RE: Why is consulting a "Tough nut to crack"?
09/02/2008 05:16

IT Strategist to Sky (#5)

Hi Sky,

Firstly - congrats on your achievements. In the west, we take many things for granted including our education and values.

I couldn't help but reply to your concern and messages. The MC world is regarded by many as an elite group. Whilst many are craving to join a consulting firm - there are just as many craving to get out. On balance, consulting is a great career that offers longer term benefits.

Here are some tips:

1. Get your CV reviewed by a professional.

2. Focus on achivements

3. Identify / Shortlist recruitment agents that specialise in your areas of interest. Don't do the mistake I bet we've all done of firing CV's to every org.

4. Get a new suit and tie - if you can afford it. This simple act of a new crisp suit, helps even the timid of people.

5. Realise that getting a job is nothing less than fate.

Good luck.

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