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Consulting opportunities in Middle East/Gulf?

 
#1 Consulting opportunities in Middle East/Gulf?
23/01/2008 17:11

KeepDiscovering

Hi,

I have been working for around eight years since I graduated from university. My career is built in procurement and transportation industries. I have played various roles on commercial operation, enterprise systems implementation, quality management, business process reengineering and project management. My current role is on process improvement and quality management with an airline.

I would like to be a consultant in future because of its wide exposures and overseas secondment opportunities. I am currently working in the Middle East (I am a Chinese), and I also worked in London, India, the mainland China & HK before.

I would like to know, given my skillsets and expertise, what are the opportunities in consulting open to me? Are my experiences in strong demand in consulting profession? Also, is consulting a strong business in Middle East/Gulf regions and what consulting firms are more firmly established in these regions?

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#2 RE: Consulting opportunities in Middle East/Gulf?
23/01/2008 19:04

Paul to KeepDiscovering (#1)

Where abouts in the Middle East are you? Theres lots going on in Saudi at the moment but all the Big 4 are hiring. Google Cautela I have a quite a lot on the site ( and yes I'm a recruiter ) have recruited in Saudi and surrounding since 2001.

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#3 RE: Consulting opportunities in Middle East/Gulf?
25/01/2008 19:11

KeepDiscovering to Paul (#2)

I am currently working in Qatar

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#4 RE: Consulting opportunities in Middle East/Gulf?
28/01/2008 18:12

Bob to KeepDiscovering (#3)

The consulting market in the GCC and wider Middle East is very bullish these days. This includes consulting to energy related industries and much more beyond, for example private equity and national government clients.

Most of the top strategy consulting houses have a solid presence in the region. McK is arguably No.1 right now although Booz are very strong as well. There are also many active smaller players.

Opportunities abound.

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#5 RE: Consulting opportunities in Middle East/Gulf?
28/01/2008 20:40

To Bob to Bob (#4)

Sorry, but Booz are spanking McK's ass in the ME.

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#6 RE: Consulting opportunities in Middle East/Gulf?
29/01/2008 14:32

KeepDiscovering to Bob (#4)

Thanx. Do these companies accept unsolicited application (i.e. apply w/o job ad)?

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#7 RE: Consulting opportunities in Middle East/Gulf?
29/01/2008 21:06

Bob to To Bob (#5)

Booz are doing a fair number of projects, but a lot of these are business performance improvement and BPR projects. Even the Big 4 compete on the same proposal tenders.

McK still occupies most of the single projects worth double digit millions.

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#8 RE: Consulting opportunities in Middle East/Gulf?
29/01/2008 21:10

Bob to KeepDiscovering (#6)

You can either apply through the website of the big companies or use 3rd party recruiting agencies. A lot of candidates in the ME are coming through the latter channel, especially people with industry experience.

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#9 RE: Consulting opportunities in Middle East/Gulf?
29/01/2008 21:12

Bob to To Bob (#5)

Booz also has the habit of under-bidding at rock bottom billing rates for all its proposals (on par with Big 4 firms)

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#10 RE: Consulting opportunities in Middle East/Gulf?
30/01/2008 08:24

john wayne to Bob (#9)

Many consultancies here are run under branding license agreements, hence what may be considered a a good name is actually just a bunch of cowboys who'll recruit anyone and do pretty shoddy work.

Case number 1: Booz Allen Hamilton, but certainly not the only global brand guilty of this..

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#11 RE: Consulting opportunities in Middle East/Gulf?
30/01/2008 18:28

Big Leggy to john wayne (#10)

Yes the IBM franchise in Saudi, the lovely SBM have a rather "different" approach to business.....caveat emptor....or is that empty

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#12 RE: Consulting opportunities in Middle East/Gulf?
05/02/2008 17:12

KeepDiscovering to john wayne (#10)

Thanx John. This is an important point and it is not easily known from outsiders. If the big consulting firms are operating under such licenses, are their organization structures aligned with their 'parents' in US/Europe? Also, as a consultant working there, will I have similar exposures or opportunities in terms of cross-posting to these firms' US/Europe's projects?

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#13 RE: Consulting opportunities in Middle East/Gulf?
06/02/2008 07:33

Paul to KeepDiscovering (#12)

I have come across a number of consultants who have been posted into the region on assignment but have no example of moving the other way. With Saudi based companies its very time consuming getting you through the visa process and there is a very strictly monitored quota system, once they have navigated all that they are very unlikely to be helpful in letting you move out.

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#14 RE: Consulting opportunities in Middle East/Gulf?
09/02/2008 09:51

KeepDiscovering to Paul (#13)

Thanx, Paul. It seems that while one can get into the industry by joining these firms' Middle East operation, the prospect and geographical mobility are more limited.

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#15 RE: Consulting opportunities in Middle East/Gulf?
10/02/2008 08:39

in the know dxb to john wayne (#10)

Totally agree with the above poster re: brand licensing agreements in the ME offices of many of the international consulting firms. This is something anyone contemplating a move to the region should cosider carefully.

BAH is pretty much top of the list or this and is run by a predominantly Lebanese management board with very limited international exposure. The high sales volumes have led to aggressive growth in personnel and some lack of quality control.

OC&C and ATK are also guilty of this - very limited links with the European / North American practices and run by sub-standard partners / senior management (most would not make the cut in Europe). Recruitment lacks structure and as a result there have been quality concerns resulting from several client engagements.

The situation is very different at McK, BCG, Bain, where the ME offices are well integrated and one can rest assured the quality of the consultants is on par with other international offices.

I know less about Monitor, Mercer and Oliver Wyman , but from what I have heard they have a similar model to MBB in terms of their approach to setting up the ME offices. I think it also fair to say that the big accounting firms are more established, although their consulting arms often aren't perceived as strongly as the pure play consultants within the ME market.

Hope this info helps

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#16 RE: Consulting opportunities in Middle East/Gulf?
10/02/2008 18:02

KeepDiscovering to in the know dxb (#15)

Thanx dxb for the add-on. It seems I have to be careful when joing these firms if opportunities do arise. It's an issue of whether or not joining the industry will add huge values to my profile after all.

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#17 RE: Consulting opportunities in Middle East/Gulf?
10/02/2008 18:06

KeepDiscovering to in the know dxb (#15)

Thanx dxb. Your analysis on different consulting firms is valuable. It seems I have to be careful in chosing a prospective employer if opportunities do arise.

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#18 RE: Consulting opportunities in Middle East/Gulf?
10/02/2008 18:32

n to in the know dxb (#15)

You are incorrect. Almost all the lebanese running BAH have international experience and graduated from top business schools. I know this for a fact.

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#19 RE: Consulting opportunities in Middle East/Gulf?
12/02/2008 07:10

aub grad to n (#18)

I have recently started with booz and the vast majority of consultants graduated from aub or auc (by far the best universities in the region) and have worked in a variety of locations: beirut, dubai, abu dhabi, doha, jeddah etc.

You should get your facts straight before saying we lack internationl exposure.

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#20 RE: Consulting opportunities in Middle East/Gulf?
12/02/2008 12:15

??? to aub grad (#19)

I think that's the point, there is little input from the US and European BAH brands and as such quality control slips. AUB and AUC may be the best in the region but from experience would probably be mid-ranked universities in the US or Europe.

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#21 RE: Consulting opportunities in Middle East/Gulf?
12/02/2008 16:21

reality check to ??? (#20)

You clearly know nothing. Lebanon not only has the best food, the best women and the best universities. We also have Shakira and Mika

So there!

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#22 RE: Consulting opportunities in Middle East/Gulf?
19/02/2008 19:54

KeepDiscovering to reality check (#21)

Hey guys, calm down. The reasons we come to this forum is to find valuable comments from others. Keep the focus.

Last but not least, other regions also boost renowned universities. G Bush is a Harvard MBA. What has he done?

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#23 RE: Consulting opportunities in Middle East/Gulf?
20/02/2008 06:49

hmmm to KeepDiscovering (#22)

the comments are interesting. It depends a lot on route to market. BCG for example have sent their own people out to develop the region. Others came in by buying a local company or setting up a franchise agreement. OC&C was a privately owned consulting firm. Set up agreement with OC&C. Somewhere along the line the whole thing fell apart but they are trying to rebuild and still have a reasonable name out here. BAH are very established but, if I remember rightly, came in originally by buying out some lebanese guys who were doing a lot of work in Saudi - they may not be "classic" BAH but, by all accounts they are brilliant guys. They are so profitable that the US turns a blind eye to the way they are working. Ultimatley, just because it is different, does not mean it is wrong. What do you do? - adapt to the local style or come in from the outside with your "we are a tier 1 US/European consulting house and this is how we do things" style? Both are valid approaches. If you are planning to return to your place of origin, it really does not matter, you will still have the brand on the CV and a lot of useful experience...

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