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Fixated with Strategy consulting

 
#1 Fixated with Strategy consulting
25/01/2008 12:56

aspiring

I want to break into the world of strategy consulting.

Studied Engineering at a Russell Group uni (2:1)

Masters at the same uni (Distinction)

Once upon a time I received offers from ACN (Tech Consulting) and Deloitte (TI). However, I (foolishly?) turned them down to pursue further education and a role in the telecoms sector. I've been in the role 8 months and I realise the promises made to me during recruitment are so far from the truth that the organisation should be reported to the advertising commission.

Despite the terrible role, I've made the best of a bad situation. I'm a top performer and I've decided strategy consulting is for me.

I've missed the milkround deadline for most of the firms that would consider me for a strategy position.

Are there any smaller (but reputable) firms I should consider applying to?

In my sights are: Qedis, ATK, Hewitt Associates, PRTM, Value Partners and Navigant Consulting.

Should these prove fruitless, I will consider re-applying to ACN.

I'm quite fixated with strategy consulting and will even go as far as studying another Masters at a more reputable uni in order to boost my chances.

Any advice would be welcome.

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#2 RE: Fixated with Strategy consulting
25/01/2008 13:36

anal-ist to aspiring (#1)

I'm confused why if you're so fixated with strategy consulting you managed to 'miss' the last 4 or 5 months worth of application time?

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#3 RE: Fixated with Strategy consulting
25/01/2008 13:39

aspiring to anal-ist (#2)

My interest began in October and continued to grow. My fixation began little over 4 weeks ago.

The Christmas break allowed me to stop and evaluate what I wanted in my career.

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#4 RE: Fixated with Strategy consulting
25/01/2008 15:38

Anon to aspiring (#3)

Don't even bother with Hewitt Assoc, they are not strategy consultants they are HR Outsourcing consultants. Plus the fact at the end of last year they gave every member of staff redundancy. they are now run out of the US and are only servicing their two major accounts Centrica and (BP or Shell).

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#5 RE: Fixated with Strategy consulting
28/01/2008 12:37

Mars A Day to aspiring (#1)

Aspiring the firms you mention tend only to hire more experienced consultants - people who have been with a reputable MC previously, rather than inexperienced hires (and with only 8 months experience you will be a grad to all intents and purposes). I suspect that you are looking for a quick option - a 2:1 from Russell Group is not going to get you into MBB, so you need to get the training, development and CV kudos of an Accenture, PwC etc. Getting another Masters at Oxbridge won't help - you will look like a career academic at best, and someone looking to postpone real work at worst.

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#6 RE: Fixated with Strategy consulting
28/01/2008 13:11

Ex MBBer to Mars A Day (#5)

My advice is to lose the rose tinted spectacles. Strategy consulting isn't the path to riches or happiness most people think it is. There's nothing wrong with industry or 'normal' jobs at all. Sure the work can be quite interesting, but I'll bet that after a year of working for a strategy firm, you'll have irritable bowel syndrome and/or will be fantasizing about being one of the admin staff (the "lucky" ones who leave the office at 5.30pm every day, go home to their own bed, spend time with their family, don't have partners and supercharged senior associates yelling at them, aren't constantly panicking about what will happen at their next up or out appraisal, aren't stressing out because their 5.40am flight to Madrid is delayed by 1.5 hours, earn more or less the same anyway, etc). Then when you do eventually get fired - and you WILL get fired at some point - you have the shame and difficulty of explaining to your family how it's actually completely normal practice for these firms to regularly fire perfectly adequate 'high flyers' like yourself each year as part of their high staff turnover business models (and be prepared for all the "well you couldn't have been that good otherwise they wouldn't have got rid of you" comments that you along with 101 other ivy league MBAers will be getting).

I've sat with many seemingly successful senior associates and principal consultants who have been seriously unhappy with their lifestyle and - no kidding - seriously doubting whether the £150K/yr salary they earn is worth all the stress and travel they have to put up with.

And as regards ACN, PWC, and all those other random firms that go around calling themselves 'management consultants'... well, lets be under no illusion... every man and a laptop calls himself a "management consultant" these days. I've even come across HR software salespeople calling themselves "management consultants". Sure they may be "consultants" of a kind, but I'd suggest you try to see beyond the fancy brand name, glossy marketing and the fancy little offices with marble floors and leather tub seats in the reception and actually look at what the content of the work is.. and I think in most cases you'll find that it's little more than trumped-up little know-it-alls walking around pretending to be "executives" and acting all important because they have a blackberry and lots of meetings to go to, when the output of their work is quite frankly something a reasonably intelligent 16 year old with access to MS Office and the web could be doing just as well.

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#7 RE: Fixated with Strategy consulting
28/01/2008 13:44

Bravo to Ex MBBer (#6)

Bravo, bravo, bravo. Suggestion to Tony: Tony please create a section for the all time best thread postings. This is one of them.

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#8 RE: Fixated with Strategy consulting
28/01/2008 14:09

argh to Bravo (#7)

I've just started at a Big-4 on their grad scheme, and when I read posts like ExMBBer's, I get very, very scared. What am I going to do in 2/3/4 years when I want to leave Consulting? (As I do). I'm worried that my experience will mean nothing and the chances of a new, good job with good prospects will be very limited. Argh.

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#9 RE: Fixated with Strategy consulting
28/01/2008 14:10

argh to argh (#8)

So any advice/words of reassurance?! (The Big 4 I'm with is of the Green Dot variety...)

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#10 RE: Fixated with Strategy consulting
28/01/2008 14:30

ex-deloitte employee to argh (#9)

Argh,

Calm down and stay rational. Consulting (even within the big 4) is extremely difficult to break into and the experience you are gaining will be seen as testament to your intellect, tenacity, confidence, and ability to work under pressure. You also undoubtedly learn a vast amount in the typical two year programme.

It is wise to be mindful of your exit options but remember that the job market is always open to talented, bright, ambitious individuals, all of which you must be to have been accepted onto this programme.

Here are 2 nuggets of advice, to give you some peace of mind:

1. Gain as much externally credible training as possible: PRINCE2 is widely accepted as the best project management qualification and Deloitte should pay for this. You already have CIMA foundation (unless you are TI in which case you have shed loads of qualifications anyway).

2. Figure out what you want to do after deloitte relatively quickly, and engineer opportunities in your existing job to support future applications: align yourself to a particular industry, try and meet people with experience in that field etc.

If you want to stay in consulting, the best thing you can do is network: within deloitte there will be people with contacts at all of the major fims.

Good luck, but try and relax and just soak up all the experience and training at the moment. In two years you will be in a better position than 95% of people your age...

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#11 RE: Fixated with Strategy consulting
28/01/2008 14:49

more info to ex-deloitte employee (#10)

Arghh, I would not fancy being in your shoes at the moment. The market is down and the green dot is not that great. Your exit options really depend on what experience you have gained at Deloitte. What sort of projects have you been working on?

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#12 RE: Fixated with Strategy consulting
28/01/2008 15:05

argh to more info (#11)

One project in Consumer Business, and one in Financial Services. Both in programme management roles

That a good thing/bad thing?

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#13 RE: Fixated with Strategy consulting
28/01/2008 16:35

Anon to more info (#11)

More info, what are you basing your statement on?

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#14 RE: Fixated with Strategy consulting
28/01/2008 17:11

argh to more info (#11)

One project in Consumer Business, and one in Financial Services. Both in programme management roles

That a good thing/bad thing?

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#15 RE: Fixated with Strategy consulting
28/01/2008 17:35

moreinfo to argh (#14)

You want to try and get out of programme management roles if you can. Unless you are in the programme leadership branch of ops, in which case you don't really have a choice. Try and get some experience developing the solutions in those industries with the consultants - obviously easier said than done. Have you got a chance to do any strategy or market analysis work?

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#16 RE: Fixated with Strategy consulting
28/01/2008 17:58

argh to moreinfo (#15)

I'm an analyst, so not yet aligned to Programme Leadership. I was interested in PL; is it not a good place to be? Would I be better off trying to align myself to Finance, or Operational Excellence? I'm soo confused!! Don't think I have a chance to do any strategy or market analysis work...

... Really 'typical' question for this forum, but I've just been looking at the job sites, and there are a lot of openings in PE firms, for ex-consultants. Would I be better placed to get these (looking forward 2/3 years) if I had Operational Consulting experience within the FSI industry?

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#17 RE: Fixated with Strategy consulting
28/01/2008 18:41

moreinfo to deleted (#0)

I guess if you enjoy programme management roles then PL is ok. But if you align yourself to that, you are likely to become pigeon-holed into project management positions, limiting your exit options. There are many project management jobs out there, but if you ever wanted to do something different - ie. performance management, supply chain, operational excellence, you have an excellent opportunity to position yourself now to get that experience. Some of the expertise you can gain - i.e. supply-chain, performance management, is potentially more valuable to a large corporate than pure project skills. Something to bear in mind.

Also get as many decent clients as you can - those references will become invaluable when you are considering other options.

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#18 RE: Fixated with Strategy consulting
28/01/2008 20:35

Aspiring to moreinfo (#17)

Mars, given my credentials, I know MBB is out of my league. However, I'm aiming for lower tier firms. It's the type of work I'm most interested in. I've heard from many strat consultants about the day to day work they do and as terrible as it sounds, most of the time it's alot more challenging than the crap I'm doing. The hours are shitty but (quite often) their projects are interesting.

ex-MBBer, it's bad once you're on the inside, but at least you've had the chance to experience the inside. I'm not aiming for MBB, but I'd at least like the experience. If begin to detest my life as a strategy consultant I've got other options I can consider.

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#19 RE: Fixated with Strategy consulting
28/01/2008 21:30

argh to Aspiring (#18)

moreinfo, could we have an offline conversation by any chance? pop me an email if you get a chance? i've set up argh12345@hotmail.co.uk

thanks!

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#20 RE: Fixated with Strategy consulting
13/02/2008 17:26

Nick to aspiring (#1)

you should try Qedis - i know they are recruiting for Analysts to join them now (grads and also experienced analysts), i have an interview with them, and apparently they have a number of roles open. not a strat house though, more advisory work but def not techie work/pure strat

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#21 RE: Fixated with Strategy consulting
14/02/2008 10:20

Chery to Nick (#20)

I would definitely pick ATK from the list you put.

They are the best in terms of image, progression, quality of work, people.

It is like a smaller Mckenzie.

ATK would help you to move later to MBB easier than if you work for the other names in your list.

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