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Is this the answer?

#1 Is this the answer?
27/02/2008 10:24


After a year at Accenture, I've realised it's not for me, and want to try and get onto a grad scheme at an investment bank. 3 questions:

a) Should I wait another year, finish my consultant training and then apply?

b) Will IB graduate recruitment consider me at this point, if I had tried to get involved in FS projects?

c) The more I apply to, the harder it will be to get time of for interviews, another potential obstacle to overcome?

I would probably even settle for private wealth or something related i.e. Barclays Wealth

Please save the derision about Accenture, I've heard it all before; instead, some constructive advice would be much appreciated.

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#2 RE: Is this the answer?
27/02/2008 10:53

Mars A Day to AS (#1)

AS this is not the best time to be looking to move into IB for obvious reasons, and grads are no safer than MDs when it comes to the cull. Moreover, should you make the move, you will need to play catch up with some significant disadvantages against your peers - in the current climate within IB you need to excel - and I mean EXCEL to win any brownie points, and you'll need a senior level mentor/sponsor to secure your position: with all the cuts IBs are making it is the table thumping MD who will win out, and if you havent had time to make yourself invaluable to a senior manager then you wont be at the forefront of his/her mind when the time comes to cut staff to protect what is left of bonus.

My advice - finish your consultancy training and bide your time. You could be jumping from the fat to the fire moving into IB (and forget private wealth management - much of it is remuneration against revenue and you will essentially be paying for yourself anyway). When you have completed your training you will have more options, wont feel in so much of a rush to make a decision, and will have had time to think it through so you dont repeat the mistake.

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#3 RE: Is this the answer?
27/02/2008 11:23

analyst to Mars A Day (#2)


I too have been here a year and wanted to leave to go to IB.

I would recommend you stay in the firm (or other consulting firms) for 3-4 years and then do an MBA and move into banking (very possible) through that route. then you'll have some good consulting experience, and MBA and if the market is still not great for hiring you can do a number of other things.

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#4 RE: Is this the answer?
27/02/2008 11:27

analyst to analyst (#3)

1 further point. Grad recruiting is all but done for this years intake in the banks anyway so at best you'll be joining Sept 09 anyway.

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#5 RE: Is this the answer?
27/02/2008 11:50

AS to analyst (#4)

Mars, thanks. Exactly the kind of advice I needed. Thanks analyst, too. I did mean next year's intake. But if I don't go for the MBA route, I don't understand why I would be playing catch up if I were to apply for a grad entry level position as an analyst. Obviously market factors are going to make a huge impact, and US recession looks inevitable, but let's say things do manage to improve by the next round of recruiting (however unlikely this may be), will IBs touch a 2 year ACN consultant?

Also, Mars, I don't understand what you mean with regard to private banking and 'remuneration vs revenue'

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#6 RE: Is this the answer?
27/02/2008 12:13

Mars to AS (#5)

Sorry AS I was writing quickly and probably didnt make much sense. Private Wealth, if that is an area of interest, is essentially brokerage - either you are licenced to invest directly for your client, or - more often - you advise on options for investment to enable your client (usually high net worth individuals) to grow their investments. I could have made my point more clearly by saying these are sales roles - you will get a base salary which essentially comes directly out of the bonus/commission you earn.

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#7 RE: Is this the answer?
27/02/2008 12:17

people against spoilled clueless graduates to AS (#5)

ACN for all its faults is still one of the most respected employers at graduate level. You have been at ACN a year and decided it is not for you.... what exactly are you comparing it to? If you are comparing it to sitting in the student bar all afternoon and having nice long holidays, yes it is not a lot of fun. If you are comparing it to most other options for graduates, it is a hell of a good place to be. The other thing to remember is that things are getting tight now and are likely to get worse. Credit crunch in US, banks up against it and tough times ahead. The general rule in these situations is to hang on to what you have. You may soon be experiencing a fight for survival as opposed to an idealistic search for which company is best placed to assist you in your attempts to find yourself...

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#8 RE: Is this the answer?
27/02/2008 12:28

analyst to AS (#5)

They might yes, a lot depends on the experience you get and how marketable it is. If you're configuring SAP it's not really relevant but if you're doing post-merger integration, corp strategy etc. then it will be.

However, after 2 years, you're as well planning your MBA and going in that route.

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#9 RE: Is this the answer?
27/02/2008 12:58

AS to AS (#1)

Against clueless graduates, I appreciate the sentiment, and would agree that my time and lack of other experience make for a poor current judgement and a poor ability to compare. But at the same time, if you can see what your managers are doing, what future work is likely to be like, and know in your heart that you are probably not going to like it then I think that is a reasonable (albeit superficial) case for exit. And anyway, it's more about the journey than the end goal. All the end goal does is drive the pursuit, and that's where it’s at, in my opinion. So if you have a goal that's desirable, and, regardless of the truth of the perceived outcome, generates a genuine desire in the pursuit, then why not? As long as you can delude yourself that's all that really matters. At least then you'll think you might actually be going somewhere, as opposed to the stoic resignation that you're stuck on a sh1tty dead end trajectory. So screw it, at some point I'm going to go for it and give it my best shot.

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#10 RE: Is this the answer?
27/02/2008 14:15

Mars A Day to AS (#9)

Clueless, you don't need a comparison to know being somewhere/doing something that doesn't inspire or interest you is something best left behind - the fact that AS has nothing to compare ACN to does not mean he/she cannot make a decision about whether to leave and try something else (or otherwise no one would ever leave the first company they joined). Of course this is - essentially - a careers forum, albeit a broad church; but where is it written in stone that everyone has to be so preoccupied with their careers, and reaching x by age y, that they cannot pursue what interests them, make mistakes, and just get on with it.

AS I think your attitude is spot on and wil do you real favours in later life: sure there are people who reach the top of their careers, but how much was by design and how much by accident, fluke or luck? The real answer is of course all of them - the ones who took it all too seriously burnt out long before they reached the board of Goldman Sachs. Balance in everything, and that includes allowing yourself to make the odd mistake.

ACN is a great firm to start your career (or end it for that matter) but there are and always have been many other industries and firms which offer the same advantages.

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#11 RE: Is this the answer?
28/02/2008 05:36

People against spoilled clueless graduates to Mars A Day (#10)

I use the same name to identify myself!

I was trying to make a point before and through the "other side" at AS. Mars is a recruiter, it is part of his job to make people question the job their career choices. He performs a useful function in that sense.

It is actually difficult for graduates. You get on a grad scheme and are faced with all sorts of challenges you were not expecting. Working obscenely hard is one thing. Dealing with politics, watching others being favoured ahead of you and just adapting better. Remember it is a marathon and not a sprint. The over enthusiastic "how great am I" type will probably bail out early, launch some crazy internet company and either go bankrupt or make millions. You may not like the look of what your managers are doing now but you do not necessarily have to go down that path. Also, as you get higher up in the company, you have more choice. The other thing that changes is financial necessity. I found when I graduated that I could get by on a pretty low wage. I did not need the money I was earning. Down the line, your cost base inevitably increases a lot quicker than your pay packet (before the IB'ers and Hedgies pipe up, yes I know you earn more money than Tiger Woods and we are all very proud of you). You have to somehow lay the foundations for a future you do not actually know yet. Are your managers passionate about what they are doing? I imagine that guys like Mars, if they were able to really show their hands, would be able to show evidence that they are not in many cases. However, they are professional, get on with the job and provide a roof for their families if they have them. It is best to take a safety first approach as a graduate. A change now is not the end of the world but if you do move into banking at a difficult time and end up losing that job or leaving due to the pressure. Suddenly you are in your mid '20's with 2 or 3 short term work experiences. At that point you end up having to go to work with Mars because no-one else will have you.... (joking Mars... but we know that recruitment is where a lot of talented people who just did not quite make the right decisions end up)

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#12 RE: Is this the answer?
28/02/2008 08:11

Ben to People against spoilled clueless graduates (#11)

AS and MARS:

The ACN consulting training or ACN brand name you're referring to applies to MCIM mostly, right? I will be starting in SI&T in 8 weeks but feel that this might not be what I was originally looking for when I applied for Management Consulting.

If Mgmt/Strat Consulting is what I ultimately want, should I hang around in school for another term and then apply to the banks/consultancies again? Or should I stick with my (boring) role in Systems and make the best of it before applying for MBA again in a few years?

Any comments/advice would be appreciated.

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#13 RE: Is this the answer?
28/02/2008 09:04

Mars to People against spoilled clueless graduates (#11)

Clueless it is not in my interest to make AS question his career choices - aside of the fact this forum in anonymous so I don't know who he is anyway, AS is both far too junior at this point in his career to come under my radar, and - if I am being blunt - it is always commercially risky for me to try and sell/coerce someone into a role or company which is wrong for them. And I graduated with a First Class degree, had many options back when I graduated, and actually wanted to be a headhunter after meeting a few at Uni. But I take your point.

My point here - and I acknowledge the strength of your argument - is that if AS is going to concede he made a mistake, or at least feels he made one (for him, lets not construe this as being all about how bad ACN is - it isn't) then better he do it now while he has time to start again without losing time and effort. I still think a move into banking at this point is a dangerous and cavalier move though. And people DO make mistakes, and change career track even much later in life Clueless - it is the agile who thrive not those with a one track mind.

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#14 RE: Is this the answer?
28/02/2008 10:50

People against spoilled clueless graduates to Mars (#13)

Mars. I did not say that you were trying to head-hunt a junior person like AS via an anonymous foum. it is, quite naturally, in a head-hunter's nature to get people to look at all of their career options. This surely is not contentious.

The challenge, I think for a graduate, is not to make the mistake now, which could screw things up down the line as AS may be about to do. Also, how, as an inexperienced graduate, do you tell the difference between adapting to "real life" and being in the wrong place. Is AS just struggling to adapt to the hard reality of working for a blue chip company or has AS made a real mistake in joining Accenture. How bad a mistake can it be to join ACN?!?

My rule of thumb to grads who have joined respectable companies is to fight it out for as long as they possibly can. In the majority of cases, this is the option which serves you best in the long run. I have been around the block a bit now and better the devil you know is generally the way to go, I am afraid.

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#15 RE: Is this the answer?
28/02/2008 11:50

Mars to People against spoilled clueless graduates (#14)

At the risk of hijacking this thread, Clueless the question is not about whether it was - or is - a mistake to join ACN. If AS is that unhappy at ACN that he is actually looking to leave and has an exit option in mind already then where is the contentious issue? AS is not saying there is anything wrong with ACN, just that it is not for him - and therefore may consulting is not his thing at all for that matter.

People move all the time, at every stage in their careers and not all of them through third parties like myself, and what is more no one moves just because they have been asked to do so - in the end they have to choose to do so.

Clueless you seem very risk averse - quite understandable if you have a family, and having been round the block a few times you will have seen first hand the last time the economy - and MC - took a real hit. But AS has no need - yet - to be so risk aversive.

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#16 RE: Is this the answer?
28/02/2008 12:57

anon to Mars (#15)

I think one could argue that this is the perfect time to be risk averse. With stagflation looming a dependable job is pretty important.

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#17 RE: Is this the answer?
28/02/2008 13:11

Mr S. Kint to anon (#16)

Talking of stagflation, one of the problems I have is working for a boss who still lives in the 1970's, price-wise. He's a great guy, but really does believe that a £200 bonus is something to really seriously be appreciated, or that a £20 mobile phone bill is "unreasonably expensive", or that we're "travelling like kings" if we visit a client by car and charge them 42p a mile (rather than going by train). The problem is, it's all well and good for him, having bought his luxury 4 bed house for £10K back in the 60's or whenever it was, but as the youngest member of the team, I'm finding it desperately hard to live a 2008 lifestyle on a 1985 income. The company isn't doing great, I have a LOT of loyalty to the team (rightly or wrongly), I'm very risk averse, I love the job, but I'm finding it difficult to make ends meet. Any suggestions?

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#18 RE: Is this the answer?
28/02/2008 13:24

Mr R Flush to Mr S. Kint (#17)

Are you working for your dad?

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#19 RE: Is this the answer?
28/02/2008 13:26

Mr S. Kint to Mr R Flush (#18)


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#20 RE: Is this the answer?
28/02/2008 16:09

anon to Mr S. Kint (#19)

ask for payrise or quit

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#21 RE: Is this the answer?
28/02/2008 16:26

anona to anon (#20)

Still not resolved this problem skinty? Tut tut.

Id imagine that more senior consultants are less likely to get fired if needs must. Especially if the're on less than others at their level.

Get a new job, don't ask the earth, and you never know - you might actually be helping your old firm by cutting their costs.

Then after wowing the world with your brilliance, come back as a partner and live out the rest of your life on the golf course.


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