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Next Steps...

#1 Next Steps...
05/06/2008 21:43


Hi, wonder if anyone can help me, I have lurked around the boards for a while and would like some advice.

Basically I left school to join a massive blue chip company that offered me a place on their degree training programme. Here I work in a number of finance and commercial placements while working towards BA (Hons) degree which I am due to finish in Dec, having 3 years business experiance.

Due to a sale of the division which is located in my "key" region I may have the oppurtunity of voluntary redundancy.

I see this as an oppurtunity as I want to get into Strategy consulting. I feel I am ideally suited to this type of work as I enjoy looking at the strategy element of business, work well in a team environment and enjoy doing project based work where I would get to see a large variety of business and have an impact upon those businesses at an early stage of my career.

However I was pretty undetermined at school and drifted through 6th form with 3C's at A-level and a B at AS. But since joing the training programme I have really bucked my ideas up, got my ead down and worked really hard. I have done well in placements (to the point of managers offering me jobs) and all going well I am on my way to a 1st in my deree.

When looking around the strat houses websites I am slightly put off seeing all the high A level requirements, I believe I am capable of doing the job have proved to be higly motivated, intelligent and hard working in my current job. What are the chances of me getting a job (at least an interview) at the strat houses.

Secondly, the redundancy is likely to happen in October time(ish) if I were to apply would it be worth waiting until the next Milk Round, is this the only time these companies hire graduate roles?

Hope you can help it would be much appreciated,


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#2 RE: Next Steps...
06/06/2008 08:07

Tony Restell ( to Jimmy (#1)

Jimmy - you don't specifically state the university you've attended, but I'm assuming it's not Oxbridge based on other info you've provided like your grades and the degree finishing in December.

Being frank, three Cs and a degree (even a first) from a non-Oxbridge university are extremely unlikely to secure you a strategy consulting milkround interview, particularly in the current climate where graduate recruitment will be a little slower than usual and so the competition for places even fiercer.

I hope my being blunt is helpful, even if it's not what you'd wanted to hear.

Tony Restell

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#3 RE: Next Steps...
06/06/2008 08:47

---- to Tony Restell ( (#2)

Tony's right... quite frankly, the intellectual rigour required to do industry projects in-house is far, far less than the persuasive, highly analytical and robust approach you will need if working as a strategy consultant on behalf of a client paying huge fees. Presentations consisting of 6 slides of 4 bullet points each, written in a 36-point font won't do it any more. I fear that you may think strategy consulting is an easy ride, where you just go around hob-nobbing with a company's senior staff and occasionally trotting out a few opinions at meetings. It's not. It's tough, gruelling work. Heck, the hardest part is just having the physical stamina to work so many hours in a week. If you couldn't even be bothered to work hard at school, then you're really going to find the ultra-competitive, often mega-academic, long hours, extremely hard working environment within a consultancy project team a totally alien environment to what you've been used to. It also seems somewhat unfair not to mention unrealistic that a self-admitted slacker can just make up lost ground and re-start his career on level terms with people who have had the drive, determination and intellectual capability (not to mention having made the financial investment) to get ivy league MBAs and the like.

Here's a thought. If you've already established some good relationships, why not become a contractor? Go self-employed and see if you can start billing yourself out at £700 a day. You've got plenty of time to line up a few projects, after all....

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#4 RE: Next Steps...
06/06/2008 10:11

Late developer... to ---- (#3)

This may be changing the focus of the thread slightly, but whilst I agree with some of what "----" says, I must take issue with his belief that Jimmy is a "self-confessed slacker". Yes, with those A-levels it is unlikely that he will get a Strat house interview. But I do think people develop at different rates and to basically suggest that little Jimmy won't be able to hack the pace because he "couldn't be bothered at school" is a bit arrogant in my opinion.

To take a topical example, are you saying that someone like Alan Sugar would also not have the drive to work in a fast-paced, pressured environment? Wake up pal.

Jimmy - aside from your poor A-levels, I would say don't think strat consulting is the be all and end all because you may end up working with guys like "----" who will forever look down their noses at you. And he also gave a good indication as to what he actually does by making reference to powerpoint. If you have gained great experience within a real world blue chip company, do you really want to sit in a corner and prepare powerpoint slides for 14 hours a day?

Good luck.

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#5 RE: Next Steps...
06/06/2008 10:26

---- to Late developer... (#4)

You may not like the way I put the argument across, but I think most people would agree with the points that I made. I think it's fair to assume that there is no chance whatsoever that a strat firm will take someone on during the milkround if they have those kind of A-level results and nothing else to offer (e.g. exceptional network).

And re: Alan Sugar, there is pretty much 0% chance he would have been accepted by a strat firm with the credentials he had before the AMS empire became a success.

And re: powerpoint, yes I still do a fair bit of that, but I'm also relatively senior within my firm - senior associate level.

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#6 RE: Next Steps...
06/06/2008 10:49

P to ---- (#5)

----your characterisation of Jimmy as a slacker is intellectually lazy (ironically) and dishonest. People get poor grades for a variety of reasons. The reality of the situation is that the hyper-competitive, highly academic types TYPICALLY (with very minor exceptions) come from affluent, stable, supportive families. They achieve because they are pushed and can afford to achieve.

Some individuals simply do not have the support necessary to reach their potential between the ages of - say 16 to 24. Some develop later, for example getting poor a level grades and hitting their stride at university.

This does not however make them inferior, less able or even less intelligent. I hire from a wide range of backgrounds - MBB, Industry, even self-made people with hard-knocks life stories. Sadly, the MBB types are woefully lacking in social and emotional intelligence and just do not posses a very rounded view of the world. Jimmy - top strat is out of your league. You should rejoice at this.

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#7 RE: Next Steps...
06/06/2008 10:49

Late developer... to ---- (#5)

As I mentioned I wasn't disputing the overall theme i.e. "What are the chances of getting a job in strat consulting?" "very low". I agree, with those A-levels (like Alan Sugar and his lack of education), the CV would most likely end up in the bin.

I just took issue with your rather cutting remarks regards the intangibles! i.e. motivation, focus, drive, intellectual capability etc.

I think it is harsh to suggest someone has none of these attributes based purely on his A-levels, hence the Sugar example. You suggested that even if Jimmy fluked it in to strat he wouldn't be able to hack it, even after he mentioned he's on the way to a first (surely shows a change in attitude?).

Tony put across his point a lot more concisely, simply answering the question!

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#8 RE: Next Steps...
06/06/2008 11:01

Mark to Late developer... (#7)

Taking a step back -

Jimmy, another possible route to go down if you really have your heart set on consultancy is to target a particular industry (I assume you already have experience in one from your degree training programme) & become a specialist in this area.

Next step could be to join a research / analysis firm focused on your industry, and study towards an MA/MSc at a business school.

Get a 3-4 years under your belt, save up and then do an MBA & transfer across to consultancy.

At this point you'll probably have so enough experience to bump those A-levels off the cv.

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#9 RE: Next Steps...
06/06/2008 11:16

Jimmy to Mark (#8)

Guys thanks for your help / advice, You have confimred my thinking that strat houses are shooting a bit too high.

I am certainly not lazy, I did slack at a-levels i had a few other priorities (wrongly but i was young and messed up).

However I do work very hard often putting more hours in than colleagues and then going home to do degree work to ensure I get that first.

I will look ito Mark's advice of working at a research / analysis firm for a particular industry - i do plan on doing an MBA and actually have thew funds saved up already through my current job.

Is another option looking at smaller boutique firms - I have read this before on these forums - if this is a viable options where should I be looking and where can I find these sorts of firms.

Once again thank you all for your responses.

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#10 RE: Next Steps...
06/06/2008 11:28

---- to Mark (#8)

"I just took issue with your rather cutting remarks regards the intangibles! i.e. motivation, focus, drive, intellectual capability etc."

OK, fair enough, I probably over-did that point. No doubt he's knuckled down and is now a very hard-working, ambitious individual. A totally transformed person to the individual who described his past self as being "pretty undetermined at school and drifted through 6th form". It could still be quite a shock for him though, going from an industry job with regular hours and 'normal' colleagues (the sort who quite possibly graduated from redbrick universities and live a 9-5 type lifestyle), into the high intensity consulting pressure-cooker jet-setting all over the world political academically rigourous 14 hour a day ivy league MBA environment. I think a lot of people from industry seriously underestimate just how demanding it is and see "getting into strategy consulting" as some kind of honeypot when actually it probably isn't.

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#11 RE: Next Steps...
07/06/2008 13:34

Deticon to Jimmy (#9)

Jimmy, Do some research and segment the consultancy market against your industry skills and the clients niche consultancies work for. The good news is that there are guys with your background in this kind of company, the bad news is that you have a harder 'sell' to get yourself in - but not an impossible one.

As for '----'; give it a rest mate, your obnoxious comments on this and others threads are exactly what give the industry it's 'up its own backside' reputation - everyone's allowed to make an application...

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