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Is consulting really a way to fast-track your career?

 
#1 Is consulting really a way to fast-track your career?
08/06/2008 01:36

JPP

Is this true? Surely this come at the expense of social life? I mean if I work 80+ hours pw, I would also expect to pick up lots of skills in relatively short period of time. So to all ex-consultants or senior consultants, what has been your experience?

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#2 RE: Is consulting really a way to fast-track your career?
09/06/2008 08:55

Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) to JPP (#1)

First I'd say that 80+ hour weeks are very much the exception during the height of a consulting project. The norm over the course of a project would be closer to a 5 day week working 11-12 hours a day, so say 55-60 hours a week. You only stray north of this when you have to work through the weekend or do all-nighters. Which is exceptional rather than routine.

I suspect that whether you've gone into accounting, law, banking or a corporate fast-track scheme, the hours a high-achiever would typically work are going to be similar or worse to these consulting kinds of levels. If you're going to get to the top through hard graft then guess what - you're going to have to do hard graft!

But do I know lots of consultants who've gone on to have successful careers outside consulting and who've leapfrogged the levels they would have achieved if they'd not done the stint in consulting? Sure. So it can certainly pay off even if a long-term career in consulting is not your ultimate aim.

Hope that helps

Tony Restell

Top-Consultant.com

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#3 RE: Is consulting really a way to fast-track your career?
09/06/2008 10:03

dutchconsultant.baywords.com to JPP (#1)

On average a consultant works monday to friday with an average of 10 hours per day.

Sometimes (couple of times per year) it gets hectic, disorganised, chaotic and stressful; resulting in a 80 hour week.

Sometimes (couple of times per year) it gets disorganised, slow and very relaxing; resulting in 20 hours per week.

On average the hours are not bad. Consultants who claim to be working 60+ hours every week are particularly bad in time-management, managing expectations and selling the right kind of projects.

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#4 RE: Is consulting really a way to fast-track your career?
09/06/2008 19:06

Village Idiot to JPP (#1)

The real advantage of consulting is the variety of work you get exposed to and the level of senior stakeholders you will meet relatively early in your career.

You are also likely to be handed more responsibility earlier if you can show you can handle it. All the consultancies I have worked in over my career have been meritocracies -- generally speaking, talented people rise up to the top of the pool.

There are plenty of stories of guys making partner in their early 30s. Short of investment banking or owning your own business, there aren't many other career paths with that trajectory.

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#5 RE: Is consulting really a way to fast-track your career?
09/06/2008 22:45

lk to Village Idiot (#4)

Personally I like consulting because it's more challenging. I do have career ambitions but none of them involve having as easy life until I'm married and have kids.

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