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Best way to progress

#1 Best way to progress
18/06/2008 20:03


What are peoples views on the best way to progress a career and climb the ladder.

Stick around until there's no-one but you left to promote or move every around couple of years to gain a breadth of experience?

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#2 RE: Best way to progress
19/06/2008 08:31

---- to muthafraker (#1)

This is a very interesting question and I would be interested to hear people's ideas.

I used to think that sticking around was the best idea, but the problem with that is that people tend to continue seeing you as a junior even if you have progressed significantly. It's really difficult to shake off baggage. But when you move to a new firm, they don't get to see any of your previous history - this is both a good and bad thing. In my experience, employers tend to become complacent and don't reward loyalty like they should. In fact, they tend to think "oh we hired him for £30K 10 years ago and now he's on £50K so he ought to be happy with his lot, in fact are we sure he's not over-paid??"

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#3 RE: Best way to progress
19/06/2008 09:47

Perfect timing to ---- (#2)

Tis a good question, and interested to get some strong opinions. I remember seeing a thread from Mars a few weeks ago (don't ask me to remember which one) indicating that people should move every year to progress the quickest.

Personally I don't subscribe to this as I think any more that 2 moves within 2 years makes you look very bad, so you have to have cast iron reasons for leaving.

I definitely do agree that staying in a firm for a long period of time (let's say 4 years+ for arguments sake) can lead to smaller incremental pay rises so may see you get left behind. However, if you are at a top place that you want to progress within (e.g. MBB and following the partner path) then clearly you are not going have the opportunity to stagnate (up and out etc) so therefore the hanging around aspect does not apply.

So I suppose I think it really depends where you are and where you want to be; in a mid-level consultancy you may move up quicker by moving about, getting on more assignments, agressively pushing for pay rises, but if you are already at the top of the tree (and are career motivated as well as money motivated) then you are probably best sticking around and letting the promotions happen...

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#4 RE: Best way to progress
19/06/2008 10:48

Mars A Day to Perfect timing (#3)

Perfect Timing I think you may have confused comments I made to different situations (which is understandable given the volume of posts on this forum).

My general advice about moving is that - to maintain upwards momentum - you need to move every 3 - 5 years, and 4 is the optimum. Any longer and you risk becoming entrenched in the company you are with. Even within MBB, referring to partner track, a wise individual will move out of McK and into Bain or a tier 2 firm, or even industry, for a while, before returning to MBB in a higher level; very very few people manage to reach Partner or Director level in MC without making moves to both gain bandwidth of experience (industry experience being particularly important here to balance the tendency to academia that sets in at senior MC levels) and - assuming you ARE Partner/Director material - a talent/capability vaccum which raises your equity on re-entering. MC is awash with average joes who have climbed the ladder simply through longevity and then wonder why - when the market turns against them - they are unhireable; the reason is lack of bandwidth in the main, and riding on the effect of being pushed up by hiring beneath them rather than reaching for the next level through achievement.

By my reckoning most people have about 2 promotions worth in any firm before needing to move on. This also widens your networks, and builds a reputation outside the company you are in (essential - become the known for/go to guy).

The real secret of the really successful is that they work out their destination in detail (not just 'I want to make a lot of money, make partner etc') and then map backwards to where they are, understand the mix of experience and moves they need to make, and then make them knowing where each steps opens up the next option.

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#5 RE: Best way to progress
19/06/2008 17:03

Muthafraker to Mars A Day (#4)

I think I agree with Mars' viewpoint in general.

However I also think it depends upon what stage in your career you are at. I think 3-5 years is a good benchmark. For first/second jobbers (or in twenties) it would be good to move every 2-3 years and for third jobbers and beyond more like the 4-6 year period. I think it's important to get as varied experience as possible, including International, whilst starting the career then as it develops sticking around for longer periods.

This way if you start on a grad scheme, for example, you learn the job then do it for say a year. After 2 years or so move on and you will shake off the grad image and be taken more seriously elsewhere.

Just my tuppence worth.

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#6 RE: Best way to progress
19/06/2008 22:00

charris to Muthafraker (#5)

agree with the last 2 posters - some of the most same posts I have seen so far in this forum.

you gotta move within these windows, they feel right to me atm, to shake and change...

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#7 RE: Best way to progress
25/06/2008 10:45

--- to deleted (#0)

Well this is a very difficult one to answer, but I would say this: If you enjoy what you're doing, and the pay is OK, why not stay? Conversely, if you don't enjoy it, then life's too short! Good luck!

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#8 RE: Best way to progress
29/06/2008 18:35

Muthafraker to --- (#7)

--- Lets say you enjoyed a job for say 5 years then decided to stay for another 5 then still enjoying it you finally decide that that's the company you want to work for indefinitely. Suddenly take-over/economic downturn etc and you're out of work. You will find it very difficult indeed to adapt to a new work environment if you've only ever experienced one place. Variety is the spice of life...

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#9 RE: Best way to progress
30/06/2008 09:10

--- to Muthafraker (#8)

Oh my yes you're right, I hadn't thought of that!! Maybe a little moving around is good for you after all!! Hehe

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