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Career move to Consulting...

#1 Career move to Consulting...
12/11/2008 14:54



I'm a junior doctor and am thinking of making a career move to consulting. I've never enjoyed my job as a medic, but I stuck with it thinking of all the time I have dedicated to medicine and thought it would get better. But it hasn't, and consultancy appears to be the best option for me as I have a lot of transferable skills, and I know a lot of doctors make the move to consultancy. But I don't have any contacts that I can speak to just to find out what it'slike, so I just wanted the opinion of any management consultants out there on what the pros and cons of a career in consultancy are, and if you would recommend it...i.e. is it a wise career move. Any advice would be really appreciated.


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#2 RE: Career move to Consulting...
12/11/2008 19:14

ExDr to as (#1)

I am a medic in a consulting firm.

Personally I prefer it to clinical medicine.

A few points, don't have much time:

Pros (for me):

1): The work is varied and interesting (not always but for the most part)

One month I might be assessing the commercial viability of a new product, the following devising a go-to-market strategy in Europe, the one after that assessing the oncology market, or the CNS market, etc etc. It is a good blend of the things I liked about medicine and the things I find interesting in business.

2) The people are intelligent without fail (at least at my firm) and there is none of the politics and nonsense that pervades the NHS - there is no dealing with idiotic nurses turned managers. Nobody has a clipboard and no real job - there is no dead wood

3) We are looked after. If I work late I get free food and taxis. I no longer have to survive on Mars bars overnight.

4) I am paid a lot more. However I am relatively senior - I know other doctors that took a pay cut.

5) I have options to do other things after consulting that I would never have even thought of before.


1) If you are not in a top firm I imagine that little of the above applies. I can count on less than one hand the number of firms I would consider joining if I had to do it again.

2) Once you leave it will, I imagine, be very difficult to go back

3) Travel - business travel is not all it is cracked up to be.

4) You will probably miss some of the camaraderie and seeing patients side of medicine

5) And most importantly, you have most likely missed the boat by a year or so - I very much doubt anyone is hiring at the moment. We certainly wouldn't even consider it at the moment.

Sorry for that last downer, but you couldn't really have picked a worse time. Depending on how many years of clinical experience you have, you might be better off going to business school, or perhaps spending a couple of years in pharma and then trying when things pick up again

Hope that helps

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#3 RE: Career move to Consulting...
13/11/2008 16:05

Drsa to ExDr (#2)

Thanks, that's really helpful. Basically reinforced what I thought Consulting is like, compared to NHS life-'dead wood' coudln't have put it better myself!

With regards to the last point- just wish I had left a year ago when I'd decided I wanted to leave medicine, but just stuck at it thinking it would get better-it hasn't. My friends who are in Banking have warned be it's a really bad time to be applying, but I wasn't sure if the same applied to Consulting, so consulting firms are cutting back on recruiting aswell?

I am about to spend a fortune on getting my Resume written professionally, as I thought it would be a good investment if it practically guarantees me an interview, but now I'm not sure if it's just worth holding off for a while, although I don't think I can last much longer in the NHS!

I have a pretty good job for the next 2 years-core medical trainiing in a large teaching hospital, but I'm thinking of quitting, going to work aborad and travel for a few months and then coming back and apply to consulting when things have improved a bit and firms are recruiting again. Not sure to do this or to apply now, anyway, and see what happens.

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#4 RE: Career move to Consulting...
13/11/2008 17:14

Evil Consultant to Drsa (#3)


Plenty of medics make the jump to consulting when they realise that working for the NHS really doesn't involve swanning around like Dr. McDreamy chased by long-legged blonde nurses in short skirts with the flapping of your white coat stayed only by your stethoscope and wads of £50 notes. (I'm kidding, they get it beaten out of them in medical school or they never get into medical school if they believe that it's like that. I hope.)

In many ways former medics are perfect consulting material; bright, in posession of a totally distorted view of what normal working life is like, and inculcated with an inherent tendancy to obey those higher than them in the food chain. (I'm still kidding, but less so.)

Do NOT waste your money having someone professionally write your CV. This will not guarantee you an interview or anything else. All you need to do is get a little advice and trim the crud and you'll have a fighting chance.


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#5 RE: Career move to Consulting...
13/11/2008 17:18

Mars A Day to Evil Consultant (#4)

I agree 100% with EC, although he is painting a cynical picture of MC as usual - EC leave the poor chap SOME illusions! ;-)

Get a friendly HH to rewrite your CV - tell them you will remember them when you get your job and recommend them, or give them some referrals as a trade.

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#6 RE: Career move to Consulting...
13/11/2008 17:58

ExDr to Mars A Day (#5)

Absolutely don't get your CV written for you. Find some websites that tell you how a "business CV" should look and then start thinking how you can make yours look similar.

Try and quantify things you have done and highlight the impact you have made in your career to date. ie, don't say "I audited xxx" but "I audited xxx and highlighted issues yyy. My recommendations led to cost -savings of ZZZ and reduced waitlist time by QQQ" No sentence longer than that though.

Clearly you can't quantify much/anything in monetary terms so you will have to be creative. And be concise. Any paragraph more than a couple of lines will just be skimmed over!!!

Career-wise, quitting and travelling may be fun but it won't help you. Pretty much all firms have a few doctors in them and they understand the career structure within the NHS. They look for evidence of rapid career advancement and excellence across the board. Working in a teaching hospital demonstrates this, travelling and working in Australia doesn't to the same degree. It's not a dealbreaker and you will have some good stories at interview if you do it, but bear in mind that, when firms put you in front of healthcare clients, they ideally want you to be from the most prestigious hospitals with post-grad exams etc. It's part of the game.

I partially agree with EC. Doctors don't really care about the hours so much, that is true. I would also add, though, that medics, in general, tend to get things done, and adopt a common sense approach to the work which is often lacking in people that haven't previously worked in a dysfunctional environment like the NHS

I reckon your options are:

1) Give it a shot now. Will be a long shot - I know doctors in the top business schools that are struggling for jobs at the moment. You would potentially be looking at a lower level which may help. Campus recruiting is happening right now so look into that.

2) Finish CMT, get your exams, then try again, with a back-up option of business school or pharma

3) Try and get into pharma now - again a problem as you won't have the necessary clinical experience yet to sit the Dip Pharm Med

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