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Advice on jumping ship from big4

#1 Advice on jumping ship from big4
07/01/2009 14:41



I'd like some opinions on the following situation..

How advisable is it to try and shortcut your career path by starting your career at a big4 and change to a smaller consulting company on your promotion year, guarateeing a significant salary boost (and the promotion, which is never guaranteed) and more responsability?

The principle behind this approach is building up market value by being in a big4 and using it to earn more £ in less time and at the same time get automatically promoted to the next level.

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#2 RE: Advice on jumping ship from big4
07/01/2009 15:09

Anastasia to genX (#1)

How many years would you want to stay in a big 4? staying there for a year would not bring you much if you are a graduate or have less then 3-4 years pre-consultancy experience...

Little ones would want a lot of expertise - in many areas including sales/pitching or in one area but very deep and grounded - none of this will you get in your first couple of years. Realistically, in my opinion, you should be staying at least four to five years and by then you might decide that you had enough from consulting anyway

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#3 RE: Advice on jumping ship from big4
07/01/2009 15:22

genX to Anastasia (#2)

I have been in a big4 for 3 years.

I do not really want out of consulting, I just don't want my career to be slowed down by external factors such as the economic crisis which have a big impact on promotions and salary.

My expertise is grounded in one specific area of IT and i've had a lot of experience in this area even before I started working here.

The idea is to change to a smaller consultancy for a couple of years and then eventually get back into a big4 but in a higher position. Where I work many small consulting companies outsource workers to the big4, which in turn gives them a lot of visibility (and better offers). This most certainly would be what would happen to me if I changed company. I'd get more £, work less hours and still be in high profile projects (because the area is very specific).

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#4 RE: Advice on jumping ship from big4
07/01/2009 16:00

profblaumann to genX (#3)


I think when jumping the ship from a big4 to a smaller firm, there will be a possiblity to enter straight on the next level. You will have to convince them that you had sufficient exposure and a well-rounded profile meaning -as Anastasia mentioned- also involvement in other activites than just straight delivery, such as recruiting, sales pitches, exposure to senior clients etc.

However, going back to a big4 from a smaller firm is more complex imho. Unless you have very specific (and relevant) skills, you probably will not be able to make any big jumps in terms of level.

Regarding your reasoning to move away from Big4s: I don't think they are hit any harder by the crisis than smaller firms, I would even argue the opposite. Freelancers are mostly the first to go when costcutting, and in the same way, small consultancies do not have the project portfolio to 'park'/'cross-sell' to other divisions/etc on-the-bench staff on other assignments.

that's my 2 cents,

good luck,


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#5 RE: Advice on jumping ship from big4
07/01/2009 20:12

Anastasia to genX (#3)

how about contracting - that will bring much more money then any big4 or small company job for the next couple of years and when the market picks up you can come back on a very senior level because you could lcaim to have business development and this is what you suppose to be doing from a senior consultant anyway ...?

What do you think about this option?

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#6 RE: Advice on jumping ship from big4
08/01/2009 01:47

Hd to Anastasia (#5)

It's less about doing something in order to "claim" you have business development experience. If you don't actually do something to get that experience and build appropriate networks, you're not going to get the job. Even if you get lucky at interview, you'll just get fired when you fail to bring in the bacon.

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#7 RE: Advice on jumping ship from big4
08/01/2009 19:49

genX to Anastasia (#5)

Anastasia, contracting is probably how I'd like to work in the future. But for now, I do not yet have a wide enough network to think about living as a freelancer so my goal is to work with as many different people as possible while securing a decent salary.

One of the main ideas about switching to a smaller consultancy is getting a bigger piece of the pie that gets paid for my services.

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