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Quit ACN for Strategy?

#1 Quit ACN for Strategy?
01/06/2009 04:44


Hi everyone,

I am a recent grad and I am thinking of quitting ACN (after 1 yr) and spend the next 2-3 months studying for GMAT and case studies, in hopes of landing a job with a strategy firm during the Sept recruiting round - what are my chances?

I've been working at ACN MCIM for just over a year now. The people are great but I find the work boring and not challenging. My work area has been closely tied with Organizational Training.

When I graduated last year, I interviewed with 2 of the MBB, MON, OW and DC along with ACN, but only received an offer from ACN. I never made it pass the 1st round because of my lack of preparation for case studies.

If I take the next 2-3months off, study hard for my GMAT and practice case studies, what are my chances of landing interviews and hopefully job(s) during the Sept recruitment round? Would I be considered despite spending a year in a non-strategy field? And are the top strat houses even hiring, given the economy?

I would appreciate your thoughts.


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#2 RE: Quit ACN for Strategy?
01/06/2009 08:20

Cynic to Jen (#1)

Well, you're female, so that makes things easier for a start.

But, people get pigeonholed really quickly in this industry. Spend your first ever 2 days of work helping someone prepare for a process mapping workshop? You will forever after be doing process mapping for the rest of your life. Work on a project involving some IT stuff for a week? Prepare yourself for your certain career in IT. Accidentally stumble across a Partner who asked you to put together a few slides for a presentation? Congratulations, you're now a PA for the next 30 years. That's kinda how it works in reality.

Spend 1 year at ACN? Well... you're now an ACN calibre person. MCIM? Ideal for software sales roles.

You could do it I guess... but I wouldn't quit a stable job for it. Say you pass your GMATs... so what? They want a MBA or business degree, not GMAT.

Plus you'll be seen as 'damaged goods' in a way. Don't take this the wrong way, but I'm sure you know what I mean. They want people fresh out of university, who they can brainwash, um I mean 'train', in the way that they do things. They might be worried that, when they ask you to put together a powerpoint, you'll come back with a 30 page presentation full of slides with 4 bullet points at size 32 font each, rather than the powered-up all-night research packed quality stuff they're used to extracting from their keen-to-please analysts. For experienced hires, they basically only want rainmakers who can bring an order book with them, or possibly an old hand in a specialised field to plug a particular need for a particular project. They also tend to like it if you're well connected (e.g. the daughter of a senior exec at a FTSE company).

Plus, during a recession, I'm sure they'll keep up the interviewing (what else would the HR people do all day?), but will they actually be doing any hiring?

And not only that, but do you really want to get on that career path anyway? No job security, harsh appraisals, all-nighters, life out a suitcase etc?

The tier 1 firms can be great for some people, but my advise is to think long and hard before you quit a job for something that you may not want even if you do manage to beat the 200-1 odds and get an offer...

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#3 RE: Quit ACN for Strategy?
01/06/2009 08:51

anon to Cynic (#2)

Don't Bain request GMAT/GRE scores from "Experienced Professionals" in their applications?

Not sure that 1 yr at Acn would make you an experienced professional however...

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#4 RE: Quit ACN for Strategy?
01/06/2009 09:27

Cynic to anon (#3)

Not sure if Bain specifically request GMAT scores, but I imagine a lot of MBA holders with good GMAT scores plaster it all over their applications.

Put it this way, if I'm a 50 year old ex-CEO who promises to bring a £10M pipeline of work with me, do you think Bain will give a toss about my GMAT score (or even if I've done it)? On that basis, I think they probably assess each application on its individual merits rather than shoehorning applications into forms and using some kind of 'computation' to work out whether to offer an interview or not.

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#5 RE: Quit ACN for Strategy?
01/06/2009 10:14

anon to Cynic (#4)

You are correct in terms of something like a GMAT score being relatively insignificant in that case.

Checked tho and it is something they ask for

Bain welcomes experienced professionals to apply for a position on our consulting team.

We require candidates to submit the following application materials through our online application:

* Cover letter

* Resume

* Test scores (e.g. GMAT, GRE)

* University (Bachelors, Masters, etc.) and grades/GPA

* Office preferences

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#6 RE: Quit ACN for Strategy?
01/06/2009 10:39

Cynic to anon (#5)

1. That's just HR giving out a wish list of all the stuff they want.

2. Before "GMAT" it says "e.g." which implies that you only need to give GMAT scores if you have done the GMAT. Basically they just want a feel for what qualifications you hold and what grades you got, they're not necessarily saying that you have to have done the GMAT.

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