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"Consulting sucks...

#1 "Consulting sucks...
27/07/2009 21:17


....if you are a grad and not planning to stay beyond 2 years"

This is the conclusion I have come to after nearly a year at a Big 4. I know there are many of you with decades of experience in consulting who will not agree with me. But honestly, beyond all the soft skills and CV brand value, what exit options does a grad with 2 yrs of consulting experience (as an analyst) have? I cant think of many genuine opportunities.

If that is the case, is there any point in staying for another year to complete two years - rather is it not better to start looking for something straightaway? (for someone who never saw consulting as a long term option - personal reasons, need a more stable work life balance) Another thing I have noticed is that a major reason for people to stay in consulting is because of the money - if that was my superior motive in life,I would rather be in IB.

I need some advice please. I know I am going to be bombarded with sarcastic comments and anger but I hope atleast someone out there can be of some support.


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#2 RE: "Consulting sucks...
27/07/2009 21:31

anal-ist to 24/m/frustrated (#1)

To answer the 'what can i do after 2 yrs at big 4' there's lots of junior project management jobs in ftse100 companies you can go for but it depends what you've been doing. You could also do another 2 yrs in consulting or something related then do an MBA and a lot of people do this.

Nothing wrong with deciding consulting's not for you, most people think it's crap anyway but it does pay ok (not great) and the benefits are normally quite good. Also, if you do make it to the top you'll actually be paid not bad.

No-one will care if you leave though, the question you need to ask yourself is what to you want to do that isn't consulting, that pays as much and that you have a reasonable shot at getting into. Once you can answer that then the opinion of people on here shouldn't matter.

I'm still trying to answer that one myself.

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#3 RE: "Consulting sucks...
28/07/2009 14:04

Mr Cool to 24/m/frustrated (#1)


ALL jobs suck if you are a grad and not planning to stay, cos you're winning credits you'll never get to cash in.

ALL grad entry jobs in EVERY industry and at EVERY employer, are about...

1. Working really hard to show that you are not work shy

2. Learning as much about everything as you can to show you are capable of learning new stuff quickly (and not from books like at Uni)

3. Getting to the point where people finally think that you are an individual rather than just another grad - which normally happens when you start "contributing" more than you are "consuming".

Any grad that does not enjoy their work is unlikley to find the above much fun, or find it easy to put the effort in. Thus starts the vicious circle of "hate this, can't be bothered, poor performance, bad review, hate this, can't be..."

If you're already worried about work/life balance after a year, then I suggets consulting is not for you. I sugest you get out and find something you enjoy doing straight away.

HOWEVER - don't think that you'll be able to give stages 1+2 above a body swerve - you'll still have to do it at your new place - its just that if you enjoy the work, you might find it a pleasure to prove to people how capable you are.

Good luck

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#4 RE: "Consulting sucks...
29/07/2009 09:10

Cynic to Mr Cool (#3)

Mr Cool makes some very good points here. I particularly like the point about winning credits you'll never get to cash in. I wish I had known this far earlier in my career. It is incredibly frustrating to be working hard to build a reputation and track record in a company, when you know that your future does not lie there. Basically, it is a bit of a waste of time... yet you sort of have to do it anyway, so long as you stay there. I guess this is one reason why redundancy is so tough on people, and why risk-averse people such as myself are loathe to change jobs unless they really have to (starting again from square 1 or 2 is a real pain).

Would love to hear more from Mr Cool in the future!

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#5 RE: "Consulting sucks...
29/07/2009 09:25

Tony Restell ( to Cynic (#4)

I wholeheartedly agree with Mr Cool saying that consulting is more enjoyable when you reach the point where "you start 'contributing' more than you are 'consuming' ".

In reality consulting is a series of projects and each graduate's experience within the same firm can be quite different depending on the relationships struck up with the managers you're working with. In the early years your leap in job satisfaction (and employability) will come when you succeed in having your managers entrust you with specific deliverables - when they believe they can give you a component of the project to deliver by a given date and they can just rely on you to see that that happens.

I would focus all your efforts on getting to this point in your consulting career. Once there you'll find you have 1) people you can call on for really compelling references; 2) people who will fight to keep you on their next projects (increasing your perceived worth to the organisation); 3) people willing to champion your cause in terms of gaining fast-track promotion; and 4) greater exposure / experience derived from each consulting assignment and so a far more compelling CV when looking to move out of consulting (and greater job satisfaction all the time you stick with consulting).

Good luck with figuring this conundrum out in any case!

Tony Restell

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#6 RE: "Consulting sucks...
10/09/2015 18:01

calmera to 24/m/frustrated (#1)

Start your own business.

You can do all you are doing now as your own boss.

Consulting is great but you will have to deliver tailor made solutions till you die.

Why not create a service and let clients come to you instead of going to them? Ok if you want a Great business card and a good salary as long as your comapny can send in time sheets.

Become a business owner so you can determine your own fate.

Good luck. You can do it.

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#7 RE: "Consulting sucks...
21/09/2015 11:43

Deusextra30 to calmera (#6)

I was employed as a graduate consultant.

I stayed there for 2 years before moving on to become team leader of an analytical department for a large healthcare company. I stuck this out for 14 months or so before realising I had the technical skills and maturity needed to start contracting in technical roles. Since taking the leap into contracting I have never gone longer than a month without knowing what my next contract / assignment will be.

I'm now 28 and director of my own business and have averaged turnover in excess of £100,000 per year with my contracting work. I have been fortunate enough to work for some big companies and be involved with large and varied projects.

I'm regularly approached by Tier II consultancies about roles at Senior/Manager level that would pay a basic salary of £80,000 per year.

My main bit of advice would be to force through your own opportunities. Attend interviews / meet people and be confident and interesting, show you have something to offer. If people like you then that's more than half of the battle. It's hard to know what you want to do when you are not long out of university so just make the most of whatever it is you are doing and you'll find opportunities will open up to you.

Whatever set-backs, knockdowns you have on the way can easily be turned into a positive outcome. If you want to discuss this more with someone who has been in your exact situation then I'm happy for you to PM me.

Good luck

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#8 RE: "Consulting sucks...
30/09/2015 13:26

kol1 to Mr Cool (#3)

LL Mr Cool J hits the nail on the head.

All grad jobs suck a fair amount - you'll be aligning stuff in PPT and generally taking minutes.

As others have said, if consulting is not for you - that's fine, but you'll be doing the exact same stuff in another company/industry.

Being a grad is about getting trust from those above and being a sponge for any content that comes your way. Again others have mentioned that it's an ideal excuse to network and find mentors. It's a shame to throw that away.

You mention an interest in IB. I did a grad scheme in FO for a tier 1 investment bank. You think you're doing the dog work now? Christ - until you've passed more exams, made a million market update slides and collected some dry cleaning you're nowhere near doing anything trade related. It actually anonys me how much 'power' the grads in my consulting get.

Finally I'd add when hiring people we often look at those who've not done the two years, or at the same level at year 3 and think 'why didn't they complete the grad scheme?' - if it's not for you, 100% get that. However I'd be wary that another company will interpret the situations as if you didn't quite cut it.

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