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Graduate Consulting

#1 Graduate Consulting
07/05/2004 11:03


I've been offered a role as a graduate analyst with a top consulting firm. After discussing this with other city workers (non-consultants), it's been suggested that i should join an auditing firm, get the ACA qualification and then find a job in consulting. Is this what a common route? What do you think i should do?

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#2 Go straight into consulting!
07/05/2004 12:50


Karen - I would without question go straight into consulting (my wife started out in accounting and I started out in consulting, so think I'm well placed to comment). The pay in consulting is much better the first years after graduation - and the range of consulting opportunities open to those who have a consulting background is way greater than those open to candidates coming from an accounting background (just look at the opportunities on this site and you will see what I mean!). Unless you want long-term to have a role in industry working in a Finance capacity, consulting will give you a much broader range of opportunities in the long term. Hope that helps & good luck with your decision.

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#3 Re: Graduate Consulting
07/05/2004 16:14


Hi karen I had the same dilemma a while ago. I had offers to do ACAs with PWC and KPMG, and also consulting. Heres some things you should consider.

The value of holding a post-graduate qualification is invaluable. So aim for either ACA or MBA or both. This will enable you to command high positions ALWAYS

People moan about how dull the ACA is, however this tends to be from those people who have unwisely chosen Assurance as their route to do the ACA. KPMG PWC and E&Y all allow you to study for a ACA whilst based in departments that are very much like consulting. Business Recovery and Business Solutions in PWC, the Business Foundation Programme at KPMG and and Public Sector and Corporate Finance/recovery area will enable you to do the ACA BUT with the breadth and depth of work involved in consulting. Whats the advantage? YOu command a £45k and rising salary upon completion of exams (3 years) and have the security and lucrative base of having a specialist qualification in hand that is attractive to the likes of McKinsey and Bain, who will be impressed that youre not an auditor and you have specialist financial knowledge. The other advantage is that starting a family becomes much more feasible with the guarantee that you can take a career break and arrive at the same level.

whats the disadvantage of the ACA - poeple tend to pigeon hole you as simply a dull auditor with no life, so it is up to you to dispell this myth. starting salaries are lower, but DO even out with consulting if you are good. Oh and then of course theres exams to do, but if you are intelligent enough to be considered for consulting exams should be a walk in the park

good luck and my best advice would be to set up your own business it is the ultimate reward, and frees you from the mundaness of job searching.

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#4 Re: Graduate Consulting
13/05/2004 16:57


Of course there is no general "right" answer to this. It really depends on what your skills are and what sort of career you want. In my mind there are 2 types of consultants - practitioners and salespeople. If you fancy sales and have the right personal skills then I should get stuck into consultancy. If you see yourself as a practioner then I should seriously consider what base skill set will carry you through to a lucrative retirement. Accountancy is certainly a good option or you could consider programme management, risk management etc. I have certainly found that good professional qualifications (FCCA and MBA) have meant that I've always found it easy to get work even in a recession as I can fall back on core, well regarded skills.

The choice is yours!

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#5 Re: Graduate Consulting
13/05/2004 17:30


I did an ACA and then moved into consulting, and don't regret it at all - but then I'm in consulting to add skills to my CV before moving into industry at a more senior level.

If you go directly into consulting you'll earn more in the first three years, and if you think you want a life long career in consulting then you might as well go straight into it.

If you see yourself moving into a business orientated industry role in the future, then an ACA will be valuable. Its also a great safety net - I'll always be employable and be able to get £45k p.a. which is comforting during a downturn. (And when you're on a project with really long hours and thinking of leaving and getting into a more stable profession!)

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#6 Re: Go straight into consulting!
13/05/2004 21:33


I am keen to find out what possibilities there are following a masters in International Hotel and Tourism Management to move into consultancy and how to go about it?

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#7 Re: Go straight into consulting!
14/05/2004 09:00


Decisions, decisions. Mmmm. I am just about to qualify as a chartered certified accountant and I feel grat about it it is a major qualification and I would advise any new graduate to get professionally qualified as soon as possible. I work in Internal Audit for a consulting firm, mainly dealing with Local authority clients? I am considering going for my computer auditing qualifications as the role will be more lucretive. The up shot is this. During lean time in consulting you will need a good soilid background to fall back on. There are a lot of charlatans out there who give their clients poor value for noney frankly and these are he first to go to the wall during a fall in activity. You need to make your own mind up but consider this if you dont like consulting a good prof. qualification will allow you to more easily go in the direction you want to later. You need to make up your ownmind but dont leave it too late.

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#8 Re: Graduate Consulting
15/05/2004 08:36

ashu jain

hi all...........

myself is an engineer and working as abusiness analyst in a IT major.want to prove myself in the IT counsulting domain. any suggestions or advices..

all r welcome


ashu jain

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#9 Re: Graduate Consulting
17/05/2004 10:49


I had similar concerns when graduating but was playing off consulting vs general management in industry as I was not convinced that starting in consulting was the best approach.

If you read through the biographies of senior consultants on the websites of strategy firms it seems that most of them began their careers in a different field such as engineering or finance and then did an MBA.

However, my generalist approach in a large blue-chip comapny wasn't enabling the experience I desired and as advised by a number of senior people to 'get good at something before becoming a generalist' I am now working in finance and studying for my ACMA qualification.

With hindsight, I would advise you to do ACA or CIMA depending upon the environment you wish to work in to get a thorough grounding. If you still wish to work in consulting then move in later (post MBA?).

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#10 Re: Go straight into consulting!
19/05/2004 12:38



Do you have any idea what areas you would be interested in consulting in? Are you looking to go into Hospitality/leisure consulting or the like?

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#11 Re: Graduate Consulting
24/05/2004 10:01


I started doing my CA (Scottish Chartered qualification) and hated it - I was lucky to be seconded to the Consulting arm and then moved permanently into consulting after deciding to give up the CA route. I then trained for CIMA while working for a large consulting firm. I would definitely recommend this - CIMA is much more appropriate for a consulting environment and you also study wider business, management and strategic skills. Most big consulting firms will support you through CIMA. Having a financial qualification gives you an edge over more general consultants and is always something to fall back on, but do not underestimate the amount of time and effort required and sacrifice of personal life if planning to study at same time as working.

Good Luck!

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#12 Re: Graduate Consulting
28/05/2004 20:03


By the sounds of it you have not been taken on the consultant track otherwise promotion to consultant would be expected on successful completion of the analyst / business analyst and associate stages. if this is the case, i would question the suggestion that you take the ACA. it is more commonplace to join a consulting practice having had operational experience in industry followed by an MBA rather than having trained as an auditor. traditionally, auditors have generally moved into corporate finance, equity research or corporate roles rather than consulting as the skill sets are very different.

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