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looking for advice on management consultant

 
#1 looking for advice on management consultant
10/10/2009 10:22

randy

I recently graduated high school and instead of going straight to college I wanted to take a year off to work and decide on a career.

Been thinking strongly of becoming a management consultant. Any ideas or advice would be greatly appreciated.

I'm highly interested in it, but I want to get as much info and advice as I can

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#2 RE: looking for advice on management consultant
10/10/2009 11:42

anon to randy (#1)

The big accountancy firms, consultancies and systems integrators often offer formal schemes for people who are taking a year off between school and college studies. These would give you an insight to what it is like to work in a professional services environment and may give you connections that make it easier to find internships or jobs with the same firms later. The downside of these schemes is that you will be inculcated into a very particular way of thinking about and doing things, and particular culture, which may not be amenable to being a "good consultant".

In my opinion, you would be better to get "hands-on" experience in a smaller business as it will enable you to:

A: develop a more grounded and balanced view of what makes clients' businesses successful (hence how, as a consultant, you can help them)

B: get a broad view of business careers before committing/being sold on a consulting career. There are good reasons people often move into consultancy later in their careers - it helps to have hands-on experience of the things you are advising clients to do.

C: start developing an idea of what sectors and functions interest you - this decision is as big and important as the decision about whether you want to work in consulting or industry

If you have an opinion on the sectors or functions that interest you, this is a good time to explore those interests. In applying for jobs as a "gap-year" student, I would recommend being clear about your position. If you have your acceptance to college for the following year, put that on your resume along with your SAT scores. This will help make it clear that you are a "graduate calibre" candidate available for a high-school graduate price - a strong offer to recruiters. Also be clear about the areas you are interested in, and your willingness to do relatively menial work (as a junior consultant, you will often find yourself doing very similar tasks anyway, so there is no point being precious). Much of the benefit of this year will come from being exposed to how decisions are really made, how organisations really work, and how work really gets done. Should you decide to move into consulting, you will find that understanding vital.

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#3 RE: looking for advice on management consultant
10/10/2009 13:58

randy to anon (#2)

Thanks anon, that was most helpful.

I think the biggest problem is that I have so little experience in anything yet that it's difficult to know precisely what I want. I enjoy math and working with numbers & people, and problem solving, but i haven't found any exciting careers in mathematics(accountant, actuary, statician etc.).

However, as far as what I've read, I'm attracted to management consultant because it seems that after you move past being a junior, you get to travel, meet new people, work with others to solve problems and share your findings. It sounds attractive. I heard after a few years though it becomes really stressful, and I don't know what job oppotunities will be like for consultants.

I thought it would be a good idea first to obtain a 4-year degree and get experience in another field and then possibly progress to consultant, but also I'm worried if i do that, others who went straight for their MBA will have a head start and it could make it more difficult for me to move into that field.

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#4 RE: looking for advice on management consultant
10/10/2009 16:06

A to randy (#3)

Without prior work experience, an MBA is a waste of time and money and does not position you well for consulting. In addition, it deprives you of the future opportunity for employer sponsorship and means you cannot use the qualification to adjust your career track.

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