Five years at DC in S&O, then a year on secondment, then back to S after re-org leads me to the following:
- type of work: heavily on the "churning out the same old solutions" for the same clients for several years, before moving onto different clients - the business model requires high efficiency, high volume , standardised work. Not very interesting, but it makes the firm money.
- culture - does it genuinely support professional development?: support for professional development is pretty good, e.g. Analysts get CIMA, I got a secondment, no MBA/MSc-sponsorship, but you can do professional qualifications related to your work (CIPS, CIPD, etc.). Apart from that, it's a high compliance "clone" culture - standardisation is mandatory at least until Director when you get more people who don't want to be Partners and can act more normal.
- salary - how does a Senior Manager role salary compare to the competition?: Salaries are competitive, if the salary surveys are reliable. DC pay levels are a match for other Big4.
- work/life balance - is it a generally regarded as the more hours you put in the better or dependent on the requirements of each project?: Face time generally rules but is guided by the senior lead. Contracting plays a big part - you work the hours that maximise revenue. That used to mean stretching the work over as many billable hours as possible, but now DC does more public sector work for fixed-level fees so 9-5 is more common.