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Strategy Analyst position - your feedback please

 
#1 Strategy Analyst position - your feedback please
21/02/2010 22:21

James

Hi,

I have been fortunate enough to have secured a job offer as a Strategy Analyst for a small media firm (c. £70m annual turnover). It focuses on buying and distributing various sports media rights.

On one hand, the role offers a lot of responsibility & good exposure to their senior management team (I will report directly to the CFO, but also do work for other board members) - and the company operates internationally & across both traditional and new media.

My role would be to help run strategy projects on issues such as new market entry, brand extensions, pricing strategies and potentially due diligence work on any future acquisitions.

However, I am wondering whether I would have a good chance of working in the strategy team of a larger organisation e.g. BBC, Reed Elsevier in 2/3 years time if I take up this position? Would a stint at a smaller firm like this work against me?

I would welcome your thoughts on this. I'm currently working as an Analyst (2 years experience) within a Big 4 strategy practice.

Many thanks,

James

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#2 RE: Strategy Analyst position - your feedback please
22/02/2010 13:09

Carl B to James (#1)

Looks like a great opportunity to me, as long as you deliver good results in this new role - and can articulate them well in any future interview 2/3 years down the line, you should be fine.

In short, its not about the "brand" that you work for, but the quality of work that you deliver

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#3 RE: Strategy Analyst position - your feedback please
22/02/2010 13:27

Smalltime consultant to Carl B (#2)

I agree with Carl B - this is a great opportunity.

The brand will be fine too.

But... from my own experience, people do wrongly tend to assume you're a better consultant if you're a half-wit from Deloitte than if you're a genius from some small unknown boutique. This country is full of people who seem unable to see behind a brand name.

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#4 RE: Strategy Analyst position - your feedback please
22/02/2010 14:21

Mars A Day to James (#1)

James what will likely dictate the ease with which you move into one of the big players will be the networks and relationships you build over the next 2 years; let's take it for granted that you will do good work - you need to ensure that this good work is being seen outside the small firm you join. The rest should be straightforward.

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#5 RE: Strategy Analyst position - your feedback please
22/02/2010 14:33

Smalltime consultant to Mars A Day (#4)

But realistically, who from outside this company is going to care about the day to day stuff he is doing within this company? Those who are most likely to offer him a job in another company are, I would imagine, people that like him as a person (and who couldn't really care less about what he does for a living) rather than those who have been bowled over by the awesomeness of his internal memos and spreadsheet analysis. And I doubt that this company has a huge alumni base amongst the hiring ranks in the Big 4... so if he doesn't happen to have a few mates that joined the Big 4 and can open a few doors, what options does he have other than the traditional application route?

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#6 RE: Strategy Analyst position - your feedback please
23/02/2010 10:02

Mr Cool to James (#1)

James, getting a future job (e.g. at the BBC, Reed, Virgin, etc) is a sales challenge where you are the product.

To successfully sell yourself you need a) a decent product (content of your work) and b) a decent promotional pitch. There is no point in doing great work that no one ever hears about. Conversely someone doing poor work at big brand companies (e.g. Deloitte as mentioned) might find it easier to get on an interview shortlist, but are usually found out during decent interviews. (I’m not suggesting all big firms do poor work, BTW)

Working at this niche company should give you accelerated access to interesting and more senior work. However you may have to put more effort into “promoting” yourself to your future target employers (and their network of regular headhunters). You should start this process today, that way in 2-3 years when you are ready for another promotion you will have a valuable network in place.

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#7 RE: Strategy Analyst position - your feedback please
23/02/2010 10:11

Dane to Mr Cool (#6)

I think Mr.Cool is right & Mars a Day are right - you have to focus on developing your network, so that when you're well positioned to move into a new role.

Working directly for the CFO/CEO etc. is a great experience, and will probably give you greater responsibility & exposure than if you were working in the in-house strategy team of a larger firm - where you'd probably have to report into a Strategy Manager/Strategy Director instead.

Good luck!

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#8 RE: Strategy Analyst position - your feedback please
23/02/2010 11:49

Mars A Day to Dane (#7)

James the thinking here from everyone seems to be on the networking side; I would also underline that you need to network to build and maintain your visibility througout the time you work in this new role, not just start when you want to move on.

All in all sounds a great opportunity - have fun, work hard, you never know where it will lead!

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#9 RE: Strategy Analyst position - your feedback please
23/02/2010 17:46

James to Mars A Day (#8)

Thank you very much for your feedback guys, I'm glad to hear that working for a smaller company doesn't mean that I can't return to a decent position in a larger firm in the future.

To be honest, I don't know much about networking - any advice on how I should go about this, especially with the view of improving my chances of landing interviews etc. when good roles do arise in the future?

thanks,

James

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#10 RE: Strategy Analyst position - your feedback please
23/02/2010 18:14

Mars A Day to James (#9)

Make yourself useful to people in other organisations, socialise in the media circles you want to be working with - offer opinions, insights etc which people will find interesting/useful. Ask questions, talk to people etc etc etc.

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#11 RE: Strategy Analyst position - your feedback please
26/02/2010 01:29

Ned Flanders to Mars A Day (#10)

Hi James,

I'm going a bit off topic with the networking thing - I think it's important in the right context (more below).

I did a very similar move. 2 years at a big4, then moved to a fast growing smaller company.

My advice is: 1) don't do it unless you're fully motivated by the product/service of the company 2) don't do it if you think it's going to tick along at the £70m turnover mark - ie, you're going to get frustrated if the place is aiming to grow at 5% year-on-year no matter what's your imput.

My experience has been extremely positive, i fully endorse the company's vision and what it wants to achieve, the snr people I work with are truly charistmatic and enspiring and I'm excited about what might happen next. A complete change from my previous days.

Going back to the networking point, in industry it becomes all the more important - get along with the people with clout and keep an eye on the wider sector. However, bear in mind the industry point - if you're doing it for the role but you're not too interested in the industry - you will find it a all bit of a slog.

Finally on brands. This country in particular is obsessed with 'people working at' brands. It's partly for HHs to sift through cvs but there is also an underlying insecurity on both the company and the person recruiting. I think this must come to a head in future years.

Call a spade a spade, I've worked with dim people in big4 and seen a few execs come in at my present job from big players and leave within 12 months unable to deliver. That's where networking comes in. People who appreciate the work you've done are usually happy to put a word in...hence it helps if you like the industry.

hope that helps

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