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Moving into management consultancy from marketing

#1 Moving into management consultancy from marketing
24/02/2010 11:28


I have heard it's hard to move into management consultancy (especially the big 4) from other industries and that they prefer either graduates or experienced management consultants. Is this true?

I have been working in marketing, running a £3M turnover agency for the past 5 years. Having been hit by the recession, we liquidated the company, and I am now thinking about going into management consultancy (specialising in marketing, operations, business processes and efficiencies, etc).

Will firms would be open minded to my speculative applications, which ones would be best to approach first?, Would the big 4 be a complete no go area, and will consultancies be willing to invest time in training me to get me up to speed?

Any help, advice, tips on getting into the industry would be appreciated!


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#2 RE: Moving into management consultancy from marketing
24/02/2010 12:18

Anon to Kate (#1)

Hiya Kate, you sound like a really nice down to earth and honest kind of person, so I imagine you would be fine. Personality counts for a lot in this business. You're right in saying that fresh grads or senior dudes with a big pipeline tend to be preferred by these companies, but why not give it a shot anyway? Also don't discount the smaller companies - they can be great places to work. Why not just apply and find out directly! Good luck Kate, and do let us know how you get on!

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#3 RE: Moving into management consultancy from marketing
24/02/2010 12:32

Mr PC to Anon (#2)

Anon - "you sound like a really nice down to earth and honest kind of person". Based on what exactly?the fact she is called Kate???

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#4 RE: Moving into management consultancy from marketing
24/02/2010 12:44

Tony Restell ( to Kate (#1)

Hi Kate. I can tell you "hot off the press" that more hires from industry are expected this year than i) university graduate hires, ii) MBA hires or iii) hires from either the public sector or the City. We've just been surveying consulting employers about their hiring intentions (for our annual recruitment report) and whilst it's true that attracting hires from other consulting firms is their top priority for 2010, hires from industry are also seen as key. This undoubtedly reflects clients' increasing insistence on having consulting teams populated with team members who bring deep sector or functional expertise (which by the sounds of it you would certainly have).

So your aspirations are by no means unachievable.

In my experience, consulting firms' key concerns about bringing in hires from outside consulting are:

1) that they end up hiring people who didn't appreciate the demanding nature of consulting and so struggle to settle into the career and therefore have a short tenure with the firm

--> make sure you read up as much as you can on the consulting industry and leave your interviewers in no doubt that you understand the sector and the demands it will place on you

2) that they will hire people without the necessary drive and confidence to be immediately billable

--> every firm is looking to bring on board people who can be immediately billed out on client assignments. So make sure you convey the expertise you can bring to the firm and think through what aspects of your expertise are in great demand at present. The more you come across as a polished professional who a client would willingly pay to have on their team, the more you close the gap between yourself and experienced hire consulting candidates.

Hope this helps Kate and best of luck. If you'd like to investigate options with smaller firms you'll find 160+ company profiles in our definitive guide to UK consulting firms, downloadable from:

<a href=></a>

Tony Restell

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#5 RE: Moving into management consultancy from marketing
24/02/2010 13:31

Forum Fan to Tony Restell ( (#4)


Be careful of trying to claim that you specialise in too many things.  It is good, however, if you can demonstrate useful experience in a number of areas as many firms look for people they can use elsewhere if their key specialisation is not in demand.

Be prepared for questions around how someone who ran a business that failed can claim to be a management consultant specialising in operations/efficiencies etc.  There are several good reasons for you being able to do this and it gives you a better perspective than perhaps others but to not think of this in advance of an interview could mess things up.

Not sure what you mean by speculative applications but it can have a quite negative meaning sometimes.  You should identify the firms that work in the areas in which you are interested and target them very specifically.  Tony's list is a great start.  Don't be afraid to approach former clients of yours either.

Good luck with it!

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