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PwC Management Consulting

 
#1 PwC Management Consulting
16/03/2010 22:47

Baz

Hi all,

I'm currently holding an offer from PwC in MC (for the grad intake this autumn) and was wondering if the seasoned experts in the world of consulting would offer their opinions on this new division?

Some questions I have:

What would the training be like? Is there scope to move across into Strategy Consulting? What are the exit opportunities 3-4 years down the line (ie, after the initial training period and a year or 2 of applying those skills with more responsibilities)? Prospects of MBA entry into top schools? Movement into MBB firms, banking, PE?

I've considered what the company's slick uni presentations and nice HR ladies have to say about the company, culture and programme, but what about the people who actually work in the industry?

Any opinions will be much appreciated!

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#2 RE: PwC Management Consulting
17/03/2010 11:17

Mr Cool to Baz (#1)

Its a good firm, particularly as a grad entry and you should take the job.

Frankly its way too early for you to give any serious thoughts to exit options - the discussion would be way, way too hypothetical.

You're wondering what you should call your third-born child when you haven't even been on a date!

It's fine to be interested in your career, but to consider exit options before even joining as a grad suggests a pre-occupation that will get you noticed (in a bad way). Chill out - spend the last few months of freedom on booze, $ex and travel.

Point one as a grad - deliver something before you start wondering how great you are (even by inference on an anonymous forum)

Point two - why on earth does every grad want to do "strategy". Most senior directors have bu66er all to do with strategy.

Point three - your exit options when they come wil have 5% to do with the firm you join and 95% with what YOU have delivered there during your tenure. (See point one, above)

Good luck with the job.

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#3 RE: PwC Management Consulting
17/03/2010 13:19

fb to Mr Cool (#2)

Its very sensible to be thinking about the exit options when you join a firm, no matter what stage you are at in your career. Reality is PWC MC will give you a broad range of v.attractive exit options.

However, depending on fund size and focus, PE tends to recruit consultants with either pure strategy experience (Mck, Bain, BCG etc) or commercial due diligence experience. Therefore you may have more luck looking at banks (broader range of roles) or corporate (larger pay, easier life).

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#4 RE: PwC Management Consulting
17/03/2010 13:33

Baz to fb (#3)

Thanks for the replies.

Mr Cool: I think it's perfectly valid to think about exit opportunities at the moment. I'm looking to build a career afterall. Considering the options I'll have (within the firm and outside it) in a few years time is a large factor to consider. I have more of an idea of where I could be within the firm after that time, so thought I'd ask about external options. Like you say, it's hardly something I'm going to be asking HR or the people at PwC about as a junior!

As for Strategy- it's interesting. If there's mobility across PwC from MC to strategy or other areas of the firm (corporate finance for example), then it all adds to the breadth of experiences in my early career.

FB: thanks for the advice.

I guess it'll be a case of trying to get the most interesting experience in the teams with the best projects and trying to make the most of the training opportunities.

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#5 RE: PwC Management Consulting
17/03/2010 14:48

graduate to Baz (#4)

Baz,

I am also joining PwC MC London as a grad in autumn, and I have similar questions running through my head.

However, my questions are more about how early we need to start expressing interest in specific fields we're interested to build a knowledge in. In particular, will I have to say up front which areas/sectors I will want to specialize in, and if so - how do I choose?

On the one hand, I am interested in the public sector. On the other, during my partner interview with a public sector specialist, he told me that to be good in the public sector - don't start there. Instead, start with banks and financial services, to learn what efficiency really is by seeing how the 'world's most efficient organizations' operate.

How does it work for graduate roles rotation across sectors? If you're changing projects every few months, you can only (?) experience 4 or 5 different industries or sectors in a year, if you're lucky to get shifted around? How are projects usually assigned at grad level?

Thanks for all the input from more experienced folks.

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#6 RE: PwC Management Consulting
17/03/2010 15:13

Baz to graduate (#5)

I think we're meant to develop the rounded 'consultant skills' in the first couple of years, then choose a path after that in which to start specialising.

I think the financial services consulting will be a great place to gain exposure; PwC seem to have at least a good level of audit experience with the big finance firms, and of course they're handling the Lehman bankruptcy. It's the area I'm most interested in anyway, so I guess it'd be the one I'd try and get the most exposure in.

I'd also see if I could perhaps get some experience in the Strategy or even Economics consulting areas if possible (I'm expecting to get a 1st in Economics from my degree so it might be a possibility, who knows).

So have you accepted the offer? I have another week to accept it but am interviewing at another firm and want to see how that goes first.

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#7 RE: PwC Management Consulting
17/03/2010 22:02

anon to Baz (#6)

Fully agree with the sentiment that it's what you deliver rather than where you deliver that will determine your future career path.

PWC is a broad enough company that you could get some great experience there that will stand you in good stead for the exit options you mention.

Yes it would be easier to move to banking/PE/insert as appropriate if you were at MBB but you can definately make that move IF you get the right skills.

I know this because I made such a move from a firm that many people on here would turn their noses up at.

My advice would be take the offer, work very hard for 3 or 4 years and focus on the present - delivering a lot of very good work instead of focusing too much on leaving (I've seen people make this mistake), identify the skills you want to develop and go get them.

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#8 RE: PwC Management Consulting
17/03/2010 23:01

beenthere to anon (#7)

Agree it's important to be thinking about exit options even at the junior level. But only in so far as you need to know where you want to go in order to take the appropriate steps to get you there.

It also makes you a more compelling proposition to those people staffing projects and will help build your network initially.

However, have an open mind. Don't let a focus on one area put you off getting a range of experience whilst you can.

Having "an interest" in an industry and wanting to spend your career in that industry can often be two different things. If your plans don't evolve in your first 2-3 years as you begin to experience different things...I would suggest you're doing something wrong.

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#9 RE: PwC Management Consulting
18/03/2010 09:44

anon to Baz (#6)

Hi Baz,

You ask a question and then ignore the answer cos you don't like it, instead prefering to offer your own advice to another raw graduate (who's questions BTW suggest his understanding is ahead of yours) on a subject matter you have no experience of.

Wow, you're going ot be a reat asset - really looking forward to you joining. I only hope you're allocated to my team. That would be a treat for us both.

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#10 RE: PwC Management Consulting
18/03/2010 11:04

Anon to anon (#9)

Why does every grad expect to be delivering high-end projects singlehandedly from day one. You need to recognise that grad=bottom of food chain.

Mr Cool's Point 1 is absolutely spot on but he missed the other key element in this that nobody in the company you join will trust you with anything vaguely important until you have done Point 1 a couple of times.

You can't possibly consider exit opportunities until you are in your first proper job. You have no idea what work you will actually be engaged in.

The comment about knowing where you want to go so you can take the appropriate steps to get there doesn't work in reality. Until you have established yourself as a "safe pair of hands" you are going to have no say over what steps you take in terms of the projects you work on.

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#11 RE: PwC Management Consulting
18/03/2010 13:34

Mr Cool to Anon (#10)

Anon above,

I agree wholeheartedly with your clarification/addition.

There is an unavoidable conflict in the early years of a career. The earlier you do the same activity three of four times the faster you will progress to a "trusted to deliver" status, which will provide a better end-of year review, a higher raise, a bigger bonus and a faster promotion.

This is in conflict with the understandable desire to experience a wide range of different work. Which will be more interesting, avoid you being pigeon-holed, but will keep you from attaining "trusted" status that bit longer.

It all depends what you want the most - variety or career progression.

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#12 RE: PwC Management Consulting
18/03/2010 16:20

beenthere to deleted (#0)

Anon - it's not true to say you have no say on what projects you work on until you're established as a safe pair of hands.

An early view on where you want to get to (whilst being open to trying new things) will allow you to get involved with the projects that can support this.

Agree with the comments re conflict between variety and career progression.

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#13 RE: PwC Management Consulting
18/03/2010 16:50

Mars A Day to Baz (#1)

Baz I feel a strong urge, fortunately not overwhelming, to rant at you in colourful, corrective language alluding to wet dreams of PE and the fact that your 'exit options' may well be discussed with you (by PwC) if you don't focus.

But it's Thursday, nearly the weekend, Mars is in a benevolent mood and Mr Cool has provided absolutely spot on advice so I would just be lowering the tone.

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#14 RE: PwC Management Consulting
18/03/2010 17:25

Anon to anon (#9)

Why does every grad expect to be delivering high-end projects singlehandedly from day one. You need to recognise that grad=bottom of food chain.

Mr Cool's Point 1 is absolutely spot on but he missed the other key element in this that nobody in the company you join will trust you with anything vaguely important until you have done Point 1 a couple of times.

You can't possibly consider exit opportunities until you are in your first proper job. You have no idea what work you will actually be engaged in.

The comment about knowing where you want to go so you can take the appropriate steps to get there doesn't work in reality. Until you have established yourself as a "safe pair of hands" you are going to have no say over what steps you take in terms of the projects you work on.

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#15 RE: PwC Management Consulting
18/03/2010 17:30

Anon again to Anon (#14)

beenthere - maybe I should have been more explicit. You always have a say but whether or not the people that matter listen to it or not is a very different thing. Partners etc running projects will not give anyone (grad or otherwise but especially grads) their trust until they have earned it. That includes putting them in front of senior client staff.

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#16 RE: PwC Management Consulting
18/03/2010 17:58

Baz to Anon again (#15)

It seems as though people are thinking I'm going in with the mindset of getting the hell out of there asap. Not true. Like I said earlier, I'm just looking to see what paths will be available to me a few years down the line.

I've asked about the paths available to me internally, talked about their training and such things as MBAs at the interview stages with people at various levels within the firm.

I haven't come across opportunities I could have (note: 'could' have) externally. If that's so bad, then I'm sorry for any offence caused.

As for the apparent implication that this all means I'm expecting to lead projects from the off, not work hard and doss or not be committed... well it's laughable.

Thanks for the advice anyway. Especially Mr Cool's varieyt of experience versus experience of one area; thought it was interesting.

As for the 'work hard' etc.; I was planning to do just that. It's what I've done all my life to get these sorts of opportunities, so I'm hardly about to start now.

Have to say, I'm a bit surprised in the way this thread's turned out; although I can understand where it's come from.

Anyway... thanks again.

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#17 RE: PwC Management Consulting
19/03/2010 18:22

fb to Baz (#16)

Baz,

I am not exactly sure what has happened to this thread. It seems to have been hijacked with people pushing their own personal grievances.

It's not rocket science to conclude that the more you put into your time in any firm, the more you will get out of it and the greater the opportunities will be for you. You most certainly already know this.

Its also quite reasonable to assume that you will be able to gravitate towards projects connected with your interest, assuming you succeed in impressing the relevant people and playing the internal politics of a large firm. Of course, there will be incidents when you need to ‘suck it up’ and work on projects that don’t fit your long-term objectives. Such is life in a big firm. Or any firm for that matter.

Best of luck with the offer + interview

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#18 RE: PwC Management Consulting
20/03/2010 21:10

Baz to fb (#17)

Thanks fb,

Yes, I'm well aware of how hard I'd need to work. In fact, I've been trawling the net for more information about the programme for weeks now; just because I want to make the right decision at this stage.

It seems like a fantastic firm (everyone I've met from there has always been great) and the programme seems to be very flexible initially as well, which is brilliant I think.

anon: my 'advice' was just repeating what I'd been told about the "Foundation for the Future" programme and other graduate training/development focused questions I've asked. I've been told (from employees in MC) that it's aimed at giving a broad range of experiences early on and developing those consulting skills, then after a couple of years, you're encouraged to focus more on a specific area (competency or sector perhaps). I was also told you could specify preferences on where you'd like to gain exposure earlier.

Whilst interviewing I did talk about my interest in financial services (because of the problems firms in the sector are facing, and because I'd read they're expected to be one of the strong areas of demand for consulting services in the near future). We got talking about how PwC had consulting teams running certain functions in Lehman whilst the whole mess was getting sorted out.

I did talk to some associates within MC afterwards also, and got talking to someone who was interested in doing an MBA; he said PwC wouldn't support him (but then I've spoken to others within the firm and they've told me differently, including mentioning the (now defunct) LBS/PwC business modules that were available for employees).

If this is contrary to the truth, then I'm sorry I perpetuated false information (and if this is the case, I'd love for you to put me right! For my benefit and my fellow grads).

Thanks,

Baz

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#19 RE: PwC Management Consulting
20/03/2010 22:55

pwc consulting director to Baz (#18)

PwC has announced that its Strategy team is moving into Consulting, so cross-working between the two will be more common in future, and realistically there will be more mobility.

PwC's consulting division is going through a lot of change at the moment, under a new leadership team - general view on the ground is that this is a pretty positive thing. The new leader is particularly keen on building the graduate intake and "building" expertise rather than "buying" it in the form of experienced hires.

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