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are all consultancies' cultures much the same now?

 
#1 are all consultancies' cultures much the same now?
23/03/2010 09:57

billum

people oftern post questions on here asking about the culture and work life balance at a given firm. having worked in a few of the full service firms over a period of many years, I have the gut feel that despite all the marketing guff, they are all much of a muchness. when I first started in consulting, people would mostly join as grads then stick to a given firm till they made partner or duck out halfway to go into industry - there wasn't that much moving between consultancies, and as a result there were firms with strong individual cultures. now that people regularly jump ship every few years, and there is a substantial experienced hire intake, together with economic pressures on rates and utilisation, I feel there has been strong homogenisation. thoughts?

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#2 RE: are all consultancies' cultures much the same now?
23/03/2010 11:23

jj to billum (#1)

I agree. If work-life balance is important then consulting is probably not for you.....unless you consider in some way that living in a hotel can give you any kind of life.

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#3 RE: are all consultancies' cultures much the same now?
23/03/2010 11:23

terminal_bore to billum (#1)

I think you're right, though people tend to stick about in my company (boutique consultancy) - I've been here 6 years and I'd say the average is 3-5 years. As a result, we have quite a consistent culture that is attractive enough to keep many of us staying here though salaries aren't as good as they could be elsewhere.

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#4 RE: are all consultancies' cultures much the same now?
23/03/2010 23:52

Mr Cool to billum (#1)

Bang on the money, billum.

I'd say culture for most consultants these days is much more transitory and defined by their immediate network of collegues, their Partner or equivalent senior manager and their current client engagement.

I have numerous pals who have excelled and loved their job, until they transfer to a new project and find themselves working with idiots, for a to$$er.

company culture just doesn't come into it.

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#5 RE: are all consultancies' cultures much the same now?
24/03/2010 08:37

anon to Mr Cool (#4)

I tend to find that most consultancies lie about their cultures.

If you hear any of the following words, don't walk - RUN!

1. Great place to work

2. Work life balance

3. Awards for working parents

4. Friday afternoon drink trolley

5. Free taxis home after work

6. "5-4-3-2-1" policy

7. Social committee

8. Team socials

9. Team dinners

10. Project celebrations

Any other ones to watch out for, guys?

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#6 RE: are all consultancies' cultures much the same now?
24/03/2010 08:54

billum to anon (#5)

"We aim to be Number 1 for people". I agree with the preceding points about boutiques still offering a potentially different environment, though in a way its almost the same point as the micro-climate determined by current working team/project.. I've also found a difference between being in a partnership and a corporate structure - even in the full service global megapartnerships there is more of a feeling of collaboration and working for mutual benefit (however remote that is in reality) between partners than at the equivalent MD/VP in a corporate, where it just feels like every man for himself. That's at partner level - beneath that it probably feels much the same anywhere...

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#7 RE: are all consultancies' cultures much the same now?
24/03/2010 11:24

bateman to billum (#6)

For those beneath the partner / MD level, I think the culture depends a lot on who you work for directly - i.e. the people who run the organisation you are in. If you work for someone who you can respect, and who can respect you, then it makes the job great. If you work for morons, then it makes the job awful. When I interview now, I like to get a picture for what the person I'd be working for is like, and determine if I could work for them.

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#8 RE: are all consultancies' cultures much the same now?
25/03/2010 08:16

Yann to bateman (#7)

Does vary a lot by firm.

Accenture and Deloitte want you to sell your soul and are very up or out. Pay is good, and client list is top notch. Excellent methodologies. Always an asset on your CV.

Tech spin offs like CG, IBM, Logica etc are very tech solution / BPO focussed with little pressure to perform in consulting. Slow promotion paths with lower pay and cr@ppy expense policies

The Big4 accouting firms are much more focussed on methodology / rule books, with little creativity allowed. On the other hand, they pay well and don't drive their junior staff hard.

Others like PA and EDS have really awful cultures, as do so many organisations in decline

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#9 RE: are all consultancies' cultures much the same now?
25/03/2010 13:06

emmerda to Yann (#8)

you'll find now that those tech spin-offs are stuffed with ex Accenture & similar at leadership level, so the expectations on workload and performance are a lot higher - but the expenses and pay are still cr*p

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