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Career Dilemma

 
#1 Career Dilemma
20/05/2010 14:10

GooGooCon

Hi Guys,

I thought with the wealth of advice available in these forums, I could get some honest feedback on my next career move, which is quite important in my career.

My Current State: I have a total of 5+ years of experience after my graduation. I graduated in engineering from a prestigious institute in India, known globally. My GPA is just adequate.

Managed to join a Product development company, and worked for the first 2 years as an engineer, and them moved into Technical Implementation, consulting Customers on the technical aspects of implementation. After 1 year, I moved over to UK through an internal transfer and moved on to Functional consulting. Over the last 2+ years worked extensively on consulting customers on their HR and Training processes and functionality of the Product. Work involved travelling all over Europe and sometimes to US and Asia, mostly with the big players.

Aspired Future State: Due to various reasons, like gaining more exposure and have steep learning curve, I wanted to enter pure Management consulting. Another important reason is to increase my earning ability. However, I am also very keen on entering Finance, due to my interest in Math and financial subjects that I learnt on my own during the preparation for CFA. I am scheduled to take CFA level 1 in December. I know finance would probably satisfy my criterion of increasing earning potential, but management consultancy is something that is very natural to me.

Questions:

1) How easy is to get hired as a lateral hire in management consultancy, esp in the big firms? Do I hold any leverage due to my consulting experience?

2) My low GPA in graduation - Would this matter even now to great deal for management consultancy firms? I am scared of being rejected even in the initial application due to this.. :(

3) Earning Power - Currently I make about 38K + 6K of car allowance = 44 K. Would it increase considerably in the management consulting world? Can I expect at-least 60K upwards?

4) Finance Vs MC - I am totally confused in here... I like both of em. I am thinking of switching to MC and pursue CFA paralelly. Is this a right strategy? or am I better off doing an MBA or MSc Finance?

Sorry for the big post. Thanks in Advance.

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#2 RE: Career Dilemma
20/05/2010 17:35

GooGooCon to GooGooCon (#1)

Someone please help!

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#3 RE: Career Dilemma
20/05/2010 20:11

baykus to GooGooCon (#1)

It's highly unlikely you'd be able to get into MBB and the like. You may be able to get into consulting with the SI/accounting type firms, but you will not get more than 44k, as you will most likely be taken in at a level equivalent to 2-3 years experience.

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#4 RE: Career Dilemma
21/05/2010 08:34

Mars A Day to baykus (#3)

I would add to what baykus said here - your 'parallel' interests in MC and finance might seem parallel to you, to a potential employer it looks like you lack commitment to either.

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#5 RE: Career Dilemma
21/05/2010 08:44

GooGooCon to baykus (#3)

Thanks baykus, Is it highly unlikely because of my GPA? and what do others think about this? What about finance Vs MC?

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#6 RE: Career Dilemma
21/05/2010 08:47

GooGooCon to GooGooCon (#5)

Thanks Mars,

I would probably not be telling about my parallel interest to the employer, would I? I told this here on the forums so that I can get a well informed advice. :)

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#7 RE: Career Dilemma
21/05/2010 10:09

Mars A Day to GooGooCon (#6)

You think an experienced interviewer won't pick up on this? You will be fooling yourself.

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#8 RE: Career Dilemma
21/05/2010 11:39

GooGooCon to Mars A Day (#7)

I would have made up my mind for the short term career option before going for an interview... So it won't be a problem. The reason I mentioned those two interests is because I am in a dilemma. Is it so wrong to have choices in career? Who said one cannot do two things at the same time?

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#9 RE: Career Dilemma
21/05/2010 11:44

D to Mars A Day (#7)

I would imagine that to get into a decent MC firm you will need to go to business school first, unless you get very lucky.

From the information you provide I can't see anything stellar about your background, but I can see a few things that would hold you back:

a) Poor GPA

b) Bit techie

c) Your degree is in engineering so you will be competing directly with people that do have stellar resumes.

To answer your questions directly

1) Not easy at all, unless you have something that stands out about your CV or a specific background they like -, olympic champion, doctor etc. You do not appear to tick this box

2) Yes it will matter - low GPA is a way for HR to weed out a whole bunch of the hundreds of CVs they receive

3) Post-MBA you would earn a lot more. I don't know that you would get hired currently, and have no idea how much you would be paid if you were

4) Nobody can tell you whether to do finance or MC - they are totally different and have been discussed to death here and elsewhere.

As stated above, I think your best bet is an MBA, as long as from a top school. It would potentially give you the kick start you appear to need

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#10 RE: Career Dilemma
21/05/2010 12:01

Mars A Day to GooGooCon (#8)

GooGooCon you've just proved my point. Short term. All MCs and banks love people who just want a short term career move. All that training cost invested in you so you can move on in the short term is a real investment. Who said you cannot do two things at the same time. Everyone. Unless you are so remarkable that you have the ability to secure two careers within what are probably two of the three most competitive sectors you can enter (the other being FMCG brand marketing).

You will struggle to make the move into either without an MBA at this point in your career, and it will need to be a top school. So you'll need to invest tens of thousands of pounds of your own money for something you may or may not want in a year or two.

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#11 RE: Career Dilemma
21/05/2010 16:15

GooGooCon to D (#9)

Thanks D and Mars, for your valuable inputs. I will think about it and make a strategic move. I shall keep this thread updated in future, for the benefit of others in the same boat as me.

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#12 RE: Career Dilemma
22/05/2010 00:13

someguy to GooGooCon (#11)

GooGooCon - what mars and D and others are too polite to tell you is that you're not fooling anyone, you simply want to earn more money (who doesn't?) and think either MC or finance will be just the ticket and you don't really care which as long as the pay's good.

For reasons stated above your current profile will not get you hired in the "right" firms (MBBB and top tier IB). You need either a top MBA or completed CFA, PLUS proven experience in consulting OR the ability to interview exceptionally well to even get to the final interview round and offer stage.

Even after all this, you will be one associate / consultant amongst many and will need to survive 2-3 gruelling years to VP / MC and another 4-5 to Director / PC. I would also encourage you to be completely honest about your motivations and what you want to do for the next 10-15 years, as your current CV reads like you are drifting with no direction career wise and need a dose of reality with regards to your options.

I'm sorry to be harsh (you did ask for honest feedback after all) but at the moment I think you are earning just about what one would expect with your background.

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#13 RE: Career Dilemma
22/05/2010 07:10

anon to someguy (#12)

Yeah, agree with someguy. Sounds like somebody's been reading too many "Getting into Consultancy" articles in the Sunday Times.

What gave it away for me was the use of "considerably" in the phrase "Could it increase considerably in the management consulting world?"

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#14 RE: Career Dilemma
23/05/2010 21:46

baykus to deleted (#0)

anon -

It was not a blanket dismissal of anyone, you're reading it that way because of what appears to be a rather large chip on your shoulder and a belief that your story is unique and deserving of a biopic.

What I said was that MBB do not consider Indian universities to be good enough. This is a fact. You have a problem with that, feel free to contact their HR departments. I did not endorse this as being correct morally or otherwise.

Now of course people can and do forge excellent careers starting from all kinds of places. The OP however doesn't fit into that category right now. GPA not stellar, and neither is the career track so far. Or do you disagree? Is your considered advice that the OP does have the kind of CV that will get into MBB?

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#15 RE: Career Dilemma
24/05/2010 08:04

name to baykus (#14)

baykus - Excellence is in the student - not in the university. Blanket dismissal of all universities in a certain part of the world is not only misleading but insulting. I came to the UK from a third world university in a third world country and yet I have out-performed those from 'elite' universities and got into those organisations anyone could ever wish to have on a CV. So, dismissing someone because of the geographical location of their university is clearly a lame strategy.

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#16 RE: Career Dilemma
24/05/2010 09:34

Mars A Day to name (#15)

name what Baykus is alluding to is that top MCs and IBs have target campuses on which they recruit, and - harsh reality - target lists of universities which they will and will not consider a degree from. I have seen these lists from a number of MBB and IBs and there is very little room for doubt. You also imply that Baykus is being arrogant - yet then go on to make the equally meaningless and blanket statement that you have outperformed many from elite universities - although HOW you have outperformed them simply by getting a job in the same companies they will be joining is not clear. Believe it or not you have to exel to to gain admission to these elite universities in the first place. Excellent is not only in the student incidentally, not is the excellence only in the consultant. A mid performer from Oxbridge is likely to be near top at a red brick, a mid performer at MBB likely to be a higher tiered performer in a full service firm, comparing like for like.

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#17 RE: Career Dilemma
24/05/2010 11:00

name to Mars A Day (#16)

GooGooCon - To answer your earlier question, you will not get into MBB because your background frankly is not good enough. 1) There is no Indian university that is prestigious enough for MBB to look for 2) Despite this you didn't get a good GPA 3) If you think you can call what you've done consulting to an interviewer's face and get away with it you're deluded. Product training isn't consulting, and they will know. I'm not trying to put you down, but really to save you from wasting your time. Your resume will not get through the MBB screening process. If you really really want to get into consulting, I'd wait and develop deeper industry knowledge first, trying to get into roles better aligned with actual consulting. Or, as suggested, do an MBA. If, as others have hinted, you're just after increasing your earnings, you should look at FS instead.

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#18 RE: Career Dilemma
24/05/2010 13:27

Ray to name (#17)

I am sorry but to state that the MBB firms do not recruit from Indian universities is complete nonsense.

I have worked at McKinsey for the last 3 years, and know that my firm recruits heavily from the various universities within the Indian Institute of Management (in particular, Ahmedabad) & the Indian Insititute of Technology networks.

As you would expect, most of this recruitment is to staff McKinsey's Asian offices but there are a large number of IIM/IIT alumni in its North American and European offices.

Indeed, Rajat Gupta (Managing Director, McKinsey 1994-2003) is an alumni of IIT Delhi.

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#19 RE: Career Dilemma
24/05/2010 17:21

someguy to Ray (#18)

Ray - no disrespect meant to IIT and other Asian institutes, however, I suspect Gupta did not get into McK on the strength of his IIT diploma. There is one thing that McK hired him at associate for, and it begins with "H" and ends with "arvard MBA".

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#20 RE: Career Dilemma
25/05/2010 12:40

JT to someguy (#19)

Clearly, MBB firms will not recruit for their London offices from Indian universities - but they do recruit heavily for their Asian offices from IIT/IIM, which are quite frankly, world class insititutions.

The IIT universities alone attract 400,000 applications for just 7,500 places.

IIT's engineering alumni are found is virtually every major software firm in the world.

In addition, a number of investment banks recruit for Sales & Trading roles within the IIM for the Hong Kong/Singapore desks.

The West doesn't have exclusivity on good universities - there are some truly world class universities in China and India - to deny otherwise is just ignorant.

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#21 RE: Career Dilemma
25/05/2010 18:03

GooGooCon to JT (#20)

Thanks name, Ray and JT. Like you have suggested, I indeed am from IIT, and therefore the confidence. :) Anyways, thanks others for your honest feedback. Looks like it is gonna be tough to break through into Management Consulting.

Let me clear one thing here, unlike someone suggested, I do not just do Product training. I consult my customers on the change management, process improvements, nevertheless they have been confined to the Human Capital Management domain. The point is that I have experience, and I am not a tech consultant.

Like some of you also suggested, Money. Yes, who doesn't want it? But does that mean I can go and be a Lawayer? or a Doctor? My motivation to move into Management consulting is a natural upgrade of what I do right now, and this is what I am comfortable to move into.

Just for info, my other achievements are 800 on GMAT, 300 in IIT JEE out of 200,000 all over India.

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#22 RE: Career Dilemma
27/05/2010 11:02

someguy to GooGooCon (#21)

GooGooCon, I too moved into the UK on an internal transfer (management at a prestigious US FMCG whom i had worked with for 4 years prior) so I do know a little of your situation. Where I am from I graduated Summa Cum Laude in a top university (0.1% acceptance rate) but none of this matters as I (and you) do not have the right "indicators" to be hired into MBBB in London. Why do you think an LBS / HBS MBA costs so much? The quality of teaching among the top 5 programs is not 3x as good as the next 20. No, it's precisely because the MBA league tables determine the hiring practices of these firms - at least in the London, Boston and NYC offices.

Confidence is one thing, arrogance another - I actually believe you are the right side of confident and can take criticism well (unlike some of your peers), but you need to accept that on paper, you aren't an easy sell to the people you need to convince. If I put hiring manager specs on I see: "coder with industry experience + now doing product training + some HR process knowledge" and I would steer you into an HCM analyst role. That's before I see 10 equally qualified CVs. This is why most of the (well intentioned if gruff) posts encourage you to take the MBA.

Yes, to have come this far takes brains and guts. However, the same could be said of 90% of the people in the strat houses, IB front desks and PE offices in London. The "machine" of recruitment at that level grinds very very fine indeed, the sooner you accept that the better.

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#23 RE: Career Dilemma
27/05/2010 11:26

anon to someguy (#22)

Here's hoping we have a long, balmy Indian summer this year.

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#24 RE: Career Dilemma
27/05/2010 15:50

Radiant to someguy (#22)

Hei, GooGooCon,

Why don't you try someother MC firms? There are other very good consultancies as well - OW, ATK, RBSC, etc. You might find the quality of people and work there to be what you are looking for. My suggestion is that, additionally to this forum, you meet the people from the companies you target, even as informational meetings.

Good luck!

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#25 RE: Career Dilemma
27/05/2010 15:50

GooGooCon to someguy (#22)

Someguy, thanks for the feedback. I do feel that what you say makes sense. Feedback acknowledged! :) I will try and improve my skills/resume more focused towards MC/IB, maybe get an MBA.

That being said, I won't be giving up on this, and I shall def. crack something and update this thread, not to prove my point but to give others in my shoes a hope. I am a firm believer of everything's possible and can be achieved by a consistent and structured attack.

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#26 RE: Career Dilemma
27/05/2010 15:58

GooGooCon to Radiant (#24)

Thanks Radiant. That's exactly what I am gonna do. Target non MBB, prove myself, and them maybe move into MBB much later, laterally.

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#27 RE: Career Dilemma
27/05/2010 17:27

D to GooGooCon (#26)

I don't think there is really much, if any, difference in hiring standards between MBB and the likes of Monitor, ATK, OW, LEK etc.

If you are good enough to get into any of MAOL, as above, then you also have a decent shot at MBB - it just comes down to interview performance.

If you get rejected from MBB then you have every chance of also getting rejected from MAOL.

Of course there are people working in MAOL that got rejected from all of MBB - by definition there must be as most people offered both would choose the latter, but they will have been mostly rejected at interview, not in the CV screen. The question is whether your work experience (not your education) will be attractive enough to any of them to get an interview.

For sure apply, but have a plan B (MBA) ready as well

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