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Coming from outside and joinging Big4 as Senior Manager?

 
#1 Coming from outside and joinging Big4 as Senior Manager?
21/06/2010 13:12

Ito

Receiving opportunity to join one of the Big4 as a Senior Manager. Never really worked as a consultant - spent 15 yrs in Pharma.

What can I expect? Is Sr Manager the type of people who live in meeting rooms, eat in meeting rooms and go home only during the weekend? Quid salary? Is that similar to a Director level in the pharma industry?

Thanks for some advice.

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#2 RE: Coming from outside and joinging Big4 as Senior Manager?
21/06/2010 13:28

Anon to Ito (#1)

Yes, they are that sort of people. Some of them don't even go home during the weekend.

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#3 RE: Coming from outside and joinging Big4 as Senior Manager?
21/06/2010 13:59

taxrebate to Anon (#2)

they typically also have to sell significantly

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#4 RE: Coming from outside and joinging Big4 as Senior Manager?
22/06/2010 08:47

Itos to Anon (#2)

Let me rephrase my question - would you consider this as a smart career move ... moving away from pharma after 15 years, ending up in a senior manager role in consultancy at the age of 41? Aren't the senior managers like only 30 years old and if you are above 40 you are at least associate partner??

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#5 RE: Coming from outside and joinging Big4 as Senior Manager?
22/06/2010 09:55

billum to Itos (#4)

people do come in from industry at that age and level, but I'd advise you consider what they think they are hiring you for, how that will shape your progression and whether that takes you somewhere you actually want to go, ie are they hiring you as an industry delivery SME in some deep specialism, are they hiring your for your black book of industry contacts for business development etc what role would you want to be playing in a consultancy in say 5 years time (sales-and-delivery partner, account director, AP-level deep SME etc...), and are you well positioned to achieve that against the internal competition?

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#6 RE: Coming from outside and joinging Big4 as Senior Manager?
22/06/2010 11:34

Mr Cool to Itos (#4)

Itos – a very good question – yes, most high flying Sr Managers will be in their 30’s, not their 40’s.

I’d say joining a consultancy from industry at Sr Mgr level at 41 could go one of two ways.

1) 10% chance that you will find it a liberating experience, enjoy the diversity of work and the unbureaucratic environment and find that clients really value your real-life experience. You may find that this helps you in selling consulting work. Being good at consulting and selling consulting are the two things that would give you a long term career and a chance of kicking into a higher gear and making partner over the next ten years.

2) 90% chance that you initially enjoy the different environment, but come to hate the fiefdoms (and the absence of any genuine HR appeal process against partners’ petty preferences) the constant travel, the conflict of best for customer/best for employer, and the fact that “advising” so rarely tips over into “doing” or “achieving”. In some firms (e.g. Accenture, you will also find yourself being bossed about by younger people with no industry experience, but lots of "consulting speak" and established sponsors.

This is based on experience of colleagues who have made similar moves. I would say that the 10% chance is worth taking if you are relatively chilled at the idea that you might find yourself looking for a move back to industry in 18 months, would value the change of scenery and are quite keen to leave your current employer anyway. If your mortgage/kids/personal risk profile is such that the idea fills you with dread, then I would not advise the move.

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#7 RE: Coming from outside and joinging Big4 as Senior Manager?
22/06/2010 12:43

jj to Mr Cool (#6)

Mr cool is spot on.

I was one of the 90%

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#8 RE: Coming from outside and joinging Big4 as Senior Manager?
22/06/2010 15:44

Mr Cool to jj (#7)

jj

Did you move back to industry? How did you fidn peoples perception of your stint in consultancy? I've always wondered about that aspect.

Thanks

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#9 RE: Coming from outside and joinging Big4 as Senior Manager?
22/06/2010 19:20

jj to Mr Cool (#8)

Yes. A short stint in consultancy is viewed positively in most organisations. However once you get too many years in consultancy you no longer have relevant experience.

By relevant I mean that most people recruiting tend to be blinkered to only what a candidate has done in the last six months. Sad but true.

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#10 RE: Coming from outside and joinging Big4 as Senior Manager?
23/06/2010 07:51

Older MC to Ito (#1)

Ito,

I joined one of the Big-4 as a Manager, from an industry and specialist consulting background aged 43. Whilst I got some very interesting projects and met some very good people to work with/for, it was impossible to escape the fact that I didn't fit into the 'normal' model for the firm, where, as previous posters confirm, Snr Managers tend to be in their 30s, particularly if they've been with the firm for some time and taken the recognised route through it.

It wasn't that I felt completely out of place all the time but it really hit home when:-

1. Appraisals came round and I reaslised there wasn't a natural place for me and I certainly wasn't motivated to follow the traditional path.

2. I was managed by people far less knowledgable and experienced than me.

I left after 18 months to go back to a smaller specialist consultancy where I'm far happier.

Of course, none of this is the firm's fault (mine rather, I made the decision to go there and it was me that didn't fit).. they are what they are and a fantastic place to work if you fit the mould. However, don't underestimate how out-of-place you may feel if you're not one for 'playing the game' - I don't say this cynically, it's just that you have to conform to a good degree to fit in and have an enjoyable experience.

Snr Manager at 41 is not quite as unusual as Manager at 43 and if you're happy to move into a role with more selling responsibility then it could work out, but will require a good deal of flexibility and at times, tongue-biting, as you find yourself in a less-experienced peer group.

Just to re-iterate, if you fit in, my experience is that the Big-4 are great places to work.

Hope this helps, good luck with whatever you choose to do.

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