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How many Suits?

#1 How many Suits?
20/10/2004 18:16


Here come two mildly silly questions, but I would really appreciate any advice on the following:

I'm moving an empoverished life in academia to an associate job at M/B/B soon, and will obviously have to invest in some decent clothes before I start. Can anyone suggest what the minimum number of suits and shirts is that a male strat consultant needs to at least avoid clothes-related hassles?!

Secondly, I'm expecting a bit (but definitely not continuous) of air travel. What should I invest in, the classic "rollaboard" or a folding garment bag?



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#2 Re: How many Suits?
21/10/2004 01:40


Hi - I made a similar move from academia to mgmt consultancy some years back and one thing is for sure - the wardrobe changes very quickly. This is what I did before i started. I bought me two suits, a few formal shirts, a few smart (but not formal) shirts and three trousers. Don't go for the expensive ones - you never know when they lay you off and you don't want to go back to academia in a Gucci suit. The really important thing is to be and feel nice and clean so don't forget the haircut the first day and the mandatory shave every weekday (unless ofcourse you work overnight in the office). It sounds silly and you will soon realise that it is a but shallow especially as the content of your work will in no way challenge you as the academic world did (I assume it did for you). But thats the way the game is played so good luck.

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#3 thanks, doesitmatter!
21/10/2004 18:43


Nice one, thanks for the response. I know it feels a bit frivolous to be worrying about that sort of thing, but I realize that first impressions can be important, and that it's what colleagues and clients perceive that matters (rather than my own, possibly "smugly scruffy" point of view).

Any other (work ethos etc - related) tips on how to make the transition successully? I will be rolling up nervously clutching a medical degree and a PhD.....



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#4 Re: thanks, doesitmatter!
25/10/2004 14:14


Good luck with the move and as I did somethign similar let me share some experiences...

(1) DON'T EVER give the impression you are deperate for the job. Don't ever feel afraid you will get fired or shown the door. Believe me they never need a reason to do that. So just get on and focus on your work.

(2) DON'T be afraid to ask anything even if you think it is silly or elementary or you think you can find out later. Just ask the question (but ofcourse don't ask really silly ones) and make them sound intelligent and probing.

(3) Get thick skinned - if your boss or colleague say your work is not up to scratch, give them a mental two fingers and move on. Just improve it for the next time.

(4) Never do later what you could have done yesterday.

(5) Communicate always all the time with everyone. Especially when you are on a client project. Consultants rarely come up with anything new or innovative. They only dress up a previous assignments differently. Someone out there has the knowledge or the solution. So why should you re-invent the wheel. Your firm would not want you to do that - simply deliver the goods on time.

(6) Don't expect anything seriosuly challenging other than how to stay awake long nights.

I can go on and on but the bottom line is this - you will pick up the important elements of the consultancy work with time but none of the MBAs will ever master your research and medical background ever so clearly you can see who is superior in this game. Just make sure you don't shy from showing it.

Good luck. May I ask where you are joining?

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#5 thanks again
27/10/2004 07:05


Thanks very much for that. I'll remember your advice ;-)

I'm starting at McK (one of the European offices).

All the best!

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