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Engineering to Management Consulting

#1 Engineering to Management Consulting
01/06/2011 13:28


Hi all,

I've recently made the (surprisingly difficult) decision to look for a change in career. Now I've drunk the kool-aid and know roughly where I'm heading, I'm looking for advice on what my next steps should be for a move into consultancy.

I should also point out that I've already ruled out engineering consultancy, so please don't go down that route!

I graduated in '08 with a master's in engineering and started work straight away for a well-known automotive manufacturer here in the UK on their graduate scheme (giving me about 3 years experience). Since then I've worked on a variety of projects within manufacturing that all focus on the development and launch of new models. My career so far has been directed to working "up-front" with electrical design teams to ensure good communication of specs / requirements. In addition to the obvious technical / professional experience, in this time I've learned a couple of things:

1) I like business improvement type work (most of my experience is here)

2) I like strategy (although only have direct experience of what most would call planning)

3) I don't like writing code (it's a slow death, although I'm not required to do this in my current job)

The areas I'm specifically looking for would therefore apply the above rules. I realise they're different functions in most consultancies but I'm not ruling either out yet.

What I'm hoping to get here is a barrage of advice(!) from the pro's on any firms that have a history of taking on ex-engineers looking to branch out as experienced hires. What do I need to do to do this properly?


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#2 RE: Engineering to Management Consulting
09/06/2011 08:24

teatime to ConfusedEngineer (#1)

I made a similar jump from manufacturing myself. 

Your background would suggest a reasonable fit with the Supply Chain practices- where experience in planning / S&OP / inventory management etc.   would be useful. 

The challenge you may have is in convincing the interviewers that you have the right level of experience of consulting and wider technical experience to come in as an experienced hire.  The nature of consulting is that you'll sometimes be expected to work in projects that aren't necessarily in your sweet-spot, and any firm will want to ensure you've got sufficient rounded experience to land on your feet an any project.

You may baulk, but your route in could be via grad programmes which would definitely give you that experience, some of which do allow fast-streaming of high-performers.

Ps. Yes, yes. Probably some horrendous spelling mistakes here. That's what typing on phones does.

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#3 RE: Engineering to Management Consulting
09/06/2011 14:06

ConfusedEngineer to teatime (#2)

Thanks for the feedback teatime. Supply Chain is certainly something I'm looking into yes. I can also see some mileage in operations on the back of a secondment I had in our Overseas Ops dept.

You've latched onto my key concern in a perceived lack of consulting experience on my CV. However I'm convinced that with the right sales-pitch there are a number of transferable skills I've been able to put to practice.

In reality the work I'm involved in involves a great deal of interviewing subject matter experts in both design and manufacturing roles in order to pull together a list of requirements that we can "cover" in a number of different ways.

The team is only 2 years old, so we've had the great/rare opportunity of a blank page to write our own plan for how to operate. This has been at times a bit of poisoned chalice however as while the freedom has been there, all the contacts and relationships were not, so progress is often slow. (The phrase involves jumping and hoops I think).

I'd hope to convey this flavour of experience in a small team, working with larger established depts across a wide variety of technologies (within a car at least)...but the function we carry out doesn't benefit from a well recognised label that fits neatly on a CV. I could easily apply, Design for Manufacture, Requirements Engineering, Benchmarking, Business Process Re-engineering, Programme/Feasibility Analysis to the various parts, but none would cover it. It is in fact this very aspect of the job I've been doing that I've enjoyed and has convinced me to go for a career that involves just that…with obvious bonuses in the way of pay and variety.

As I've been working for 3 years am I in a spot where I'm too "experienced" for a grad scheme and not enough for an experienced hire? Also can you offer a bit of background on your jump?

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