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All in bad taste...

#1 All in bad taste...
13/11/2011 21:16


I come from a target school. Last summer, I interned with Booz and I was extended an offer. I joined them after I finished my mba this year. Soon after, I realized that the team that my offer partner & his team had quit the firm. I got staffed on a bad project on the road, bad manager, bad equation etc. Once that got over, I began noticing that I was being increasingly marginalized by my home office.

And five months into joining the firm, I've been counseled out by folks in the office who had barely worked with me. Without warnings, feedback or feelers from my mentors.

From what I see, the things that worked against me were

- Not developing my mentor relationships beyond the formal channel (thanks to the assignment)

- Not schmoozing with the senior folks in the office.

Frankly, I had no idea that firms could be this disrespectful of new employees and this political. Or maybe its just a Booz thing. I have a few questions -

- How common is this? Does it happen only in distress or is it normal practice to not give anyone any prior notice?

- Do I have a legal recourse outside of the UK?

- What do I do with my career now?! Any suggestions on how I can position this?

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#2 RE: All in bad taste...
16/11/2011 16:47

deticacaca to abracadabra (#1)

Hi abracadabra,

Just to let you know I am no legal expert nor am I a Booz employee, but I will try to answer the below questions:

- The up or out system is common amongst strategy consultancies. It can also be found amongst other larger firms, although applied in a less draconian fashion. To happen after only five months is quite extreme and usually the "writing is on the wall", for the employee through the various feedback mechanisms in the firm. Without understanding you're personal details it is difficult to analyse further.

- Legal recourse: outside of the UK I can't comment, but inside the UK in theory yes. You would probably have been asked to sign some form of compromise agreement where the company will give you x months salary in return for you waiving your're legal rights to an employment tribunal. If you have signed any form of agreement then it is unlikely you will be able to seek legal recourse. If you haven't you could take your former employer to a tribunal under UK law as it currently stands. Just note usually the amount of salary offered in a compromise agreement is usually just under the amount you would be entitled to at a tribunal (should you win of course), so it is not often worth the hassle.

- As a part of the compromise agreement you can have inserted a standard clause regarding what reference the company can give to future employers. It cannot be misleading in a legal sense nor if a future employer wants to understand certain details around disciplinary actions etc, but it limits the employer as to what they can say to a standard reference request. As for explaining why you left Booz at another interview I will leave that to yourself to define an answer, but honesty is usually the best policy...

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#3 RE: All in bad taste...
31/05/2012 17:59

tua022012 to deticacaca (#2)

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#4 RE: All in bad taste...
31/05/2012 21:35

Anon66 to abracadabra (#1)

On of my great friends at Booz was made redundant shortly after he joined a few years ago. This happens.

I've not heard of being counselled out after five months too often without significant feedback/prior warning. For one, it makes the offer partner look very bad (though in your case he had left). It can also poison brand on campus (only partially offset by compromise agreements) and damage morale.

You probably have no legal recourse. Whilst five months is an unusual time frame, up-or-out is not unusual in consultancy. If they can achieve it after multiple years without getting consistently sued, the prospects for legal action are likely to be slim.

Given the current atmosphere, future employees will happily assume you left due to economic reasons. In addition to an MBA from a target school and (presumably) prior work experiences lasting more than a year, future employers should not particularly punish you.

You made it four and a half months longer than this joker:

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#5 RE: All in bad taste...
31/05/2012 22:06

Arby the Manager to tua022012 (#3)

Yes - getting counselled out is the norm for any progressive organization with a pyramidal structure and an up-or-out policy. Consulting is a prime candidate for this. However I have never seen a case where no warning has been given.

Hopefully not so much of an unfair judgement, but I think perhaps you are looking outwardly for answers when perhaps you should be looking inwardly.

You blame the bad project, the bad manager, your mentor, the folks in the office. You call networking and building a community "schmoozing" as if it's generally a bad thing.You seem to have a rather arrogant theme simmering just below the surface of your post - as if the whole world was against you and you were poorly treated.

So I suggest you re-examine what happened in those 5 months - but believe me being on the road is the norm in Consulting, having bad projects is the luck of the draw in Consulting. The trick is how you react to them and how you cope with the difficult circumstances. It sounded like you were not a good bet for the firm to make and they cut their losses before getting too far along the road with you. In this case probably it was a fair decision for you both - and will allow you to pursue a different career.


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