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Early career move

 
#1 Early career move
30/11/2012 11:42

Defence88

Hello,

I would like to gauge people's opinion. I am a 24yr old, 320 ucas points, 2.1 BA in History and a distinction MSc in Engineering Management from top 30 Uni's, not top 10. I worked as a project manager in the Middle-East during the period between my BA and masters.

I finished my masters in 2011 and joined the Grad scheme of one of the large European defence companies, on rotation. I was promoted off the Grad Scheme into a more senior role recently, as a Project Manager on the Aircraft Carrier Project.

Whilst I am really enjoying this, in particular the project. I have always been interested in consulting, as I tend to get bored very easily doing the same thing. I.e same office, same job etc.

I am considering leaving my role in industry and trying to work for one of the defence focused consultancy firms such as PA, I don't have enough experience to be an exp hire so considering trying to join as a grad.

Basically I am concerned with the potential for career progression, salary increase, and ultimately what career options I will face if I stay on this project for 5 years, as I'm pretty sure there will not be anymore aircraft carriers built in the UK during my working lifetime!

Do you think it's worthwhile me taking a step back and trying to get into consultancy as a grad, with a defence focus, or stay in industry, and accept the pretty flat pay and promotions prospects that are evident in my organisation at the moment?

Cheers.

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#2 RE: Early career move
30/11/2012 12:05

marsday to Defence88 (#1)

It's too soon really to predict you will be on the project in 5 years time, although you are right to be thinking ahead and where this role could take you.

Grad schemes in consulting would be an option - but would you really want to start from scratch again already? Obviously your experience will give you a head start on other grads, so you should progress quickly, but you are likely to find the work as unchallenging and mundane as your current routine, at least in the early years.

On approach would be to focus on developing your PM experience - perhaps look to get some external certification. In 5 years time you would be able to move across into consulting as an experienced hire in any case, but chances are opportunities to move into other role (and sectors) using your PM experience will arise before then. You'll also have internal opportunities - they wont be developing people on their grad scheme for the sole purpose of building aircraft carriers. Make sure you are networking internally - underline how much you are learning and enjoying the project etc but are keen to understand more about the breadth of projects across the business. Soon enough opportunities will come up to get involved in other projects - you should be focusing on your PM development, not the completion of the aircraft carrier itself (although I imagine that to be in itself a lengthy and complex project).

All in all you are making a strong start Defence88 - you just need to settle into the role a little more and look to where you are and its opportunities first.

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#3 RE: Early career move
30/11/2012 12:08

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Defence88 (#1)

You can make very good money out of a declining industry... in fact, that's often where the best money is.

In general, I think the defence industry is a good bet. We live in a world with a growing population and decliing resources, which will inevitably lead to more conflict.

Heeds Mars's advice, for they are sound words. Word.

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#4 RE: Early career move
30/11/2012 12:12

marsday to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#3)

S'up BEP.

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#5 RE: Early career move
30/11/2012 12:40

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to marsday (#4)

Just coasting into the weekend.... trying to take it easy and not get stressed on a day like this. Doing wome work for a couple of public sector bozos who don't understand the concept of completing a task once you start it. Need to "chillax" this weekend LOL. And still dreamin' of getting my bike licence... (will definitely do that as soon as the weather is good again...)

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#6 RE: Early career move
30/11/2012 13:22

marsday to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#5)

ahh thos pubic secta homeys never finish what they sta

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#7 RE: Early career move
30/11/2012 13:47

Defence88 to marsday (#2)

Thanks for the response both.

Marsday, I think you are right and confirmed the advice I have received from other people. Whilst I am seeking out other projects in the business, you need to be careful where you step at the moment due to redunancies and the like, although I guess that's exactly the same in consulting. I will focus down on my PM skills and reasses in a few years.

BEP, yes, hopefully I can profit from the worlds mutually exclusive desire to attack each other! Do I have the right 'ethics' for consulting?

Also, I can't help but feel that both your uses of informal slang words are not language commonly used by yourselves. ;)

Peace... (Well, lets hope not ey!)

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#8 RE: Early career move
30/11/2012 13:59

marsday to Defence88 (#7)

Yes you do need to be careful where you step, but in whether or not you are targetted for redundancy can often be dictated by metrics beyond your control, so don't focus too much on that. Building good internal networks will help - not only to identify the opportunities, but also to get some inside track on how the project is performing, how it is perceived within the business etc. Having influential contacts who know your name can be invaluable should your name crop up on a potential redundancy list.

Wurd.

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#9 RE: Early career move
30/11/2012 15:37

Mr Cool to Defence88 (#7)

If you think that mars and BEP come across as slightly embarrassing middle aged chaps, just wait to you see them streetdancing at the top-consultant Xmas party.

I an de other hand is a well sick banger

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#10 RE: Early career move
30/11/2012 22:36

Defence88 to Mr Cool (#9)

Didn't think anything of the sort, on the contray, I was under the impression I was taking career advice from Ndubz Dappy...

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#11 RE: Early career move
03/12/2012 12:30

marsday to Defence88 (#10)

aaaiiiiii iz downt'n abbee maaaassiiive

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#12 RE: Early career move
22/05/2013 20:15

Defence88 to marsday (#11)

Hello,

Thought I might post a little update. Despite your advice to stay put, I felt if I did not pursue the Consulting path now then I would look back and regret it.

I interviewed with two of the big consultancy firms (one was a big 4). I was a bit underwhelmed by the whole process and the offers that I was made, especially as they involved a move to London. They also wanted me to join at analyst grade. They said that my industry experience was not equal to that as a graduate analyst in their companies. This may be true (although I doubt any of their analysts have my sector knowledge/experience), either way, I did not feel like the fit was right.

However I also interviewed with a much smaller firm, which is a niche player in the Defence market. They made me an offer a fantastic offer, to come in at Consultant grade. So I of course accepted and have now been a consultant for four weeks. It has been a bit strange, and a steep learning curve in some areas. However I have definitely enjoyed it so far and glad I made the move!

Anyway, just though I would provide a bit of a followup as you took the time to respond to me.

Cheers.

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#13 RE: Early career move
22/05/2013 20:16

Defence88 to marsday (#11)

Hello,

Thought I might post a little update. Despite your advice to stay put, I felt if I did not pursue the Consulting path now then I would look back and regret it.

I interviewed with two of the big consultancy firms (one was a big 4). I was a bit underwhelmed by the whole process and the offers that I was made, especially as they involved a move to London. They also wanted me to join at analyst grade. They said that my industry experience was not equal to that as a graduate analyst in their companies. This may be true (although I doubt any of their analysts have my sector knowledge/experience), either way, I did not feel like the fit was right.

However I also interviewed with a much smaller firm, which is a niche player in the Defence market. They made me an offer a fantastic offer, to come in at Consultant grade. So I of course accepted and have now been a consultant for four weeks. It has been a bit strange, and a steep learning curve in some areas. However I have definitely enjoyed it so far and glad I made the move!

Anyway, just though I would provide a bit of a followup as you took the time to respond to me.

Cheers.

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#14 RE: Early career move
23/05/2013 00:22

Mr Cool to Defence88 (#13)

That's great news, congratulations. The lesson of course is that it's always better to sell something (and particularly yourself) to someone who values that item.

The herd will of course continue to sell to the most prominent buyer.

Good luck and again, well done.

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