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Exit Options at SM level

#1 Exit Options at SM level
03/02/2013 11:16

Senior Manager

Dear All

I'm a Senior Manager with a Big Four firm - specializing in the FMCG sector. I'be been relatively lucky in my career to have been exposed to a great degree of international work and I'm currently dedicated to one of our largest accounts in Europe (I am not based in the UK) with a focus upon sales over a couple of different functional areas.

The variety I have had in my career (couple of different functional "specialisms") has meant that now I cannot really be called an expert in any one single functional area. With my current responsibilities I am essentially running a large proportion of our current business at a major client in Germany, and this includes significant people management, sales responsibilities and stakeholder management. I also act as program manager on a couple of large systems implementations initiatives.

The pressure of being a Senior Manager is, however, starting to show - and having weighed up the options (simply put, its stay or go), I believe it's time for me to concentrate upon other priorities in my life (I have a young family - 2 kids).

However in looking at the job market, I find its difficult to be a natural candidate for jobs requiring a functional specialism - and general management roles tend to be geared to perhaps more senior profiles than mine own.

What I would be interested to understand is what natural exit options might exist for more general profiles coming from Consultancy. Are general management positions at relatively senior levels obtainable, would contracting in general management skills be an option? I would be interested in any thoughts or contributions.

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#2 RE: Exit Options at SM level
04/02/2013 21:34

Leadingpractice to Senior Manager (#1)


I think you have spelled out the issues that are well known and discussed on this forum.

Ultimately I feel you are better being a specialist rather than a generalist, although obviously where fee income is concerned you are at the mercy of your Partners to a certain degree.

I feel for you a little as I am thinking I am in much the same position. Jobs wise it isn't easy anyway, yet you mention general management positions - isn't this going to put you in the same predicament plus with less 'security' if there is any?

It does sound a little that you are unsure of what you want, but very clear about what you don't?

If you are clear you want to leave, I really believe you should be very clear about what you want to do, could it be possible to focus in one area now and build up to be more specialist and then get out? I know a few people who are taking this approach, although it is mid-term approach, but realistically it is going to take 6-9 months to move at least so why not invest the time wisely?

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#3 RE: Exit Options at SM level
04/02/2013 21:49

Mr Cool to Leadingpractice (#2)

There is no such thing as "general management" in contracting. Contractors are taken on to do what they have done 3 times at least already.

To be honest there is no such thing as general management generally, not until you are "running" an organisation, or at least a division within it.

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#4 RE: Exit Options at SM level
05/02/2013 08:39

Camster to Mr Cool (#3)

To echo what LP wrote, I don't think you know what you want to do!

Will make some assumptions. Let's say SM level is similar to, say, head of dept. in industry. You decide that you want to do 'strategy'. You also decide that you want to play within TMT.

Now, you look for such roles, e.g. head of strategy, SM in Strategy, etc. There are a few around, e.g. Head of Strategy with Arqiva, VF, Sky, etc.

If you want to do FMCG, then you could do something similar. Say you want to do NPD. So, you will target such roles, as above.

I also echo what Mr. Cool wrote. I ran the MENA region in a previous life. It may sound like a GM role, but I actually wore multiple hats, from product dev to..... camel riding.

If you want to get into industry, this is essentially how you need to position yourself.

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