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Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy

#1 Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
02/03/2013 06:02


Good morning,

I am hoping to move into management consulting this after finishing a 6 year stint in the British Army as an Infantry Officer. I have a 2.1 (Hons) in History from a reputable university so believe I would the necessary criteria to apply.

I have read the previous discussions on here from other ex military individuals attempting to move into consultancy but most appear to have spent considerably longer the military prior to making the jump.

I am currently trying to gauge an entry level to pitch myself at. In my six years I have managed teams of up to 100 on various projects up to 9 months. On my most recent tour to Afghan, as mentioned above I managed a team of 80 advisors and soldiers to an ANA unit of 800 for six months. So my experience thus far has been in operations/project management with a more recent job in military advising. I am not going to pretend for a second that I am an experienced consultant on that back of my last job, but I do believe I have a good understanding of some of the complications and nuances that come with advising/consulting. I am also relatively young (27) so am hoping an employer would look at me as an someone who is not too far down the Military rabbit hole, employable and worth investing in. More importantly, it means while I would not consider going in as an Analyst/Associate, I have no lofty dreams of going in as a Junior Manager.

I am aware I have some very useful skillsets and a good knowledge of working with teams and clients, but acutely that I need to learn my new trade. I have seen a few examples of individuals moving into management consultancy from Deloitte's website, an ex army officer left after 6 years and joined as a Senior Consultant. In addition, a friend in consultancy who works for Deloitte, thinks that SC would be about right. Do you have any thoughts or relevant experience that might be of value to gauging this? Is Senior Consultant too high a pitch? (Accepting that diff firms use diff names for the same level)

The Army offers some money towards resettlement courses to enable transition and I am considering courses such as Prince2, APMP, Lean Six Sigma. I am aware that these will not get me a job, but they may give me some additional value, and crucially if they are mostly funded by the military, surely they are worth doing. Any thoughts?

Thank you for your assistance and I look forward to hearing from you.

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#2 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
02/03/2013 18:43

Bravehearted to Harris (#1)

For Deloitte, they'd most likely take you in at Consultant level.

Deloitte often take people with as many as 8+ years non-consulting experience into Senior Consultant level - so I have a feeling they'd be offering you Consultant.

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#3 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
03/03/2013 22:19

DCF to Bravehearted (#2)

I would suggest not getting too hung up on the grade - provided the package is acceptable. At SC you are generally expected to know what you are doing. The rik is you struggle due to lack of relevant experience. You going in at the wrong grade does no-one any favours and if you get "misplaced" it should be only be a year or so before the mistake is corrected with a promotion.

You are only 27 - so with your 5/6 years' work experience you are not going to be look or feel conspicuously old compared to your peers. And looking at it another way, the other SCs will have taken around 5 years to get there. Your experience might be great but I'm not sure you can expect to transfer it in on a 1-1 basis.

I don't personally see too much value in those courses but I don't know how far, um, off piste you are. As you say it may do no harm in making the point you have some insight to and content applicable to civilian life.

Finally - be prepared for frustration as you go from leading however many people to being just one resource of no great importance.

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#4 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
04/03/2013 09:18

Mr Cool to DCF (#3)

+1 to DCF

You should have a strong enough CV to merit interview

Get the right company and package - don't worry about the grade.

Re; the training, if the army is paying as part of re-settlement then it makes sense to go on it. I'd say any of the three would be useful as a sign that you are committed enough to consultancy to spend you allowance on related courses, but no, they are not going to get you a job by themselves.

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#5 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
04/03/2013 13:51

Anon MCs to Harris (#1)

Hi Harris,

Enjoyable post and wish you best of luck on the interviews (there are lots of MCs for you to apply-interview at, I would suggest widen your net beyond Deloitte)

Agree with Mr Coolio, but also below.

On the course side, I would suggest (others in the Forum please also advise):

PRINCE2 - This is one of those things that is always useful to have on your CV. Recognised cross industry and although not a "must have", not a bad addition. The 5 days version gets you Practitioner which is definitely what you should do especially if Army is paying.

Lean Six Sigma - If possible, propose you get your Green Belt here. You can in the future then decide if you want Black Belt. Again, this is about adding little bits and bobs to your CV. Also it should get you warmed up / thinking more on the business side of things.

There are no doubt many other courses people may suggest, but as a starting point it won't hurt for you to have PRINCE2 and if possible also Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.

I'm not sure how it works on this Forum, but I know an ex Army Officer who is a Senior Manager at an MC. If interested please advise and I'll chat with him on LinkedIn to see if he can provide you some useful tips / advice

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#6 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
04/03/2013 18:40

Harris to Anon MCs (#5)

Bravehearted, DCF, Mr Cool and Anon MCs, thank you very much for your advice. It is very useful. I do apologise for the long reply but I am keen to make the most of this opportunity for advice.

I acknowledge the point about grade - I will ensure I do not get caught up in this. In terms of package I am currently on 40k but with the benefits of heavily subsidised accommodation, a few other benefits so generally low living costs. I am hoping for a package that enables a similar standard of living which I assume would come closer to 50k.. However if that is not realistic, I am prepared to take a cut as I am sure in time I would recover and more once I establish myself.

DCF, more than ready for the frustration...well I think so anyway! I am looking forward to a completely different kind of challenge. I recognise your point about the struggle of converting one to one as well, which may well impact on package expectations.

Mr Cool, I hope my CV should be appealing enough to merit interview. I have tried quite hard to de-militarise my CV to better translate my skills into 'non military speak.' It is required to a point to enable understanding, but I have been told to be wary of going to far to the point where people wonder what on earth I have been up to! Do you have any thoughts on this? For example, in my current job I manage a team of officers and senior soldiers who advise Afghan Army Officers and a much larger group of soldiers who provide security (essentially enabling the activity). I have referred them in my CV as teams of advisors and enablers. Would Officers and Senior Non Commissioned Officers who advise in one group and soldiers in the other make more sense? Quite a focused question, for which I apologise, but it would be helpful in getting the right angle to my CV.

I think my military experience is a positive so do not want to hide it but want to ensure people know what I am talking about!

Anon MCs, I will indeed widen my research - just used Deloitte as a point of reference. I return from Afghanistan in about a fortnight which will make it much easier to research, network and apply! Thank you for the advice on courses. Prince2 was my current first choice. Manchester Business School offer the AMAC course for ex military which gives a 3 week overview of business management and offers a Level 8 Cert in Strategic Direction and Leadership from the CMI. Correct me if I am wrong but I do not think anyone would be particularly interested in the qualification. More that it would assist me in my transition into the commercial world and the knowledge may prevent unnecessary stumbling blocks in an interview where I may not understand the business language! Any thoughts?

I certainly would be interested in chatting to your ex army officer colleague, if he is prepared to offer a little advice. I am not sure either how to approach contacting via this forum. More than happy to give you my name on this forum so you could find my contact details via Linkedin.

All, thank you again for your sound advice.

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#7 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
05/03/2013 11:40

Anon MCs to Harris (#6)

Hi Harris,

No problem at all, always happy to help ex Armed Forces (for reasons I rather not divulge or it will be obvious who I am for people I know reading these)

Please do not divulge your name etc here, I would rather we do it "offline" (and believe me, that "offline" word is something you are going to hear a lot of when in an MC!!!)

Do you have a generic named email address that you can provide here for now? In the meantime, I will write him a message on LinkedIn explaining the basics of this thread and we can take it from there. If for whatever reason he is unavailable, I also know a Programme Director ex Para contractor who you can talk to (ie he is a backup choice as he is not in the MC world, but can talk to you about the transition).

Will do it later today and then get back here hopefully in the next couple of days.

As to your CMI, I disagree with your comment about employers not bothered about it. A mix of PRINCE2 and the CMI will show that you are serious about coming into the business environment and some form of Project Management

(lets face it Harris, an employers worst fear about ex Army types is getting a mirror image of the character Gareth from David Brents "The Office"... I think what you are doing takes you away from that)

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#8 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
07/03/2013 15:46

Harris to Anon MCs (#7)

Anon MCs,

You can use the email address to get in touch - just created it. Thank you for your help, I am very grateful. I understand your point about CMI and PRINCE2 as well.

I must admit I would be fairly upset if compared to Gareth from The Office.


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#9 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
07/03/2013 17:21

Mr Cool to Harris (#8)

I'd suggest you avoid obscure military jargon on your cv, but do not turn regular military terms into management

Examples of clear ways to explain military experience in a way that helps business people understand...

As a (state rank) I would routinely manage x junior officers with ultimate responsibility for the activity and safety of y enlisted soldiers.

During the period (state dates or duration) I was responsible for the training of x Iraqi Army officers and soldiers, requiring significant appreciation of cultural differences and reliance on influencing skills rather than simply commanding. During this period I also led scream of x British soldiers who provided security protection during the training activity.

I'd stay away from budgets. I've seen a few military cvs that mention " responsible for 1billion of assets" ( they meant a battleship!) - it just doesn't translate well and at your entry level you're not likely to be expected to manage project budgets straight away.

Good luck

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#10 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
08/03/2013 18:14

Harris to Mr Cool (#9)

Mr Cool,

Thanks. I fear I may have ventured a little too far into trying to translate military terms into management so will re draft parts of it.

I agree with the point about budgets as well. A few people have tried to encourage me to whack a few budgets in but I have been fairly reluctant thus far. I could claim that I was responsible for £20m of equipment...but yes that is ten vehicles and a few other random bits and bobs which is completely different to actually managing a budget of the same value. I do not think I need to be misleading in order to sell myself - it is important to be honest and I think I have enough to be sufficiently appealing. We shall see...

Thanks again.

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#11 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
08/03/2013 19:06

Happy to Harris (#10)

One more point here - when you're writing your CV, it's all well and good saying what you've done, but just as important, if not more so, is to explain the impact that you had.

To take your $20m budget example:

If you write that you managed a $20m budget, for all I know you could have managed it terribly. I want to know how well you did it - e.g how you delivered savings, how you allocated it in a more creative way, how you implemented a new tracking process, or whatever

For each thing you write, imagine someone in an interview saying to you "so what". If you can't answer that, then you need to work on it

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#12 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
11/03/2013 10:15

Anon MCs to Harris (#8)

Hi Harris,

Quick one to confirm that its all sorted. I have sent a mail to the e-address you provided in this chain with the details of what to do.

The ex Para programme director happy to chat things over with you and take it from there.

Please note that I used my personal email address so would appreaciate details not being divulged here. Think of me as MI5. But more like M's secretary rather than James Bond. Mr Cool can be Q?

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#13 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
11/03/2013 10:39

Mr Cool to Anon MCs (#12)

Hmm. Mr Quool....I like it!!

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#14 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
11/03/2013 10:57

Anon MCs to Mr Cool (#13)

Bushy Eyebrow P can be one of the underlings that the baddies send off to try and finish off James B?

Only thing is, not sure who would play the main female role? This being an MC forum I am pretty certain most of the people here are alpha males (ish) and not a bunch of Cindy Crawford lookalikes

And for those of you who actually know who good ol' Cindy is, well you're old as she was famous in the 80s/early 90s when I was a (testosterone fuelled) kid...

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#15 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
11/03/2013 14:10

Mr Cool to Anon MCs (#14)

Hmmm. Cindy Crawford...I like it.

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#16 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
05/08/2013 17:10

Harris to Mr Cool (#15)

Just a quick note to say thanks to everyone who provided advice on this discussion, especially Anon MCs. I signed my contract today so start a new job in consulting at the beginning of November.

If any other ex-military personnel come across this discussion and are interested in moving into mgt consulting, start a new thread. I will keep an eye on the board and try to help where I can.

Thanks again.

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#17 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
05/08/2013 17:33

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Harris (#16)

We salute your accomplishment!

Now get out there and kick ass! On the double! :)

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#18 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
06/08/2013 09:46

Anon MCs to Harris (#16)

No problem at all Harris, glad it all worked out well.

Enjoy the world of MCs and especially your initial training time (which normally involves sending you away somewhere quite nice with a bunch of guys and girls your own age, you spend most of the nights going out having fun as a group).

There are too many army related quotes that I could use here, so I will just finish with best of luck and enjoy.

REMEMBER to think of the clients as a version fo the Ministry of Defence HQ (slow at getting anything done, too many chiefs not enough indians, noone making decisions, projects being started because a Senior Manager decided on a whim etc) and you'll be fine.

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#19 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
06/08/2013 10:42

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Anon MCs (#18)

I wanna hear some of these army-related quotes u mention!

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#20 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
06/08/2013 10:51

Anon MCs to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#19)

Ok ok, but just one BEP:

When we met, I asked Harris how long he had been in the army. He replied:

"About six foot two, as I had stopped growing by the time I joined."

Hahahaha. No no he didn't say that but come on, that one is pretty good. I'm not thinking of giving up my day job so you won't be hearing my great quotes anytime soon.

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#21 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
06/08/2013 11:35

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Anon MCs (#20)


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#22 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
06/08/2013 23:06

rsr to Harris (#16)

Dear Harris,

I've only just discovered this website, and subsequently your initial post and the resulting thread, and would be very interested in hearing about your experiences in the MC recruitment arena.

I'm also an ex-officer (6 1/2 years), I left in mid 2010 and have been working in operations management/project delivery in the Defence sector since. I'm now coming towards the end of an MBA (6-9 months in the future) and have begun looking into a career in MC.

Your experiences would no doubt be useful....

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#23 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
07/08/2013 09:00

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to rsr (#22)

do you mean his experiences specifically with regard to being ex-army? if so, what sort of information specifically are you looking for? the question is too vague.

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#24 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
07/08/2013 23:05

Harris to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#23)

Dear Rsr,

Happy to help where I can, although it would be useful if you had a few specific questions in mind.

A big difference for you will be your more recent work experience. I am moving directly from the Army and thus I had to work hard to ensure potential employers fully understood what I was responsible for and what I achieved. This should be more straight forward for you as your recent work should translate without much difficulty.

Structuring experience in a way that is relevant is key but it is also important to accept areas where you do lack experience. In my mind, humility is better than fudging experience to show something that you don't actually have.

In these areas, I was content to accept a lack of knowledge or experience but offer my young age, a bright(ish) mind and a willingness to learn. We are more than graduates (plus 5-6 years) who are very good at doing rolly pollys in the mud, but it is important not to oversell.


P.S. I am off sailing on Saturday morning for a week but if you get back to me before then, I will endeavour to answer your questions before I go.

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#25 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
08/08/2013 09:17

Anon MCs to Harris (#24)

I would just add to Harris response that he's more than just "bright(ish)".

There's very good A Levels and a good strong degree backing him up, which helps immensely when you are going for MCs.

Due to the competition nowadays, you will need similar background as well as the good Army examples of what you lead etc.

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#26 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
08/08/2013 16:50

rsr to Harris (#24)


Thanks for the reply, and apologies for the tardiness of mine - I thought I would get an email notification, but obviously not.

Specifically I'm interested in how you got through the recruitment process, did you network with someone within your now employer (it sounds as though Anon MCs may have facilitated this) and if so did this help get your CV to the top of the pile? Or did you apply without knowing anyone within the organisation?

Also how did you structure your CV, and did it make much difference in your opinion? I've currently got a generic chronological one that I tailor to specific jobs apps, but am wondering if a functional CV may frame my skill set better for MCs.

Many thank - rsr

Also good work on starting the new job and getting a sailing holiday in quick succession!

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#27 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
08/08/2013 21:17

Harris to rsr (#26)


Firstly networking. I spent a solid few months networking within the consultancies with varying degrees of success. I primarily targeted the Big Four, Acc, Cap, IBM, Capco, CGI and PA. The advice I was given was to target the larger organisations as they would have the capacity to offer more training and I would have a wider exposure to different industries. While I am sure there are differing opinions, it made sense to me so I followed it. I reached a point where, given a suitable role, I had someone at 7/9 of those listed above who would be prepared to refer me. Out of courtesy, I never asked anyone to refer me; I waited to be offered. If I was not offered, then I would keep on networking until I found someone who did offer.

In terms of referrals and applying cold, I would recommend trying to find someone to refer you. All bar one of my applications were referred. The application that was not referred (which was for a Big Four firm), was due to my inability to type in my referral's email address correctly! However, I made it through the initial filter and progressed until I received a contract from elsewhere and thus withdrew my application. Yet I also had referred applications that were rejected within 24 hours. So while referrals are important, and the more senior the better, they are not critical. A application for a role suited to your skills (rather than what you think you might be good at) with a well written and sufficiently tailored CV will give you the best chance. In order to achieve a well targeted and tailored application, networking is key to ensure you know what you are applying for! Other people may well have differing opinions so feel free to comment.

Secondly CVs. The Army Resettlement Services encourage the use of functional CVs and I initially shared their enthusiasm. However I quickly learned that they are not common and was advised to use a reverse chronological format, which I started to adopt. I actually used a functional CV to apply to the firm that I eventually accepted an offer, as I had not learned my lesson yet! However I believe I made it through the initial filter due to the weight of the referral (Partner equiv) rather than how my CV was structured. When building up your CV, decide what functional areas you want to highlight and then which area each bullet point is selling. You can then group them in a working document to easily check you are covering all parts of the functional area. I found this helped me with clarity and brevity. However when pulling it all together, bring the bullet points together under jobs rather than functional areas of expertise.

Particularly for ex-military, you need to spend time trying to understand the industry and where you best fit into it. It is all pretty alien to start with but after a while I started to identify areas where I could add value immediately and others where it would take time to get up to speed. I believe it is better to target the areas where you can add value immediately. You then come across as less of a risk. These areas will depend what part of the Army you served in (i.e. Signals, Logistics, Teeth arm etc) and what you have done in your jobs since leaving the military.

There will be others on this forum who have significantly more experience and may be able to offer opinions that may be of more value.

Feel free to send further questions over.


Ref the sailing, I do not start until November and thus am trying to cram in as many holidays as possible. A good use of the Afghan op bonus!

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#28 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
05/02/2014 13:06

Reab to Harris (#27)

Hi everyone,

I just stumbled across this page and (being a German Army officer, who studies in the UK after his service time) I have to say that I'm really mesmerised - if not to say jealous.

My experience in Germany is quite to the contrary. Usually, people are more like :

  • "Really? The Army? Oh no, we don't want our employees to be screamed at all the time." (Yeah, try to scream at a WO publicly and see what happens.)
  • "And joining the military in the first place you should actually be ashamed of yourself, anyway." (Well ok, the later part is probably a bit dramatised but Germany has become very pacifistic by now).

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I do not agree with everything that Britain does with its military, but I really envy you for the public support that you give to your soldiers.

However, getting into (a good) Consulting job is never easy.

Speaking of which: I originally planned to enter Consulting in Germany but after studying in the UK I kind of liked it here and I'm now considering to live here for a few years.

Therefore I would like to know if anyone is aware of management consulting divisions who have a client base that has strong ties to Germany? First thing that comes to my mind is Vauxhall.

Thanks for any ideas


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#29 RE: Junior Army Officer moving into Mgt Consultancy
05/02/2014 17:44

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Reab (#28)

What is "Teeth arm"? Is that the department where the soldiers go to get armed to the teeth?

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