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Career Change - Out of Consultancy

#1 Career Change - Out of Consultancy
11/04/2013 18:12


So I have worked at one of the largest consultancies in the world for 5 years coming in through the graduate scheme, I have multiple and varied project experience mainly in outsourcing and general consulting activities and roles. Mainly around PMO, Project Mgt, Commercial Mgt. Studied Economics at Uni (2.1) if that makes a difference.

I'm thinking I want to move out of consulting - but I really do not know what options are out there for me? I clearly now have experience in this industry but now want to make a career change to a new industry. Most skills are transferable so I understand that, but I do not have knowledge and experience of a specific industry as yet.

Recently been approached by a number of recruitment consultants, who I have spoken to but all obviously aiming roles towards my current skill set and other consulting roles.

a) I do not want to join a new role in a new industry at entry level for obvious reasons.

b) For example if I wanted to move into a Brand manager role, specific expertise is required, that I do not have

c) Am I able to still get a salary increase with the move (I am not currently overpaid)?

d) If I was to stay in Consultancy I'd want to move to a smaller niche company - but again currently I am not specialised in a sector e.g FS, Retail etc. How do I sell my skills?

e) Any other advice would be appreciated.

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#2 RE: Career Change - Out of Consultancy
12/04/2013 10:25

Camster to CareerConsult (#1)

I will assume that you are with a Big4.

With this assumption, you have resources at your disposal. Use this to build competence in a chosen industry or functional area (for want of a better term).

In management consulting, as you progress, you are meant to progressively be more specialised in, say, TMT. It's the nature of things. Only then, can they pimp you out for more €€€.

I suggest you stay where you are, while researching and trying to figure out the industry that you want to play in. Oh, and add some functional expertise.

Once you figure out the above, you will be able to take charge of your career.

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#3 RE: Career Change - Out of Consultancy
21/04/2013 04:03

fnkychld to CareerConsult (#1)

Why not look for internal PMO roles within consulting firms or project management roles within industry? You wouldn't be traveling from client to client in these types of positions, if that's what you're trying to avoid. If not, you'll have to develop a specialized skill set for a few years before making a lateral move to the client side.

Often that's the problem with consulting - you become too much of a generalist and not enough of an expert. Sure there are general strategy roles within companies, but those are very limited in numbers and the competition for them is fierce.

Prospective consultants should always look at the exit opportunity they are shooting for after 5 years or so, and try to enter that specific practice to get the prerequisite experience. It sounds obvious, but many go into general management consulting, get staffed on a wide variety of projects, and find that they can't market their skills to a role in industry after a few years on the job because the roles are too specialized. Getting an MBA is usually the only alternative at that point.

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#4 RE: Career Change - Out of Consultancy
21/04/2013 10:45

dtang to CareerConsult (#1)

I was in a similar situation a few yrs back.

I left my consulting job as I was approaching my 4-yr mark w/ the intention of starting a company. Afterwards, I fell into independent consulting for boutique consultancies.

I found that after several yrs in consulting, you just naturally begin building a decent network. A lot of consultants leave big firms to pursue independent/contract work at boutiques, which pay better and have better projects. So, when I quit, former colleagues started pinging me w/ these independent consulting offers. I imagine you will encounter a similar situation.

Regarding d), I think you can sell your functional skills/expertise.

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