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Need advice on career change

#1 Need advice on career change
03/05/2013 18:45


Hi all,

I am thinking of a career change and want to gauge my chances of entering management consulting, and in particular at what level.

My main issue is that I have degree in Engineering and Finance from UCL for which I received a 2.2. I do have mitigating circumstances as my father passed away during the second year – he was the sole practitioner of his own accountancy firm and this caused a lot of disruption as I had to deal with the sale of the practice along with all the other accompanying factors. My A Levels and GCSEs are all A and A* and my current employers have accepted my 2.2 as a glitch.

I have since worked at the Big 4 in the HR tax consulting team for 3 years, completing my tax exams and have recently moved to the inhouse Partner tax team at one of the MBB firms where I am just completing my first year. Having worked very closely with the Partners and having seen the consulting culture first hand, I have found that strategy consulting is the type of work I enjoy (also starting to missing the client facing side and variety) and would like to make a switch.

I have spoken to internal recruiters and am in the progress of setting up a few meetings with hiring managers, but want to consider making applications to other MBB and consulting firms.

Do you think that my 2.2 will hinder my applications? Or will my work experience and the fact I currently work within one of the MBB (granted not actually the consulting side) be enough for them to consider me as a potential candidate? Or should I target the 2nd tier firms instead?

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#2 RE: Need advice on career change
17/05/2013 10:53

Abigail to bustersword1986 (#1)

Your idea of changing your career is good but you need to check something which is necessary for a successful career. The career you are going to choose, are you suitable for it and how. Do you have specific experience in that business??

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#3 RE: Need advice on career change
17/05/2013 11:47

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Abigail (#2)

You know, I wouldn't normally give this sort of advice. But here it is.

If you're already working within an MBB firm, helping the partners reduce their tax bills, then you have a golden opportunity to build some relationships. You are already on the payroll, what you want now is an internal transfer. Despite what many might say, Partners do have a LOT of discretion... so if one of them wants to put you on a team and utterly bypass the HR and recruitment processes, it WILL happen... despite what HR might say. Maybe you could get onto a team in a back-office sort of way... just providing a bit of support from the office and some analysis, possibly in addition to the tax stuff... like the partner is temporarily reassinging you for a bit.. then the next step would be to do the same on another project.. then another... then get a bit more involved with other things on the team too... then next thing you know, you've become a consultant by stealth and with the blessing of a partner who trusts you enough to want you on his teams...

Easier said that done, I know (especially when you're working with a firm full of Harvard MBAs and so on), but you are already in a special position here and I would say a bit of wheeling and dealing of this type is your best bet.

Also, you say "I have recently moved to the inhouse Partner tax team at one of the MBB firms". Do they really employ a TEAM of people just to deal with their tax! Wowser.

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#4 RE: Need advice on career change
17/05/2013 14:17

Anon MCs to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#3)

For what its worth, I think Bushy is right.

By far your best option is using your network. There are lots of examples in this forum of this being said.

You are already in there with the Partners, you are in all likelihood pretty smart hence halfway there. Use those connections to get into their programmes as "an extra" to your normal roles.

eg you sort out some figures or data for one of the programmes. Before you know it, they will have you as part of the team doing x and y. Bushy is right, Partners will argue that you are bringing £££ to the Consultancy hence the HR boys can f off for a while with all their forms and procedures.

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#5 RE: Need advice on career change
17/05/2013 14:54

Mr Cool to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#3)

BEP - not only do they employ a team, but as tax advice relating to a partnership is a business activity, that advice is a tax deductible activity, applied prior to any tax impact of the profit dispersal....

Did you think it was only amazon and Starbucks...

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#6 RE: Need advice on career change
17/05/2013 15:15

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Mr Cool (#5)

You are VERY good at this, Mr Cool... but you know that anyway!

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#7 RE: Need advice on career change
18/05/2013 08:18

SexyCassiege to bustersword1986 (#1)

You should keep a nomal thought,and try to adapt to the environment.

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