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Advice for a future PhD in engineering considering management consulting

 
#1 Advice for a future PhD in engineering considering management consulting
09/06/2013 17:03

neutron

Hi people,

I am midway of my PhD in engineering, and I started to consider continuing my career in management consulting after finishing the PhD. I am especially attracted by McK since they seem to hire PhDs (at least they state it on their website), but of course other companies are not excluded.

I still have around two more years to finish this endeavour, however, I was wondering if there is something I can do in order to perform a flawless interview and secure a position, like building an appealing background/CV, and improving skills required for management consulting.

Can someone point me to what can I do in the next two years beside my PhD, and what skills are most important to have as a management consultant that I will not gain on the university? The good news is that before research I have already worked in industry - in an engineering company for a couple of years mostly in sales and dealing with clients, and working with the management in the strategic development of the product portfolio (so I am not a typical academic), and that my PhD research now requires to be in constant contact with the industry and to do lots of analysing of their products and processes, which is definitely a very useful skill for management consulting, but certainly not the only one.

It may seem silly to plan so much in advance, but this obsession with strategy and planning might be one of the reasons why I am interested in a career in management consulting :)

Oh, and if it's relevant - I am not from the UK.

Thanks.

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#2 RE: Advice for a future PhD in engineering considering management consulting
09/06/2013 22:29

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to neutron (#1)

I would recommend getting a business qualification such as an MBA

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#3 RE: Advice for a future PhD in engineering considering management consulting
10/06/2013 13:21

Mr Cool to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#2)

I am mid-way through my tightrope walking course. Is there anything I can do in my spare time over the next two years that would make it more likely that I will be able to fulfill my ambition of becoming a lion tamer, when I'm finally qualified as a tightrope walker.

Dude- I'm all for the mind expanding, longer term value of education, but why are you spending another TWO YEARS on a non- relevant qualification?

Is the career in consultancy a hangover breakfast idea? If not you should dump the remainder of your phd and do an MBA.

...or stick your head in the lion's mouth - get a job.

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#4 RE: Advice for a future PhD in engineering considering management consulting
10/06/2013 14:54

I to Mr Cool (#3)

Depends on where you are getting your Phd from. For example, if you are in Germany, where almost everyone has a PhD, then a PhD will help. But if you are in the US, getting a PhD from a top notch uni (Yale, Stanford etc) will help. Consultancies that do hardcore analytics do like to hire PhD's e.g. LEK, Bain. These companies also offer special programs for PhD holders e.g. 3 weeks mini-MBAs.

I don't agree with dumping your PhD and doing an MBA. You can always join a management consultancy in a specialist role after your PhD (check Arthur D Little, PA Consulting, Simon Kucher). What you can do now:

1) Do research: it seems like you have had a hangover breakfast idea

2) Do internships in management consultancies!

You can also look at this site:

http://www.phd2consulting.com/

Good Luck!

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#5 RE: Advice for a future PhD in engineering considering management consulting
15/06/2013 11:25

neutron to I (#4)

Hi. Thank you for your replies.

Well, I have a feeling that I have not been understood correctly.

This is not a "hangover breakfast idea", it is rather something I had been thinking about for the last a few months as a strong career possibility, and this post was about things I could not find, such as valuable skills that get appreciated and would make a difference. I can apply with a PhD that might be appreciated, but if that's all I can offer... I don't think that they will find me so appealing.

@ BEP: I think that going for a MBA after a PhD would be too much.

@ Mr Cool: I understand your skepticism, but I do not see it as a non-relevant qualification. It is a job, it will considerably advance me in my profession, and will open me more doors than just a MSc degree, e.g. I can continue working in academia if I don't succeed in business, which is not possible without a PhD.

@ I: Thanks for the list. Yes, I did already research, there are lots of information around, but my question is about the things that are missing: no one of the PhDs in MBB really mentions what would they do if they could go back, on what skills to concentrate, and so on.

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#6 RE: Advice for a future PhD in engineering considering management consulting
15/06/2013 14:16

neutron to neutron (#5)

And just to be more specific, here are some concrete questions:

Would qualifications and certificates such as the ones from the PMI (PMP and CPMA), passing the CFA level 1 exam, ACCA, and other be beneficial for my background from the MBB perspective?

Are there any "mini-MBA" courses (although McK offers such for freshly recruited PhDs) which I could take?

Is it possible to get an internship during or shortly after the PhD in an MBB firm? Not only to have a good reference and experience, but also to have a "test ride" before applying for a job.

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#7 RE: Advice for a future PhD in engineering considering management consulting
16/06/2013 19:37

I to neutron (#6)

On qualifications and certificates: None are needed to get into a consultancy. CFA is an asset management qualification, ACCA accounting so no relevance.

Nothing beats solid work experience. You need to do internships, some interesting volunteer work e.g. start your NGO (quite an American thing but valuable) or anything that makes me you well-rounded (excellent team player not just a solo act, good project management, client management ability).

I assume you would have excellent analytical and problem-solving skills and work well independently, since you are doing a PhD in engineering.

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#8 RE: Advice for a future PhD in engineering considering management consulting
16/06/2013 23:16

neutron to I (#7)

Thanks a lot for your response.

My reasoning behind these not very related certificates, beside an education and formal qualification, is to exactly make me "well-rounded".

Regarding volunteer work, I was already highly involved in two NGOs, check. :)

I did some internships, in engineering firms. I'll try to take an unpaid leave and have an internship in an MBB firm.

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#9 RE: Advice for a future PhD in engineering considering management consulting
18/06/2013 11:30

I to neutron (#8)

I still don't think you understand what people wrote to you.

Think outside formal/informal qualifications- you are getting a PhD what more qualifications do you want?!?!

As much you think, doing internships at engineering firms doesn't make you look well-rounded!!!

You need internship experience beyond engineering firms.Think consultancies, FMCG, even top-tier investment banks. And please not in quant junkie/software nerd roles.

Consulting is a people business. Building relationships with clients is key. Choose internship(s) that help(s) you showcase that.

Good luck!

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#10 RE: Advice for a future PhD in engineering considering management consulting
19/06/2013 10:04

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to I (#9)

Make sure you emphasise that this is NOT a spur of the moment decision you have made, to take a very senior position in consultancy. Emphasise clearly that you have been strategically considering it as a highly viable and superiorly profitable option for at least the past 2 weeks!

With regard to gaining business exposure, I hear you can do a "half-hour MBA" that should address any potential shortfall. So no need to be concerned about that particular aspect either.

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#11 RE: Advice for a future PhD in engineering considering management consulting
22/06/2013 09:55

neutron to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#10)

Hello,

Thanks for your insightful replies. I will then concentrate on the mentioned.

At this moment I cannot find a solution to have an internship in a relevant company before the end of the PhD (since it is my full-time job, except taking an unpaid leave), and afterwards it might be too late, but I have time to think about it.

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#12 RE: Advice for a future PhD in engineering considering management consulting
10/06/2015 22:03

Amp_6733 to neutron (#11)

Hi

Updates on what you did?

Where are you now?

MBB?

Internships?

JOb?

I am on a similar boat too.

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#13 RE: Advice for a future PhD in engineering considering management consulting
11/06/2015 14:52

Camster to Amp_6733 (#12)

What boat? Love Boat?

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