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Moving into management consulting

 
#1 Moving into management consulting
21/07/2013 16:04

clin psych

Hello everyone,

I'm new to the forum, having read quite a few of the threads whilst browsing for information. I was hoping to ask a few questions about initial steps to move into management consultancy, as I feel it's time for a career shift.

I am currently a Clinical Psychologist in Training, completing a professional doctorate at a Russell Group University which is due to be completed in 2014. As part of my role I provide one-to-one and group psychotherapy, provide consultation and training to individuals and teams, as well as conducting service evaluations, audit and research with a strong grounding in quantitative analyses. Previous to this role, I was also the head of a student charity, and engaged in multiple extra-curriculars. As much as I enjoy the job, I have found my interest and enthusiasm for the field decreasing, in the face of decreasing government investment, reducing career opportunities and extremely rigid organisational cultures which do not benefit patients.

As such, I am looking to move in to management consultancy, with a particular focus upon organisational change and development. I am intrigued about how the impact of changes can be best managed to improve individual's, team's and the organisation's performance.

I have looked into possible routes into this career and have spoken with HR departments in the Big Four, McKinsey, BCG etc. However, I was wondering whether it may be advisable and/or necessary to complete an internship with a consulting firm to improve my chances of a successful application? Also, I have looked around for smaller consultancy companies who may specialise in this area and accept individuals for entry level roles, but have had difficulty finding any; could people possibly point me in the direction of where I could gain information regarding such companies?

Thanks in advance for taking the time to read this and for any advice offered.

CP

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#2 RE: Moving into management consulting
23/07/2013 10:12

clin psych to clin psych (#1)

I just wanted to bump this up to see if anyone has any possible advice or input.

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#3 RE: Moving into management consulting
23/07/2013 14:43

I to clin psych (#1)

Have you looked into Gallup consulting and PA?

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#4 RE: Moving into management consulting
23/07/2013 21:14

clin psych to I (#3)

I've heard of PA consulting and have looked on their website, but have not seen any upcoming vacancies for entry level MC positions as of yet. I haven't heard of Gallup consulting before, so thank you for mentioning them, I will find out more information about that particular firm. Are there any other companies which may specialise in these specific areas? Also, is it necessary to complete at internship in order to stand a good chance of getting my foot in the door?

Many thanks

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#5 RE: Moving into management consulting
24/07/2013 09:36

Charliefleabag to clin psych (#4)

Try SHL

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#6 RE: Moving into management consulting
24/07/2013 12:54

clin psych to Charliefleabag (#5)

Thank you very much for your advice. I have had a look at SHL which seems to be a good mix of occupational psychologists, HR consultants and various other professionals. I will contact them as soon as possible.

Kindest Regards

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#7 RE: Moving into management consulting
27/07/2013 23:34

adrianpenn to clin psych (#1)

Have only just read this- bit behind, obviously. Speaking personally- and I mean this- I wouldn't bother. Stuff like Banking- I spent five odd years in it, and Man Consulting etc, is over-rated. Yes, these lines of business pay, well, but do you really want the stress. If moeny is your thing, then go for it ! If however, you want to do something more rewarding, and fulfilling, then follow the traditional routes...(!)

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#8 RE: Moving into management consulting
30/07/2013 12:46

clin psych to adrianpenn (#7)

adrianpenn, thank you for your thoughts. I suppose to respond to your thoughts, I have an interest in applying the skills I have learnt in my field to business consultancy, particularly with a focus upon helping organisations (and employees) manage change and improve organisational processes.

In addition, my willingness to move professions has been sparked by the recent NHS changes; in essence the NHS (and current government) seems to be mistakenly pursuing a principle of cheap=good, whereby the quantity of people seen and services given doesn't even factor in the quality. This means someone like me, with 8 years of specialist training (who costs between £31k-80k+ depending on position) is considered an expensive option (but hey who cares if someone else who's cheaper assesses dementia wrong, as long as it's done right?), so career progression is extremely limited past 2-6 years post qualification.

I get the impression quality is more paramount in management consultancy, as is a focus on what's best for the client (and not the provider cutting budgets). I'm aware that it's stressful, but I wouldn't consider it a permanent profession; rather something I would do to gain valuable experience in consultancy, with a view to later combining respective expertise in clin psych and consulting to work on a related industry role (business psychology perhaps) or on an individual basis. However, I'd be interested to hear your experiences and insights re. the stresses of the job, as more information is always a good thing when contemplating a career change?

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#9 RE: Moving into management consulting
30/07/2013 13:02

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to clin psych (#8)

"I get the impression quality is more paramount in management consultancy {than costs}"

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*sprays coffee out of mouth and nose all over table*

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#10 RE: Moving into management consulting
30/07/2013 17:01

Anon MCs to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#9)

clin psych,

Apologies but I can totally see where BEP is coming from, your idea of Consultancy is one for Graduate entrants ideals... as an experienced hire surely you know that the world does not work quite the way you described on the second half of your post. Ironically, the first half of your post (describing the NHS) is much more like our world so in a way its good to see the NHS starting to mirror real life.

Belts are being tightened all across our industry, hence there are a number of areas where cheap really is better. No different to NHS.

As to progression being far more difficult after the 6 year mark - welcome to the club as this is true in most professions. Its the infamous triangle - the higher you get, the more competition you have and more difficult it gets. I can't see consultancy solving your problem here. You graft hard and network well, you on average will do well.

In industry salaries of £60k or more are for Senior Consultants - these are experienced boys and girls. Your £80k mark then goes for Principals and even Managers, people who sometimes have done far more years then you described (a decade or more). Hence the other part of BEP laughter, you seem to think that Consultants are paid far more when in fact its you guys earning better (plus not forgetting your gold pensions which industry consultants don't get).

These are all "on average" off course, but it looks like we need a quick reality check.

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#11 RE: Moving into management consulting
31/07/2013 09:29

clin psych to Anon MCs (#10)

I think I've given an inaccurate picture of the true state of my profession at the moment, which is my fault given how I phrased it. Clinical Psychologists can theoretically reach 80k+, but the vast majority wont. In fact, most psychologists would reach a ceiling of 55k+ throughout their whole careers (this excluding opportunities for individual private work), reaching this figure after many years of experience (6-10 at least), especially given that you start at the bottom of the pay band, and then work your way up over 5-7 years. In addition, those senior positions have become less and less in number, due to £20 billion of cuts to the NHS budget. In addition, our pensions (yes, whilst still relatively good) are by no means gold plated anymore; higher contributions, longer working lives and reduced payouts as a result of recent reforms took care of that.

I suppose I may have some inaccurate expectations of consultancy, due to my inexperience, which I feel could be excused. However, and please do correct me if I am wrong here as it would be helpful to know, my impression is that there is an emphasis upon meeting the clients needs, and it is less about short term thinking (quick fix now, bite us on the back-side later on vs better work now, better long term outcomes). In addition, I believe a greater emphasis is placed upon individual career progression than in the NHS, where career progression is actively discouraged (partly due to cost, partly due to the 'we pay the post, not the person' mantra), making progression in one position virtually impossible without moving Trusts and therefore, home.

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#12 RE: Moving into management consulting
31/07/2013 10:07

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to clin psych (#11)

So, we're talking £55K plus a very healthy public sector pension after 6 years experience... Not to mention no travel (as in "now you're working in Saudi for 12 months" as opposed to "please can you pop down to Acacia Avenue to see little Doris")... and no doubt nowhere near the pressure to perform (I can't imagine the NHS having an "up or out" policy or billings/utilisation targets for example) or the long hours of intense work (yeah, we've all seen the TV shows about junior doctors but most of the NHS is actually more of a "coffee mug" culture)... plus whereas many consultants don't know if they'll have a job in 6 months time after their current project ends, the NHS folk are in there for life if they so choose. I know the NHS folk complain about their lot, but the reality is that, like most heavily unionised socialist organisations that are funded through a tax system that people can't choose to opt out of, the pay and working conditions is rather better than it would be if the same standard of service were provided via the private sector.

Frankly I'd stay put. You're looking at this with rose-tinted spectacles.

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#13 RE: Moving into management consulting
31/07/2013 10:23

Anon MCs to clin psych (#11)

Hi Clin P,

Your response was nicely written and can see that as with all careers, there is some frustration here or there with how things are. Don't worry, we have all been there.

Looking at your questions, BEP and Coolio are forum regulars and are in a much better place (ie they are far older than me) to answer the questions.

My 2 pennies worth in response:

- Short term thinking, client needs vs Consultancy profits battles, career progression by personal delivery vs networking and brown nosing, promotion only by moving companies as nothing in current one... There are ALL issues in ALL industries not just the NHS. Come on Clin P, you don't need BEP and I to tell you that as you are not a tree hugging 18 year old.

While writing this I have just seen the BEP response... I'm sorry Clin P but I agree with BEP, you must stop doing the typical public sector thing - they all think they earn far less than everybody else while working harder. This is wrong, they earn more or about the same but when you take into account the much much much much (repeat many times here) better pension and lower hours, their total package is far far far far better. When we have a bad day or do not hit targets, we get sacked - when public sector do something bad, many they get retired on full pension.

I would listen to BEP, rose tinted spectacles are very dangerous.

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#14 RE: Moving into management consulting
31/07/2013 11:30

clin psych to Anon MCs (#13)

Thank you for your thoughts, I appreciate that as with any career frustration sometimes it can be the case that the grass seems greener on the other side, especially when one has more experience of one side than the other.

It seems as though consulting, though there are potentially more opportunities to progress and earn a good salary, comes with trade offs relative to the public sector: pensions perhaps (for the time being) not quite as good; greater instability (though with changing NHS policies this may not be the case soon); working hours, and pressure to perform (which depending on whether you perform well or not, can make or break your career).

I'll take your thoughts into consideration, and consider what may be best in future as things evolve.

Many thanks

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#15 RE: Moving into management consulting
31/07/2013 12:06

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to clin psych (#14)

"pensions perhaps (for the time being) not quite as good".... to say the least. I actually cannot name a single consultant that gets a final salary pension. Most of them don't get any pension at all!

"greater instability (though with changing NHS policies this may not be the case soon)"... change in consultancy is measured in minutes or hours, in the NHS is is measured in years. For instance, many consultants can be happily in work one hour and literally on the street the next hour if they get "summoned" to an "up or out" meeting. It really does happen. As for the public sector, these thigns take months or years usually.

"pressure to perform (which depending on whether you perform well or not, can make or break your career)"... sometimes it doesn't even depend on how well you perform

With respect, I think you underestimate just how massive the difference is between working in the heavily-unionised public sector and working for a cut-throat firm of consultants who live from moment to moment, being surrounded by a bunch of 28 year old MBAs who would quite happily push their colleagues over a cliff if it meant they got a £100 pay rise...

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#16 RE: Moving into management consulting
31/07/2013 12:56

baykus to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#15)

being surrounded by a bunch of 28 year old MBAs who would quite happily push their colleagues over a cliff if it meant they got a £100 pay rise...

BEP - you got ripped off. I would happily push you off a cliff for a cheese sandwich.

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#17 RE: Moving into management consulting
31/07/2013 13:06

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to baykus (#16)

hehe, you must be a strategy consultant then... :)

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#18 RE: Moving into management consulting
31/07/2013 13:55

Anon MCs to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#17)

£100!!!

My god man, as a contractor we will do it for a simple contract extension!!!

As to the MBA boys, is there an actual module on how to portray an air of superiority over those "degree peasants"?

Which module is that!?!

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#19 RE: Moving into management consulting
01/08/2013 14:21

Charliefleabag to clin psych (#14)

Just to give another perspective....

My wife worked for SHL as a consultant occupational psychologist for a while (a long time ago). Good place to work but you will be expected to work hard and travel a lot. She was well paid and enjoyed some of the client trips - she once went to the Rome office but spent most of her time on a boat.

However, as a psychologist she felt unfulfilled and took a hefty pay cut to work in the public sector instead. She is now a CBT therapist and loves her work. She drives 15 minutes to work and helps people with severe and chronic mental illnesses to get better.

I, on the other hand, am writing this post from yet another airport lounge.

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#20 RE: Moving into management consulting
01/08/2013 15:22

clin psych to Charliefleabag (#19)

Thanks for your reply. Your wife's previous position sounds like the exact kind of thing I'm looking to move into, the only pain is that occupational psychology requires the completion of a masters, plus a 2 year period of supervised practice to gain accreditation with the BPS. This may be a career route I'll explore later on in my career, however I feel consultancy may be a more direct route into that type of role, as many adverts I don't think directly require BPS accreditation as an occupational psych per se, just equal qualifications and experience in a consulting role.

And just to pick up on a previous point, final salary pension schemes don't exist in the NHS any more, it's now an average salary pension (much lower payouts at the end of the scheme), but I take your point nonetheless and concede the NHS pension scheme is still fantastic; albeit I do have friends in the private sector who have pensions which rival my own.

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#21 RE: Moving into management consulting
02/08/2013 09:04

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to clin psych (#20)

let us know how you get on finding that plum consultancy job with a 35 hour week, no targets/pressure, no travel and £80K+ base salary with a gold-plated pension scheme for a firm of consultants that places quality as a paramount consideration (above anything, including budgets) and which is happy to pay a premium for a self-proclaimed quality member of staff that has no prior consultancy experience, who appears to be chasing the dollars, who has yet to actually get her PdD in a non-business subject, and who already has one eye on her post-consultancy career.... oh, and ideally has to be MBB or big 4 too.

not being funny, and this isn't intended to be harsh feedback, but is this some sort of wind-up?? I mean, this is pretty much how it comes across? if it's not, then, particularly where a career change is involved, it might be worth starting from a position of "ask not what your employer can do for you, but what you can do for your employer"...

if you do choose to apply at a firm of consultants, I would rein in the expectations just a fraction. it's not all wining and dining with bill gates and whispering sweet nothings into Donald trump's ear whilst raking in £2K a day, like you might think if you've read one of those "getting into consultancy" type supplements in the sunday newspapers (the same ones which review £800 toasters and £4,000 washing machines). think more along the lines of: hard graft, long hours, politics, stress and pressure.

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#22 RE: Moving into management consulting
02/08/2013 09:47

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#21)

actually the more I think about it the more I think the issue here is that you might be thinking of "consultancy" as a generic sort of industry. there are many different areas of focus within "consultancy", and the culture/hours/pressure and so on within each area varies substantially. for instance, the MBB firms you mentioned will be white-hot pressure cookers and will do the sort of work where, frankly, your existing knowledge will be more or less cast aside as being irrelevant to the work that they do (and that would be true of most of their staff, too..). on the other hand, if you find a more regionally-based firm of consultants that has an area of focus that is more akin to your clinical background, then I would expect the work-life balance to be substantially better and for them to value much more your existing clinical knowledge/experience - but also the work itself to be very different, as well as the pay. i'd be inclined to try and find firms that focus on projects that are more NHS/clinical in focus.. that surely has to be the starting point

hope this helps :)

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#23 RE: Moving into management consulting
02/08/2013 11:01

Charliefleabag to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#22)

I think BEP is right when he recommends you focus on opportunities with an NHS/clinical focus. There are plenty of quasi public sector and private sector organisations that provides psychology / psychotherapy related services to NHS agencies. In fact, my wife works for one as a contractor. There are plenty of commercial roles in these organisations and the salaries can be pretty good too. Have a look at IAPT as an example.

Note that your D.Clin is only the start and you may well have to supplement this qualification with other courses. In fact, my wife thinks the stuff you learn on a D.Clin (especially the therapy stuff) is wafer thin but she has 25 years' experience to look back on.

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