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Leaving consulting - where can you go?

 
#1 Leaving consulting - where can you go?
12/01/2014 22:11

dlong

I've recently started working in management consulting for one of the big 4 in the UK (graduate programme), but I've quickly realised that this probably isn't going to work out for me.

I've had a couple of relaxed projects where I've been able to do my contracted 7 hour days and that was fine, but now I'm on more traditional stuff which leaves me fuming when I can't leave until 7/8pm. It would probably help if I enjoyed the work, but it's pretty vacuous most of the time. There are other people on the scheme working until 11pm, and I have no idea how they cope. Talking to other people, I've begun to realise that they value the social life, the variety, and the travel opportunities - none of which I care about in the slightest. I'd be perfectly happy to sit at a desk quietly every day!

The thought occurs that I'm in the wrong industry, but I had an uncharacteristically good project as an intern so was a little misled. Additionally, I'm bothered by the constant insecurity of where you might be working next week/next month, and the endless networking to make sure you get a project that suits and then having it blow up in your face... I'm struggling to see the attraction right now.

Question is, is it realistic to think that I could earn similar money doing something less stressful, and with the potential for increasing my salary in the future? And if so, is it realistic to think that you could move into something after only 18-24 months and one promotion?

A few people in the job have mentioned to me that attrition rates on our graduate programmes can be around 50%, and a lot of people leave for banks, where you can double your salary at a stroke. I'm not so sure about the latter, and if it is true then I'm certain it's not going to be a 9-5.

As things stand, I'm definitely going to stick at this, but I'm not sure I can do without an exit strategy in mind.

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#2 RE: Leaving consulting - where can you go?
13/01/2014 10:10

a07 to dlong (#1)

You don't mention what sort of consulting you are doing or where your future interest lies? That would certainly help give you advice.

Consulting is normally a means to an end but depends what you are looking for. For example when I was on a graduate programme in IT consulting one of the guys left relatively early to pursue property development because he knew it was not for him. On the other hand if for example you wanted to work in supply chain or procurement it could build relevant experience.

Also as an aside I don't think there are really many 9-5 roles left in any industry to be honest, it is a candidate rich market and employers are utilising their staff to the fullest.

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#3 RE: Leaving consulting - where can you go?
14/01/2014 09:16

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to a07 (#2)

You know what? This is a real shame. You sound like exactly the kind of person this industry NEEDS. Yet the consulting sector has let you down.

I know exactly where you're coming from, I too have faced the same issues. Look for smaller companies - they are often able to offer less travel and better hours. You'll be a name rather than a number in a small firm.

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#4 RE: Leaving consulting - where can you go?
25/01/2014 23:28

dlong to a07 (#2)

You don't mention what sort of consulting you are doing or where your future interest lies? That would certainly help give you advice.

Consulting is normally a means to an end but depends what you are looking for. For example when I was on a graduate programme in IT consulting one of the guys left relatively early to pursue property development because he knew it was not for him. On the other hand if for example you wanted to work in supply chain or procurement it could build relevant experience.

Also as an aside I don't think there are really many 9-5 roles left in any industry to be honest, it is a candidate rich market and employers are utilising their staff to the fullest.

Thanks very much for your reply. Honestly, I have no idea about future opportunities - that was partly why I picked something as vague as management consulting. My current "consulting" experience has generally been PMO, and managers taking ad-hoc advantage of my Excel skills to redesign models and so on. I'm pushing down the finance route at the moment to see how things pan out there, and if anything really grabs my attention. The one thing that strikes me is that I'm gaining absolutely no technical skills, and I'm yet to produce anything of any real value. It's hard to see what I'm going to gain from this in the near future, especially since even my foray into finance doesn't seem to have actually exposed me to anything specifically financial. The main change has been the setting.

The one thing that keeps playing on my mind is that a couple of the lecturers I worked with closely at university were incredibly upset when I told them I was leaving academia and coming to work in consulting. I won a couple of awards and I guess from their perspective it must've looked really promising, but from my perspective why would I spend 4 years in masters/PhD for a doctorate that leads to nothing other than lecturing, where the salary would match that from the job I'd already accepted? Now though, I'm beginning to realise the value of enjoying and valuing your own work.

You know what? This is a real shame. You sound like exactly the kind of person this industry NEEDS. Yet the consulting sector has let you down.

I know exactly where you're coming from, I too have faced the same issues. Look for smaller companies - they are often able to offer less travel and better hours. You'll be a name rather than a number in a small firm.

It's a very diverse group that I've joined in, and I can instantly see that some are much better suited to this than me. I don't know whether I agree that the industry needs me, especially not when they seem to want blood, sweat and tears above all and I'm not really interested in offering that right now! Bringing different perspectives? I suppose there's some truth in that, but I don't think my employer really appreciates what you're good at and are interested in.

I do think you have a point though - one of the biggest problems I have is that building relationships seems so pointless sometimes when you're just dragged off at a moment's notice and dumped elsewhere. You end up building your reputation up from nothing all the time - some enjoy that, but it's really not my style.

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