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How do I break into contracting?

 
#1 How do I break into contracting?
23/01/2014 14:45

YoungMaverick

Aloha!,

Background: Fresh engineering graduate > Joined Accenture in 2011 > Promoted to Consultant in 2013> have worked at clients in FS and Oil and Gas over the nearly 3 years I have been here in mainly operations, ops models, business improvement, org design, stakeholder management, business processes. I am also working towards my sigma six green belt.

What I want: I have realised that I don't thoroughly enjoy what I am doing and am not interested in going up the ladder, as my senior managers etc do not inspire me. Therefore I want to use my skills to earn 2 or 3 times what I currently earn as a contractor and then invest it into a business and quit the rat race. I always score highly in performance rounds and have been successful in all my work at Accenture so far.

How do I do it?: Over to you guys... Am i experienced enough to get Business Analyst contract roles? Should I stick around at Accenture for longer and then go in to contracting? any tips?

Many Thanks. :)

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#2 RE: How do I break into contracting?
23/01/2014 14:48

presidentbartlet to YoungMaverick (#1)

I don't know many that have gone into contracting from consultant level - normally it's a thing people do from manager which in the FS world seems to net something around the £600 a day mark.

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#3 RE: How do I break into contracting?
23/01/2014 14:50

YoungMaverick to presidentbartlet (#2)

Also, another thought is it worth me going into industry (say deutsche bank for e.g.) to bolster my CV for future contracting opportunities?

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#4 RE: How do I break into contracting?
23/01/2014 17:07

marsday to YoungMaverick (#1)

It's too soon. You don't have enough experience to go contracting. Aside of building your skills you also need to build your professional networks and credibility - no easy feat for a newly promoted consultant looking to jump ship. Don't go to industry - yet. At this point you will spend a lot of time explaining how you could hack it in consulting, because people will simply assume you couldn't.

You don't need to go contracting you need to move on from Accenture and into another consulting firm - you are obviously well regarded at Accenture, so use that to push for a good role with another firm. A different set of managers might be exactly what you need, which is probably a mentor who can give you some inspiration and a reason to get excited about it all again.

Accenture has served its purpose for you - the training and a big brand to get you started. Don't waste it in haste chasing imaginary easy money.

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#5 RE: How do I break into contracting?
24/01/2014 09:07

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to marsday (#4)

"Therefore I want to use my skills to earn 2 or 3 times what I currently earn as a contractor".

Groan. Firstly you mean ""Therefore I want to use my skills to earn as a contractor 2 or 3 times what I currently earn". Secondly, let's take a quick reality check here:

1. Tough economic times.

2. Fresh graduate/only 3 years experience.

3. Accenture might not pay you what you consider a "lot" but I bet it's not below market average either.

4. "2 or 3 times" more??

5. "I always score highly in performance rounds" + "I am also working towards my sigma six green belt" = employee way of thinking. As a contractor you need to be thinking about running a "business" which is unlikely to be successful on merit alone.

I admire your reasons for wanting to move, but I think you might see contracting as an easy way to get rich fast when it isn't. The main exception to this would be if you could hop across to a client - but then they would probably prefer to have you as an employee.

Have you considered joining a small company? Small companies are great!

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#6 RE: How do I break into contracting?
24/01/2014 09:50

Mr Cool to YoungMaverick (#1)

YM,

I worked in consulting for about 15 years and have been contracting for about the last 6. I'm a programme manager/director and I hire other contractors - often 20-30 at a time.

A- yes, you might get a contract BA role. With only three years experience and time spread across industries (not good for contracting) you'd be at the very junior end. At a bank in London you might get 450 a day, at an oil company outside of London you might only get 300.

B- because I set up projects and have an established book of MD level contacts, I do about 210 billable days a year. Junior BA's inevitably have down time between projects. 150 days might be more reasonable as an annual target.

C- 210 days @ £450 would generate a take home income (all contractor taxes pavd) of £75k.

D- 150 days @ £300 would generate a take home of £30k

E- the biggest challenge with contracting is the lack of progression. You're hired for what you know and have done. In perm employment your employer accepts you need growth opportunity - not so in contracting. The more junior you are the more extreme this is.

F - getting your first contract, while permanently employed is tough. Agencies prefer to deal with established contractors. Clients expect BA's to be available to start inside two weeks from offer letter.

G- of course, you might get lucky. An ex-client might value your exact experience and give you a 12 months contract at 600 a day. That would give you kudos, a CV and dish overnight. Most importantly, the market is fickle. One contract like that tends to be all you need to suddenly be an expert and all other contracts come in at the same day rate and seniority.

H- no harm in trying, but spend some time on the forum at contractoruk to see what life can be like at the junior BA end of the market.

Good luck

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#7 RE: How do I break into contracting?
24/01/2014 10:04

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Mr Cool (#6)

OR join the public sector, earn £50K/year for doing virtually nothing, go home at 4pm every day, enjoy flexi-time, have 40 training days a year, sleep safe in the knowledge that you have a job for life, and get a gold-plated final salary pension that accrues at a rate of 1/30th per year.

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#8 RE: How do I break into contracting?
24/01/2014 10:17

Anon MCs to Mr Cool (#6)

Hi YM,

Some good points already made, especially from Coolio and Mars.

My gut feel says Mars is right - spend a few more years in industry but move companies (this being the easiest and quickest way for bigger salary increases and new challenges).

Banking is always good and won't hurt when it comes to contracting in the future (from a contacts and experience point of view). Potential for more money and a different setting to MCs.

As an example, I did

banking - management consulting - contracting

It has all worked out very well, but I waited until I had some good/heavy project&programme management experience behind me before I left. The breadth of contacts also do not hurt your chances of a contract when you do it after a few more years.

(However, I should add that I am nowhere near as old as Coolio, who from the looks of things uses a zimmerframe to get around and has a mobility scooter parked in the office garage... I am a mere young wippersnapper work experience wise compared to him, so it won't hurt to take what he says into consideration, especially the £ rates mentioned)

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#9 RE: How do I break into contracting?
24/01/2014 13:27

YoungMaverick to marsday (#4)

Mars - Thanks.

So move across to another consulting firm and gain some fresh motivation, higher salary, and more experience.

I don't know whether I should target big firms or small? I am always getting contacted by agencies on behalf of firms like 'Chaucer Consulting'. Views please?

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#10 RE: How do I break into contracting?
24/01/2014 13:30

YoungMaverick to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#5)

Bushy - Thanks.

So as mentioned join a small consulting firm? Would this not be a negative step on the CV. From Acn to a small firm, rather than from Acn to another similar firm?

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#11 RE: How do I break into contracting?
24/01/2014 13:31

YoungMaverick to Mr Cool (#6)

Mr Cool - Thanks for the reply.

It seems more experience in one industry is needed before I go into contracting!

I will check out the forum you suggested.

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#12 RE: How do I break into contracting?
24/01/2014 13:33

YoungMaverick to Anon MCs (#8)

Anon - Thanks/

So I guess you guys are all kind of saying the same thing.

Move company. Get a new challenge, better salary, and more experience. Then go and try contract!

Thanks.

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#13 RE: How do I break into contracting?
24/01/2014 13:43

marsday to YoungMaverick (#9)

The work of the bigger firms isn't actually any better than the smaller ones. In fact you'll often get better exposure and more direct client involvement in a smaller firm. The point of getting a big name early on your CV is to get the training and development they are invariably good at (and Accenture does excel in that sense) and provide assurance that you are good enough to get into one in the first place. Once you have that under your belt, you have options.

If you go to a smaller firm, take Cool's advice on board - no point leaving Accenture to go to some who? organisation offering pretty much similar work on a smaller scale. Go to smaller firm which is known for something - whether than be supply chain or oil and gas sector or CRM. Point is - be good (very good) at something not a jack of all trades.

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#14 RE: How do I break into contracting?
24/01/2014 14:04

Mr Cool to Anon MCs (#8)

Oo, Anon!

If my nurse wasn't busy emptying my bag, I'd send her round to clip your ear!

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#15 RE: How do I break into contracting?
24/01/2014 14:18

YoungMaverick to marsday (#13)

Cheers Mars.

I will look around for a small firm that has a niche in a sector. Good shout.

And please let me know if you guys can recommend any?

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#16 RE: How do I break into contracting?
24/01/2014 14:22

YoungMaverick to YoungMaverick (#15)

I am going to forward with an interview with Chaucer to kick things off. I like their work.

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#17 RE: How do I break into contracting?
24/01/2014 14:33

Anon MCs to Mr Cool (#14)

Grandpa Coolio,

If you come after me I'll just run.

Well, I say run, by the looks of things I just need to "do a slightly quicker walking pace" and that should keep me ahead of you, before you inevitably want a nap after a few minutes of hard shuffling/walking.

Anyway, enough of that, I'm sure you started working when you were 12 which means you are merely in your 30s now.

Nevertheless, Coolio what were the 60s like!?!

YM, agree with your synopsis re new challenge. Although you may want to look around ACN, they have ~200000 people working for them and hence there may be another role for you there somewhere that you may love. Small vs Large MC is dotted throughout this forum, do a search for past threads and you will see them.

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#18 RE: How do I break into contracting?
24/01/2014 15:28

YoungMaverick to Anon MCs (#17)

Have or will apply to the following in the next few days specifically in energy strategy/operations roles;

Big 4

Chaucer

Bearing Point

Will let you guys now how I get on :)

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#19 RE: How do I break into contracting?
24/01/2014 15:28

YoungMaverick to Anon MCs (#17)

Have or will apply to the following in the next few days specifically in energy strategy/operations roles;

Big 4

Chaucer

Bearing Point

Will let you guys now how I get on :)

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#20 RE: How do I break into contracting?
24/01/2014 15:39

Mr Cool to Anon MCs (#17)

Hmmm, wasn't quite working when I was 12, but I was at University by 16 which helped.

Anyway. Five more years and I'm done with this $hit. Two homes paid off and enough cash to see me through. You sure you want another 20 years of career!!?

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#21 RE: How do I break into contracting?
24/01/2014 16:25

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Mr Cool (#20)

Not bad going, Mr Cool!!

As a very successful (and cool) individual, what advice would you give to the younger folk on this forum who want to be as successful as you have been? Please be detailed and descriptive :)

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#22 RE: How do I break into contracting?
24/01/2014 16:49

YoungMaverick to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#21)

Well whaddya know?!

I just got a call from an agent to put me forward for a contract BA position £350 a day outside london for a initial 6 month contract with a commercial bank. He liked my profile but mentioned that I am a traditionally bit young for contracting and the hiring manager of the bank may have their own views on this! a

let see..

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#23 RE: How do I break into contracting?
24/01/2014 17:05

marsday to YoungMaverick (#22)

if the agent doesn't know the views of the hiring manager then I suspect there isn't a client relationship behind that call. And at £350 a day to start contracting now it's unlikely you'll move far beyond that in the future. Jam today and all that.

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#24 RE: How do I break into contracting?
24/01/2014 17:20

YoungMaverick to marsday (#23)

The more you contract and the more experience you get the 350 will progress into more? no?

Yes I am not confident of getting this contract role, but happy I am getting considered with less than 3yrs exp.

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#25 RE: How do I break into contracting?
24/01/2014 17:44

Anon MCs to YoungMaverick (#24)

YM,

I would strongly suggest you listen to Mars, what he is saying makes sense... off course we all have to follow our own paths, but he is talking sense.

As to Coolio -

Well well, looks like Grandpa Coolio is more Heffner Coolio! How many bunnies per pad?

;p

But on a serious note, very well done Cool, that is no easy achievement to be able to go to Uni so early and playing the house market smartly. Respec' bruv'

Alas, I am still paying off the mortgage and have a few more years left in me. Add kids in the future and I think I will be here for a while yet.

Hopefully not quite as despondent as BEP when the years go by!

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#26 RE: How do I break into contracting?
24/01/2014 17:54

Mr Cool to Anon MCs (#25)

Ah $hit! Feeling guilty now...

I did an HNC in Software Enabled Non-statistical Data Presentation, live in a one bed flat in Hackney and am three months in arrears on my alimony.

Problem with t'internet....

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#27 RE: How do I break into contracting?
28/01/2014 23:17

Mr Cool to YoungMaverick (#24)

The more you contract and the more experience you get the 350 will progress into more? no?

To a degree, but rate progression can be very slow, and not always in an upwardly direction! As a permie you have an annual review where your benevolent employer EXPECTS you to progress upwards (or in some co's will be pushing you out...). In those circumstances NOT getting a raise is a bit of a message that you're not doing so well. Getting (even a small) raise is completely normal

As a contractor there is no such mechanism. Rate increase almost only ever come when you move to a new client and negotiate a better rate as a result.

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#28 RE: How do I break into contracting?
29/01/2014 10:48

YoungMaverick to Mr Cool (#27)

Fair enough Mr Cool i agree with that.

no further contact from the contract BA position yet, but I have got an interview for a PWC Strategy Consulting position.

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#29 RE: How do I break into contracting?
01/02/2014 12:23

adalinaabella to YoungMaverick (#1)

Good to get your thread, I was also searching solution for the same concern! I joined an organisation and they did an agreement with me for 1 year, I was new at that time I don't have much knowledge about such things and I just did, now I want to left those guys, will it possible to left them without completing the time?

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#30 RE: How do I break into contracting?
06/02/2014 11:48

CareerConsult to YoungMaverick (#28)

YM - I recently considered a similar approach after being at IBM for 5 years. However I joined a smaller consultancy, and am loving it, gaining experience which potentially may lead to contracting in the future. Personally didn't have a great interview experience with Chaucer so turned down future interviews with them.

Happy for you to email me separately, if you would like to hear more about where I am now.

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#31 RE: How do I break into contracting?
06/02/2014 12:19

YoungMaverick to CareerConsult (#30)

CareerConsult

Thanks for the info!

What did you find was wrong with Chaucer? I have an interview with them and PwC soon.

I am quite suprised Chaucer do not re-imburse travel expenses for interviews? Is this normal for experience hire roles at companies? Sounds a bit cheap to me!

:)

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#32 RE: How do I break into contracting?
06/02/2014 12:50

CareerConsult to YoungMaverick (#31)

To be honest the whole interview process was a shambles. They were 25 minutes late, interview set up seemed very amateur, the no central office (100% home base) wasn't what I wanted at this stage in career, no sell of the company to me and during different phases of the interview it was managed horrendously. I actually thought I was on a hidden camera show, when after waiting 25 minutes and then being taken to a room someone asked me if I wanted a water proceeded to walk out the room for a further 20 minutes to get one, before anything had started. During which time another Chaucer employee walked in said nothing hung up his coat and walked out.

To be fair I was living in London and interviewed for roles in London so never had to worry about claiming travel expenses.

Happy to tell you the good experience I have had at the company I did join, off the forum.

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