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Is consulting worth spending your whole life in hotel rooms?

 
#1 Is consulting worth spending your whole life in hotel rooms?
21/04/2005 14:56

Louise

Hi all, I will soon be graduating and am very keen to pursue a career in consulting. However, the idea of spending large amounts of time, or actually even limited amounts of time, travelling to client sites far away from home is less than appealing. Do you know of any consultancies whose work is based only within the London area, or do you think that it would be better for me to review my career choices?

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#2 Time for a rethink!
21/04/2005 15:31

Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com)

Louise let me be honest here because you don't want to get into a career that is going to make you miserable! Consulting firms send their staff where the money is, ie. to wherever their clients are based. So apart from consultants that only advise investment banks (ie. clients in the City of London) it is very unlikely that you will not find yourself on the road a fair amount. And even consultancies whose clients are investment banks will still find their consultants need to go to Frankfurt, New York, etc. from time to time.<br><br>

It is true that some firms make more of an effort than others to achieve a &quot;work / life balance&quot; - and it's also true that the more seniority you get the more you will be able to influence how much you are away from home. But the bottom line is that you will be sent where the money is and I don't think any consultancy could promise you a lifestyle where you are based in one place with no need for travel.

<br><br>

An alternative you could look at is joining the internal consulting team of a major FTSE company. Many of them have such teams and the travel involved is obviously limited to places where the company actually has offices. This doesn't mean zero travel, but generally a lot less travel than with a consulting firm. These types of roles aren't always viewed as being so &quot;glamourous&quot; as joining a McKinsey or Accenture - but then if the glamour of regularly travelling doesn't appeal to you this probably isn't such a concern.<br><br>

Hope that helps and good luck with making the right choice. Tony

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#3 Re: Is consulting worth spending your whole life in hotel rooms?
21/04/2005 16:34

Have a look at LEK. For the first 3 years or so they say you won't really leave the office in London. Though whether not being in a hotel makes up for the fact that you will be in the office for, supposedly, very long hours.

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#4 Re: Time for a rethink!
21/04/2005 17:56

RecruitGal

Extensive (even constant) travel is part and parcel of the lifestyle of a consultant. Some people thrive on it, but it can be exhausting and/or quite depressing for others. If even the thought of travelling makes you worried, then this really isn't the industry for you...

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#5 Re: Is consulting worth spending your whole life in hotel rooms?
21/04/2005 21:52

LEKer

Absolutely right on the first count - L.E.K. Associates expect to spend most days in the office. Most of us like it that way - it's productive and friendly.

I'd dispute the bit about long hours though - I don't think they're any longer on average than my mates work at our main competitors and, when I finish, I'm in London not some small town where the only 'attraction' is the hotel bar. That said, if you like to leave work at 5, consulting - anywhere - isn't for you.

Good luck!

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#6 Re: Is consulting worth spending your whole life in hotel rooms?
22/04/2005 16:48

Consultant

Hi Louise,

I've been a consultant with a big 5 company for a while now and I can tell you that the majority of people would rather be based in London (or perhaps Manchester). My experience has been that our clients scour the country looking for the least glamourous place to locate their offices. Why? Because it's cheap! I've been lucky enough to have spent a large portion of my time in and around the M25 however I have also worked in Worthing which was extremely depressing and on an industrial estate outside Warwick which wasn't much better.

Life away from home can be mixed. If you are on a big project with lots of people, the social life can be great fun. If you're in a dire location with only a few people, the over-priced hotel room service menu can soon lose its appeal and you're social life will take a nose-dive. If you're the type of person whose idea of a pick-me-up is to check their bank balance, then life as a consultant in these circumstances can be very rewarding. If you're not then you'll soon become disillusioned as the extra money won't compensate.

My advice? Its good fun for 2-3 years then review and move in-house so you can build some stability. The quality of people at consultancy houses (certainly the one I work for) is extremely high and on the whole people are very nice. Some tend to lose the plot a little as they move up the ranks but it's not too bad. Top tip - make sure you live well within your means so you don't notice the salary hit if you decide to leave. Financial services and High Tech companies tend to be based in London. Utility/Energy and Government tend to be in really dire locations. Products tend to be scattered between the two. Good Luck

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#7 Re: Is consulting worth spending your whole life in hotel rooms?
22/04/2005 16:56

Consultant

Of course this is from a chap based in the UK. For 'Worthing' insert 'anywhere in Iowa'

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