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Calling all Capgemini consultants

 
#1 Calling all Capgemini consultants
11/07/2005 09:43

Possible Capgeminier

I am a graduate currently in the interview process with CG and will hopefully start the CDC early next year. I am becoming increasingly concerned however, that consultancy with CG will entail no life outside work. Friends in the industry all wish they could leave to go home for anything longer than a week. Can anyone who works for CG comment on their policy for work/life balance etc and how the firm handles it/what they epect from you? Being 22 I want to immerse myself in my work but also want a life!

Any comments more than welcome,

Thanks in advance

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#2 Re: Calling all Capgemini consultants
11/07/2005 10:43

K

Hi there. I work for CG in their Transformation Consulting division and have experience with ACN and IBM. Firstly, I'd say that on the whole, you need to be aware that all of the consultancies expect you to work pretty hard. However, hours etc will depend on the project. For example, you may work away on a project so will be away from home in the week. However, the difference I've experienced between CG and ACN/IBM is that they expect you to be on client site MOST of the time not ALL of the time [typically Mon to Thurs then Friday in the office]. This might be less as a CDCer as they have a strong community and are often able to work from their office. Therefore, work/life balance at CG is among the best of the consultancies. In addition, they are a good bunch so you'll likely have fun away on projects as well. Hope this helps.

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#3 Re: Calling all Capgemini consultants
11/07/2005 13:15

Possible Capgeminier

K,

Thanks for your reply, the firm sound like they're good to work for in terms of work/life balance and I'm hopeful the package will be good if i get an offer. Out of interest, do you knowwhat the package is for the community and whether they would consider CIMA or MBA sponsorship? Similarly, where could I becareer progression wise in three years, assuming I perform well?

Thanks again,

PCer

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#4 Re: Calling all Capgemini consultants
11/07/2005 15:02

K

I think the package is around £30k [made up of reference salary and a flexible benefits package which can be taken as benefits or salary]. Re. the further education, they are sponsoring me through an MSc so it's def an option. Not sure about CIMA or MBA though so ask at the interview - no harm! 3 years should see you at consultant level earning around £40k [more if you do vey well]. Hope this helps. K

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#5 Re: Calling all Capgemini consultants
11/07/2005 19:02

Possible Capgeminier

Thanks K,

I take it the potential to still have a life outside CG is very much possible then. The only thing that puts me off consulting is the number of friends that have left the industry because of always being away from home. Obviously this is part of the job adn something i am looking forward to but I still want some of a life at 22! Can i safely assume that CG will be a better consultancy on this side of things compared to other industry leaders?

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#6 Re: Calling all Capgemini consultants
11/07/2005 19:45

Capgem Exec

If you are having such doubts at this early stage in your career about consulting as a career, I doubt that you have the flexibility to be a consultant. As a new grad, one should fully embrace such a lifestyle (i.e. working in foreign countries, foreign collegues, new projects on a regular occassion, being told to go to a new project at a drop of a hat. etc) rather than moaning about not being able to have a beer with your mates in the local. Although, we at Cap do place a high emphasis on work-life balance etc, we are effectively still a consulting firm and nonetheless to compete with other firms, do sometimes place expectations on our consultants, regardless of grade, which include working away from home, long hours when deadlines are due. You will get this at all consulting firms. It's the nature of the industry and the job. I used to work at Accenture, where you either toed the line or you got out.Despite my moving to Cap, the move was more motivated by career progression than work-life balance etc. Although it is a more friendlier culture with flexibility etc. I essentially still work long hours and spend a number of days away from London and my friends, family, including my one year old daughter. At your assessment day, if such apprehension comes through which demonstrates that you'd be unwilling to be flexible on such matters, then no matter how well you do elsewhere in the assessment, you will not be successful in your application. This will be the same at any consulting firm. Who knows, we may meet each other when you do your assessment, since I'm heavily involved in the recruiting of our grads.

Best of luck

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#7 Re: Calling all Capgemini consultants
11/07/2005 20:16

Thanks capgemini exec, I appreciate your response.

I am not having doubts as to whether the travel is for me for this must be one of the most rewarding aspects of the job and as for the long hours-my 5.30 starts and 21.00 finishes for the last six months have been remarkably fun.

Its not the inability to have a beer with mates and that sort of thing-I appreciate the consultancy lifestyle but I was concerned with the balance achieved by the firm in recognising various issues such as travel and time away from home etc.. I can't wait to get sent to my first project (wherever it is) and get 100% involved-thats why I applied after all.

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#8 Re: Calling all Capgemini consultants
11/07/2005 22:37

Capgem Exec

Possible Capgeminer, unfortunately, I think you are contradicting yourself. You initially say that you are very flexible and embrace the consulting culture of working away from home, and working to close deadlines (i.e. to quote many a consultant 'Work hard, play hard.') And then you're concerned about whether consulting firms recognise people's work-life balance on matters such as travel and working away from home? Sorry but that in my book is a contradiction.

Just be careful at the interview if you bring this up. If it were me interviewing you, and you said this, I'd be concerned, especially given that you're a grad. Our policy on all consultants in consulting (irrespective of grade) is that they be uk mobile. Some firms extend this even further to Europe or even globally.

In all honesty, all consulting firms, even the Accentures, Mckinseys, BCG's etc. with whom most people say that they don't care about their people's well-being, are not heartless and do in fact take a lot time and also money to ensure that their people are as happy as they can be. All consulting firm's need to show that they care about their people, since the nature of consulting dictates, that a consulting firm's main asset is their people. If they don't, then people vote with their feet and simply leave and take all their knowledge and expertise. Then one needs to replace the void via recruiting, which everyone knows is very expensive and a huge drain on a firm's resources.

At the end of the day flexibility means that one has a say on one's project (note this does not mean location and being 30 mins away from client site, so one can sleep in till 8am) and role, which contributes to one's career development. This is what I interpret as flexibility, rather than being pushed around from one project to another by schedulers, as if one is a faceless resource. You'd find that most consulting firms have this outlook.

If you can put up a good business case for working on a particular project/role as opposed to another, which contributes to the career development/firm/client/project objectives/generates revenues then any partner who is pragmatic and reasonable will agree to such a scheduling.

When one is a bit older (and wiser, and probably a thining or receding hairline :-)) then other priorities, such as a young family, do tend to come into the equation. In such incidencies, then understandably, one may have an issue with being away for so long. Usually, by then such a person with about 10+ years experience, who is at least a Manager, given their experience and their typical roles etc. (i.e. less hands on) may use some leverage to stay close to home, at the sacriface of the ideal role. I think that in such cases, most firms would accomodate this. Although, some are more accomodating than others.

But usually, if one does a particular role and does a partner a favour (i.e. working for six months in the north on a critical role on a really hard project which isn't very interesting (probably government! :-))), then that favour is usually remembered for scheduling of future roles, performance and pay reviews.

What you are saying, is probably a concern, but it needs to be framed in the right context. But also, I believe that such a concern should only be warrented by those who are a bit older, have a family and have done their bit, and worked away from home, when they were junior consultants, as opposed to a new grad, who is suppose to be fresh and eager. I know that this last statement will be controversial and some people may well disagree with me.

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#9 Re: Calling all Capgemini consultants
12/07/2005 08:31

Possible Capgeminier

Capgem Exec,

Thanks for answering my 'contradiction.' I am totally flexible as to location and am actually looking forward to being sent to the other end of the country and getting involved in whatever is thrown at me. But you have just summarised my poorly explained concerns about resourcing issues and faceless resourcs. It is good to hear a business case can be put forward in consulting to tackle career progression opportunites and that partners do appreciate efforts on one project and would possibly consider it on another.

But don't get me wrong, I have a number of family friends working in consulting at various levels, I know what it entails and i appeciate what i'm in for. I'm looking forward to it and as you suggest, work-life balance has to be addressed to prevent people voting with their feet. I am/was only curious to what this entails at CG.

Thanks for your help

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