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[Very lost] 4.5 years in Engineering Industry to Tech Consulting...

#1 [Very lost] 4.5 years in Engineering Industry to Tech Consulting...
06/06/2015 14:26


Hi all,

So my background is Engineering at University, then joining a large defence company as a graduate (25 years old now). I have been with that company for 4.5 years and have migrated from a very technical position to a more business development / internal technical consultant type of role (just very customer facing in terms of generating new business etc). I really like what I'm doing, I like being that engineer the company ships around to talk to new customers to see what they actually need (opposed to what they think they need), and I love the environment. I do the actual engineering piece as well (systems engineering), as well as the customer facing business development piece. Now for reasons I’m not going to go into I have decided to leave my company, so I applied for some roles.

These roles are a mix of similar industries to what I'm doing now (defence companies, in an engineering role) but also to technical consulting companies (Deloitte and PA Consulting mainly, in the defence sector). I've been through the long recruitment process of PA and Deloitte, and have got an offer from PA as a Consultant Analyst, but waiting on Deloitte. I am very confident I will get an offer from the other defence company as well.

I've been going through a bit of a soul search at the moment about what I want to do. Do I stay in industry, in my nice 9-5 role that I will definitely progress in and enjoy, with the goal of maybe going more business-y in 5-10 years’ time. Or do I go balls to the wall in technical consulting with either PA or Deloitte. My future career path is either owning my own technical/strategy based company (I really like working with technical strategy areas, e.g. what tech do we invest in, where should we head towards in our next project, what’s our competitors doing), or be part of a small tech startup, or go back into Industry in a senior position. End of the day I see myself as a CEO with technical background (very egotistic be saying this but it’s my ambition). So the mindset of what consulting would give me is a lot of broad experience from great people, exposing me to stuff I would never have been exposed to in industry with a fast ambitious career plan. Getting that experience, maybe an MBA, and setting my up on my feet to go off and do anything I want to.

I only have one old colleague in consulting, but he comes from a project management background, not engineering. So I would really appreciate any suggestions or tips or anything from anyone else about what I'm doing. I'm a bit lost :(



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#2 RE: [Very lost] 4.5 years in Engineering Industry to Tech Consulting...
07/06/2015 01:05

SenorMick to tomo8281 (#1)

Not sure what your question is...Consulting will certainly broaden your skills and experience. If you're keen to try it I'd recommend you treat it a bit like an MBA. Have a role in mind that you'd like to get after 2 years.

I'm not entirely sure what you do, so can't comment on that area of consulting. Although I'd recommend you familiarise yourself more closely with the types of defence work these firms actually do. You might find it's so far detached from where you want to go anyway there might be no point you even bothering, at worst it could actually set you back.

I suggest you set a few more short/medium term goals. You don't go from consulting straight to CEO.

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#3 RE: [Very lost] 4.5 years in Engineering Industry to Tech Consulting...
08/06/2015 14:41

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to SenorMick (#2)

why not give it a go? maybe join a consultancy but don't work too many hours

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#4 RE: [Very lost] 4.5 years in Engineering Industry to Tech Consulting...
08/06/2015 18:31

Frio to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#3)

If I were you, I would think long and hard about why you want to leave your current job and what it is about consulting that you think you will get that you don't currently.

Do you like travelling for work? Bear in mind that some consulting projects will be in places that you'd never go to normally and won't be interesting at all.

You'll find yourself in a place where everyone is as ambitious and smart, or smarter than you. Most people will also work very hard.

You'll probably be working on shorter, sharper projects where you will be expected to learn very quickly and be credible with the client from day 1.

Etc etc.

I made the move from a large Defense company 6 years ago to consulting for the Big 4. It's had its ups and downs - but I'm very happy I made the move. I've got some great exit opportunities thanks to the contacts I've made. I quite enjoy selling - for me it's easier to sell if you can really understand a client's business, know what needs solving and how to make your client look good.

Way up the pros and cons or do as BEP suggests, try it and see if you like it.

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#5 RE: [Very lost] 4.5 years in Engineering Industry to Tech Consulting...
14/06/2015 21:29

tomo8281 to Frio (#4)

Thanks for the advice :)!

How long where you in the defence company, as an Engineer I guess?

Also what ARE the exit strategies for a technical consultant? I don't think I want to be a consultant for life! What are the opportunities for doing industry engineering, then tech consultant for a few years?

I have got a good offer from another industry company, and two offers from management consulting companies (Deloitte and PA Consulting). I'm just having a hard time choosing, as I don't want to jump into consulting when the fact I have only 4 years industry experience may bite me in the ass? But I'm also quite excited about it (consulting)!

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