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volunteer consulting opportunities?

#1 volunteer consulting opportunities?
15/07/2015 15:21


First time poster, longtime lurker.

I'm a PhD-level scientist (postdoctoral fellow) in academia trying to make a career change into management consulting. My academic profile is strong, with some decent extracurriculars, but I don't have any industry or consulting experience. I'm aiming at both life science boutiques and MBB-type firms, and will be applying through graduate schemes this autumn. In speaking to a few junior-level friends in consulting, I've found that a little bit of experience goes a long way towards making it through the HR screen and into the first round of interviews.

With that being said, I'm looking to do some volunteer consulting. Does anyone know of any opportunities, or companies/organisations that take on volunteers trying to gain experience? I'm based in London. Thanks in advance.

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#2 RE: volunteer consulting opportunities?
15/07/2015 16:28

marsday to MadScientist (#1)

Start with alumnus from your institution and branch out from there. If you are going to volunteer you may as well take the high road and likely make a potential sponsor in the process. Also depending on your branch of the sciences, you could look to CROs or CMOs for some basic lab or CT/observational work.

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#3 RE: volunteer consulting opportunities?
15/07/2015 17:15

MadScientist to marsday (#2)

Thanks marsday. Could you elaborate on what sort of consulting experience I could gain through a CRO/CMO? My knowledge of that industry is limited.

I went to a target school for my PhD in the US, and have a few solid contacts there, but nothing that can help with the particular issue. While where I currently work is technically academic, it's closer to a non-profit research institute and the alumni network outside of scientific roles, and especially within consulting, is limited. I'm networking as best I can, but I don't see any clear opportunities in London in the very near term.

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#4 RE: volunteer consulting opportunities?
16/07/2015 08:29

marsday to MadScientist (#3)

Could you elaborate on what sort of consulting experience I could gain through a CRO/CMO? My knowledge of that industry is limited.

Hardly what I would want to hear from an aspiring consultant. Do some research.

You wont get any consulting 'experience' until you join a consulting firm. So just get yourself some relevant experience, in fact any work experience would be relevant and looked for by an MC.

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#5 RE: volunteer consulting opportunities?
29/07/2015 11:38

MadScientist to marsday (#4)

Here's an update on my situation, if for no other reason than others in my situation may benefit in the future.

I've managed to find a volunteer opportunity through a non-profit called First Step Consulting. I'll be leading a team of five undergraduates/recent graduates on a strategy case for a start-up medical device firm. The assignment lasts 6 weeks, and I'll be committing 10-12 hours a week. I have my first client meeting today.

First Step has three recruiting cycles per year if any young aspiring consultants on here want to gain some direct experience to augment their resume. They're a spinout of LSE run by former students.

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#6 RE: volunteer consulting opportunities?
21/08/2015 10:16

ZoeRPM to MadScientist (#1)

Try Reach Skills, which is a charity providing volunteering opportunities for professionals within the voluntary sector.

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#7 RE: volunteer consulting opportunities?
05/10/2015 12:04

MadScientist to MadScientist (#5)

I have a further update on my experience with First Step Consulting. Overall, I had a very positive experience, and feel more confident about my intended career change. I was the only person on the team with a life sciences background, and my expertise and insight proved to be valuable during the engagement. Many scientists hesitate at giving up their years of experience when changing careers, and worry that it is only their brains that are being valuable.

I'm currently applying to many of the big firms in London, and feel that the experience has given me a great story to tell during the interview. I hope that it will bolster my CV a bit, at least in that it demonstrates commitment to the change in career direction, rather than being a random turn.

Lastly, I want to point out that FSC is currently recruiting for its next cycle of projects. Applications should be submitted by the end of this week, and projects will start around the end of October. There will be a variety of projects, and most of the team members will be current students at various London universities, studying a wide degree of fields, at bachelors, masters, and PhD level.

I hope this last promotional part of the post is allowed. If not, I'll happily remove it. I know that another forum reader participated in the last cycle after having read my previous post.

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#8 RE: volunteer consulting opportunities?
04/01/2016 12:15

semon to MadScientist (#1)

You can get some help from some consultants like Don Swift and Associates.

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