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Hit a brick wall!

 
#1 Hit a brick wall!
03/08/2005 16:18

Lizzie

Hi. I graduated 2 years ago and have been trying to get into strategy consultancy ever since. i have a good degree (2:1) in business management, i got a 1st for my dissertation which was a strategic analysis of a high street bank, i now have just over a year's experience at a legal and tax consultancy, i have had someone look at my CV, but still all i get is rejection after rejection. I have sent off hundreds of applications and now feel like i have no other options or avenues to explore. Basically i am stuck. If anyone can give me some advice on where to go from here it would be very much appreciated. Thanks!(Apologies for the moan!)

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#2 Re: Hit a brick wall!
03/08/2005 20:22

anon

but from which University? If it's not a recognised "top" institution, that could be the problem (as could not having an A in A level maths?) Have you thought of doing a GMAT? A good score would encourage people to look again at the rest of your experience and potential.

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#3 Re: Hit a brick wall!
04/08/2005 11:26

Anon2

As someone who has been a consultant and used consultatants in industry, a fresh graduate with no industry experience (however well educated) has little to sell to a firm buying strategy consulting services. Strategy consulting requires a rounded knowledge of many aspects of industry; marketing, operations, personnel, IT etc. People in industry can read the same books you have; what they want is someone who has seen different things work in different ways. My view is you have to get your hands dirty in industry or another area of consultancy before you are credible in this area. If you did get in to a strategy consultancy firm, you would probably only end up putting powerpoint slides together!

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#4 Re: Hit a brick wall!
04/08/2005 12:01

With the increasingly large number of graduates coming out of university, firms, and especially those in the sought after areas such as pure strategy consultancy can really pick and choose. The majority of people that I interview and put through have a first from an "ivy league" university and credible work experience. If you are looking to do more than just powerpoint and research at one of these firms, go and get yourself some more experience (at least 4 years) gaining a good understanding of different aspects of businesses and how they run, then reapply.

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#5 Re: Hit a brick wall!
04/08/2005 12:18

RL

Anon 2 makes a very good point - I'm 18 months into consulting, after 3.5 years in Industry. The experience of real situations that I have makes selling ideas to clients easier and means also I can deliver faster. Get some experience, preferrably in an area that consultancies lack skills in, and then apply later. There is more to life than being a consultant from sperm to worm....

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#6 Re: Hit a brick wall!
04/08/2005 12:53

Anon III

I'd agree with the 2 previous comments, I believe that you're only as good as your recent experience suggests.

Having good academia is a good selling point but without industry experience to show growth then it's difficult to build on.

Personally, I'm in the opposite situation with poor academics behind me but with good industry exposure and experience.

Maybe transferring your role to develop your core skills (i.e. a sidestep) would allow this development.

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#7 Re: Hit a brick wall!
04/08/2005 15:20

anon

This might stir things up a bit.... Let's not get too down on the 'doing the powerpointing' aspects of the more junior roles in a 'typical' strategy consulting firm. Sure, the clients are buying the experience of the firm and the senior team, but they are also buying (or should be!) the rigour of the firm's approach. The business analysts provide the research and analysis to underpin the recommendations and for that they need the academic smarts more than the gray hairs of experience. In return, they enjoy an 'apprenticeship' in business that is second-to-none. For experienced or post-MBA hires, the skill mix changes.(Just my opinion, of course :-) )

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#8 Re: Hit a brick wall!
04/08/2005 18:20

Another Anon

I don't think consultants really are 'only as good as their recent experience suggests', although I accept HR depts often think like that. Demand for consultants is very volatile when you are a candidate because that is where downturn cuts hit hardest first, and vice versa in upturns. I would not think of a rejection as necessarily writing you off for good. If you get more experience you can then compete as book wise and street wise rather than just one of the two. Banking might be a real possibility for you, and then you could switch into a finance vertical at a consultancy later. I found my business degree, an MBA, much more helpful than it is sometimes considered by HR depts. Just reading a book on the way home from work would not be the same, it would be untested to start with. It's helped me to get some very interesting experience since then, but I do not sell myself on that alone these days. I actually got my first consultancy job from a company that had initially rejected me. We often hear how they only spend 30 seconds reading a CV, it is how the recruitment game works, but it's not always enough. There are some real cynics in the mid-tiers of HR, I would not take them too seriously (unless you are talking to them!). They plan going forward on what it was like over the last year or two, they would do better to think what it was like last time we were at this point in the cycle. I guess that it is the danger of only having industry experience!

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#9 Re: Cycle?
05/08/2005 11:07

AM

"(HR) would do better to think what it was like last time we were at this point in the cycle" really is a good comment. When was the last time we were at this point of the cycle? And what kind of personalities/backgrounds do consulting companies require at this point of the cycle, compared to 2 years ago? I also noticed some more sophisticated comments from some of the Anons and others recently. Are the strategy houses more active on the forum?

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#10 Re: Hit a brick wall!
18/08/2005 15:53

Lizzie

Thank you for all you comments. I think maybe it is a better idea for me to try another industry to get me off the ground and come back to this later. However, i have been told a number of times that if i do not choose my experience carefully i am going to put myself in a niche and so many consultancies will not be interested. Is this true and are there some industries i should avoid? Thanks again

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