Quickly about me; I'm in my final year (graduating in the summer) in a redbrick university in the UK. I have accepted an offer from a big 4 for Risk consulting - audit advisory - (controls based) and will be studying for the ACA. The role involves internal audit and controls testing, as well as some scope for governance & compliance work.
The problem is that at the outset of my applications I wanted to attain a management consulting position within the big 4 (or similar) whether that be finance consulting, operations consulting but in particularly strategy consulting. To be completely honest I wasn't as focused with my career goals at the beginning of my applications. (I have the necessary entry requirements and some experience in a big 4). As a result I have been rejected from my management consulting applications at varying stages of the process (I appreciate that it is slightly harder to get into).
I understand the differences of the two jobs in question. My problem is that I know that I would find the consulting work so much more interesting and that is what I want to do and where I intend to end up. Although the job will entail some similar aspects (in terms of travel, lifestyle, FTSE100) I am not anywhere near as interested in controls testing work. Although I do feel I could be quite happy in the role for 3 years and would learn a lot from the ACA I always intend to end up in management consulting and feel like this initial graduate programme would just be postponing my actual career aspirations by 3 years.
I have quite a few questions that I would really appreciate some help with:
- What are the chances of me being able to change service lines within the 3-year graduate training program from internal audit (risk consulting) to management consulting given that the roles require different training (ACA vs CIMA). I'm guessing no chance given the investment until I qualify?
- After 3 years will it be easy to transfer internally to management consulting if I network a lot? (Will I have to start from the bottom in terms of salary and progression?)
- If I wanted would I have the same exit opportunities as someone in external audit?
- Is an MBA route post ACA qualification a good option to enter strategy consulting roles within big 4 (particularly Deloitte & PwC)? Would it be easier to enter with my current employer
- Given all of the above should I reject the offer and apply again next year for management consulting? (This is a last resort for me as I don't want to wait a year to enter employment)
All these questions are playing on my mind so I would really appreciate some help. Thank you in advance for any insight you can provide.