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Right time to move to consulting?

 
#1 Right time to move to consulting?
10/02/2016 00:19

RM123

Hi,

Would really appreciate some advice on a career move.

I currently work for a business/competitive intelligence firm covering a specific industry for two years since graduating. During University I was always interested in consulting but decided to take my current job in the hope of gaining demonstrable industry knowledge and analytical skills, with the view of moving into consulting in future.

Well now my plan seems to have come to fruition. I've been offered a role in with a boutique consultancy in the industry I'm interested in. However, I'm unsure if it's a good career move at this moment in time. I'm getting a lot of good experience and exposure in my current role which I'm not sure I will get at this stage of my career in consulting. I've appeared on TV news to discuss industry events, and also been quoted by media outlets like the FT and NYT. I've also worked directly with directors at some of the largest firms in the industry we serve and have gained lots of recognition from senior levels internally. The problem with my current role is that I feel I may outgrow it given the progress I've already made in a relatively short period of time- consulting is likely to be far more rewarding financially in the long-term too. At present I'd be taking a small pay cut by moving into the consulting role, but would rather do this now rather than risk my skill set becoming too far detached from what would be required in consulting.

Ideally I would love to spend some time working at one of the big name consultancies or MBB (I'm confident I have the academics but appreciate my career so far my hold me back) and wondered what you guys think the chances are of this happening in future from the boutique? Would I be better served trying to get in directly to the specific practice within the Big 4/MBB or perhaps a industry specific consultancy with a 'bigger' name from my current job?

Would really, really appreciate some advice on any of the above! Sorry for the long post.

Thanks!

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#2 RE: Right time to move to consulting?
10/02/2016 09:10

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to RM123 (#1)

"Consulting is likely to be far more rewarding financially in the long-term too".

That's what they all think.

"At present I'd be taking a small pay cut by moving into the consulting role."

Indeed.

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#3 RE: Right time to move to consulting?
10/02/2016 12:20

Mr Cool to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#2)

Yup, that's always been my strategy for building personal wealth. A pay cut.

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#4 RE: Right time to move to consulting?
10/02/2016 13:03

RM123 to Mr Cool (#3)

Thanks for your replies.

"Consulting is likely to be far more rewarding financially in the long-term too".

By this I mean the salary (~£60k) I could realistically achieve at the top of my current line of work is probably comparable to someone 5 years into their consulting career, based on my research. From the level of my next promotion (likely 18 months from now) the subsequent steps in my career would be more management focused and I would lose much of the analysis/ industry monitoring work I most enjoy now. Also, I don't think business/competitor intelligence is particularly well regarded in the wider corporate world. Therefore, I'm considering making the move at this stage before I get 'too comfortable' in my industry and company.

Sorry the 'pay cut' comment is probably slightly misleading. What I actually meant was that the money I save in a given month may well be slightly less. My current job allows me to work flexibly so some weeks I'm only in the office three days. The new job doesn't allow this so my commuting costs will increase by £150/month, plus I'd lose a few benefits (free gym membership, private healthcare etc), and will be working longer hours.

With the above in mind do you think now is the right time to make the move? Or should I perhaps wait it out for a year or so to get to the highest level in my current company before making the jump?

Cheers

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#5 RE: Right time to move to consulting?
10/02/2016 13:48

SenorMick to RM123 (#4)

I'm a little confused with this one I must admit.

It would be helpful to understand your promotion prospects in your current role, since you speak of outgrowing it. It would surprise me if £60k was all that was achievable at the top of your line of work.

What is the area of expertise for the consulting firm you have an offer from?

If you move to a boutique firm you need to be really confident that the firm is reputable. (High quality of work, clients and people etc.) This will dictate your prospects of moving to a larger firm (if you still want to!).

Entry points to big 4 are at every level (different to MBB). If you are doing analytical work and getting good industry insight then your skills won't be irrelevant in two years time. It would probably even be beneficial to have some managerial experience gained from progressing in your current role.

That said, if your end game is to work at a large consulting firm - and you have some flexibility in what you end up doing, then you may as well try for it now.

However, be aware that if you enter big 4 now you will be one of the graduates. The skills you have will (most of the time) be considered irrelevant when you are staffed on a role.

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#6 RE: Right time to move to consulting?
15/02/2016 07:25

semon to RM123 (#1)

It is a good career choice as a consultant. They are doing good job. I know one of the good consultant or counselors Don Swift and Associates who helped me in my business.

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#7 RE: Right time to move to consulting?
15/02/2016 10:33

krissisanft to RM123 (#1)

Now is a great time, the consultancies are growing by over 6% across the board (all sectors) year on year, they are involved with the highest value, highest profile programmes in the world and offer the words best training and development. Once you have worked as a consultant you will always be in demand but go for the big brands, KPMG, PwC, Deloitte, EY, Accenture, Capgemini, IBM. CVs with these names (and the clients names you will work with while you are with them) will float to the top of any pile and you are right, your income will raise exponentially and you will build a network of professionals who will support you for the rest of your life.

It is hard work but is flexibility too depending on the client and the engagement. Each programme is different and how you work is up to what is decided between your consultancy firm and the client, sometimes you will need to be on client site and sometimes not. If not managers are less worried about where you are as long as you do the work and attend the meetings required. Potential for moving through the organisation is also varied but things are looking good at the moment in consultancy with so much change going on in client organisations, they need support to deliver changes and respond to the market and they are less afraid of spending money right now.

So in answer to your question, yes I think now is the time!

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#8 RE: Right time to move to consulting?
15/02/2016 17:40

Mr Cool to RM123 (#4)

You think you'll make more money in consulting than in business intelligence?

Is that why the president of one of the leading providers of business intelligence left a partner position at McKinsey? To take a pay cut.

Bit busy today but will write you a fuller response later.

You are WAY off track in your thinking in my humble opinion. Selling yourself way short.

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#9 RE: Right time to move to consulting?
15/02/2016 23:33

detoilet Consultant to semon (#6)

Hmmm

I think you're about to make a big mistake. From what you painted it sounds like you have a good role getting plenty respect / variety - tv work etc etc....

Now at 60k not manager in a consultancy is good if you love PowerPoint.

You'll end up being some partners bag carrier mostly telling some public sector org Windows xp has had its day or the latest way to map a process etc. Then one day you'll wake up and think - omg my PowerPoint won't work on vista.

ps you weren't the guy who went along to the BBC for an IT job and ended up being interviewed on the news as an expert ? for those who have not seen this, it's priceless.

DC

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#10 RE: Right time to move to consulting?
16/02/2016 16:12

marsday to krissisanft (#7)

Now is a great time, the consultancies are growing by over 6% across the board (all sectors) year on year, they are involved with the highest value, highest profile programmes in the world and offer the words best training and development. Once you have worked as a consultant you will always be in demand but go for the big brands, KPMG, PwC, Deloitte, EY, Accenture, Capgemini, IBM. CVs with these names (and the clients names you will work with while you are with them) will float to the top of any pile and you are right, your income will raise exponentially and you will build a network of professionals who will support you for the rest of your life.

Someone has been chugging hard on the corporate cola.

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#11 RE: Right time to move to consulting?
16/02/2016 20:05

Mr Cool to RM123 (#1)

Rm123,

A few answers might help provide more useful advice...

1. Why did you not apply to consultancy firms from university?

2. Why do you want to work for a consultancy firm? The money? The kudos? Why?

Pending your response, I believe that you are either being very naive or very narrow in your assessment of what you do.

Naive - Fitch, Thompson Reuters, dun & Bradstreet, Experian. All of these firms are led by ceo's earning more than £1m a year. To earn 60k at such a firm you would merely need to be an account manager.

Narrow - but I don't work for one of them you say. But you could. That is your industry. Perhaps you work for a tiny agency that sells intelligence to call centres. That would be a narrow margin business selling to another narrow margin business - not the sort of environment to make a lot of money in.

If you are the Marketing manager for a farm with a petting zoo and your boss is the marketing "director" on £40k, does that mean you work in the petting zoo industry? Hell no - you work in the family entertainment industry. You would not try to move to a very slightly bigger zoo? Your next step would be to move to the marketing department at a decent sized theme park, and from there to Legoland, then DisneyParis, then Disney HQ. You think the group marketing director of Disney has the same salary cap as a farm with a petting zoo?

You have just spent two years doing really well and moving from dumb grad to slightly experienced hire. Don't cash that in for a pay cut and a fancy logo on a business card no one will even look at.

Why not move to a firm that will value your experience. You should be getting a pay rise in your next move. Not less!

But I want to be a consultant, you say. Believe me. The firms above (Fitch, TR, etc) do more "consulting" than Accenture or cognisant or Infosys! Turning data into information and using it to drive business decisions has never been so well thought of in the boardroom.

And you're going to give that foothold up to go do PowerPoint and Visio for a big4?

And let them pay you less?

Your choice.

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#12 RE: Right time to move to consulting?
17/02/2016 09:41

Frio to marsday (#10)

Now is a great time, the consultancies are growing by over 6% across the board (all sectors) year on year, they are involved with the highest value, highest profile programmes in the world and offer the words best training and development. Once you have worked as a consultant you will always be in demand but go for the big brands, KPMG, PwC, Deloitte, EY, Accenture, Capgemini, IBM. CVs with these names (and the clients names you will work with while you are with them) will float to the top of any pile and you are right, your income will raise exponentially and you will build a network of professionals who will support you for the rest of your life.

Someone has been chugging hard on the corporate cola.

Does the poster know what "raise exponentially" means or like a lot of people in consultancy just say it because it sounds good?

I guess if the time period is long enough then he'd be correct...

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#13 RE: Right time to move to consulting?
17/02/2016 11:16

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Frio (#12)

yes, raises exponentially to the power of minus one times the rate of inflation HA HA! ;)

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