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Life after Big 4 Graduate programme - Move to Industry

#1 Life after Big 4 Graduate programme - Move to Industry
07/03/2016 12:18



I'm nearing the completion of a consulting grad programme @ one of the big 4. Tbh, i haven't really enjoyed the experience as much as I thought I would (as they say the grass is always greener). I'll probably promote at the end the financial year and look to leave at the end of the calendar year. How employable is a grad with 2 years under his belt to industry? At the moment I haven't really given a thought as to whether it'd be within the private or public sector. leaning more towards the latter though.

Advice and thoughts would be appreciated.

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#2 RE: Life after Big 4 Graduate programme - Move to Industry
07/03/2016 13:07

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to ChronicConsultant (#1)

What did u not enjoy about it please

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#3 RE: Life after Big 4 Graduate programme - Move to Industry
07/03/2016 14:52

ChronicConsultant to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#2)

There were quite a few things, mainly the constant "not knowing" where I'm going to be in the next few months, travelling (this is what I signed up to, yes i know) and the "consultant speak", where no real value is added other than hours spent doing powerpoints. I can only talk from personal experiences. There are other reasons but those are the main ones.

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#4 RE: Life after Big 4 Graduate programme - Move to Industry
07/03/2016 16:18

ManicRower to ChronicConsultant (#3)

I would say you are right in that travel is what you signed up for as part of consultancy, however there are niche/boutique consultancies that either operate in industries where travel is less of a factor (e.g. a localized industry) or that treat employees and their ability to travel a bit more sympathetically than a Big4. By this I mean they take solid life-changing events into account, such as 'I would prefer to avoid travel for the next X months as I am getting married/having a baby/etc' as opposed to 'I don't want to travel because it's making it hard for me to attend Thursday booze sessions with my mates.'

Need more information from you in terms of which industries within the private/public sector you might be interested in to give an accurate read on how valuable your experience is, as by saying you are interested in private/public sector you have basically said 'I am interested in the jobs market'. Finance? Technology? FCMG? Audit?

From experience (I moved from the public sector to consulting) what makes you think working in the public sector involves less presentations and/or less tasks where no real value is added? You are likely to make as many presentations as in consulting, however they will take longer to produce as you will have to have several pointless but mandatory meetings with your colleagues about each one and more hoops to jump through in order to deliver 'real value'.

Having said that, in it's favour is that the vast majority of public sector roles involve little travel, the furthest I went from Central London in 4 years was a day trip to Godalming. If you want certainty around work/life balance and job security then the public sector is a good way to go (until you are outsourced as per budget cuts and 'the recession'), however balance that against slow and infrequent career progression and an extremely slow-paced environment. If you do choose the public sector, be absolutely sure that it is what you want as it will be significantly easier for you to move from consulting into the public sector than it will be the other way around.

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#5 RE: Life after Big 4 Graduate programme - Move to Industry
07/03/2016 17:15

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to deleted (#0)


Hehe, yep, quite right!

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#6 RE: Life after Big 4 Graduate programme - Move to Industry
07/03/2016 19:55

ChronicConsultant to ManicRower (#4)

Hi Manic,

Really great response - thanks a lot. At the moment I want to do Technology specifically around architecture / analytics - haven't really decided what one yet! I've done quite a bit of work with public sector clients, and they don't half as much do as many powerpoint decks. I've lost count about the amount of decks i end staying up late for each week, only to be read for 5 mins and forgotten about - i'd assume this is less frequent in public sector organisations.

At the moment, I'm just seeing what's out there, hence my slightly vague post. Attempting to "plan" for the next few years as opposed to just plodding along to then realised i never really looked at other opportunities.

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#7 RE: Life after Big 4 Graduate programme - Move to Industry
08/03/2016 09:33

ManicRower to ChronicConsultant (#6)

Re Powerpoint decks, it's probably safe to assume you wouldn't be burning the midnight oil as much in the public sector however there will still be many, many occasions where your work will be flicked through in 5 minutes and discarded :)

Technology in the public sector is a very mixed bag. You could get to work on some really interesting projects or programmes depending on what sector you go into (huge change going on in the Transport and Justice sectors at the moment for example). The downside of this is if you are not careful you could go somewhere where you are essentially a contract manager, whereas at your level I would be advocating getting as much hands-on technology experience as possible to rule out what you don't like and find out what you do.

If you do indeed consider the public sector and are thinking 'big picture' and longer-term, get as much formal training under your belt before you make the jump. The vast majority of public sector depts will have a minimal/non-existent allocation, so if you can get qualifications relevant to your chosen discipline prior to moving (Prince2, ITIL, TOGAF, BCS Business Analysis, Agile, etc) then all the better.

My gut instinct is to advise you to get a better handle on what makes you tick and try to get a promotion or two under your belt. Worst case scenario at the moment is you make the jump into a relatively junior role, realize it's not something you enjoy but have little prospect of promotion or getting back out and become stuck in situ counting down the days to your (admittedly great) pension.

Unfortunately having only worked in the public sector and consultancy (FS), I can't really give an opinion on other private sector industries, but hopefully someone else on the boards will be able to share their experiences with you.

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