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Please Help! Any ideas for boutique consultancies or other options?

 
#1 Please Help! Any ideas for boutique consultancies or other options?
12/04/2016 12:52

JonnyBrownrigg

Hi there,

I applied to the big 4 but unfortunately was only eligible for one of them as I didn't do that well in my A-Levels. Long story short, I had no intention of going into something that looked that closely at your A-Level results until a few years after leaving school; I worked as a musician for a while.

Anyway, I completed a foundation year as I didn't do the right subjects at school to study physics, and achieved the equivalent of AAA in A-Level maths, further maths and physics, and now I'm on track to graduate with a high 2:1 or possibly a 1:1 this year. Unfortunately though, this doesn't seem to carry much weight with the big 4 or other consulting firms.

I did get through to the assessment centre with said big 4 but annoyingly I messed up the written exercise. I stupidly hadn't done any practice for it as I couldn't afford one of the ridiculously expensive practice packages, but I'm confident in future I could do much better. They were adamant that I should reapply next year as I did really well in everything else and they thought I had a real chance at getting in if i could sort the written exercise out. Anyway, I really do want to reapply but obviously don't want to wait around for the next year on a maybe.

Does anyone have any ideas for what I could do in the mean time?

I've been trying to find smaller consultancies to apply to but I'm having trouble finding any that would consider someone without at least ABB at A-Level. I've been through the top 100 kind of lists and they all seem to be out of reach for me.

If its unrealistic for me to get into another company this year, what do you suggest I do in the mean time. Preferably something that will look good to the big 4, but could also become a back up plan if it doesn't work out next year either.

I'm based in London. Many thanks for any replies.

Cheers,

Jonny

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#2 RE: Please Help! Any ideas for boutique consultancies or other options?
12/04/2016 12:56

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to JonnyBrownrigg (#1)

Are you saying that you would like to join a small company to get a foot in the door, then use it as a stepping stone to get into the big 4?

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#3 RE: Please Help! Any ideas for boutique consultancies or other options?
12/04/2016 12:59

JonnyBrownrigg to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#2)

Thanks for you reply,

Essentially yes. A way to constructively spend the next year and get some experience, but also something that I could pursue in the long term if I'm unsuccessful with a Big 4 next year also.

Jonny

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#4 RE: Please Help! Any ideas for boutique consultancies or other options?
12/04/2016 14:16

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to JonnyBrownrigg (#3)

Hmm. Small companies are very good at picking up on people who want to use them as a stepping stone. I'm not sure they'd want to spend a year training you and then have you disappear to the big 4! It would be your prerogative and you wouldn't tell them your intentions during interview stage, but if they pick up on even the slightest hint of it then it would probably be game over at that point as far as that company goes. Small companies have tough budgets and getting used in that way is hard for them (boo hoo) because at entry level they are investing in you rather than expecting you to add value from day 1. However, why not try and make a career at a smaller company? They're good places to work... and they might even see your dalliance with music as a fascinating little story to share with clients rather than a weird and distracting blot on a consultancy CV.

BTW, "how would they ever know of your plans to use them for a year", I hear you ask? Well, don't underestimate how good people are at sniffing that sort of thing out. Good consultants are often deeply cynical people underneath their friendly and polished exteriors. "I'll just not tell them and they're not mind readers" I hear you say. Well, there's a good chance they'll work it out anyway. There would be so many little clues in everything you say and do. For instance, when I read that you "achieved the equivalent of AAA", the first thing I thought is "I'm already suspicious, this guy would need to be checked out in extra detail during the interview".

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#5 RE: Please Help! Any ideas for boutique consultancies or other options?
12/04/2016 17:52

JonnyBrownrigg to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#4)

Thanks for your reply Bushy Eyebrow Partner.

All of what you say makes a lot of sense, and I think is definitely something I want to pursue. However, I'm having trouble finding smaller companies that except less than ABB at A-level. Hence, my thinking that the high 1:1 I achieved in my foundation year may be a better example to present to them regarding my ability, as opposed to my BBB at A-Level.

How would you go about finding out what the smaller consultancies out there are? I've looked through the top 100 list etc. however they all seem to have these high A-Level expectations. Do you think I might be fighting a loosing battle here? or am I just looking in the wrong place? I'm happy to work with a consultancy of any size, the problem seems to be finding a place that will give me a shot!

Jonny

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#6 RE: Please Help! Any ideas for boutique consultancies or other options?
12/04/2016 22:11

DragonSlayer to JonnyBrownrigg (#5)

Go and do something extraordinary that demonstrates your entrepreneurism, leadership and drive - e.g. set up a charity in a third world country with no start up capital (or access to the Bank of Dad), and show demonstrable outcomes in 12 months....You should get hopefully get an interview at least.

I'm only partly jesting. I'd think strategically about what you can do in 12 months that will look good on your CV, develop useful skills, and that you're passionate about. Start-up experience can teach you a huge amount in a short space of time. Who knows...you might not want to go down the Big 4 path after that...

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#7 RE: Please Help! Any ideas for boutique consultancies or other options?
21/04/2016 09:54

coffeeguy to DragonSlayer (#6)

DragonSlayer speaks sense - I got rubbish a-levels (BCC) but spent a year running my student union. That got me an interview and i'm now an SM at Acn, so it's not impossible - I guess a lot of CV screening is now automatic, so the other approach is to get a recommendation from a current employee as that tends to skip the auto filter.

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