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Moving Early On

 
#1 Moving Early On
05/10/2015 10:18

CalcConsultant

Hi guys,

Generally from research and reading on forums I find that people tend to say it is hard to move from things like IT Consulting to Management Consulting or Strategy Consulting.

So hypothetically, if I were a graduate business consultant in let's say IBM or Infosys Consulting, would a move to the likes of Deloitte S&O or Tier 2 firms like OW/LEK/AT be something unrealistic?

It seems a bit ridiculous to me that the first company you work at decides your fate and it's almost impossible to then go on and move to a role you actually want to do just because you happened to start in the wrong place at 21.

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#2 RE: Moving Early On
05/10/2015 10:50

Happy to CalcConsultant (#1)

My view is that it is difficult, in particular to the firms you describe as 'Tier 2' - which are just as competitive as McKinsey et al. But of course there are always examples of people that make this this sort of move

I would look at it this way:

If your education and background today are not what your target firms are looking for, why will the addition of experience (IT) that is not particularly relevant help you in a year's time? Beyond the fact that you will at least have some experience of the working world, what else will your IBM experience bring to the table for a strategy consulting firm?

Simple supply and demand will tell you that not everyone can work in these consulting firms, but there are many many ways and companies in which you can gain experience that is similar and relevant. What do you actually want to do? If IT is not your thing, then don't do it! The worst thing you can do for your career is something that you will not enjoy. Instead, why not go and join a prestigious graduate scheme in industry, get broad experience over a few years and then re-evaluate your situation. At that point you may well decide that consulting is not all it's cracked up to be and stay where you are, you may be a candidate for a direct move into strategy, or you could go down the MBA route.

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#3 RE: Moving Early On
05/10/2015 11:08

CalcConsultant to Happy (#2)

My view is that it is difficult, in particular to the firms you describe as 'Tier 2' - which are just as competitive as McKinsey et al. But of course there are always examples of people that make this this sort of move

I would look at it this way:

If your education and background today are not what your target firms are looking for, why will the addition of experience (IT) that is not particularly relevant help you in a year's time? Beyond the fact that you will at least have some experience of the working world, what else will your IBM experience bring to the table for a strategy consulting firm?

Simple supply and demand will tell you that not everyone can work in these consulting firms, but there are many many ways and companies in which you can gain experience that is similar and relevant. What do you actually want to do? If IT is not your thing, then don't do it! The worst thing you can do for your career is something that you will not enjoy. Instead, why not go and join a prestigious graduate scheme in industry, get broad experience over a few years and then re-evaluate your situation. At that point you may well decide that consulting is not all it's cracked up to be and stay where you are, you may be a candidate for a direct move into strategy, or you could go down the MBA route.

Hi Happy,

Thanks a lot for this reply. Basically I've done an internship at a boutique MC firm and I really enjoyed the work I did there so I am so sure I want to go into Management Consulting. Personally I don't know what side OF consulting considering there are so many sub categories (Strategy or Operational improvement etc.) but I'm pretty sure I don't want to do IT Consulting. I thought that although IBM/Infosys/Atos are IT firms they do actual Management Consulting work to help improve the business with for example operational improvements/supply chain etc.?

Overall, I have gotten a few interviews at Big 4 and a couple of good Strat/MC firms but I'm always one to not be very risky. I got a good degree from a good uni but I messed up my pre-uni education so most very good firms don't interview me. I apply to a range of roles to guarantee I do get something. I've learnt that for example at a Big 4 Assessment centre anything can happen so I feel like there's no way of ensuring the job.

So you think even though I know I want to be a consultant, it's better to work in an industry and then move to a consulting role I definitely want rather than start in ANY type of Consulting stream then hopefully switch (or get an MBA - not sure how I'd afford it though).

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#4 RE: Moving Early On
05/10/2015 12:04

Happy to CalcConsultant (#3)

So you think even though I know I want to be a consultant, it's better to work in an industry and then move to a consulting role I definitely want rather than start in ANY type of Consulting stream then hopefully switch (or get an MBA - not sure how I'd afford it though).

Nope, I'm not saying that - that makes things far too black and white and I know nothing about you. But 'consultant' is a hugely broad term and it seems from your post that you are not going to get the consulting job you want, in which case you need to work out what is the next best option for you to begin your career.

In which case:

1) First work out why you want to be a consultant and what type you want to be - is it the type of work, the lifestyle, some particular type of project?

2) Second, identify roles/companies that will give you the type of experience that made you want to be a consultant in the first place - maybe that's IBM, maybe that's industry, you need to work that out

3) Third, apply for roles that you think you will enjoy and be a success in, get some good broad experience, get promoted, build a CV, enjoy your life

4) Fourth, re-evaluate where you are in a few years time, see what has changed and whether at that point it makes sense to make a change

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#5 RE: Moving Early On
08/10/2015 17:49

CalcConsultant to Happy (#4)

Thanks Happy

It's difficult at this age for me to be sure what I want to go on to work in eventually.

I want to work as a consultant rather than in industry as I want to be able to work for various clients on various projects rather than just be working for the company I am at. I want a lot of client interaction.

I guess the question is, would experience at the likes of IBMs etc. be useful at the Big 4, Tier 2 etc. I am still finding it hard to distinguish between all the different areas of consulting such as Operations/IT (they seem to overlap a lot).

I really just want to work on client engagements where I can have an impact and be constantly engaging with clients rather than working on IT work.

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#6 RE: Moving Early On
09/10/2015 11:24

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to CalcConsultant (#5)

But why do you want to have an impact? Would it not be better to have a good secure job, low hours, good perks, nice colleagues and good pay but little impact?

Think about the impact on your wallet and personal well-being, not the client's business! Ha ha!

Also, always insist on having your own parking space! If you work in London, you might have to use the tube - and we all know what THAT is like (grim)!

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#7 RE: Moving Early On
09/10/2015 23:16

Richthekeeper to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#6)

You say you messed up your pre-uni education - the trend for graduate jobs at MC firms is increasingly to ignore pre-uni grades. Personally I rarely look at the pre-uni education on a CV, although the CVs I look at are for experienced hires.

I also slightly disagree with the sentiment about working out what kind of consultant you want to be. A big 4 graduate consultant has 2 years to find his or her niche, learning the consulting skill set is the priority.

That said, I do agree that if IT consulting isn't your bag, don't get into it. The first company you work at doesn't necessarily decide your fate, but if you start somewhere below Tier 1 then you need to bring genuine experience to the table if you're looking to join as an experienced hire. .

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