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Leaving Big Four - trying a niche firm?

 
#1 Leaving Big Four - trying a niche firm?
11/11/2015 14:53

TransactionsExec123

The salary and payrises thread for 2016 really had me thinking a lot lately and put some ideas into my head.

I am Senior Consultant having joined on the grad scheme. Big Four is all I have worked in and is all I know. I am being offered Manager for next year but I am not sure if it is what I want.

I am interviewing and think there is a good chance I will be offered a role with a small consultancy. Very light travel, decent hours and pay equivalent to what I would get at Manager in Big Four.

Is it wise to make the jump? My only reservation is my title would remain Senior Consultant. Is this a silly thing to worry about?

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#2 RE: Leaving Big Four - trying a niche firm?
11/11/2015 15:34

marsday to TransactionsExec123 (#1)

Not really no, particularly if its well known in its niche. What one will usually find is that what looks like a sideways move in title is actually a step up - and the responsibilities are often much the same for the pay grade. If I'm blunt, there are more than enough Managers within the Big to demote the importance of that title anyway. Think of US software houses and their habit of calling sales executives Sales Director of VP.

Dont focus on the title, focus on the responsibilities.

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#3 RE: Leaving Big Four - trying a niche firm?
11/11/2015 15:47

Frio to marsday (#2)

Mars, what areas/specialisms of consultancy do you look after in your recruitment role?

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#4 RE: Leaving Big Four - trying a niche firm?
11/11/2015 16:11

marsday to Frio (#3)

Pharma/Life Sciences these days, typically Senior Manager through to Partner levels, EU and US.

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#5 RE: Leaving Big Four - trying a niche firm?
11/11/2015 16:24

TransactionsExec123 to marsday (#4)

Thanks for that.

Before, I've had the idea in my head that you shouldn't really move to a niche consultancy until Manager or Senior Manager as by then you have built up enough experience to make the jump.

Another idea that has no real basis? The underlying worry being I am moving to a niche firm after only 4 or so years in the Big Four.

Thoughts?

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#6 RE: Leaving Big Four - trying a niche firm?
12/11/2015 08:02

marsday to TransactionsExec123 (#5)

Measuring this kind of move against the Big 4 reporting lines as a metric, while useful for back of fag packet measurements is a bit misleading. What you will often find is that in the niche firm SC carries the same, or more, responsibility.

Here's the rub. In a niche firm you will often be working on the same clients as a Big 4. But whereas the Big 4 Manager will be leading a workstream and potentially part of steering groups, the niche will be working at depth on a narrow and specialist issue. The client stakeholders you are working directly with will be more senior in most cases, and you'll have more line management responsibility simply because someone has to do it.

Moving on from Big 4 after 4 years is a good thing. A very good thing. You have proved you have what it takes to work there, and you have the training under your belt. But the real proof comes when you step out from behind the brand and start showing your own value.

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#7 RE: Leaving Big Four - trying a niche firm?
12/11/2015 23:15

TransactionsExec123 to marsday (#6)

Really really interesting...gives me a lot of food for thought. I am really leaning towards making the jump to the boutique. On paper the responsibilities seem to be the same as Senior Consultant which concerns me somewhat. But it's a flatter structure so I feel there is more room for growth despite the title.

It feels like the kind of opportunity (boutiques in general) to spend a few years getting that exposure before moving on.

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#8 RE: Leaving Big Four - trying a niche firm?
17/11/2015 15:19

noctilucus to TransactionsExec123 (#7)

Really really interesting...gives me a lot of food for thought. I am really leaning towards making the jump to the boutique. On paper the responsibilities seem to be the same as Senior Consultant which concerns me somewhat. But it's a flatter structure so I feel there is more room for growth despite the title.

It feels like the kind of opportunity (boutiques in general) to spend a few years getting that exposure before moving on.

Not sure that a flatter structure will allow you to grow faster; some boutiques have the disadvantage of not having such "quick career progression" as in Big 4 or similar larger consulting firms - talking about responsibility and compensation, not theoretical job titles.

Probably worth talking with a few of your potential peers in the boutique firm on that topic.

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#9 RE: Leaving Big Four - trying a niche firm?
22/11/2015 10:27

john.straatman to TransactionsExec123 (#7)

Bear in mind that a small firm is different from a large firm in other ways also, e.g. a large firm is more likely to have many procedures in place, a small firm might be more open to allow you to fill in your position in a broader way.

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#10 RE: Leaving Big Four - trying a niche firm?
22/11/2015 10:27

john.straatman to TransactionsExec123 (#7)

Also bear in mind that a small firm is different from a large firm in other ways also, e.g. a large firm is more likely to have many procedures in place, a small firm might be more open to allow you to fill in your position in a broader way.

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#11 RE: Leaving Big Four - trying a niche firm?
22/11/2015 10:27

john.straatman to TransactionsExec123 (#7)

Also bear in mind that a small firm is different from a large firm in other ways also, e.g. a large firm is more likely to have many procedures in place, a small firm might be more open to allow you to fill in your position in a broader way.

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#12 RE: Leaving Big Four - trying a niche firm?
23/11/2015 05:36

Jack Black to john.straatman (#11)

Also bear in mind that a small firm is different from a large firm in other ways also, e.g. a large firm is more likely to have many procedures in place, a small firm might be more open to allow you to fill in your position in a broader way.

You can say that again.

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#13 RE: Leaving Big Four - trying a niche firm?
24/11/2015 23:30

TransactionsExec123 to john.straatman (#10)

I hear what you are all saying. I've had a lot of time to think about it and I'm pretty sure where I want to take my career to next.

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