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Management/Strategy Consulting

  1. Apr 12, 2013 #1

    danago

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    I have done a search and have not found all that many threads regarding management consulting as a career (that is, consulting with firms such as Bain, BCG and McKinsey). Having recently met many people working in the field, it seems that a relatively large proportion have scientific backgrounds (physics, math, medicine, engineering, etc.), which got me wondering if many people here have experience working as a consultant, especially considering the number of threads regarding investment banking and other finance related careers.

    Are you currently working (or considering working) as a management consultant? Did you go into it directly from university, or have you moved in after working as a technical professional elsewhere? What advice would you give to somebody looking to start a career in consulting?
     
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  3. Apr 12, 2013 #2

    turbo

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    If you would like to work as a consultant in any technical field, you might first wonder if you have marketable skills. Then you might want to consider if you would like to spend weeks at a time away from your home and family. That is not fun. My wife and I have always had a stable relationship, though the separations have been tolerable.
     
  4. Apr 12, 2013 #3

    danago

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    I can only imagine how difficult it could get for people with families! I am still young and without a wife or kids, so the traveling isn't my biggest concern. In fact, I think I'd like to make the most of this time now to travel a bit with work to get some international experience, because I know that it won't be as easy in the future when I have kids (Assuming I can find somebody to have my babies :rofl:).

    I like to think that I have some marketable skills, however having not even yet graduated from university (less than 1 year to go!!), it is more about my fundamental skills rather than any specific knowledge I have. The three firms that I mentioned have positions specifically for university graduates, so I don't think they are expecting too much in the way of prior knowledge.

    Are you still working as a technical consultant? Besides the excessive time spent away from home, do you enjoy the work?
     
  5. Apr 13, 2013 #4
    Physicists often do well in in consulting as the work is often very numerate and analytical, and "brainpower" does make a difference. It can be an interesting and rewarding career.

    Generally there are two entry points into firms such as these, either as an analyst (post-university) or associate (post-MBA or otherwise experienced hire). For the analyst stream, intellectual firepower and problem solving ability are the main entry requirements, as well as evidence of some leadership ability. If you've been to a good school and have good grades you could just send in a CV. Most of the real selection is done through the interview process, where you'll be expected to think through several real-life problems. I would say that having a PhD or other technical experience is neither a plus nor a minus unless you are applying to join a very specific practice such as risk management.
     
  6. Apr 13, 2013 #5
    The big question dangling over "management consulting" is, at least to me, why not to go into real management in the first place. Same goes for any other kind of consulting. And the potential answers to this that I envision just raise further questions.
     
  7. Apr 13, 2013 #6

    danago

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    I've actually become quite familiar with this process, having recently interviewed with McKinsey, BCG and Bain, and then accepting a job with Bain to start next year. Are you a consultant yourself?

    This is a question that came up a few times during the various recruitment processes that I went through, and the main response was that consultants like what they do because of the exposure to a variety of companies and industries, rather than the single-company focus of actually being a manager. I guess that consulting is also a pathway for some into actual management, as a means of first "sampling" various industries and then gaining exposure to different companies in that industry.
     
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