Guest Adviser Thread: Careers in Consulting Firms

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Response to Kristin - applying as a post doc

Postby C.Ozawa » Fri Jul 21, 2006 12:23 am

Hi Kristin,

YES - absolutely we are interested in post docs (as well as others who may have graduated with a degree and have other experience after school). There are plenty of my colleagues who have joined after being a post doc (or for that matter, some who joined after being a professor as well).

In response to your second question, please see my response to PYJ above.


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Response to Kristin - applying as a post doc; followup question from the other side of the Forum

Postby J.M. Greene » Fri Jul 21, 2006 8:37 am

Gee, Clare, maybe I should apply to McKinsey!!! You make it sound very appealing, and it's really nice to have the stererotype of MBAs-only, Harvard/Yale/Ivy only, broken down...(The way I always heard it, McKinsey was for Harvard alums, and BoozAllen Hamilton for MIT alums...clearly a sterotype; I've looked in the MIT Alumni Directory, and the number of Boozers was surprisingly small...maybe due to "up or out"??)

I think the point Clare made a post or so back is VERY true - if you want to pursue your own ideas completly, that's hard to do in any kind of consulting, or industry in general. But, many of the engagements are fascinating, important, and pay better too. And I agree, the pace is MUCH faster...when UPS talks about moving at the speed of business, they arten't kidding!

Sure I can't attract you to SRA?? :-)

And a real question - between engagements, are you using actual vacation hours, or is a certain amount of time "on the beach" factored into your billing structure?

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Guest Adviser Thread: Careers in Consulting Firms

Postby Derek McPhee » Fri Jul 21, 2006 11:20 am

This seems to be an area for people fresh out out of grad school/postdoc who will be trained on the job, and firm's hiring focus would appear to confirm this. How about people who perhaps already have industry/business experience, say 10+ years?
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Response to DJM - Guest Adviser Thread: Careers in Consulting Firms

Postby C.Ozawa » Fri Jul 21, 2006 8:42 pm

Hi Derek,

You are right that many new consultants join straight out of school, however quite a few are folks who joined after many years of other experience. For example, my husband (who does not have a PhD but has an MBA) recently also joined McKinsey, after 10 years of work experience. Some entering the career view consulting as a springboard to other opportunities right out of school, however, some view it as an opportunity to change direction while in their careers. Some stay for lifelong careers in consulting, so I don't want to give the impression that it is a career which is only "short-term"

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Response to A.C. - reapplying to consulting

Postby C.Ozawa » Fri Jul 21, 2006 8:52 pm

Hi A.C.,

I can't speak for all firms, but for us we certainly do reconsider applicants who are reapplying (I have a couple of friends in the Firm who did not receive offers the first time). From our point of view, we will look to see how the candidate's experiences have changed (since last application) - i.e., additional examples of training, leadership, initiative taking, etc. In some cases, a candidate will go through our interview process, and will not receive an offer but if this is largely attributed to lack of preparedness etc. (but the candidate was thought highly of) we definitely hope to see the candidate again in future. In your case, it sounds like the firm liked your resume, and it could be mostly interview preparation. So, I would encourage you to reapply if it is something you are really interested in doing, and focusing on interview preparation (including both thinking through answers to potential resume questions, and familiarizing yourself with the case interview process).

Best wishes,
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Follow up to MS: salaries

Postby C.Ozawa » Fri Jul 21, 2006 8:54 pm

Hi Matthew,

As follow up from your original question on salary, we can't discuss salary in writing and we wouldn't expect it to be found in print anywhere online. But for our firm it is set by country (i.e. all new Associates in the US receive the same comp package, all new ASC in UK receive same comp, etc.), and it is a highly competitive package in each local market. In the US, the comp package includes base salary, a performance-based bonus at end of first full year, a signing bonus (when you accept the employment offer), and 12% annual contribution by the firm to your retirement fund (regardless of what you yourself contribute).

Hope this is at least a little bit helpful.

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Response to John Greene - challenges of consulting

Postby C.Ozawa » Fri Jul 21, 2006 9:06 pm


It's been nice being on this forum with you this week.

I absolutely agree that the continual intellectual challenge is a huge draw in consulting - one becomes a bit spoiled by avoiding boredom on the job (although on the flip side, sometimes it would be nice to slow down the pace a bit more from time to time!).

With regard to your question about time off in between projects...things have been so busy in terms of demand, it honestly is hard to find time on the "beach" between projects. (For those of you unfamiliar with the term, this means time between projects where you aren't officially staffed on a project, and thus have some potential down time/slower pace while still being paid). These days I use my vacation days, but we get quite a few and they carry over year to year so I kind of take vacation when I want.

One other additional challenge I thought of with consulting - it's a client service profession, which means that sometimes you are beholden to your clients' demands. You can push back to some extent, but that can be difficult at times.

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Closing Guest Adviser Thread: Careers in Consulting Firms

Postby Dave Jensen » Fri Jul 21, 2006 9:25 pm

Thank you Clare for all the help this week. Your posts were very much appreciated by the entire forum audience,

Please keep in touch with the forum as you go forward in your successful consulting career.

Dave Jensen, Forum Moderator
“There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.”- Alain de Botton
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