i am interested in airline consulting on either side and my long term goal is to lead an airline.
so i am weighing the pros and cons of working for a MC (or on a smaller scale, an aviation consulting firm) vs airline. Hoping to get more information. Thanks!
Pay will be similar I expect, at least at the small scale aviation consulting firm... (pay at bigger MC likely 10% to 20% higher). There are small handful of airline "consulting" firms, they tend to work on things related to say, asset valuation -- e.g. that aging 747 you wanna get rid of or structuring of EETCs. Bigger "sexy" projects such as say, new product development or merger stuff or anything like that would fall to the likes of McKinsey, Bain, BCG, and to a lesser extent some firms with niche experiences in market analyses and the like. Of course, those are generalist firms -- and id venture that the odds of you working on an airline at M/B/B etc are next to zero.
Primary cons of working at an airline:
* High risk - restructuring, cost cutting are common
* Zero or negative growth industry with generally anemic margins: non-profit status would be aspirational
* Continued trends towards consolidation will help airlines but also flood market with capable and knowledgeable individuals
* Ridiculously deep hatred between union and management
* Everything is about cost cutting
* Innovation non-existent, its just a game of who has the immediate short-term competitive advantages, no real sustainable optoins
* Develop depth of expertise that is not especially transferable to other industries, except perhaps hotels, car rental agencies or someplace like orbitz or expedia
* Few airline companies have "internal strategy" arms. You may need to pick something more concrete.
Pros of an airline:
* Develop key industry contacts, depth of expertise
* Free travel
* Good hours
* People who enjoy the industry tend to stay for life
Primary cons of working at a consulting firm:
* Generally will be few that will specialize in what you want
* They will generally be pretty small and unlikely to sport big balance sheets
* Hours tend to suck
* The work is not likely to be especially glamorous, as compared to say, a more diversified and larger firm
Pro of consulting:
* If airline is not a fit, can parlay experience into other areas somewhat more easily.
Thats my 30 second take on it.