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# Consulting Hours?

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Intern
Joined: 20 Jul 2012
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26 Jul 2012, 08:30
What are the hours like for management consultants? Days off?

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Senior Manager
Joined: 29 Aug 2012
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Location: United States (WA)

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26 Mar 2013, 21:10
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I've been in tech consulting for the last 5 1/2 years and work at a management consulting firm.

As others have said, the hours vary by firm. The coworkers I know that live in the central time zone tend to fly out the first flight monday and the last flight thursday. Since I'm on pacific time, that tends to be a bit impossible if I want to work a full day on monday. So, I end up flying out sunday and back home thursday night or friday morning depending on how busy I'm going to be at the client.

You're expected to bill 40 hours at your client for the week, and I end up spending between 10 & 20 hours a week traveling. In the evenings I'm usually working on work for other clients as issues come up. Fridays tend to be team meetings, the occasional conference call, and filling out expense reports. All told, I put in 60-80 hours a week, depending on the week. Since my bill rate is on the high end and my projects tend to be shorter, I do get the occasional week on the bench, which makes up for that a bit.

It's not a lifestyle that fits everyone, but it has offered me some fantastic opportunities and I wouldn't be where I am today without going in to consulting. The main downside is that you probably won't be making any friends that aren't consultants while you're working in consulting. My schedule is such that I really can't make any plans more than a day or two out, and even then, that may change. In the past, I have actually landed at home at 1pm after a week at a client, turned on my phone, and found out I needed to be on a 7:30pm flight that day to go to another client. If that's going to make you hate life, don't go in to consulting.

Otherwise, it pays well, you get some fantastic free vacations, and it's fairly intellectually stimulating work.

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Intern
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
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GMAT 1: 710 Q46 V42
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27 Jul 2012, 00:30
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This depends a lot on the office, business sector, type of project, and project leader. In the us and most parts of Europe it will probably be mon-thurs in a hotel, Fridays at your home office. When you're in a hotel, you usually work a lot harder (also because there sometimes isn't much else to do), Fridays are usually relaxed. However some businesses are located primarily close to some offices, so if you can make sure you are staffed on those projects this will reduce travel and make life better (in my opinion anyway...). There are some offices that only staff locally so travel there is limited as well. Also, some type of projects are always more demanding than others (I try to stay away from anything that involves investment banks) and some project leaders are more demanding than others (people tend to get better though, so I like working with experienced pls). I find that if work-life balance is a priority (its a major one for me), you need to pick your projects and make sure you get staffed on the right ones. The price you pay is that projects are not always that interesting and it's harder to stand out. The projects with the best hours are usually long, corporate cases with experienced project leaders close to home. When I do these, I usually work twelve hours a day (7.30-7.30) including travel, and put in two-three evenings a week additionally. Other projects vary and can get pretty harsh.

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VP
Joined: 08 Apr 2009
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Concentration: General Management, Strategy
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31 Jul 2012, 23:12
1
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jcpenny1 wrote:
Would consulting be a good path to become an entrepreneur? Would you meet a lot of investors or money managers who would be able to finance your venture?
As an entry level consultant, I believe your primary responsibility is to do the analytical work that is assigned to you by your engagement manager. Your opportunity to meet investors is very limited. Consulting does expose you to many different types of business problems, so it may be helpful if you want to be an entrepreneur. The caveat is that, the business/industry that you are exposed to may not be the industry you want to start a company in. You won't have a strong influence on what assignment you get staffed on initially. If you want to be an entrepreneur, I feel the best way is just go out there and do it.

In addition, how would you break into consulting as an undergrad? What should you do in the summers?
Yes, you will be at an undergrad role, which is basically number crunching.

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Intern
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
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01 Aug 2012, 23:46
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asimov wrote:
As an entry level consultant, I believe your primary responsibility is to do the analytical work that is assigned to you by your engagement manager. Your opportunity to meet investors is very limited. Consulting does expose you to many different types of business problems, so it may be helpful if you want to be an entrepreneur. The caveat is that, the business/industry that you are exposed to may not be the industry you want to start a company in. You won't have a strong influence on what assignment you get staffed on initially. If you want to be an entrepreneur, I feel the best way is just go out there and do it.

This is mostly true, however you do meet with clients on a regular basis even as an entry level consultant. I was in meetings with C-level people just a few weeks after starting (and this was during an internship!), first together with a more experienced consultant on the case, further on in the project also by myself. So you do meet people in interesting positions, but this doesn't mean that they will also invest in your business. Usually the case gives both you and them enough to work on . As for staffing, though you don't have much influence in the beginning, if you play your cards well you will get influence after a while (a while meaning, after six months or so). Be friendly to people in staffing and HR, get to know them personally, and drop your preferences casually over lunch - this makes a world of difference.

asimov wrote:
In addition, how would you break into consulting as an undergrad? What should you do in the summers?
Yes, you will be at an undergrad role, which is basically number crunching.

It is possible to start as an undergrad, but I am not sure what you should do in the summers to get there. I am assuming you're in the US, and from what I've heard it's pretty tough to get an interview there. However once you've got your first round invite, the process is the same everywhere I think, and my advice on getting from first round to an offer would be 1). practice your cases but don't over practice them. Practice with consultants is the best way to practice, if you can't find anyone practice with other candidates, but practicing with someone else is better than by yourself. 2). do not, I repeat do not rely on frameworks too much. Frameworks are just common sense put into structure, so you should focus on having common sense and structure, then you won't need frameworks anymore 3). be honest, be yourself, and be authentic - it will surprise you how many people don't dare to do this, and if you do, I think you'll stand out.

Just one more comment on the number crunching - you will be crunching at any level until you are a project leader (and even then you will do some crunching now and then), not just as an entry level consultant. And you will also be having a lot of client interaction, presentation making and presentation giving, even as an entry level consultant. So yes, crunching, but also, lots of other stuff .

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Intern
Joined: 19 Apr 2012
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26 Jul 2012, 15:53
In researching management consulting as a post-MBA career, I've found managementconsulted[dot]com pretty helpful. There is a post for "A Day in the Life" that might give you some idea of what it's like. I think hours can vary a lot depending upon the industry you are consulting. Financial services consulting would probably have longer hours than say federal government consulting.

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VP
Joined: 11 Dec 2006
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26 Jul 2012, 18:11
Note - I have never been a conventional consultant. From my understanding, Consulting is a near guarantee of four days a week away from home and working pretty long hours. Friday everyone is at the home office (I always got the impression this is way less demanding) and - more often than not - they seem to get the weekends. The travel and long four days in nonsense hotels in the ass end of nowhere is where the grind is in this job.
_________________

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Intern
Joined: 20 Jul 2012
Posts: 8

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31 Jul 2012, 22:35
Thank you. That is very informative.

Would consulting be a good path to become an entrepreneur? Would you meet a lot of investors or money managers who would be able to finance your venture?

In addition, how would you break into consulting as an undergrad? What should you do in the summers?

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Intern
Joined: 25 Jun 2010
Posts: 5

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21 Sep 2012, 05:50
There may be considerable differences between countries and / or companies.

For example, from what I've heard from people working there, at BCG Brussels, a normal week is 55-60 hours, with week-ends free and with little travel. At McKinsey Bucharest, 14+ hour days and coming in on Saturdays are frequent. A smaller Austrian consultancy in the same country reportedly has 45 hour weeks.

Generally however, it is my impression that it is fairly difficult to find a job in consulting that will allow you to have a personal life, though not impossible. Most people who go into it do not stick around for long - it is just a stepping stone in their careers, where they knowingly sacrifice a few years of their lives in order to gain experience and connections.

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Re: Consulting Hours?   [#permalink] 21 Sep 2012, 05:50
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