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# Down On Consulting

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Intern
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11 Sep 2013, 09:51
Great info on the realities of consulting on this thread! Much appreciated.
Intern
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02 Nov 2013, 21:06
I want some info on consulting in terms of projects. For the big consulting companies such as Accenture, McKinsey, BCG, PwC, how do projects work? Do you get assigned projects? What if you are in between project? Do you get paid during this time? The reason I ask is because I've heard conflicting and confusing stories from some people who say that between projects you basically don't get paid and getting another project all depends on whether the next company/individual likes your consultant. Others say that you do get paid during this time between projects and that getting another project is not difficult.
I would like some clarity on this issue. I do not want to end up getting into a situation where I'm sitting at home waiting for project without any sort of income.
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06 Nov 2013, 18:37
BSchool Forum Moderator
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17 Nov 2013, 11:59
chestud13 wrote:
I want some info on consulting in terms of projects. For the big consulting companies such as Accenture, McKinsey, BCG, PwC, how do projects work? Do you get assigned projects?

It depends. You do have say over which projects you get, so you're not just randomly assigned one. The only caveat to this would be your first project, where you don't have a support network / any power to say "no." That being said, I've both been booked to projects without my knowledge and turned down projects before.

In general, however, you'll be interviewed before chosen for a project - whether it's internally or by the client or both. So if you know you're not interested, don't try hard in the interview.

chestud13 wrote:
What if you are in between project? Do you get paid during this time? The reason I ask is because I've heard conflicting and confusing stories from some people who say that between projects you basically don't get paid and getting another project all depends on whether the next company/individual likes your consultant. Others say that you do get paid during this time between projects and that getting another project is not difficult.
I would like some clarity on this issue. I do not want to end up getting into a situation where I'm sitting at home waiting for project without any sort of income.

When you're between projects, this is called being "on the bench." You get paid during this time. Many people will reach out to you (unless there's a big bench), whether to ask for your assistance with business development work or to staff you on their project. In my experience, it's easiest to get on a new project through your network - people you've already worked with. They know your reputation and will most likely have their eye on you when you're available. With the exception of my first project, I've gotten all of my roles through my existing network.

So don't fret - you won't be sitting at home waiting for a project without any sort of income. Bench time is like vacation - you're paid and not working - except you're not using your vacation! I was on the bench for six weeks this year (right after I was promoted, too). It was marvelous. I hung out with my boyfriend and our dog and actually cooked and took care of stuff around my house! Oh, and I applied to three business schools (perfect timing!). Now I'm staffed on a project. Rest assured, bench time does not affect your performance review / rating, either.
Intern
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24 Dec 2013, 21:02
missxmelon wrote:
chestud13 wrote:
I want some info on consulting in terms of projects. For the big consulting companies such as Accenture, McKinsey, BCG, PwC, how do projects work? Do you get assigned projects?

It depends. You do have say over which projects you get, so you're not just randomly assigned one. The only caveat to this would be your first project, where you don't have a support network / any power to say "no." That being said, I've both been booked to projects without my knowledge and turned down projects before.

In general, however, you'll be interviewed before chosen for a project - whether it's internally or by the client or both. So if you know you're not interested, don't try hard in the interview.

chestud13 wrote:
What if you are in between project? Do you get paid during this time? The reason I ask is because I've heard conflicting and confusing stories from some people who say that between projects you basically don't get paid and getting another project all depends on whether the next company/individual likes your consultant. Others say that you do get paid during this time between projects and that getting another project is not difficult.
I would like some clarity on this issue. I do not want to end up getting into a situation where I'm sitting at home waiting for project without any sort of income.

When you're between projects, this is called being "on the bench." You get paid during this time. Many people will reach out to you (unless there's a big bench), whether to ask for your assistance with business development work or to staff you on their project. In my experience, it's easiest to get on a new project through your network - people you've already worked with. They know your reputation and will most likely have their eye on you when you're available. With the exception of my first project, I've gotten all of my roles through my existing network.

So don't fret - you won't be sitting at home waiting for a project without any sort of income. Bench time is like vacation - you're paid and not working - except you're not using your vacation! I was on the bench for six weeks this year (right after I was promoted, too). It was marvelous. I hung out with my boyfriend and our dog and actually cooked and took care of stuff around my house! Oh, and I applied to three business schools (perfect timing!). Now I'm staffed on a project. Rest assured, bench time does not affect your performance review / rating, either.

Are consulting companies able to work with you in terms of placement location? For example, if you graduate from a NE bschool (IE. Harvard, Duke, MIT,etc) and you get placed in SF , but you want to work in the south where an office is located, is that feasible?
BSchool Forum Moderator
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24 Dec 2013, 23:15
chestud13 wrote:
Are consulting companies able to work with you in terms of placement location? For example, if you graduate from a NE bschool (IE. Harvard, Duke, MIT,etc) and you get placed in SF , but you want to work in the south where an office is located, is that feasible?

Consulting companies are definitely flexible about work location. When I joined, I was asked to rank my top three cities. I therefore wasn't expected to work where I graduated. Fortunately, I was given my first choice. However, certain offices at my company are difficult to get into - for example, Denver and Austin (high demand, low supply). My company happens to be implementing a "staff locally" policy, so there have to be projects in the city to justify consultants being located there. I know it doesn't make much sense, since most of us travel to our clients anyway. As a side note, I was also able to transfer offices quite easily.

Basically, you have flexibility with where you work, but it has to be a major-ish city. My company has plenty of offices in the south like Atlanta, Charlotte, Houston, Dallas, etc.
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23 Jan 2014, 12:52
chestud13 wrote:
Are consulting companies able to work with you in terms of placement location? For example, if you graduate from a NE bschool (IE. Harvard, Duke, MIT,etc) and you get placed in SF , but you want to work in the south where an office is located, is that feasible?

Disclaimer, I don’t work in Consulting. From my knowledge, where you get staff is firm and economy dependent. Some firms have a local staffing policy; however, if there’s a huge need in another location, and they can’t staff locally, they may reach out to you, especially if you have a specialization that matches the project. Other firms, staff nationally, so you can be in the SF office, and get staffed on a case in NYC. The more experience you have and the better your network, the more likely you’ll get staffed on a project higher on your preference list.

For post-MBA office location, all of the top MC companies make you to choose your post-MBA office. It is very difficult to switch office initially. In another word, McKinsey won’t turn you down for the NYC office for and offer you a place at the Dallas office. This is critical choice, since the hiring is done by the office, and supply and demand comes into play, as well as strength of alumni at the office.
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18 Apr 2014, 03:33
I read through some posts here,and it is extremely informative and gives a great perspective on the consulting job function.However I just wanted to know, about the kind of work that a management consultant does.Can anyone provide some inputs on that,or even direct me to any other posts in this thread,that i might have missed.
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19 Apr 2014, 11:26
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DebWenger wrote:
I read through some posts here,and it is extremely informative and gives a great perspective on the consulting job function.However I just wanted to know, about the kind of work that a management consultant does.Can anyone provide some inputs on that,or even direct me to any other posts in this thread,that i might have missed.

The type of work really varies, depending on the project. I've only been on implementation projects, so I can't speak for strategy.

You could be improving a client's processes, which involves tweaking flowcharts in meetings / working sessions, creating supplemental documents (e.g. describing process steps in detail, defining accountabilities, etc.), and ultimately getting sign-off. Then you or another team might create training materials, job aids, etc., organize the logistics, and help deliver the modules. You could be doing an organization design, where you define the new, optimal organization structure, roles and responsibilities, etc.

Most projects have a change management component, which may involve assessing any change impacts, communicating changes to the client's organization (e.g. through townhalls, announcements, roadshows), addressing people's concerns, etc. There is also a project management team, which tracks the status of the workplan and essentially makes sure that the work gets done.

Every consultant has different experiences. In general, the statement of work will define what deliverables the consultants are accountable for, so that will define what you need to do.
Director
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20 Apr 2014, 11:58
For tier 1 and tier 2 consultancies, which offices are generally the most and least competitive. How much difference in the competition?

For example, would getting a MBB offer in Atlanta be significantly easier than NYC, or only marginally easier?

my current plan is to work a couple of years in a low cost of living environment to pay down debt and build up my resume, so I care more about getting the best brand than where the location is.
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20 Apr 2014, 12:09
mgg234 wrote:
For tier 1 and tier 2 consultancies, which offices are generally the most and least competitive. How much difference in the competition?

For example, would getting a MBB offer in Atlanta be significantly easier than NYC, or only marginally easier?

For my firm, the competitiveness of an office is based on supply. If there are many clients and projects in a city, e.g. oil and gas in Houston and the government in D.C., then it's pretty easy to get that office. A lot of people in my firm actually received emails offering  to relocate to Houston! If there aren't as many local clients / projects (e.g. Denver and Austin), then it's a lot harder. Demand plays into it as well, though not as much; some offices receive more transfer requests than others. But generally speaking, if you can get onto a project in the city you want to work in, it's easy to transfer.

However, I assume not all firms care about staffing locally, in which case you could work out of any city / office with equal likelihood.

Now, I don't think there is a correlation between offices and chances of landing an offer. In other words, your likelihood of getting an offer isn't based on the city / office you expressed a preference for. Yes, you are asked to rank your choices. But if the firm wants you and can't accommodate your preferences, they'll still make an offer - just for another city. Then it's up to you whether or not to accept.
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20 Apr 2014, 12:59
In any given year, there will be some differences between offices, but it's impossible to predict. Supply/demand for offices like Chicago or NY is pretty stable. For Atlanta or Detroit, it depends on the firm and the year. There is much more variability; trying to time the market is a very risky proposition. Recruit for where you want to work. In all likelihood, if you're good enough to get an offer in Houston, you're good enough to get one in NY and vice versa.
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28 Apr 2014, 00:08
amorica wrote:
johnnyx9 wrote:
I've been thinking all along that I would like to work in consulting after school, but the more consultants I talk to, the more I think it may not be for me. Literally every single one of them that I have talked to has absolutely no social life and no significant other. The worst part is that they don't seem to recognize that as a serious problem or void in their life. More like they just see it as a funny sort of side-effect of working in consulting, like, "Oh yeah, one thing that kind of sucks is I don't have any friends other than the concierges at the hotels that I live in."

Does consulting attract people that don't have anything going on with their life besides their careers, or am I reading too much into what the five or six people I have talked to have said? In other words am I just dealing with a small sample size of people who have no social lives?

Is anybody else struggling with this? I really think I can kick *ss in school and land a consulting gig at a good firm, and I think the work would be incredibly interesting and challenging, and I would enjoy travelling and the lifestyle, but only up to a point. I just don't think I could handle 80 or 90% travel. I know some places like Bain apparently have much less travel so I think I could handle that, but in general I just don't think I could deal with hardly ever seeing my girlfriend or other friends.

Actually..my friends who are in consulting have the exact opposite experience.. I think consulting lends itself well to a 'player lifestyle'. You are constantly traveling and visiting new cities. I have many good friends who have build a network of friends in a bunch of different cities..depending on where they are...they can call up some people and meet up w/ some friends...girls included...

As far as stable relationship is concerned..i agree..its gotta be hard to keep one going...but if you are young, single,..and looking to meet as many girls as possible...consulting might be your ticket...

What you mentioned about Management Consulting sounds quite alluring. But,is this applicable for consultants right from the time they join a firm after b school ,or is it at a later point in their careers?
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28 Apr 2014, 05:22
I went to an admit weekend this weekend, and pretty much every consultant there was married or in a relationship, so I think it's being a bit exaggerated here.

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28 Apr 2014, 06:49
Agree with mgg234. I'm interning at a consulting firm this summer and everyone I met during recruiting who was a PL/CTL/EM (and probably a third of the post-MBA crowd) was married... to their first spouse.

Consulting is not an easy route to go. You're looking at 55-65 hours/wk and significant travel. Travel may be a bit less with B or B than M because of their local/regional models, but still likely at least 3 days/wk. Other firms in the next tier may travel far less. Either way, consulting is less demanding than banking, which averages 100+, but more so than most corporate roles, which average 40-50.

Whatever you choose, make sure you set boundaries. The comments above make it clear you've run into people who struggle with that. I know consultants who've worked 2 weekends in 2 years and others who prefer to network and cut out early Fridays that don't mind logging in for a couple hours on Sunday evening.

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28 Apr 2014, 09:10
FWIW, I've been in consulting for almost three years and have been in a serious relationship with my boyfriend of six years. We also have a dog!

I started out local (no traveling) in Houston; furthermore, I was only required at the client site Monday through Thursday because the rest of my team traveled. I do know of local folks who have to go in Monday through Friday, though (the horror!).

My boyfriend then got into medical school in Dallas, so I transferred to be with him. I don't think all companies could have been that flexible, but because most of us travel in the consulting industry, it's easier to transfer offices.

I also work 40 hours per week. I've never worked on a weekend. The latest I've stayed in the office is 8 pm (and that was one time). I may work 10 hour days on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but that's off set by my Fridays, when I'm at home and only have a few calls. Mondays and Thursdays are usually 7 hour days because of the travel.

Of course, other consultants may work much longer hours. I attribute my more relaxing schedule to the energy industry; my clients care a lot about work life balance!

The downside (as always) is that I'm away from my boyfriend, dog, and house three nights a week. Other than that, I can't complain too much. My parents and many of my friends live in Houston, so I always have dinner plans. The travel forces me to be social! And my flight is only 45 minutes long, so I can leave my house at 7 am Mondays and be back by 6 pm Thursdays.
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28 Apr 2014, 10:22
missxmelon wrote:
Of course, other consultants may work much longer hours. I attribute my more relaxing schedule to the energy industry; my clients care a lot about work life balance!

This is a great point. If you're consulting for banks or doing due diligence for PE firms, you're doing to work their hours.
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28 Apr 2014, 23:06
And what about the travel part?Do management consultants who join the firm straight after graduating have to travel to client locations,or is it their managers or other senior members in the team who get to travel,and stack up those frequent flyer miles.Also,are consultants sent for overseas assignments?in that case does the 4-1 work routine hold good?
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29 Apr 2014, 05:06
Most consultants at most firms travel 2-4 days/week. Occasionally, you'll land a local or internal project, more often if you seek them out. International travel usually only happens if you seek out projects requiring it.

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29 Apr 2014, 05:57
DebWenger wrote:
And what about the travel part?Do management consultants who join the firm straight after graduating have to travel to client locations,or is it their managers or other senior members in the team who get to travel,and stack up those frequent flyer miles.Also,are consultants sent for overseas assignments?in that case does the 4-1 work routine hold good?

Everyone travels, and at my firm it's almost always Monday through Thursday.

We've brought in international folks onto our US projects and vice versa. As brandon432 said, if you're interested in overseas travel, you have to make that known.
Re: Down On Consulting   [#permalink] 29 Apr 2014, 05:57

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