Congratulations on making the decision to join the world of management consulting. Now that that decision is out of the way, you have another one to make – determining what type of consulting company best fits your career goals and experience level. This is an important consideration and should not be taken lightly as both boutique and large consulting companies offer you opportunities to build and expand your career.
Management Consulting offers an excellent opportunity to learn best practice methodologies, work with some amazingly talented people and gain exposure to projects in multiple industries and companies. Most consulting roles come with a travel requirement that can include flights and hotels for 4 nights a week or for more regional companies a lengthy commute to and from the client site.
Larger (Big3 type) companies are well structured with mature on boarding and support processes to help get you up to speed and acclimated quickly. They have well defined templates and playbooks and have teams in multiple disciplines to support large and small clients alike. There are clear reporting lines and defined career road maps to follow and travel is usually required up to 100% in these roles. For people new to consulting or directly out of school, these tend to be the logical option due to the predictability and stability of the work. These can be career building roles. Many people say 2 years at the Big3 and you are immediately hire-able in an industry role.
Smaller (boutique) companies that have been in business for a while may have well defined processes and career road maps and may even have well defined playbooks. However newer companies tend to be leaner with less defined job descriptions and a “all hands” approach to management – some less experienced candidates see this as a risk, while more entrepreneurial candidates see this as an opportunity. With less defined roles and a smaller group of colleagues, you are exposed to a wider scope of responsibilities and your work is more visible in the organization. The travel requirement depends on the company and their model – there are regional and local consulting companies.
Both options can be great options for your career if you are willing to put the work into them and travel to client sites on a regular basis. Always keep in mind that travel even at 50% estimate can be 100% for 6 months at a time and that local clients can be far enough away from your home to make the commute difficult daily. Lastly, we always recommend that you talk it over with your family first and make sure you and they can adjust to the changes before you embark on a career in management consulting.
More articles to follow on different facets of management consulting.
Thank you for taking the time to read our blog. Please provide comments and keep the conversation going. If you are interested in management consulting as a career choice, reach out to Downtown Recruiting Inc today at downtownrecruiting.com. We work with several boutique management consulting clients in the Agile Transformation, Life Sciences Project Management and IT space.