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Career in management consulting - reasons for exiting, exit options, working environment..?

Hi PrepLounge community!

I have a few general questions concerning a career in management consulting:

  • I have heard that most consultants leave after like 2-5 years. Why is this usually the case? Can it be seen as negative when you stay longer than that?

  • What exit options do consultants usually take? Why?

  • If most consultants only stay for a few years, how does this affect the working environment and my career as an entry level consultant?

It would be really great if you could share your thoughts on this :)

Hi PrepLounge community!

I have a few general questions concerning a career in management consulting:

  • I have heard that most consultants leave after like 2-5 years. Why is this usually the case? Can it be seen as negative when you stay longer than that?

  • What exit options do consultants usually take? Why?

  • If most consultants only stay for a few years, how does this affect the working environment and my career as an entry level consultant?

It would be really great if you could share your thoughts on this :)

(editiert)

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Totally agree with Hemant; I would add to the list of exit opportunities Private Equity, in particualr if you are coming from MBB (Bain is particularly strong on that thanks to Bain Capital connections). Dolf also provided a pretty complete list here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/exit-options-most-lucrative-ones-249#a459

As for why people choose a specific exit, there may be multiple reasons for a particular choice; some of the most common are: (i) better work-life balance (eg Industry); (ii) increased salary (eg PE/partner track in a smaller consulting firms); (iii) control on execution (eg Startup founder).

Hope this helps,
Francesco

Totally agree with Hemant; I would add to the list of exit opportunities Private Equity, in particualr if you are coming from MBB (Bain is particularly strong on that thanks to Bain Capital connections). Dolf also provided a pretty complete list here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/exit-options-most-lucrative-ones-249#a459

As for why people choose a specific exit, there may be multiple reasons for a particular choice; some of the most common are: (i) better work-life balance (eg Industry); (ii) increased salary (eg PE/partner track in a smaller consulting firms); (iii) control on execution (eg Startup founder).

Hope this helps,
Francesco

For exit opportunities to industry, particularly internal strategy team jobs with better work life balance, can one expect a higher salary than the consulting position one is exiting from? — Huzefa am 21. Aug 2017

Hi Huzefa, it would be difficult to get a higher salary moving to the industry, unless the consulting position is a junior one. You may end instead with the same salary, although with lower working hours. — Francesco am 23. Aug 2017

Responses to your 1-3 in-line

  • I have heard that most consultants leave after like 2-5 years. Why is this usually the case? Can it be seen as negative when you stay longer than that?

Typical churn at BA (pre-MBA) or Associate (post-MBA) level is ~25%. Most BAs leave for an MBA. Most Associates leave to join a position in industry etc. This is due to a combination of (1) high-stress factors of the job (2) great exit opportunities (3) the itch to own / launch a P&L versus mostly advising on them. It is obviously not a negative if you stay longer; that's how you become a Partner.

  • What exit options do consultants usually take? Why?

Most likely (1) Internal strategy teams at firms like Google, etc. (2) Business Unit owners / GMs (3) Startup founders (4) Other consulting firms / niche firms.

  • If most consultants only stay for a few years, how does this affect the working environment and my career as an entry level consultant?

Not sure I understand the question. There is an expected level of churn at these firms and the process is set up such that the juniors are not affected. As a junior you are also expected to be able to work with a different team-lead for new projects and you are, in most cases, assessed based purely on your performance at these projects, not on how "pally" you are with a team-lead etc.

Hemant

Responses to your 1-3 in-line

  • I have heard that most consultants leave after like 2-5 years. Why is this usually the case? Can it be seen as negative when you stay longer than that?

Typical churn at BA (pre-MBA) or Associate (post-MBA) level is ~25%. Most BAs leave for an MBA. Most Associates leave to join a position in industry etc. This is due to a combination of (1) high-stress factors of the job (2) great exit opportunities (3) the itch to own / launch a P&L versus mostly advising on them. It is obviously not a negative if you stay longer; that's how you become a Partner.

  • What exit options do consultants usually take? Why?

Most likely (1) Internal strategy teams at firms like Google, etc. (2) Business Unit owners / GMs (3) Startup founders (4) Other consulting firms / niche firms.

  • If most consultants only stay for a few years, how does this affect the working environment and my career as an entry level consultant?

Not sure I understand the question. There is an expected level of churn at these firms and the process is set up such that the juniors are not affected. As a junior you are also expected to be able to work with a different team-lead for new projects and you are, in most cases, assessed based purely on your performance at these projects, not on how "pally" you are with a team-lead etc.

Hemant

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