Career Advice - No Progression & On the bench

big four Career Advising career move career progression Deals Strategy staffing
New answer on Nov 13, 2022
2 Answers
Anonymous A asked on Nov 09, 2022

Hi all, I am in need of career advice. I am currently in the Big 4 advisory and moved from risk consulting to deals advisory practice about 5 months ago. 

I was offered the role because of my data analytics background and not my technical skills in deals. I have minimal deals background as my previous role was more qualitative rather than quantitative but I am accounting trained and currently pursuing my professional qualifications. 

In my new department, my immediate team is nice but my professional growth is somewhat limited. It was only after 4 months into my role I managed to talk to my director as he is busy and always have to reschedule. Initially I thought he was avoiding me but then it seems he does that to quite a number of people - not sure if he just bad at managing and prioritising his time. 

During the one on one I shared with him that I have limited exposure in client engagements and it has been 3 months in. He shared my performance manager (PM) was supposed to give me work but he was surprised my PM did not. He then cited perhaps cause I away on sick leave. I had to take a 1 week sick leave because of wisdom tooth surgery and I only managed to give them about 2 weeks head up. He said unfortunately my PM got a piece of work during my absence and because of that I might not be roped in. I felt a little bit penalised as it was only a week and a week have 5 working days. I don't think it's fair that I was not roped in when I was back. 

So after the one on one, my director informed my PM and my PM started giving me work but the work he gave was work that he does not have time to do and the work is like intern work I would say like trying to figure out how to come up with formulas / edit formating of visualisation or presentations. I feel under utilised as my objective of doing the transfer was to do data analytics work and utilise them for business use. Unfortunately there is not much analysis in my work just boring mundane work. 

Recently during our weekly huddle, I told them I will be away for exam leave (this was planned about 1.5 months to 2 months in advance). Weekly we have to update our resource planner. I put as “available” after my study and exam leave ended. When it was my turn my Director commented let me get back to you what you can do after you are back. There is a project that you could have been on but you are on leave. 

The words were like rubbing salt into wound. Other team members took leave but then projects was on hold till they come back and it didn't affect their plotting. While for me, my opportunities are taken away cause I am on leave. My director kept saying that the team is at its capacity but here I am not on jobs. He said he cant give me jobs until at least one of the team member is free so I can work with them as I have never done the work before. 

I feel helpless and not sure what to do. Before my transfer I told him I am pursuing my part time master and professional qualifications and would need to request a week of max for my papers as I schedule them around the same period. He said its fine but now when it happens I am penalised. 

I feel embarrassed too as every week during weekly huddle or monthly gathering, everyone has something to say about their engagements. While for me, I have nothing much to say. I feel sidelined and outcast. 

Now is the 5th month and I still have no engagements and not looking forward to going to work as I will be tasked doing menial work and my skills are not utilised. I want to move into the deals space as the quantitative background I get from value creation and synergy assessment is something I need to complete my professional background as I feel I am lacking in that space. I eventually want to move into a management / C-suite role and having quantitative background is critical I feel. 

I am thinking to leave as my growth is honestly hindered. However, with the current market and my background, I am afraid no one wants to hire and I am just stuck… Moreover, I will only be completing my postgrad next year June 2023. I am not sure if moving into a new company will affect my studies nor will my new employers support me. 

Some kind soul please advice. I really need it as I don't know what to do… It's not like my team is not winning any projects. In fact we have a few in the pipeline and all are staffed. I feel my Director is trying to get rid of me. Even though he doesn't say it upfront, his actions are speaking otherwise sigh… 

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replied on Nov 13, 2022
Ex-Mckinsey (analyst->associate->manager) and now in tech (Bytedance) + Part time interview coach and mentor

Hi there,


Sorry to hear you're not having a great experience so far. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

1- Be vocal about your concerns

As you go through this phase, be vocal about this feedback to your direct manager and team. Tell them how you feel, why you feel you're stagnating and how you would like to contribute further. Do not settle for the current state and express your concerns. You can do that by reaching out to your manager. If he/she isn't available, try talking to senior consultants on the team and try to also get the HR's feedback. 

2-  Showcase your strengths

Given that you have a strong analytical background, offer to take on some analytical streams to prove yourself. These don't have to be big streams but rather small tasks you would take on to show what you're capable of. Don't do random tasks, but be targeted by selecting a few that your manager is okay giving away, but that are adequate enough for you to shine. This would help you rebuild credibility.

3- Find internal projects and probonos

All consulting companies have internal initiatives as well as probono projects (offered for free by the company to entities like NGOs). If you feel you have extra capacity, offer to take part in some of these initiatives (e.g., team building, office events) or external projects (e.g., NGO projects). The directors there would love to have you as you're an extra free resource. At the same time, you will be able to showcase once again your strengths and might open up your network more (e.g., that director might want to get you on a full-time paid projects after seeing you in action).

4- Be on the lookout for other opportunities 

Keep your CV ready and apply for other jobs as it's best to plan for the worst while hoping for the best!

Hope this helps, happy to chat more and guide you as needed.


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Content Creator
replied on Nov 10, 2022
BCG Project Leader | Former Bain, AlixPartner, and PE | INSEAD MBA | GMAT 780

First, consulting may be harsh. To make it softer I strongly advise learning to be more concise. 
You could have said the same in just three sentences. 

You don't have deal experience, over the next few months there will likely be fewer deals, so you won't get deal experience. As a consequence, your chances to be “useful” to the firm remain quite low.

Hence, given that we are heading to a recession and you are basically not working, my suggestion is to be "CV-ready" and actively on the lookout for new opportunities. 

NB: I think you already wrote the same post a few weeks ago, but with shorter wording. I see you have time to write posts, but I don't get why there was the need to have again the same answer. 

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Mario gave the best answer


Ex-Mckinsey (analyst->associate->manager) and now in tech (Bytedance) + Part time interview coach and mentor
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