Cookie and Privacy Settings

This website uses cookies to enable essential functions like the user login and sessions. We also use cookies and third-party tools to improve your surfing experience on preplounge.com. You can choose to activate only essential cookies or all cookies. You can always change your preference in the cookie and privacy settings. This link can also be found in the footer of the site. If you need more information, please visit our privacy policy.

Data processing in the USA: By clicking on "I accept", you also consent, in accordance with article 49 paragraph 1 sentence 1 lit. GDPR, to your data being processed in the USA (by Google LLC, Facebook Inc., LinkedIn Inc., Stripe, Paypal).

Manage settings individually I accept
expert
Expert with best answer

Francesco

100% Recommendation Rate

3,414 Meetings

15,739 Q&A Upvotes

USD 449 / Coaching

2

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 :)

(edited)

2 answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best Answer
Book a coaching with Francesco

100% Recommendation Rate

3,414 Meetings

15,739 Q&A Upvotes

USD 449 / Coaching

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 on Aug 21, 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 on Aug 23, 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

Related case(s)

MBB Final Round Case - Smart Education

Solved 17.7k times
MBB Final Round Case - Smart Education Our client is SmartBridge, a nonprofit educational institution offering face-to-face tutoring services. The client operates in the US. The mission of SmartBridge is to help as many students as possible to complete studies and prevent that they drop from the school system, in particular in disadvantaged areas. The client is considering starting operations for its services in the Chicago area. They hired us to understand if that makes sense. Due to the nonprofit regulation, SmartBridge should operate on its own in the market, without any partnership. How would you help our client?
4.6 5 628
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

Our client is SmartBridge, a nonprofit educational institution offering face-to-face tutoring services. The client operates in the US. The mission of SmartBridge is to help as many students as possible to complete studies and prevent that they drop from the school system, in particular in disadvant ... Open whole case

Espresso, Whatelse?

Solved 10.3k times
Espresso, Whatelse? Espresso Whatelse is an Italian company that produces coffee and espresso machines since 1908. It is the Italian market leader and has a strong presence overall in Europe. In 2019, Espresso Whatelse has increased its revenues but it has seen declining profit margin. Your client wants to understand the root causes of this 2019 trend and how to increase its profit margin again.  
4.6 5 507
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

Espresso Whatelse is an Italian company that produces coffee and espresso machines since 1908. It is the Italian market leader and has a strong presence overall in Europe. In 2019, Espresso Whatelse has increased its revenues but it has seen declining profit margin. Your client wants to understand ... Open whole case

MBB Case: COVID-19 Vaccine

Solved 5.5k times
MBB Case: COVID-19 Vaccine The COVID-19 pandemic has killed millions of people worldwide and led to devastating economic impact. A vaccine is one of the biggest hopes for stopping the pandemic.  The World Health Organization (WHO) is working with multiple stakeholders to ensure groups at higher risk of becoming infected and dying (e.g. elderly people and healthcare workers) receive a safe an effective COVID-19 vaccine in the next six months. The WHO’s Director-General asked your help to build a plan to achieve this goal. What should be included in this plan?
4.6 5 278
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

The COVID-19 pandemic has killed millions of people worldwide and led to devastating economic impact. A vaccine is one of the biggest hopes for stopping the pandemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) is working with multiple stakeholders to ensure groups at higher risk of becoming infected and ... Open whole case

Hot Wheels

Solved 5.5k times
Hot Wheels Problem definition: Our client is Korean Car Parts (KCP), a multi-national original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of car parts based in Korea. They've recently seen a decline in profits and have brought us in to understand how to address this falling profitability.
4.6 5 297
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

Problem definition: Our client is Korean Car Parts (KCP), a multi-national original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of car parts based in Korea. They've recently seen a decline in profits and have brought us in to understand how to address this falling profitability. Open whole case

Telephony Technology Warehouser

Solved 4.1k times
Telephony Technology Warehouser We are a warehouser (B2B) and have been facing a decline in profits since past 2 years. We would like you to figure out why this is happening and provide recommendations to reverse this trend.
4.2 5 294
| Rating: (4.2 / 5.0)

We are a warehouser (B2B) and have been facing a decline in profits since past 2 years. We would like you to figure out why this is happening and provide recommendations to reverse this trend. Open whole case