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Civil Engineering to Consulting

and Bain BCG Civil engineer Engineering Engineering and Management Consulting management consulting McKinsey
New answer on Apr 28, 2023
7 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Mar 31, 2023

Hi All, 

I graduated from university with a bachelor's in Civil Engineering in 2021 and have been working since as civil design engineer at a consultancy. When I first started I was passionate about my career, I wanted to pursue my masters and work towards Chartership. Along the way I found out that engineering is not for me and I lost my passion, I did not see myself long term in this career path. When I did my research and networked with professionals I realised that consulting could be best for me and does suit my long term goals and vision. I am still in my early 20s and believe this is the right time to explore different opportunities instead of settling and getting comfortable in my current job.

However, I already applied for masters before reaching that decision and now am currently preparing to apply for consulting jobs. My question is, should I do my career change as soon as possible or is it best to take a masters in civil engineering, become chartered then move to consulting? 

I would really appreciate any advice, thank you :) 

Note: Obtaining a master is essential to becoming a chartered in engineer in UK


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Content Creator
replied on Apr 01, 2023
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Q: My question is, should I do my career change as soon as possible or is it best to take a masters in civil engineering, become chartered then move to consulting? 

If you can apply now for the same consulting position you would have after the master (most likely given what you shared) and you have already decided you want to be in consulting, it doesn’t make much sense to do the master.

If that’s the case, I would apply now for the consulting jobs interesting to you. If that doesn't work, rather than a master in civil engineering, I would target an MBA - that will give you another chance for consulting once completed it.

For the consulting application I would recommend to look for a referral – you can find more at the link below:

▶ How to Get an MBB Invitation

▶ The Exact Steps to Get a Referral

Good luck!


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Content Creator
replied on Apr 02, 2023
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

I think this is an interesting question that may be relevant for many people. I would be happy to share my thoughts on it:

  • First of all, given you seem to be set on strategy consulting, from my perspective, there is no meaning in conducting a master's program in civil engineering. Instead, you may very well apply to strategy consulting now, work for 1-2 years, and then conduct a master's program funded by your future employer.
  • Generally speaking, I would highly advise you to opt for the option that better aligns with your professional (and maybe even personal) mid- to long-term goals. In order to make an informed decision, I would advise you to do the following:
    • Weigh the different criteria that are meaningful to you independently of the current options (e.g., prestige, international exposure, location). After that, score the two options based on your criteria and their weighting, resulting in two scores. This way, you have covered the left-brain perspective.
    • Critically assess your initial reaction to the outcome of the scores. For instance, if you feel the urge to tweak the numbers, this is a solid indicator that you do not want this decision to become reality. This way, you have covered the right-brain perspective.
    • By doing so, you will be able to integrate both parts of the brain into the decision-making, guaranteeing a higher chance that you will still be happy with it years later.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on how to address your specific situation, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.



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Content Creator
replied on Apr 01, 2023
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

If you're sure about consulting, then there's no point in doing a masters in civil engineering.

You should just go straight into consulting instead of wasting time of something that doesn't help you at all (and just takes time and $).

Now, I'm basing my advice on the assumption that you truly want consulting and will never want to be an engineer.

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Content Creator
replied on Apr 04, 2023
ex-McKinsey EM & Interviewer | 7/8 offer rate for 4+ sessions | 90min sessions with FREE exercises & videos

Hi there,

Don't pursue a specialization in an area you're not passionate about and that doesn't even serve as a means to an end - an MSc in CE won't make a difference in your application. 

Instead, consider these three options:

  • Apply for consulting now with an undergrad and ~1 year work experience. This may or may not be enough to land an interview for entry roles e.g., Location/Business Analyst. Depending on location, an undergrad will be insufficient e.g., most European countries.
  • Apply for business roles outside of consulting to start your transition journey from engineer to generalist e.g., Business Development. Build a track record for a couple of years and then take the next step to consulting.
  • Pursue postgraduate education in a different area that facilitates your transition towards generalist e.g., Finance & Strategy. It's probably still too early for an MBA but that's an option, too.

I'm not advocating for or against any of those options without knowing more about you. They each have a long list of pros and cons, generally speaking and depending on your specific circumstances.

Please let me know if you'd like to discuss more. For now, I hope this helps a bit. 

Best of luck!



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replied on Apr 11, 2023
Former BCG Consultant | Startup Founder | Holistic approach to a successful application - cases & beyond | 10% discount


it's great that you've identified that engineering isn't the right career path for you and that you're interested in exploring opportunities in consulting. Here are a few things to consider as you weigh your options:

  • Career goals: Think about your long-term career goals and how obtaining a master's degree in civil engineering and becoming chartered fits into those goals. Will obtaining the master's degree and becoming chartered help you achieve your long-term goals, or will it delay your transition to consulting?
  • Transferable skills: Consider the skills you've acquired as a civil design engineer and whether they are transferable to a consulting role. Many of the skills you've acquired as an engineer, such as problem-solving, analytical thinking, and attention to detail, are also highly valued in consulting. If you feel like you want to improve your skillset ahead of applying, consider doing the masters program and try a consulting internship first.
  • Financial considerations: Consider the financial implications of pursuing a master's degree and becoming chartered. Will the cost of the program and the time investment pay off in terms of increased earning potential and job opportunities?

Ultimately, the decision to pursue a master's degree and become chartered before transitioning to consulting or to make the transition sooner rather than later is a personal one and depends on your individual circumstances and career goals. From my experience, many consulting companies offer to pay for master programs after you worked there for a few years. Additionally, it could also be worth a thought to apply for an internship during the master's program to understand if consulting is really for you, in case you do not have any practical experience yet. That would also highly improve your chances of getting a full time position.


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replied on Apr 01, 2023
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

No, you shouldn't. I don't even understand why you are considering this (maybe “sunk cost” thinking?).

Being chartered is worth zero in terms of moving into consulting. In the meantime you waste two years (I guess) of your life do get a qualification you don't need and don't want. 

In the meantime you could either be applying to consulting or getting qualifications that would move you towards your goal.

By the way, if you spend a couple of years pusuing the masters+chartership, you will actually be farther away from consulting than you are right now.

So maybe there's somethign here that you are considering in your thought process and that I am missing, but if your goal is consulting, this one is a no-brainer.

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Content Creator
replied on Apr 28, 2023
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi there,

It's great that you've realized what you're passionate about and are looking to explore new career paths! Regarding your question about whether you should pursue a master's in civil engineering before transitioning to consulting, it really depends on your personal goals and priorities.

On one hand, obtaining a master's degree and becoming chartered in engineering could provide you with a solid foundation of technical knowledge and credentials that could be beneficial in consulting work. However, if you've already lost passion for engineering, spending additional time and money pursuing a master's degree in the field may not be the best use of your resources.

If your ultimate goal is to transition into consulting, it may make more sense to start exploring opportunities in the field as soon as possible. You can highlight the transferable skills you've gained in your current role as a civil design engineer and demonstrate your interest and passion for consulting in your applications and interviews.

Ultimately, the decision is up to you and what you believe will best serve your career goals and personal fulfillment. Just make sure to weigh the potential benefits and costs of each option and make an informed decision. Good luck in your career transition!

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Francesco gave the best answer


Content Creator
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