Easing into Management Consulting as a mom?

mom parenting work life balance
Anonymous A asked on Mar 11, 2021

Hi, I am a mother of two young kids and was previously working in consulting with one of the Big 4 (lots of change management work then). I have been slowly working my way to getting more experience in strategy consulting, but had to halt plans due to birth of my second kid a year ago. Since then, I have been a stay home mom.

As I have two young kids and not much help in the way of parents or caregivers, I am thinking that I would have to put my dreams of consulting on hold for now. My question is - are there roles within consulting firms that are more "forgiving" and "lifestyle-friendly" for working moms, more lifestyle-friendly consulting firms, or are there types of work that I should be looking for outside of the consulting industry that might put me in good stead with relevant experience to re-enter management consulting when I do have more time to focus on my career?

on Mar 12, 2021
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on Mar 12, 2021
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Absolutely - many of former bosses at Bain were female who had families and Bain supported all sorts of models. 50% models, 75% models that allowed the subjects to structure their time in a way that allows them to do both. Certainly reach out to the firms HR - they have all the details. However, important for you, at MBB and I d think all Tier-2 as well, this is absolutely possible (however probably tough in general). Not sure if those individuals worked more than their contract said - but the point is most individuals I have seen worked considerably longer than their contacts said --- probably a mix of Bain's expecation and international motivation, but cannot say for sure.


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I agree with Denis where I have seen similar options at McK too. The unfortunate reality is that part-time programmes still typically require you to be full-time during your projects which many mothers still find undesirable. The option that comes to mind is freelance consulting (assuming you're in the US, there is A-Connect, Umbrex, etc.) which allows you to do the same type of work but with much more flexibility.

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Hi there,

Honestly, I would stay away from MBB and the Big 4. Really, I would stay away from any of the major strategy consultancies. Part-time programs exist, but they end up being full-time (you feel pressured, stressed, etc.). I haven't really seen it work (despite what people say/convince themselves/others of).

I highly recommend any of the following:

  1. Internal strategy - work for a "normal" firm. Do strategic/management work within it. Any of your big, behemoth companies are great. They move slow and don't have big expectations. Please avoid anything with "consulting" in it.
  2. Find a "good" boutique consulting firm. I think the odds of being happy here are lower, but there are some boutiques who probably value you as a human more.
  3. Go freelance/contracting. Pick your projects! Bill by the hour. Find work that only requires a 20-hour week. This is actually what I currently do and I love it! Note: For you this might be hard as you don't have a recent brand/reputation/precendent to work off of here.

Best of luck :)

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Hey A!

I would agree with Ken - probably the freelance would be most preferable for you now. This way it will be just easier to maintain your work-life balance on the most appropriate level. Getting back to the company might be problematic as it definitely will take a lot of your time.

Nevertheless, take your chances!

Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions,


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Hey there,

In recent times, consulting firms have created support infrastructure for mums and part-time work. So this is not uncommon anymore and firms are trying hard in this space. In my view, success is patchy i.e it works in certain countries/offices better than others. The catch is this- you need leadership support, good reputation in the firm & alignment on role expectations. I have seen very rare cases of new hires on part-time model specially in client facing roles. So, this takes a bit of time to work out but can be done for sure.

When you are doing something you really want to do and are having fun..question of work life balance doesnt arise. You make it work seemlessly. If Consulting is truly your passion, dont settle for anything else and get back in straight away. Explain your story and the "right firm" will be happy to bring you in without fuss. if not, you are better off doing something where you can truly balance work and life well.

Have a look at these threads for more details on life balance generally in Consulting

All the best!

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Hey there,

I saw a lot of part-time happening at McKinsey Europe with female colleagues with kids from all ranks working between 1 and 4 days a week (also with limited travel) on actual engagements.

It is definitely possible! The only thing that was different for them was that they worked full-time before they got the kids, so I am not sure how it is if you want to start as a new-hire and go part-time right away.

The best is always to call HR and discuss with them.

All the best!



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Denis gave the best answer


Ex-Bain 5 yrs | Incoming Goldman Sachs Investment Banker NYC | MBA Chicago Booth | Passed > 13 MBB > 20 IB interviews
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