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Norah

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Question merged

This question is read-only because it has been merged with Is age an issue to start a career as a consultant?.

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Enter consulting with 45+ years

Hi everyone!

After my graduation, I decided against consulting and to work in the industry where I have been working for about 8 years now. I always wonder if it was the right decision. Anyway, in the next years, I'm planning to start a family, so management consulting is off the table for now. However, I've been thinking what if I enter consulting after like 10 years, when I am 45+ years old. Do you think that is possible?

Any advice appreciated!

Hi everyone!

After my graduation, I decided against consulting and to work in the industry where I have been working for about 8 years now. I always wonder if it was the right decision. Anyway, in the next years, I'm planning to start a family, so management consulting is off the table for now. However, I've been thinking what if I enter consulting after like 10 years, when I am 45+ years old. Do you think that is possible?

Any advice appreciated!

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Book a coaching with Norah

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Hi Anonymous,
Thanks for reaching out!

I would say you have two options:
1. Never leave before you leave: what I mean by that is you can apply now for consulting and find a right balance between your work and your personal life. Working in strategy consulting does not mean you won't be able to have a family and a life. Believe me, I know plenty of friends/ people who managed successfully to do both. You need to make compromises and be well-organized, but it's not a "no go" option.
Also, I have plenty of relatives who work in the industry and do make long hours. So I think you have a misconception about working hours when it comes to a challenging job.
Don't get me wrong here, you will work for long hours in strategy consulting. You will work (sometimes) on week-ends, or late night but it's still due to specific circumstances. And remember it's always about prioritizing and organizing your agenda.
2. If you are still not convinced by option 1, I do still think you can apply when you have 15+ years of experience. But it will be much harder to get in, not only because there is no specific track for you (unlike the graduates/MBA/ PhD/experienced hire) but also because you have to be a top expert in a certain field. Then you will be hired because you are an expert in a sector/practice/issue that can be leverages for the clients of the firm.
If you choose option 2, I highly recommand you to start seriously thinking what type of industry/problem you want to tackle and try to take initiatives in order to reach a high position in the firm(s) you will be in. I know many partners in Strategy consulting firms who were hired after a long career in industry and were experts on certain topics.
Of course, my opinion is based on the experience of different consultants I know and myself. So do not take it for granted but more as an advice.
Finally, best of luck for your journey, no matter what you decide and do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

Hi Anonymous,
Thanks for reaching out!

I would say you have two options:
1. Never leave before you leave: what I mean by that is you can apply now for consulting and find a right balance between your work and your personal life. Working in strategy consulting does not mean you won't be able to have a family and a life. Believe me, I know plenty of friends/ people who managed successfully to do both. You need to make compromises and be well-organized, but it's not a "no go" option.
Also, I have plenty of relatives who work in the industry and do make long hours. So I think you have a misconception about working hours when it comes to a challenging job.
Don't get me wrong here, you will work for long hours in strategy consulting. You will work (sometimes) on week-ends, or late night but it's still due to specific circumstances. And remember it's always about prioritizing and organizing your agenda.
2. If you are still not convinced by option 1, I do still think you can apply when you have 15+ years of experience. But it will be much harder to get in, not only because there is no specific track for you (unlike the graduates/MBA/ PhD/experienced hire) but also because you have to be a top expert in a certain field. Then you will be hired because you are an expert in a sector/practice/issue that can be leverages for the clients of the firm.
If you choose option 2, I highly recommand you to start seriously thinking what type of industry/problem you want to tackle and try to take initiatives in order to reach a high position in the firm(s) you will be in. I know many partners in Strategy consulting firms who were hired after a long career in industry and were experts on certain topics.
Of course, my opinion is based on the experience of different consultants I know and myself. So do not take it for granted but more as an advice.
Finally, best of luck for your journey, no matter what you decide and do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

(edited)

Thanks for the advice, Norah. I'm in a similar position. The only difference is I plan to apply when I'm 38/39 years old. I am currently applying to part-time MBA programs at Kellogg/Booth. Do MBB firms hire engineers with a part-time MBA from these top schools. I also have a PhD in computer science, but I'm not sure I qualify as an expert having worked as a software engineer for a few years. Any advice will be really help my confidence. Thanks! — ConsultingKarma on Oct 08, 2018

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