Family-Life-Balance (Husband/Wife and Kids)

Bain BCG family MBB McKinsey work life balance
New answer on Apr 29, 2020
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jan 10, 2018

Team! Wondering if anyone with a husband/wife and kids can share tangible experiences of family-life (not just work life) balance of having kids and being married? Lookng for two areas:

1) How did you navigate adjusting to the lifestyle if you entered your career married with children, and what are your top feelings/experiences/tips towards navigating that lifestyle of consulting with a family?

2) Looking to hopefully (granted I pass a last interview) start in consulting very soon but have a new babygirl entering the the world soon! How do these consulting companies, coworkers, and clients tend to treat maternity or paternity leave?

You may be thinking "well wait until after your daughter is born to start working" but in this circumstance, my goal aside of working with this new company will be to first relocate my familly so we can get settled in the area before having our daughter for reasons to make sure: - My spouse can find good work in her industry (this move is not dependent on this me receiving an offer)

-Regardless, we are moving either way to be closer to family

-Once we move, and if I am able to gain an offer, I would want to start working right away at least a handful of months (to gain some experience) before having to take leave

Any thoughts from any family-women/family men?

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Anonymous replied on Jan 16, 2018

Wow. I totaly know what you mean.

So I'm married and have a 1.5 year old son.

It is not easy, not by a long shot. That's not to say you should be deterred at all.

There isn't a simple way to write a magic formula that will ensure a perfect family/work balance but a few things to set expectations / tips:

- Setting your expectaitons and preparing yourself and family: Your first project / 2 will be super hard to balance. This is a fact sadly. You will be a new consultant trying to swim with the other, prove himself etc. Honestly - I think just by expecting this and preparing the family and home accordingly, this will help a bit.

That's not at all to say you can't already start taking the lead on balancing family/work. But I promise you will become exponentially better at this by your 4/5/6 study.

- Setting expectations with your direct manager, EM. This isnt easy, but you should be as honest as you can in your priorities both at work and home. Most new consultants do not do this even though it sounds 100% trivial and straightforwrad. Most times you'll be surprised by how receptive the EM is to your priorites. This is for 3 main reasons:

1) They have been doing this for a while - and like I said in my first point - they have also become much better at balancing their work/life balance - they need it too!

2) Don't forget managers and especially EMs depend on great constructive feedback to do their job well, not to mention to get good ratings and eventually get promoted. It is their goal and priority to do the study well and deliver impact to the client but to also, and just as importantly, deliver a great experience to their team.

3) They are probably good people :)

Hope this short answer helps, I could go on for hours talking about this. A happy consultant is a great consultant and honestly it is a helpful life skill to become better at managing this delicate balance.

Good luck!

:)

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Andrea
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 30, 2018
Former BCG Principal and decision round interviewer

In answer to your first question, if you travel Mon-Thu:

  • It is really important that you committ to give back alone time to your spouse during the weekend and spend as much time with the kids as you can. You will have alone time during the week, albeit little.
  • Also important to set and protect a daily facetime/skype/hangout time with your kids. Consistency and full focus on call (and not work, emails, transit from one place to another) here is key. If you are not 100% is almost better if you do not have the call.
  • To complete the first bullet, try to do all your personal activities (work-out, read, etc) while away so the weekend you concentrate on family

If you do not travel Mon-Thu, have an explicit conversation with your wife/kids on new commitments of job, likelyhood you won't be able to be home early and that you might need after dinner until late.

To answer you second question:

  • I would strongly suggest either to start ~6 months after you have the newborn or to start at least ~6 months before is born. This is because those first months on a new job are extremely critical (make it or brake it critical) and you want to be fully concentrated on it.
  • In US if you start after baby is born you won't have paid paternity/maternity leave but can negotiate a leave before starting. Be upfront
  • In US if you start before baby is born you will have paid paternity/maternity leave. My suggestion is to make sure you take it once your project is ended and you make sure you start enough in advance before the birth to allow you to be staffable on a 3-6 months project.

Hope it helps,

Andrea

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Anonymous replied on Apr 29, 2020

Dear A,

I'm personally very skeptical about work-life balance in consultant companies and if we speak of such life moments like having children, it is just a matter of time when I would leave consultancy.

Hope it helps,

Best,

André

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 16, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Since the topic is a bit personal, feel free to write me to discuss the topic in depth. It´s key that you are asking for it, since it´s very very relevant when asessing if Consulting is for you.

Cheers!

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Anonymous B on Jan 16, 2020

"Feel free to write me" to who?? You're answering to a question of 2 years ago, the candidate can be even a coach now!

B
Expert
replied on Feb 23, 2018
NOT AVAILABLE

Hey anonymous,

As others have referred, it's definitely possible to manage your lifestyle even if you're married. However, from my experience doing project across four continents, I would say that the best predictor of lifestyle is definitely being very carefully in the choice of the geography you want to apply for!

Best

Bruno

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