Quitting current job for applying

New answer on Sep 15, 2020
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Oct 23, 2018

Hello everyone. I am currently working in a tier 2 consulting firm (I have just graduated and I have some months of experience) and I am not satisfied with the project I am working on and there is very little chance to switch to another project. I am pretty sure that I can find a better firm. However; I don't have enough time for applying (I need to concentrate all the work during the weekend, which is not enough). Do you think that quitting in order to focus on applications would be a good idea? Do you see any reputational risk in doing so?


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replied on Oct 23, 2018
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews

I do not see any reputational risk, but a career one: Consulting positions are hard to come by, and there's absolutely no guarantee you'd get even an interview, let alone an offer. There are 169 hours in a week, are you sure you can't carve out a few to prepare? At the very least, I would find time to polish my resume and apply; then, if you are still hell bent on resigning, you can do so with at least the comfort of knowing some companies are interested enough in your profile to want to speak with you.

Your plan might work - but what if it doesn't? Do you have enough financial cushion to not feel like you have to take the first opportunity that comes your way? Are you ready to the possibility that you'd have to leave consulting altogether?

Bottom line - I'd strongly caution you against this

PS: Yes, I am a married father who is responsible for the financial well being of a family. You might have fewer obligations - and be less risk averse as a result. You still give me palpitations though :)

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Anonymous on Oct 24, 2018

168 ;-)

Anonymous replied on Sep 15, 2020

Hi A,

I completely agree with my colleagues. Quitting would be really not the best option for you now.

As you mentioned, you do not have enough time for applying. Then why do it in a rush?

There is unlikely to be any reputational risk while your career might be ruined. Well, if you are ready to be left with no offers in the near future no one can actually talk you out of quitting.

The question is, why are you in a rush? Better start preparing in advance at least for a couple of hours a week then think of proper applying.

Best, André

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Anonymous updated the answer on Oct 24, 2018

I apologize in advance if my answer is a bit harsh. I am German, so bluntness runs in my DNA.

But it boils down to this: NO, QUITTING IS NOT A GOOD IDEA. SUCK IT UP.

Unless your job makes you physically or mentally ill, your workplace is totally toxic and your boss or colleagues abuse you or the company is not fulfilling the contract you signed, suck it up.

If you want to apply somewhere else, that's fine, but do so while on the job. And even then, I don't think it's a good idea.

Why so? There are rational and emotional reasons for this. Rational:

  • YES, there IS a reputational risk. Do you think the colleagues at your current firm don't know anybody else? Pretty sure they know other people, maybe even some people at the firms you are applying to. People talk. And if the message they are getting is: "Oh yeah, he (or she) quit because he/she didn't like his/her first project" - that's not a good reference.
  • I as an interviewer would seriously question your stamina and loyalty if you decide to quit "some months" into the job because you are "not satisfied with the project you're working on". Guess what: All companies have shitty projects, even MBB. We've all been there, slaving away in a windowless basement on a project that made 0 sense. Tough luck. That's part of why you get paid so much money.
  • As a project manager or Partner, I would seriously question whether I want someone on my team who quits on me at the first sign of hardship. I want someone I can depend on.
  • Also everything Guennael and Benjamin said.

The emotional reasons are just as important:

You know all these sayings: "If you can't stand the heat, don't stand close to the fire?" or "When the going gets tough, the tough get going"?

I could go on, but my point is: People, especially top management consultants, like to see themselves as tough and being able to take the heat. And people like to hire people that are like them (or that they want to get into bed with, but that's a whole different story...). So they like it when someone can tell a story of how they went through hell and came out on the other side or how they soldiered through adversity. Because it makes them feel good about themselves because they see themselves this way. Good luck spinning the story of how you quit after a few months because you didn't like your project that way!

So my recommendation is: Suck it up, soldier on, do the time and come out stronger on the other end. I am not saying to stay there for life. But do a year or two, get a few projects under your belt, and then move on if you're still not satisfied.

Best of luck,


PS: An anecdote as an encouragement that it might be worth it.

I remember a conversation with a Partner at a firm where I worked at the very beginning of my career. It was in the car on the way back from the final presentation of my very first project. He said to me: "You know how good actors sometimes need to make bad movies, just to make some money? This project was like that. Thank you for all the effort you put in and the long nights. I know it was tough. I won't forget it."

That was more than ten years ago. To this day I benefit from my relationship with this Partner, despite the fact that I quit his firm and that we live and work in different countries today.


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replied on Oct 24, 2018
ex-Manager - Natural and challenging teacher - Taylor case solving, no framework


Why would there be any reputational risk ? I don't see any..
The onrly risk I see is for your carreer :
- You're not sure about the final outcome
- The recruitement planning could be longer than expected

So If you are willing to make a move and have absolutely no time, to limit your risk I would suggest :

- Ask for LOA, and take advantage of this to prepare your itw

- Reduce your implication on your current job to dedicate more time to practicing in parallele

Hope this helps


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replied on Oct 24, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


It's not a good idea since you are probably overestimating the chances for success.

Why don't you take an unpaid leave (a couple of months) and prepare?


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Anonymous B updated the answer on Oct 24, 2018


My recommendation is that you should not quit.

I started to apply to Strat Consulting jobs in January 2018 (had my first interview in Feb 2018). I've been very close twice (with final rounds) and still haven't made it. My confidence throughout these months has increased substantially with increased interview experience - leading with pressure, portraying myself in the best possible way and solving the cases in a more structured manner.

For me this is taking a while but i'm fairly confident I will make it eventually. I work quite long hours in my current job but have dedicated weekends, late nights or early mornings to do a case. It seems like a real pain but definetly worth it if this is what you want, and are determined to do.

I'm waiting to hear from an interview I did on Friday. Let's see how it goes. Good luck!


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Guennael gave the best answer


Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews
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