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Seeking Advice: Future Prospects in GCC Consulting Amid Economic Shifts

Advice alternatives BCG career Hiring freeze McKinsey Middle East Oliver Wyman strategy&
New answer on Jul 08, 2024
5 Answers
Anonymous A asked on Jun 21, 2024

Hello everyone,

I am currently exploring opportunities to join a strategy consulting firm in the GCC as a junior consultant.

While I secured referrals from partners at McKinsey, Oliver Wyman, and BCG, I have been advised to postpone applications until September due to a market slowdown. Meanwhile, my application to Strategy& was unsuccessful after their online assessment stage.

From what I understand, Saudi Arabia is reassessing its investment strategies in response to public budget deficits triggered by declining oil prices. This has led to a hiring freeze at several firms, particularly for junior positions, with only senior roles being considered.

Given these circumstances, do you think the consulting market in the GCC will rebound in the near future? What factors should I monitor closely? Additionally, how can I enhance my candidacy during this waiting period? Are there alternative career paths that I should consider?

As an alternative, I am applying to sustainability consulting firms in Europe, where regulatory changes have sparked significant demand for these services.

I appreciate any insights or advice you can provide!

Thank you

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Content Creator
replied on Jun 21, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

First of all, kudos to you for having those chats with the recruiters before sending the applications. 

Realistically speaking, very few candidates do that and once they get rejected they have no idea why this happened. 

So, yes, do wait until autumn.

In the meantime, slowly build your interview skills, particularly on the case since this takes longer.

Also, work on identifying who could give you referrals. 

If you want to improve your profile in the meantime (since the timeline is short), I would suggest you volunteer to do consulting work for a local organisation you are fond of.

The alternatives are endless. Yes, you could apply to other geographies, other roles, etc. But rather, spend some time upfront to figure out what it is that you actually want, so you don't end up carpet bombing with applications everywhere.

Sharing with you a guide that might help you think through the process:

Expert Guide: Build A Winning Application Strategy


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Anonymous on Jul 08, 2024

Thank you for your response Cristian and for the guide ! It is very useful. I agree it is better to target specifically the companies I want for the roles I want. I have clarity on wanting to be a consultant, preferably in business strategy and possibly in sustainability as it is one of my areas of focus. In the meantime, as you suggested, I will keep preparing to be ready for when an opportunity comes. Thanks


replied on Jul 03, 2024
Associate and All-star Interviewer at OW | Ex-S& | 5+ years in the Middle East |300+ Interviews | INSEAD MBA

Hello there,

Thank you for reaching out and sharing your current situation.

It's important to note that as an off-cycle candidate, the recruitment process can naturally take a bit longer, typically ranging from 3 to 6 months. Given this timeline, applying now versus waiting until September may not significantly impact your start date, especially if the market is expected to improve so I would wait until September.

During this waiting period, patience is crucial. Additionally, gaining relevant work experience can be highly beneficial. This can include taking on internships, project-based roles, or even short-term assignments that align with your consulting aspirations. Exploring opportunities with sustainability consulting firms in Europe is a smart move this could be an excellent way to diversify your experience and skills while the GCC market stabilizes. 

I would also advise you to monitor factors like economic policies, investment trends, and sector-specific developments in the GCC to stay informed about potential market rebounds and will make your conversations with the regional consultants more insightful. 

Happy to discuss this further!

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Anonymous A on Jul 08, 2024

Hello Hani, thank you for your response and sound advice. I agree and I will be patiently waiting until September. I am not at university anymore, so I cannot do internships, but I will keep exploring work opportunities that can complement my experience. I will keep monitoring developments in the GCC to remain insightful. I will let you know if I have any further questions. Thanks

Content Creator
replied on Jul 08, 2024
#1 recommended coach | >95% success rate | most experience in consulting, interviewing, and coaching

Hi there,

First of all, I am sorry to hear about the rejection from Strategy&!

I would be happy to share my thoughts on your situation:

  • First of all, and contrary to what other coaches have said, nobody knows how the economy will develop, including us coaches. As such, I do not see any point in trying to predict the future. You did great by being in touch with the recruiters, which is all that is under your control.
  • Moreover, while you wait for the consulting market to recover in the GCC, it's a smart move to look for sustainability consulting opportunities in Europe (and other consulting-related opportunities) to increase your candidacy.

You can find more on this topic here: How to deal with a rejection from a consulting company.

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



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Anonymous A on Jul 08, 2024

Hello Hagen, thank you for your response. It is indeed uncertain. I will make sure to read the article you shared, it looks useful. I would be happy to reach out to discuss in more details. Thanks. Best,

Content Creator
replied on Jun 22, 2024
Ex Bain Manager , Deloitte Director| 200+ MBB Offers | INSEAD

Not a bad idea to wait till you have more clarity. 
The GCC consulting market is likely to rebound, driven by economic diversification efforts (new industry expansion - tourism, renewable energy, technology) and digital transformation (AI, Smart cities) initiatives.

Continue to network, improve your Case and FIT interviewing skills. 



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Anonymous A on Jul 08, 2024

Hello Ashwin, thank you for your comment! This is what I am hoping for, but the global economic context is not reassuring. I see that the share of gdp driven by the non-oil sector is expanding in the region, but things remain uncertain. In the meantime, I will keep sharpening my skills and profile. Thanks

replied on Jun 27, 2024
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Private Equity | Market Estimates | Fit Interview

If they tell you to wait… then wait.

Regarding factors to monitor… honestly, business cycles are long and no one can afford to be waiting for the right moment. So apply in September to as many firms you can and then move on if you don't get it. And, of course, reapply one year later.

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Anonymous on Jul 08, 2024

Hello Pedro, I agree. That is why I feel a bit uncertain about the whole economic situation. I would be curious to discuss what kind of roles could provide a relevant springboard to re-apply one year after. Thanks


Cristian gave the best answer


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