Schedule mock interviews on the Meeting Board, join the latest community discussions in our Consulting Q&A and find like-minded Case Partners to connect and practice with!

Seeking career advice (laid off and thinking about next step)

recruiting
New answer on Jun 04, 2023
5 Answers
395 Views
Anonymous A asked on Jun 03, 2023

Hi forum, unfortunately I was laid off after one year in consulting (post MBA level). I'm taking time to think about my next step now, so would appreciate your suggestions!

I'm still interested in strategy consulting, but at this stage most tier 1&2 firms are not recruiting experienced hires. The ones that are still recruiting seems to be big 4. Some options that I may have:

(1) Apply to big 4: not in my choice now, as I've previously worked at big 4 and don't want to have a big downgrade in salary

(2) Tier 1 / 2 consulting: given that no firms are hiring at my grade in my region, I may try to explore other regions / overseas locations, but chance may be low

(3) Work in the industry: seems to be more feasible, but the concern I have is that if I want to apply strategy consulting in future, my career would look "jumpy" and not coherent. In addition, with only 1 year strategy consulting experience, my options might be more limited as many firms would prefer several years of consulting experience 

(4) Try to work as a freelancer and wait till Tier 1 or 2 firms open account: this would create a long gap in my resume, so not really considering this option

In a nutshell, trying to evaluate whether I should pick a job and start working ASAP to avoid career gaps, or spend more time to find job and wait for more headcount openings.

Not in a great position now…so any sharing would be appreciated. 

(edited)

Overview of answers

Upvotes
  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best answer
Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 04, 2023
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

First of all, I'm so sorry to hear. Never easy. You will bounce back. 

#1 issue I see with your thinking is you're already limiting choices. DONT!

Network and apply everywhere. You're being super selective right now. Beggars can't be choosers as they say. You have 16 hours in a day now right? You should be having calls every single day, be submitting dozens of applications a week everywhere.

Then, choose once offers come through.

My view is options 1, 2, and 3 should ALL be pursued right now.

(1) Apply to big 4: not in my choice now, as I've previously worked at big 4 and don't want to have a big downgrade in salary

Hmmm, you're assuming a downgrade in salary. Are you 100% sure?

Also, something (salary downgrade) is better than nothing (no job).

I'd say it doesn't hurt to apply alongside dozens of other applications. Have a backup. But if your heart truly isn't in it, don't.

(2) Tier 1 / 2 consulting: given that no firms are hiring at my grade in my region, I may try to explore other regions / overseas locations, but chance may be low

Try. Network. See what happens. Follow the paths of regions that have demand and want you.

(3) Work in the industry: seems to be more feasible, but the concern I have is that if I want to apply strategy consulting in future, my career would look "jumpy" and not coherent. In addition, with only 1 year strategy consulting experience, my options might be more limited as many firms would prefer several years of consulting experience 

If you work in industry this is fine. If you get a strategy/ops role that is perfectly fine. There are so many roles in industry that can apply to strategy consulting.

By the way, you might realize you like it. Strategy consulting is not the end-all-be-all, especially for you right now. 

(4) Try to work as a freelancer and wait till Tier 1 or 2 firms open account: this would create a long gap in my resume, so not really considering this option

Only if you can get work. Are people on LinkedIn messaging you to work? Do you have a network you can tap into?

Was this answer helpful?
Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 04, 2023
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Sorry to hear about the situation. In terms of your question:

Q: Trying to evaluate whether I should pick a job and start working ASAP to avoid career gaps, or spend more time to find job and wait for more headcount openings.

If your goal is to stay in consulting, I would keep as a key target option (2) and apply to strategy consulting openings abroad. You will most likely need to do networking to get referrals and keep the range of consulting options open to many firms.

At the same time, I would also consider option (3) for what you were planning to do after leaving consulting – who knows, maybe you could find a great option in the same industry where you wanted to eventually land.

I would not consider (1) if you are sure you don’t want to do it and (4) seems more like a backup if nothing works with (2) and (3).

For more on referrals you can check the following:

▶ How to Get an MBB Invitation

▶ The Exact Steps to Get a Referral

Good luck!

Francesco

Was this answer helpful?
Benjamin
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 04, 2023
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer & top performer

Hi,

Sorry to hear about your situation. My take on this:

Try for #2 but if not possible go for #3

  • The key challenge you have to overcome is your story on why you left your consulting job 1 year after MBA
    • As an experienced hire recruiter, if a CV with a similar situation, the first question on my mind is whether a candidate was counselled out vs left due to extenuating / other circumstances
  • If you manage to secure a role in another consulting firm right now, why not. There are still regions that are hiring. You'll have to figure out how to answer the challenge above
  • As an experienced hire, the most recent working experience becomes the most relevant. Therefore, if you manage to get a good industry role and do well in it, you'll be judged more on that and less on the 1 year in consulting
    • More importantly - do remember that many consultants do ‘boomerang’ so its not uncommon for people to leave to industry and then come back again

All the best!

Was this answer helpful?
Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 04, 2023
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi there, 

Depending on your appetite / level of desperation :) I would try a combination of all 4. 

Basically, in difficult economic times, go broad with your strategy. I outlined the steps of this in the guide below. This would enable you to secure at least one offer.

Now, you need to change your personal storyline around points 3 and 4.

Point 3 - no, your career doesn't have to look ‘jumpy’, though if you believe it is and think this way, this is how it will come across. If anybody asks why you made those moves, you can explain how you strategised and adapted to the changes in the industry and economy at that time. That's a skill, not something for them to hold against you.

Point 4 - Freelancing shouldn't be a gap in your career. It should be an asset. Coaches are freelancers. Artists are freelancers. Writers, Marketing Specialists, etc. Some of the most successful people I know are freelancers. Register a legal entity as a freelancer and get to work. It's actually a great way to learn and build something, not only to cover a CV gap. 

Last but not least, seek mentors and/or get coaching support. A wise counsel can problem-solve with you through your options and unravel what it is that you truly care about and should thus be optimising for. 

Best of luck,
Cristian

 

Was this answer helpful?
Sophia
Expert
replied on Jun 04, 2023
Top-Ranked Coach on PrepLounge for 3 years| 6+ years of coaching

Hello,

I'm sorry to hear that you are in a difficult position. I think Ian's advice is spot on - if you are at the early stages of your job search, go for breadth in networking and applying to all available options, and see what happens. You might find you don't have to make some of the compromises in terms of salary downgrades or region moves, but in any case you won't know this for sure until you start really putting yourself out there and networking. In my opinion, it's difficult to game out when hiring will pick up such that there are more headcount openings for what you're looking for. So I would actively explore all your options, go hard on networking, and see what opportunities end up being available for you. Best of luck!

Was this answer helpful?
Ian gave the best answer

Ian

Content Creator
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate
1,107
Meetings
80,224
Q&A Upvotes
244
Awards
5.0
151 Reviews
How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or fellow student?
0 = Not likely
10 = Very likely
You are a true consultant! Thank you for consulting us on how to make PrepLounge even better!