Software Engineer to Strategy Consultant?

Bain & Company BCG BCG Platinion Digital McKinsey DigitalBCG McKinsey McKinsey & Company recruiting strategy consulting
New answer on Jul 04, 2022
5 Answers
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SB asked on Jun 24, 2022

Thanks for taking the time.

- UK based, 25, BSc Comp Sci, 3 years at a BB bank as a software dev in a Sales and Trading team.

- I wish to change from coding and I feel like Strategy Consulting is something I would really like. Concurrently, I am recruiting and have an offer for a tech Product Manager role in a top 3 US BB bank. Reason for this is so I can get more commercial exposure as a PM rather than a pure software dev. I don't otherwise know how in a corporate role I can move away from coding apart from PM or tech sales.

- I have trouble with two things - > 1. Figuring out what is the right job for me; 2. Structuring (pun intended) on where exactly to join.

My issue is I want strategy consulting but not sure which companies are real strategy consulting companies(beyond MBB) - I just do not want to get stuck into an Accenture type of tech implementation role.

Moreover, I want to see what entry points I can use to enter - undergrad/bachelor graduate schemes are closed off due to me being a bit late from graduation. Then, more experienced (Associate etc) require some sort of commercial/strategy type of experience. So it is a bit of a locked cycle.

There is MBB Digital (Strategy extension) Junior Associate and I got a first case there but it as it was my first case I blew it. I can reapply of course and then after 2 years more of experience I will even qualify theoretically for Associate and I can recruit for there with or without MBA.

I can also try BGC Platinion or GAMMA, which would allow me to be a some sort of consultant in BCG and then try to network into Strategy/Digital Strategy? Or an internal tech role there like PM? Tier 2 like OW, LEK, KEARNEY, Ronald Berger etc. I do not see where I can plug myself in as they are smaller with no digital capabilities.

Then there is Big 4. Definitely worth going into their Strategy Houses. Again, here in the experienced I do not see how I can break in into non-entry level roles. Or I can do something similar as MBB above -> go into their Tech Consulting and then move into Strategy. What worries me here if there is a Chinese wall between them as they are quite detached and not sure if Big 4 tech consulting to MBB Strategy is possible (compared to just sticking to industry).

- Then there is the question of whether I should save up from my new job and consider an MBA to maximise chances for Associate MBB, Big 4 Strategy and Tier

or

Put my current irrelevant experience to the side with a Masters in Finance or something to branch out and reset myself to a graduate level where I guess it is easiest to earn offers as an analyst.

Thanks!

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Best answer
Francesco
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replied on Jun 25, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi SB,

1) My issue is I want strategy consulting but not sure which companies are real strategy consulting companies (beyond MBB) - I just do not want to get stuck into an Accenture type of tech implementation role.

The definition is fluid and region-dependent but after MBB top companies are usually considered Oliver Wyman, Kearney, Strategy& and Roland Berger. You may target others as well of course. Some companies may require you have an MBA to reposition yourself.

2) I can also try BGC Platinion or GAMMA, which would allow me to be a some sort of consultant in BCG and then try to network into Strategy/Digital Strategy? 

This is quite different from generalist strategy (both in terms of job and interview process). You should first define whether you want to be a strategy consultant or a data scientist.

3) Then there is the question of whether I should save up from my new job and consider an MBA to maximise chances for Associate MBB, Big 4 Strategy and Tie o Put my current irrelevant experience to the side with a Masters in Finance or something to branch out and reset myself to a graduate level where I guess it is easiest to earn offers as an analyst.

I would 

  1. Apply now without MBA. 
  2. If that doesn’t work complete a top MBA and apply again after it

Can’t see why you should reposition yourself as a new grad.

You can find more on how to get a referral and new consulting trends (useful to discuss during referral calls as well) below:

 How to Get an MBB Interview

 11 New Consulting Trends You Should Know 

Please feel free to PM me if you have more questions.

Best,
Francesco

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SB on Jun 25, 2022

Hi Francesco, Many thanks for your response. A couple of clarifications if possible as I still have difficulty figuring out which paths to target. "The definition is fluid and region-dependent" Agree, but there must be some way to have a list because I can fit into tech consulting specific firms quite well with my background but I do not want to get stuck into false-advertised "strategy roles". "This is quite different from generalist strategy (both in terms of job and interview process)." I understand that GAMMA and Platinion are quite different than BCG Strategy/Digital Strategy. But the idea is GAMMA and Platinion are more suited towards my background (to get that interview) and since MBB are classic strategy houses maybe it can be easier to transfer to the Strategy pipeline later. That is because I guess everything in MBB is built on top of their strategy houses (compared to Big 4). That is why for example McKinsey Digital and BCG Digital are on the Strategy pipeline and not separate (interviewing and work). Feel free to correct. Obviously, a Strategy house role or Transactional services in Big 4 might better if end goal is MBB Strategy. But both Strategy and Transactional Services in Big 4 recruit like this: - Graduate scheme -> I am too much time out of bachelors for this - Free-floating Analyst roles -> Haven't seen much of these but they would want something like the below. - Associate -> They want strategy/growth experience for Strategy houses or financial modeling / finance experience for Transactional Services. Big 4 Technology consulting is still an option but even in a brand like Big 4 not sure how I can make the case to jump from their tech consulting houses to their strategy houses or MBB Strategy. "Can’t see why you should reposition yourself as a new grad" Because if I do a MiM or MiF I will make myself qualify for graduate schemes that I have missed years ago (MBB, Big 4 Strategy houses, OW etc) where I supposed the applicant to places ratio is the best chances. Might be stupid however and better to stick to saving up more money and go to an MBA (which I guess would be a more natural timeline as it is for people with experience). And just something still relevant - do you think my jump to tech product management from software dev is a better move given my goals? Thank you very much.

(edited)

Francesco on Jun 25, 2022

Hi SB, quite a bit of content ;) It's probably easier to reply via chat, please feel free to PM me there, happy to help. Best, Francesco

Ian
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replied on Jun 25, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

You need a career coach.

Ultimately there are so many questions here (and the decision is so impactful to your future) you really shouldn't rely on a Q&A to figure out what to do.

1 hour with a career coach can help you sort out all the above and have a clear pathway…it's a pretty clear ROI.

Happy to help - feel free to reach out.

Here's my general advice given your situation:

  1. Network extensively to understand what job/role makes sense for you
  2. Network extensively to see what companies might be interested in you
  3. Apply to a wide range of companies, leveraging networking/referrals
  4. During interviews, also interview them…to figure out if they're the right fit (yes, interviews aren't a one way street!)
  5. Get a case coach to support your interview process (optimized resume/application, optimized odds of success in the interview, optimized negotiation skills to get tens of thousands of more $)
  6. With multiple offers in hand, make your choice!
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Lucie
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updated an answer on Jul 04, 2022
10+yrs recruiting & top BCG trainer and coach & BCG Project leader & experienced hire & ICF coach

Hi there, 

there is a lot of questions in your message, but many we cant answer for you as only you know the answers. 

With you background and if you enjoy software/tech linked to business to explore the specialty units of MBB (Gamma, Platinion, etc.) which allows you to work in your field of expertise, on the other hand you work on cool work at the top strategic firms

Recruiting for this role is not exactly the same as for generalist role, hence please check it out. 

yet before applying, I would encourage you eventually to take time and little bit clarify what you look for in your job and what is the most important aspect that you will jump out of the bed eager to start working. Maybe it is not consulting, maybe yes, but I think more clarity on what you truly want would benefit you. Certified career coach can help you with that in probably 1 session. ONLY seek for certified coach from International coach association, most of the coaches here are not certified, because “coaching” here is rather mentoring/training. 

If you want to find out more, feel free to reach out directly, I am certified career coach. 

Good luck,

Lucie

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(edited)

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Clara
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replied on Jun 27, 2022
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

I think it´s wonderful that you are having these conversations with yourself, truly! 

I would advise you what others already said: get a career coach with whom you can work on your priorities, goals… and ultimately define a strategy. 

Hope it helps!

Cheers, 

Clara

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Ashwin
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Content Creator
replied on Jun 26, 2022
Ex Manager Bain and company | INSEAD

It's good to talk to a career coach or a mentor before making life changing decisions . Many a times when you brainstorm with a good career coach, he can peel through your motivations and rationale by probing deeper into what you are exactly missing and what direction will provide you a better purpose 

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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