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Peter

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Specialist vs generalist in consulting?

Just got a question about consulting in general.

I understand that people start off as generalists, doing work in all sectors, but need to specialize in a particular industry or function soon. When does this specialization begin? Is it a choice made by people or must everyone do it? What if I want to keep working on different projects throughout my career? Is that possible?

requesting experts to please share their experiences and opinions

Just got a question about consulting in general.

I understand that people start off as generalists, doing work in all sectors, but need to specialize in a particular industry or function soon. When does this specialization begin? Is it a choice made by people or must everyone do it? What if I want to keep working on different projects throughout my career? Is that possible?

requesting experts to please share their experiences and opinions

1 answer

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Each consultancy has people specialise at its own level and within a company some offices are different and individuals are different. Generally though for MBB you're looking at specialisation somewhere a bit before or a bit after Manager promotion. Most specialisation is by industry (e.g. oil & gas, financial services), but there is also capability specialisation - mergers and acquisitions, cost control, etc. Within each area there is of course a ton of variation (oil & gas could be growth, turnaround, innovation, acqusition, etc etc.).

As you get more senior and go through your career you're not necessarily stuck in one place either - People move around due to business and personal needs and so you might develop a speciality in a couple different areas, or you might more from one to another.

Each consultancy has people specialise at its own level and within a company some offices are different and individuals are different. Generally though for MBB you're looking at specialisation somewhere a bit before or a bit after Manager promotion. Most specialisation is by industry (e.g. oil & gas, financial services), but there is also capability specialisation - mergers and acquisitions, cost control, etc. Within each area there is of course a ton of variation (oil & gas could be growth, turnaround, innovation, acqusition, etc etc.).

As you get more senior and go through your career you're not necessarily stuck in one place either - People move around due to business and personal needs and so you might develop a speciality in a couple different areas, or you might more from one to another.

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