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What are the best exit options for consultants?

Anonymous A

I'm wondering where most consultants actually end up in after consulting. I see a lot of consultants transitioning to startups for instance. Is that really the best option or is it overhyped?

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Srihari
Expert
replied on 05/04/2017
Former BCG consultant and adult trainer with experience in US, India, and Middle East

So firstly, this varies A LOT by region, tenure, etc,(and everyone has a different definition of 'best option') but here are some of the most common routes.

1) Younger consultants (post undergrad, post MBA) tend to go to the start-up scene more than older ones. I think whether you do that is about your own tolerance for risk and how passionate you are about the start-up you find, etc. Pay may not always be great to start, but you get equity - which means if it does well, it's a HUGE upside.

2) Corporate roles - most commonly in business development/corporate strategy, but you often see these in any functional role. These leverage the consulting skillset very directly, but obviously less risk than a start-up. People who want something more stable/safe, but less working hours tend to go this route. Pay may be comparable or slighly less, but the trajectory is definitely slower than consulting.

3) There are a lot who go into PE/VC, again, very commonly among younger consultants. Financially, this is probably the best, but not everyone wants to do this type of work. Also very much leverages the consulting skillset.

Francesco replied on 05/06/2017
Ex BCG | MBB Specialist | #1 Expert for meetings done (1000+) and recommendation rate (100%)

Hi Anonymous,

I actually ended founding a startup after my experience at BCG, however that is still not the most common outcome in many countries for people exiting consulting (in Italy for example that’s still rare, mainly due to the fact that the startup ecosystem is not so strong). I would expect that to be far more common in countries where the startup (and Venture Capital) ecosystem is more developed, such as Germany, UK and US. As mentioned by Srihari, age could also be an important factor when deciding whether to move to a startup, either as a founder or as a first employee.

As for the general exit opportunities, besides the ones mentioned by Srihari some other routes may include:

  • Freelance consulting
  • Smaller consulting firms to move to partner level
  • NGO/Government roles

In general, opportunities are pretty broad and after the first few years you could easily move to pretty much everything in these fields, in particular with a MBB stamp.

As for what are the best exit options, that would depend a lot on personal preferences. Some people would prefer the low-risk/stable-path corporate word; others would go for the high-risk/high-reward startup option.

For a complete list, you can also check the following answer of Dolf:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/exit-options-most-lucrative-ones-249#a459

Best,
Francesco

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