A consulting career: The good, bad and ugly (focused on senior roles)

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Presentation on the pros and cons of a career in management consulting, with focus on the later-stage roles (manager, associate principal, principal, partner, director). From a long-time Bain & Company senior manager. Given as a webinar on Evisors on February 7, 2013. More on me at http://www.careandfeeding.com.

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  • Describe how senior roles at consulting firms differ from the junior rolesGive an overview of the consulting value proposition – both benefits and costs – at Manager and PartnerGive some thoughts on people who have gotten the most out of the long-term consulting career
  • A consulting career: The good, bad and ugly (focused on senior roles)

    1. 1. The Long-Term Consulting Career Value Proposition featuring: James Weiss Former Senior Manager at Caitlin Quan Hosted by: Evisors Marketing & Operations Associate Hosted by: .com/webinars Expert Advice On Demand.
    2. 2. Agenda1. About James2. Why are we talking about this?3. Being a Manager4. Being a Partner5. Q&A Hosted by: .com/webinars Expert Advice On Demand.
    3. 3. About James“Entrepreneur and Reformed Consultant”• >6 years post MBA at Bain NYC, Singapore, HK• Promoted early to Manager, then to Senior Manager• Specialized in PE, Media, and FS Tech• Left in „10 to start up / advise early-stage companies• Princeton AB, Wharton MBA• Started career at DreamWorks in LA, then built two Internet companies Hosted by: .com/webinars Expert Advice On Demand.
    4. 4. Why are you here?• Considering joining a consultancy as an “experienced hire”• In a consulting firm today contemplating your long-term commitment• Thinking about consulting vs. other long-term job options Hosted by: .com/webinars Expert Advice On Demand.
    5. 5. Most common two questions I get1. How do I get a job in consulting?2. What it’s like to be a manager or partner? Hosted by: .com/webinars Expert Advice On Demand.
    6. 6. $$$ Partnership $$$ !! Hosted by:.com/webinars Expert Advice On Demand.
    7. 7. Well, not exactly. Hosted by:.com/webinars Expert Advice On Demand.
    8. 8. High Level: What’s the Job?Associate / Pose questions, get answers andConsultant keep the manager happy Manage teams, recruitManager / associates, keep client happyPrincipal Sell projects, makePartner / managers, build the firm, keepDirector fellow partners happy Hosted by: .com/webinars Expert Advice On Demand.
    9. 9. The Manager Hosted by:.com/webinars Expert Advice On Demand.
    10. 10. Being a Manager: What’s the job?Managers are…• Running a team• Working directly with senior executives on the client side• Helping deliver thought-leadership to your firm• Mentoring associates and junior clients• Trying to look credible… but not too credible Hosted by: .com/webinars Expert Advice On Demand.
    11. 11. Being a Manager: What do you get?Managers get…• Training and experience: You learn a lot – throughput goes WAY up, and you focus on people management• Value jump: Start to become worth more in the marketplace• Prestige: Begin to be recognized as an expert in and out of the firm Hosted by: .com/webinars Expert Advice On Demand.
    12. 12. Being a Manager: The Ugly Welcome to the middle. Hosted by: .com/webinars Expert Advice On Demand.
    13. 13. Being a Manager: The UglyAs a Manager you have to deal with…• Everyone – no one is happy, and they all now comes to you• Ridiculous workloads• Less money and respect than you probably deserve (especially from Partners)• Travel and sacrifice for your “craft” Hosted by: .com/webinars Expert Advice On Demand.
    14. 14. What comes next?When Managers leave, they go to…• Large companies, in Director/VP-level strategy or analytical roles, with track to “operational role” in 1.5-3 years• Operations groups in PE funds, or Director- level roles in their portfolios• More rarely: Deal-side roles in PE; operating roles in mid-sized companies; BD or marketing roles in small / startup companies Hosted by: .com/webinars Expert Advice On Demand.
    15. 15. UpshotThe Manager role is…• Really good training for being a General Manager (although external firms don‟t always see it that way)• A chance to develop more significant senior relationships outside the firm• Opportunity to become an expert in a field• Well-compensated – a major step up from Consultant• A long way from Partner (3-7 years), with the long- term challenge of satisfying a lot of constituents Hosted by: .com/webinars Expert Advice On Demand.
    16. 16. Now… before we go into Partner…Welcome to thepartner promotionprocess.Hope the godssmile upon you. Hosted by: .com/webinars Expert Advice On Demand.
    17. 17. The Partner Hosted by:.com/webinars Expert Advice On Demand.
    18. 18. Being a Partner: What’s the job?Partners are…• Selling! Upselling and breaking new business• Building relationships• No longer project managing: Set up the case, get things going, set the tone, then check out• Pitching, writing proposals, speaking at conferences, writing white papers• Mentoring managers• Helping lead the firm Hosted by: .com/webinars Expert Advice On Demand.
    19. 19. Being a Partner: What do you get?Partners get…• Money: Wealth (but eat what you kill)• Autonomy: You are now responsible for a line of business and results• Job security: Most firms rarely push out partners, and there‟s often a “revolving door”• Intellectual stimulation: You‟re working on many things at once• Prestige: Being a partner = respect• Interesting opportunities: Both in and out of the firm Hosted by: .com/webinars Expert Advice On Demand.
    20. 20. Being a Partner: The Ugly Thought you had control? Ha! Hosted by:.com/webinars Expert Advice On Demand.
    21. 21. Being a Partner: The UglyAs a partner you …• Actually have a lot less control over your life – the sooner you give up your calendar the better off you are!• Struggle to move jobs – few jobs pay as well, give you the intellectual stimulation, and have the job security• Are hard to employ – a highly-paid person without “execution experience” is a tough sell Hosted by: .com/webinars Expert Advice On Demand.
    22. 22. What comes nextIn most firms, partners don’t leave. If you’ve gonethrough the pain of getting there, you stay.Those who leave go to…• Roles within the firm – specialties, practice area heads, developmental roles• Divisional Head / SVP roles, or Head of Strategy, at larger companies• Rarely: Partner roles at other service firms; CEO roles (mid-sized firms, ex-clients); PE / VC (very rare) Hosted by: .com/webinars Expert Advice On Demand.
    23. 23. UpshotThe Partner role can be fantastic if you…• Want to live well and develop wealth (but don‟t expect to be a billionaire / master of the universe)• Recognize you‟re a salesperson (or sales manager) with a P&L, not a corporate executive• Enjoy being a “smart dude” – you‟re a (well-paid) prof• Take control – successful partners build their practice on what they do well and love, and set boundaries• Embrace the flexibility within your firm – there are many chances to try things and reinvent yourself Hosted by: .com/webinars Expert Advice On Demand.
    24. 24. Closing thoughts• Compared with other careers, consultancy can be quite high on the value vs. effort equation• Culture and people are paramount - it‟s a human capital business – if you love the culture and the people it can be a wonderful, uplifting career• Few companies have as much fluidity as consultancies. If you like variety and intellectual stimulation, it only gets better with time…• … but, if you want to run a business, it only gets harder and further away the more senior you get Hosted by: .com/webinars Expert Advice On Demand.
    25. 25. Connect James Weiss Former Senior Manager atBook your one-on-one session with James at www.evisors.com/expert/689 He can help you with: • Career Assessment • Consulting Interview Practice • Resume Development …and more! Hosted by: .com/webinars Expert Advice On Demand.
    26. 26. Questions & Answers Hosted by:.com/webinars Expert Advice On Demand.

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