Why did you select consulting as a career over other options in the non-core sector?
Ans: There were multiple factors, ‘exposure’ being the core value propoposition for me. Strategy consulting provides you exposure to business situations from the CXO/Investor’s point of view which otherwise takes decades when ranking up from an entry level job in the industry.
Note: This in no way puts an entry level consultant at an equal footing to someone with years of experience in the industry.
What does the job typically entail? And what is the lifestyle like?
Ans: Consultants are hired to help organizations solve critical business challenges and achieve desired outcomes. Typical cases are helping a company improve profitability, assisting in market entry, advising investors in diligencing potential investments etc.
Consulting, as like most other jobs is quite some grind. Typical work hours would range between 12-14 hours/day and weekends would be weekdays occasionally.
What kind of projects have you worked on?
Ans: The firm I’m employed at (Parthenon) specializes in advising clients in the education sector, these could be operators/investors. Some of my key projects are:
buy side due-diligence of K-12 school chains and Higher Education Universities across Africa, SE Asia and UAE for multiple Private Equity firms and market entry in Kuwait for UK’s biggest Pre-school network. Besides this, I wrote a white paper on ‘The proliferation of international branch campuses in emerging markets’.
How fast/slow is the promotion process?
Ans: Formally, most firms promote you to the next ‘designation’ every 2-3 years. However, from what I’ve noticed, leveling up in terms of the ownership of work happens much sooner than that. Which is quicker than in other jobs.
What are the exit options? What are the general exit trends that you see with the people at your firm?
Ans: I’ve seen people moving on to Private Equities, pursuing Masters (business/other), joining startups/ corporates, starting up themselves etc.
How feasible is transfer from consulting to other profiles like FMCG, Finance, Entrepreneurship, etc.? And do you see yourself shifting profiles a few years down the line?
Ans: I’d say it’s easier to move to any space from consulting than from any other job. Consulting basically gives you a structured approach to things and the confidence of solving (or at least attempting to solve) problems with first principles, and these are key things someone would look for in their ideal hire/partner. These are again generalist skills and you would need specific add-ons if you’re looking to move into a niche field.
As for me, while consulting is a great place to be and hone your skills, I see it as more of a support industry rather than a core one. My long term plan is to start a business of my own. I’ve spent a year here so far, maybe a couple more and I’d look forward to working at an early/growth stage company before embarking on a journey of my own.
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