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Hello all,

I've recently began considering consulting as a possible career path and had some questions regarding the lifestyle of associates.

Whether its at MBB, 2nd tier or boutique firms, do associates travel frequently? What about work hours in general? I hear that 10-12 hours a day is pretty typical, but does consulting at the level of associate involve a lot of weekend work (in other words, are weekends relatively free? For my purposes I would say that beyond 3-4 hours of work, the weekend is no longer "relatively free")? I have hobbies that I enjoy pretty regularly, and I also enjoy working out on a regular basis. I think I could handle the long work week if I knew I'd have most weekends free to rejuvenate and pursue some of my interests, building a schedule around that. Or is it that if I wanted to work for most consulting firms, I'd have to forfeit that?

At the moment, I'm very interested in BCG and Bain, but please give any advice/insight that you can, regardless of firm.

Thanks!

Comments (14)

  • Kassad's picture

    My observations, as a consulting SA in China working with a bunch of MBAs from HEC, LSE grads, etc.:

    Workday is about 8am - 8pm, Monday - Friday. Weekends involve some work but not a prohibitive amount, and client dinners and site visits are all the time. People are constantly out of the office visiting clients and conducting business. Work is good overall, and everyone makes the yearly offsite break into a magical thing where promotions, bonuses, debauchery and the like all take place.

    I personally make time to work out every night after work, as that's the only time you have to maintain yourself. I try to eat healthy too, i.e. good cheap food rather than McDonalds every day. Weekends don't count as "rejuvination" because that's the only time you get to really socialize, and you often wind up more tired than after work.

    My 2 pennies.

    Equities are for chumps.

  • petergibbons's picture

    2nd year BA/A/AC

    Current case:

    Monday: Travel starts the day around 5:30-6:00, working starts soon after. Work starts around 8 on Tuesday-Thursday, M-W end between 11:30 and 1:30, with a break for 30 min of exercise if it's a good day. Thursday flight around 5 pm and the day ends when my plane touches down (by 8 pm). Fridays are maybe 8-4.

    Weekend work happens sometimes, usually not more than a couple hours. everyone on the team travels, M-Th on most cases. There are plenty of things I could work on during weekends, but I value my sanity, friends, and the like more.

    Hours on this case are worse than most I've been on, but these cases aren't rare.

    Life, liberty and the pursuit of Starwood Points

  • bbjhva's picture

    Yeah, don't come to Singapore/HK. I'm pulling 16 hour days for the last 5 weeks on this project, and this definitely includes weekdays, a fair number of overnight flights, all that crap.

    Don't get me wrong this is definitely what I signed up for, but let's put it this way - I've forgotten what a 8-8 or a 9-9 day feels like...

  • bbjhva's picture

    sorry, meant to say working *weekends too

  • holymonkey's picture

    It seems like there isn't as much travel in consulting as people say. I thought it was MTWR client site F at the office pretty much all the time, pretty much everywhere. And most of the time the travel involves air travel.

    "We are lawyers! We sue people! Occasionally, we get aggressive and garnish wages, but WE DO NOT ABDUCT!" -Boston Legal-

  • TylerT's picture

    Approximately 7:30-5:15 (give or take on each day), with a maximum of 15 minutes for lunch.
    - Back at hotel, I usually put in another hour

    Travel out Sunday evening, travel back to office Thursday evening, in the office Friday.

    Realistically, the day is about 9.5-10 hours here, with the odd exception for a busy week or two (my August is not shaping up nicely).

    Friday's for us are expected office time, unless you are on a short 2 week project our in xyz, where you'll just stay there most likely for 2 weeks rather than flying you home.

    Tyler

  • I_Bankster's picture

    Didn't read any of the replies, so sorry if this has been mentioned but check out managementconsulted.com - great info

  • In reply to TylerT
    Partner-in-Crimesulting's picture

    TylerT wrote:
    Approximately 7:30-5:15 (give or take on each day), with a maximum of 15 minutes for lunch.
    - Back at hotel, I usually put in another hour

    Travel out Sunday evening, travel back to office Thursday evening, in the office Friday.

    Realistically, the day is about 9.5-10 hours here, with the odd exception for a busy week or two (my August is not shaping up nicely).

    Friday's for us are expected office time, unless you are on a short 2 week project our in xyz, where you'll just stay there most likely for 2 weeks rather than flying you home.

    Tyler

    May I ask which firm/tier firm you work for?

    - Currently under review for Senior Monkey position. Will networking with alum help any?

  • alicezhou's picture

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  • In reply to Partner-in-Crimesulting
    TylerT's picture

    Partner-in-Crimesulting wrote:
    TylerT wrote:
    Approximately 7:30-5:15 (give or take on each day), with a maximum of 15 minutes for lunch.
    - Back at hotel, I usually put in another hour

    Travel out Sunday evening, travel back to office Thursday evening, in the office Friday.

    Realistically, the day is about 9.5-10 hours here, with the odd exception for a busy week or two (my August is not shaping up nicely).

    Friday's for us are expected office time, unless you are on a short 2 week project our in xyz, where you'll just stay there most likely for 2 weeks rather than flying you home.

    Tyler

    May I ask which firm/tier firm you work for?

    PwC, Operations. Back of the envelope math puts me averaging 10 hours a day for the past month or so, with weekends relatively free (I'll put in 2-4 hours usually, depending on the need).

  • run4run's picture

    if your only working 50 or so, probably less if your pulling like 7 hours or so on Friday what do you have to work at all on the weekends?

    I average about 60 and even when I'm pulling 80 I dont work the weekends or VERY rarely do i work.

  • In reply to TylerT
    Partner-in-Crimesulting's picture

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  • Bismarck's picture