Since I have always continued my career in consulting, I decided to do a social experiment. I conducted an environmental scan through my LinkedIn network. I then categorized my findings into key themes of the most common consulting exit career paths using a cohort of 45 former consulting colleagues.
For this scan, I decided to define consulting exit opps as any career path outside of employment with a large consulting firm. I removed individuals that jumped to another Big 4 or MBB firm (which represented 5 former colleagues). I wanted to focus my analysis solely on exit opps outside of the traditional consulting career model.
Career Paths of 40 Former Colleagues:
I analyzed the career paths of 40 high performing individuals, all exiting with an average of 3-7 years of consulting experience. The results were surprising. Below are the 4 common consulting exit opps I came across:
Entrepreneurship represented the career path of 15 (or 37.5%) of the consulting exit opps. A number of colleagues have either decided to start their own business, are freelance consultants, or have taken on an executive leadership role in a family business.
Interestingly enough, 11 colleagues representing 27.5% of the cohort decided to leave for industry roles. There were all in either mid-management or executive leadership roles in 3 key industry sectors: 3 are in tech companies like Google or Amazon, 4 are employed at a large financial services firms like Goldman Sachs, and 4 colleagues have decided to go into non-profit/social enterprise work.
20% of the cohort (or 8 of my former colleagues) are currently enrolled full time at a top 15 business school program. One colleague is a PHD student at an M7 business school program and another colleague is finishing up medical school.
Six former colleagues represented 15% of the cohort have jumped to boutique consulting firms in leadership roles that doesn't require travel and service local clients.
You can see my ongoing AMA here: AMA: I grew up in Consulting and reinvented my brand 3 times