Consulting Exit Opps for Introverts

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OKsure - Certified Professional
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I'm having a bit of a career crisis and I could use some advice. It's become apparent to me over the last couple years that I'm very much an introvert. I'm not overly awkward or anything, engaging with people just drains energy out of me and it's not something I enjoy. I can handle it in small doses, but I would much rather sit behind my computer and work on a model or a deck than interact with leadership or with a client. That has worked well for me during the first ~5 years of my career, but as I progress in the firm that is becoming less and less practical.

I think it's about time for me to leave my company and settle into something more sustainable long-term. Problem is, I'm not sure where to go or what to do. I'd like to still do something that pays well (reasonable pay decrease is fine) and recognizes the skills I've developed over the last few years through consulting and MBA, but I'm struggling to think of anything that would suit an introvert like myself.

I'm prepared to accept that I just need to buck up and adapt. But I would be remiss if I didn't at least explore my options first. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Background: three years pre-MBA at MBB, top 5 MBA, two more years now at same firm.

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Comments (7)

Dec 26, 2018

OKsure, pure crickets, that's where I come in. Any of these useful?

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Jan 10, 2019

Pick a strategy consulting firm that doesn't have too much travel. You'll mainly interact with local office colleagues which may put you in a more comfortable environment than meeting different people in different places all the time. If you're number savvy, the analytics departments at MBBs or other consulting firms don't get too many visits and you get to do pretty cool work

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Jan 11, 2019

If you find investing interesting, working at a long-only investment management firm or the right hedge fund could be a fit. I'm in PE and find myself to be too introverted for a deal role (especially if I were to become more senior at my firm) so I share your sentiment.

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Jan 17, 2019

Thank you both. I tried the investment management route once but was limited without a strong finance background. Non-travel consulting option is interesting.

Jan 17, 2019

Not a whole lot to add as I'm somewhat in the same boat and haven't found the answer. However, I think investment management is actually a job for extroverts, not introverts. I personally hate going to meetings with management teams and attending annual meetings. Def not a job for an introvert.

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Most Helpful
Jan 23, 2019

In nearly every role, the more senior you get, the more you are expected to sell. Either selling your company's products/services externally, selling your own work and thinking internally, or selling your own work externally. If you want to make it big, you need to get away from the spreadsheet.

The more moderately extroverted roles relevant to your background would be related to research or finance. For research, you can think of firms like Gartner/Forrester/etc. Maybe econ consulting, though it's hard to break in a few years out of your MBA. Real estate. Investing roles, though the more quant oriented ones are also difficult with your background. You're right in that fundamental based IM involves a lot of contact with companies that you cover, but you get to ask the questions, which might be more comfortable.

Many introverts thrive in roles that require contact with others, but where they are serving as the SME/chief decision maker internally. Operations roles can fit this bill at some companies. Still, you need to liase with finance, management, and your employees to get the job done and having some empathy is important for morale. Risk management as well - this can be a decent gig in FS, and involves you being the subject matter expert. Still, need to liase with the BU's. There are similar lending oriented roles where you aren't selling the products, but are managing risk and the loan portfolio. Same thing - still liasing with the BU's.

The only way to truly hide behind your laptop is to take a junior/mid level role with a company and never hope to advance.

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Jan 26, 2019
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