Exit Ops: Economic Consulting

econ's picture
Rank: Neanderthal | 2,667

Does anybody know what the exit ops are like at places like Charles River Associates, NERA, and LECG? I feel well positioned to get a job in the economic consulting industry, but I wouldn't want to get stuck there for life. I'm hoping I'd be able to transition to roles in investment management/research, market research, or strategy/management consulting.

Comments (28)

Dec 6, 2010

Top MBA, phd, law.

Best way to get into strategy consulting or finance is through mba,although you can lateral into mc if your Econ shop has industry/ business consulting practices (eg cra, analysis grp)

Market research sounds like a step in the wrong direction, though

Dec 6, 2010

One of the top firms estimated that 20% of its associates get PhDs, 60% get MBAs, and the remaining 20% do law school or something else. Like chron3k said, an MBA is the easiest way into strategy consulting/finance, as lateraling into finance is very difficult and lateraling into strategy consulting is really hard unless you end up doing strategy work at one of the few econ firms that have such a group.

Feb 7, 2011

what kind of MBA programs do ECs get into?

Feb 7, 2011

Top ones. At my year at an EC firm, there were 4 HBS admits, 1 Wharton, 1 Tuck, 2 Northwestern, 2 Sloan. The "worst" school anyone went to was Babson--and she wanted to pursue entrepreneurship so it was a good match.

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Feb 7, 2011
chron3k:

Top ones. At my year at an EC firm, there were 4 HBS admits, 1 Wharton, 1 Tuck, 2 Northwestern, 2 Sloan. The "worst" school anyone went to was Babson--and she wanted to pursue entrepreneurship so it was a good match.

Agreed - Top 10 programs, at least from top shops like NERA/Cornerstone.

Feb 7, 2011

Everyone gets into a good business school if they stick around long enough and work at one of the top firms. The "worst" school that I know of anyone in this industry going to was UMich. I think the ec consulting skill set is very marketable to other careers post-MBA, so you shouldn't have trouble switching over to something else after grad school. It doesn't have the same exit opps into other jobs that mgmt consulting and banking have, though.

Feb 8, 2011
Hayek:

I think the ec consulting skill set is very marketable to other careers post-MBA, so you shouldn't have trouble switching over to something else after grad school.

Could you please expand and/or give some examples (hypothetical or anecdotal)? One reason I didn't apply anywhere yet, is because I am skeptical about the marketability of the skill set, so I'd really appreciate more insights on the topic.

Also, I heard econ consulting gets very boring, very quick. Would you guys agree?

Feb 8, 2011
econ:
Hayek:

I think the ec consulting skill set is very marketable to other careers post-MBA, so you shouldn't have trouble switching over to something else after grad school.

Could you please expand and/or give some examples (hypothetical or anecdotal)? One reason I didn't apply anywhere yet, is because I am skeptical about the marketability of the skill set, so I'd really appreciate more insights on the topic.

Also, I heard econ consulting gets very boring, very quick. Would you guys agree?

I think the marketability comes in post-MBA. I think you'll have an easy time pitching your experience for whatever post-mba job you want (excl. buyside PE, obv).

You're going to spend a lot of time doing analyses in excel as well as SAS/STATA if you find those programs interesting. If you want to do banking after ec consulting/MBA, then emphasize the valuation/finance cases that you worked on. If you want to do trading, talk about the quantitative things you did in SAS. If you want to do management consulting, talk about how you loved consulting but want to work on more big picture problems.

Anecdotally, one of the MBA hires I work with at my economic consulting firm spent a summer doing IB during BSchool after working on ec cons for a few years after college. He told me that you won't have any trouble getting lots of banking offers during bschool with that background since the skill set is so easily transferable and banks know that. Granted, he also went to a top Bschool. He also said that ec consulting gives you a much deeper knowledge of excel than you would get in banking, which I believe since in consulting you can get data in many different formats and may want to analyze it in countless different ways depending on the case.

Also, it seems as if ec cons post college -->> mba -->> summer in banking -->> back to econ consulting is a popular path for the mba hires in this industry.

The work can be boring but there's enough interesting stuff to keep me around. The worst parts are the unpredictable hours and the stress--there is a VERY strong emphasis on making sure that your analyses are PERFECT, and they often require fast turnaround. Both of these things get easier to deal with over time, though.

Feb 8, 2011

It's easier to lateral into another consulting shop if you're in a firm that is organized by industries or practice groups. I have never heard of anyone lateralling into a banking position - the competencies are just too different (unless, perhaps, you're in the finance practice, and even then the EC firms will specifically not recruit people whose resumes position the candidate too much towards banking track).

In terms of econ consulting, I thought the quantitative aspect was fun, at times. It was kind of fulfilling to crunch a huge set of numbers to get the answer. On the other hand -- it can be grueling at times. The qualitative aspect -- part of which includes "document review" (which means sifting through 10000s of pages of discovery to find relevant material) is insanely boring. It does help to train you to look for relevant information in a haystack of BS.

I voted with my feet and left my top EC firm in a year and a half to lateral into a pure strategy shop. That being said, I wouldn't give up my time at the EC firm for anything (well, maybe for MBB) as I am one of the better quantitative thinkers at my current firm - which is a very valuable skillset to have.

Aug 16, 2014

Wanted to bump this thread. Curious to know what the exit opps of econ consulting are for POST-MBA associates. A few of them are recruiting at my school this fall, and they pay pretty well, on par with MBB.

Apr 4, 2015

bump

Apr 27, 2015

Bump

Apr 27, 2015
navy000:

the market sucks this year; I may need to downgrade my career plan from entering banking/pe to economic consulting after graduation. And yet, what are the exit opportunities for economic consulting analyst?

My guess is potentially Global macro HF or Macro research or something.

Apr 27, 2015

got an offer at cornerstone and was told mba or other grad school.

Apr 27, 2015

or Government advisory stuff...?

Apr 27, 2015

To echo F Ro Jo, most people in Econ consulting (top 3) leave to get an MBA or a PhD. I've seen some leave for JDs as well.

Apr 27, 2015

which are top 3?

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Apr 27, 2015

I have heard Cornerstone, Analysis and NERA.

Apr 27, 2015

i think for econ consulting b-school is usually the go-to

Apr 27, 2015

I know an MBB that was an economic consultant before. Bschool in between though.

Apr 27, 2015

Economic consulting is not really a stepping stone to the buyside. I'm sure there are exceptions, but in general there is just not that much crossover between the skills you learn in econ consulting vs. the skills that are required on the buyside (both HF's and PE firms). All of which is not to say that economic consulting is a bad career (in fact, a fair number of my friends do this and love it), it's just to say that it's probably not the best path to take if you want to get to the buyside.

Apr 27, 2015

I spent five years in econ consulting and now work in buyside equity research. I had a couple coworkers who managed to make the jump to HF/VC without business school (one made it to Citadel), but i personally was never able to make that work. I think generally skillsets are pretty transferable (contrary to above), as you'll develop a very strong valuation background and statistical analysis/intuition. But you'll want to get through (most/all of) the CFA while you're still in EC. The most common exit is clearly back to business school or econ/finance ph.d. There are some who will leave to do corpfin at a F500, and some who just hate finance altogether and do something entirely different. I'd say realistically you've got about two years to try to jump to the buyside directly, but it will be difficult and beyond that you probably need to use an MBA to lever into an investing role. Great way to start a career tho - congrats!

Apr 27, 2015

Thanks for the reply!! I'm just curious about the factors that influence someone's ability to go to the buy side without MBA..some of the skills seem transferable, so why are PE firms (for example) not interested? What does someone have to have to interest these PE firms? (Networking? Past summer internships?)

When you look into the abyss, the abyss also gazes at you..

Apr 27, 2015
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Apr 27, 2015
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When you look into the abyss, the abyss also gazes at you..