is 40yo toooo old to apply for a PhD entry associate consultant position?

Hi guys,
I am turning 40 this year, and currently finishing my postdoc training in Harvard med. I graduated with my Ph.D. degree 2 years ago, and I have around nine years of working experience in the clinical pathology lab.
I recently attended an informational session from BCG and found consulting is interesting. I tried a few mock case interviews and did pretty well and became fascinated by consulting career.
But, I was told by a couple of friends that 40yo may not fall into the age group of the new recruitment in consulting company.
Can anyone give some comments? Should I just give it up?
Regards
John

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Comments (26)

Nov 6, 2018

First recommendation is changing your username to be reflect your real name in anyway ....especially considering the other personal info already given

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Nov 6, 2018

Well, I have nothing to hide... Just want to hear some genuine/authentic/constructive comments

a monkey brain

Nov 9, 2018

lol if the G is for Gacy I guess they'll find out he's a serial killer. If not, he's a film star who died in like 1972.

Most Helpful
Nov 6, 2018

Not sure why i'd receive monkey shit for a comment recommending that you conceal your personal identify on a public internet forum. In the event that you were to ever make an off-putting comment (whether intentional or not), this makes it easily trace-able back to you....it's high risk almost zero reward. ANYWHO - constructive feedback below

I'm not a consultant nor have I worked in consulting. However from my general knowledge on the industry they do hire post-MBA (which can be older people) as well as ex-military. If you're an expert in your field I'd imagine you have a very applicable knowledge base and transferable skill set.....also recommend you leverage your Harvard network to gain insight to how the MBB of the world as well as the more niche consultant firms work

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Nov 6, 2018

Thank for the comment, It was not me who thrEw shit (obviously).

a monkey brain

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2,037 questions across 209 consulting firms. 11 Cases developed by a McKinsey Associate, 10+ hours of video. The WSO Consulting Interview Prep Course has everything you’ll ever need to ace your consulting case interviews. Learn more.

Nov 6, 2018

*Thanks, and *threw. You're 40. Proofread your work.

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Nov 9, 2018

If you're proofreading your WSO posts or consider this "your work" you have even bigger issues than being an annoying troll

twitter: @CorpFin_Guy

Nov 9, 2018

Mate, I got your idea. Please excuse my England. Actually, you pointed out a great issue, I thank for your frankness. No one is a troll here. Don't label yourself or anyone else as "an annoying troll". Everyone here is helpful, including you. Forgiving with love is a virtue. And being sarcastic is not the way to deliver your opinion even it is a great one. The amount of monkey shit tells, and I gave you the only banana.

a monkey brain

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Nov 9, 2018
JohnWayneG:

Please excuse my England.

Absolutely not. We speak America here, pal.

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Nov 9, 2018

which America? I am pretty sure you American don't speak the same America~

a monkey brain

Nov 9, 2018

You seem like you've learned your lesson. Please, have a SB.

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Nov 9, 2018

@WallStreetOasis.com please add a bar on the right to quantify @theaccountingmajor 's most shat on posts, I think it'd be a good shortcut to the entertaining threads.

Nov 9, 2018

Ever since you came back from wandering the desert your posts have been much more jaded. I think I appreciated your genius more beforehand.

Nov 7, 2018

Hi BatemanX3, thanks for the awesome feedback. Give you bananaaaas~
Any comments about the networking? I am currently working on case interviews in the consulting club.
Regards
John

a monkey brain

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2,037 questions across 209 consulting firms. 11 Cases developed by a McKinsey Associate, 10+ hours of video. The WSO Consulting Interview Prep Course has everything you’ll ever need to ace your consulting case interviews. Learn more.

Nov 6, 2018

The short answer is No, you are not too old - I know people at BCG that started in mid-late 30s following a post doc. There were also a couple of people at Bridge2BCG that looked to be close to your age.
However, at that age, do you want to be traveling every week, away from your family, working long, stressful hours? I think that is generally why you don't see many people entering consulting in their 40s. But if you feel up to it, and make sure you make it clear in your interviews that you are excited for the lifestyle, you will not be turned down just because of age.

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Nov 6, 2018

Related to the above, consider life science focused firms. Generally they have very low travel requirements and there are a huge number of them based in Boston.

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Nov 7, 2018

hi Research-Server, could you nominate a couple of them, please?
Regards
John

a monkey brain

Nov 7, 2018

Dear John,

The Vault rankings for Health Care Consulting are a good start (http://www.vault.com/company-rankings/consulting/b...). Once you skip past the huge generalist firms you'll find several that focus in the healthcare and life science space. As far as I can tell Vault does not differentiate between healthcare and life science boutiques so many of these are actually more focused on pharma and biotech.

If Harvard offers any career services to postdocs that would be a great place to start, otherwise any consulting clubs on campus (especially if they are being organized by ADCs rather than MBA) should have a list. Also, if you google this board there have been a few posts with huge lists of life science firms. almost invariably headquartered in Boston or at least with offices in the North East. Other regions of the country are trickier.

To get your search started however, here are a handful of life science focused firms off the top of my head. These firms generally have lowish travel requirements, various degrees of specialization, and are listed in no particular order:

  • Health Advances
  • Clearview Healthcare Partners
  • Clarion Healthcare
  • Simon-Kucher & Partners
  • Charles River Associates
  • Trinity Partners
  • IQVIA
  • Putnam Associate
  • ZS Associates
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Nov 7, 2018

Thanks, RS, you are the CHAMPION!

a monkey brain

Nov 7, 2018

LEK is also another big one

Nov 7, 2018

Thanks, DrCMG, I applied LEK 2019 life science specialist in early Sept, but no response at all, yes, not no... no ideas. My application page shows "under review" since then.

a monkey brain

Nov 7, 2018

Possible you may still get an interview, but unlikely at this point.

For future reference, it is really important for the life science firms to stress in your cover letter why you are specifically interested in life science consulting (as opposed to general consulting) and why you are interested in their firm specifically (LEK is focused on strategy, as opposed to operations, etc). Because they interview less people (smaller firms) , they are looking for a good fit off the bat, not for people just shotgunning their resume out.

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Nov 9, 2018

At my firm (MBB) it is entirely possible, as long as you do well in interviews and prove you're motivated in pursuing a career in consulting. Having said that, there's a few points that you should consider before making the jump:

  • Lifestyle: are you comfortable travelling 4/5 days per week and averaging 70/80 hours of work per week?
  • Age of your peers: if you were to enter at the post-MBA level, most of your peers would be aged 28-32 and a very good portion of your seniors, even Partners, would be younger than that. Are you okay with that?
  • Type of work: as an externally-hired Associate/Consultant, expect to be treated as an Analyst during your first 6/12 months - that means you'll be making very few decisions and most of your work would be executional (i.e., producing pptx slides, doing analyses in Excel, taking care of logistics/printing, etc..)

Good luck!

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Nov 9, 2018

Thank you! Abrix,
I have considered the points you listed. As a postdoc at Harvard, I do work 80 hours plus a week under enormous stress. The lifestyle was not an issue. About the age of peers, I have no experience with young bosses. It could be an issue if the discrimination from above. But as professionals, we work with each other for the company. The last point is the type of work, as long as I have the chance to move to another end of the spectrum, I would not complain about it at all.
I really appreciate your answer. It encourages me a lot. Now, I need to work out my strategies to get my ass into a consulting career.

a monkey brain

Nov 10, 2018
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Nov 9, 2018
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