Quick question folks. Trying to figure out if it's possible for someone to start out at M, B, BCC post MBA at a higher level than typical MBA candidates. My rationale for the question is by the time I begin my MBA, I will have 6 years experience, mostly relatively transferable. I've managed to pull off very rapid promotions, each one in about half the standard time, made manager in 3 years, Senior Manager in 5 and likely will make Director right before MBA in ~ 6 years. Considering that, and the fact that most of my experience will transfer nicely to consulting, I feel as though it would almost be a step down to start as a typical post MBA track at M-B-, coming out of industry at the director level already. Some would question why bother with MBA if i've already made Director level at a top 5 company in an innovative industry. Salary for typical post MBA consulting new joins isn't much better than the job held prior to MBA, if at all. However, I have military benefits that will pay for the entire MBA, and with a concurrent military track record, I believe my chances at a Harvard, Wharton, Stanford are very good and to pass on a chance to have that Harvard MBA on my resume for life is difficult to swallow.
So my question is, do these consulting firms ever start a new MBA hire at a slightly higher level, given more pre-MBA experience and attaining Director level. Also, can salary be negotiated at all? I feel as though I would have some peers with only a couple of years of experience, in some cases with no directly transferable experience at all and perhaps senior Analyst pre-MBA job. To me, it would defy logic to disregard someones pre-MBA level and experience and start everyone the same, though I believe that is the standard, similar to banking. Unlike banking, more directly transferable pre-MBA experience would seem to add much more value, and the leadership experience from the military side of my experience should speak to ability to lead a small consulting team/project sooner. Even in my civilian career, I was supervising small teams at the big 4 after a year. Has anyone seen this happen?
Second question is, i've heard that project staffing is based on nothing more than availability of staff, not alignment of staff based on their industry experience. In other words, almost all of my experience is in one industry, and I can add significantly more value on a consulting project in said industry vs another unrelated industry. But do the firms consider this when staffing projects? I don't mind working in other industries, but i'd like to do at least some work in Pharma where I have extensive knowledge, vs another industry where I know next to nothing. Any thoughts on this and how the big 3 staff projects?
My background for reference. 1.5 years big 4 audit covering Pharma industry. 1.5 years; Big 4 Transaction Services M&A Advisory; 2 years in corp finance at a top 5 Pharma Corporation , revenue forecasting for specific product line, very strategic role and purely finance (zero accounting), and most recently a move into Bus/Corp Development (Internal M&A and Strategy) at the same Company. Each move came with promotion, but I'm promised another promotion from Senior Manager to Director within 12 months of taking my most recent position.
I miss consulting, I very much enjoyed the lifestyle I had when I worked in Transaction Services, working on different clients, travel, working with a top notch team ect...and I might even be temped to stay in consulting for the long haul, hence my rational for going back to school and trying to enter the field. There is a certain feel working for a regular pubic company that I've just never been able to fully stomach. Talent levels vary much more widely compared with the team I worked with in TS, Corporations are flush with a ton of mediocre performing people who spend 10-15 years at the manager/senior manager level, which disgusts me. I need to be in a more competitive up or out type environment as only under those circumstances do I truly thrive. At the Vice President level of a Corporation, talent level is higher, and I can see myself going back at a higher level. Most significantly, the general lack of leadership experience and ability at the manager to Senior Director level of a Corporation drives me crazy. To see people with 15-20 years experience, god awful slow rate of promotions due to weak performance, and complete lack of regard for the motivation and careers of their subordinates, it all bothers me. While i've either been lucky or very good, I've also seen some very talented people stuck at Senior Analyst level to no fault of their own, only the lack of recognition by their respective supervisors who frankly aren't qualified to decide who should make the promotion cut and who shouldn't. I'm aware consulting is far from perfect, but can't possibly be as bad in this regard. I'd imagine promotions at the big 3 are more similar to what I experienced in public accounting or Advisory at the big 4, w a somewhat standard rate of promotion, and a smaller set of top performers and underperformers moving up faster or slower then the standard. Amazing how firms who's owners are directly impacted by their management competency operate so differently from Corporations, whose ranks are half filled with those seemingly just milking the stockholders returns without offering a value even close to commensurate with their high salaries.