Quitting Big 4 Consulting in 2 days - AMA (I'll keep it 100)

As the title suggests, leaving my firm in a few days. More than happy to address any questions, general or detailed, regarding my experience

Comments (39)

Jan 13, 2015

Why are you leaving/how long were you there?
What's next?
You gonna miss the travel/points?
What were your favorite/least favorite parts about consulting?
Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?

    • 2
Jan 13, 2015

1) Been with the firm for 2.5 years. Much like you'll read in a lot of posts, people's experience in big consultant firms, especially the big 4, can be hit or miss. Mine was a miss. I was placed in the FS industry (I hate it from a consulting perspective, most of the work is pretty boring), a lot of my projects were not that interesting. Some of my colleagues were able to get on/network into some really cool customer strategy or Analytics projects, but I was not as fortunate. After 2 years, I made a formal request to switch industry and roles, and they were more than happy to help, but they kept changing the dates on me and whether or not it would be doable, so I just decided to take matters into my own hands a bit more

2) Going to a small MM IB - interviewed for a variety of roles (tech companies, Banks, other Big 4), this one the only role where I could be a generalist in terms of industry designation.

3) Yes. Not necessary because I like the travel, but because of how much $ it saves me. When I am in town, all the transportation and food adds up, but when you travel, you have no expenses for the most part. That ends up saving me a few hundred dollars a month (especially cause I eat pretty well when i travel).

4) Personally, I didn't like the BS that's a part of it. Every team is different, but most of my projects, even if there wasn't that much work to justify us flying out M-Thursday, we still flew out. Nothing is worse than knowing you have to fly out on Sunday, when the work you have can all be done remote. Some teams are better at managing that than others. But when you travel fo a while, it takes a toll, and you just want to be home to get a breather sometimes.

5) I think she's in Austin right now, but then again, I've never actually beat the game. So F her.

Jan 13, 2015

That sounds interesting. Are you considering going back to b-school? And how does going to the MM IB allow you to be a generalist in regard to industry? Wouldn't that put you in FS? How is the compensation, considering you won't be able to expense all of your food like you would if you were on the road?

PS. Damn, I didn't know so many people were salty about not finishing Carmen San Diego. Upset enough to throw shit lol

Jan 13, 2015

- something you wish you knew (about consulting, your firm, etc) before you started your role?
- major do's and don't's in the first 6-12 months?
- habits of highly successful consultants? Tricks of the trade

Thanks so much.

Best Response
Jan 13, 2015
lemony:

- something you wish you knew (about consulting, your firm, etc) before you started your role?

- major do's and don't's in the first 6-12 months?

- habits of highly successful consultants? Tricks of the trade

Thanks so much.

1) This is more Big 4 specific, but one thing I wish I knew is that you need to be vocal and take control of your own career. I was the type of person that thought if i did a good job, excelled at everything I did, that people would start asking me what type of projects I wanted. Its the contrary, if you don't speak up, most will assume your either happy, or at least satisfied with the role and won't really help you switch. I spent 16 months on my first project, before I started to meet with my project Director and Manager and asked to do other stuff. I networked and all that, but wanted to be a team player so I didn't want to say anything, but at the end of the day, its your life and career and you need to structure it the way you want. Obviously, you do to do in a delicate and acceptable manner, doing it too aggressively makes no one want to help you.

2)

Dos:
- Spell check the shit out of everything: Review and double review. Not sure what value you can add right out of UG, so for the things you can do, you have to be able to do well. Its not about speed, but accuracy. If needed, do the assignment, take a break, and review again after the break with a fresh set of eyes. When i first started, i made a few minor spelling errors here or there, and it destroys you credibility and people's perspective of you, which can take months to build back. So having a good first impression is essential.
- Assume every draft/email you make/send is client facing: Every excel, email or deck you make, even if its a draft, when you send it, always assume that it will go to the client. You never know when your email may be forwarded to a partner, then sent/used with a client for discussion purposes. This means, you will need to make sure its formatted right, spelling, and even print-ready if needed.
- Network: Always keep networking, sometimes the smallest relationship can lead to new opportunities. Especially on a project-based profession, you will want to have a a broader network for staffing purposes, but also network beyond your group should you ever want to switch groups or jobs, and just good practice.
- Always keep a positive attitude: Attitude is the first thing that people perceive you on. Often times it trumps your work product/output, unless you're really THAT good, but most people will work with capable people that are cool vs that All-star that's a huge dick.
- Be Transparent with your workload: whenever you get an assignment/work, its always helpful to (1) summarize what you need to do, since most of it will occurred ad hoc from meetings and (2) let them know what you have on your plate, so you can prioritize accordingly and determine a timeline/target deadline for your work. If you're doing multiple things for multiple people, they wont know whats on your plate - its up to you to let them know in case you have 2 or 3 things that are urgent and needed done asap.

Dont's:
- Take on work if you don't have time to: Much like the Do's above, you need to be transparent with whats on your plate. You don't get brownie points for how much you take on, but on what you deliver. So if you take on too much and cant delivery all of it, or deliver shotty results, it will only hurt you.
- Don't be a dick: Attitude is key, and trumps work product usually. So don't be a dick. This should be the easiest thing to fix.

3) Refer to the Dos and Don't above. In addition, relationships are key, both with your team and with you client. So be able to just chat with them and build a relationship both in meetings, or just in a hallway. The more confident your Project lead feels that you can handl your own with the client, the more client facing things you can lead, which helps you overall.

    • 2
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Jan 13, 2015

Hey Hugo Stiglitz,

I'll be starting a new role at a Big 4 Advisory in the coming months. We really don't have a home base seeing how all the offices are hoteling stations. What's the best way to network internally and get placed on meaningful projects if you're around the partners all day?

-R

Jan 13, 2015
rajsmith:

Hey Hugo Stiglitz,

I'll be starting a new role at a Big 4 Advisory in the coming months. We really don't have a home base seeing how all the offices are hoteling stations. What's the best way to network internally and get placed on meaningful projects if you're around the partners all day?

-R

This will be depending on what you have an interest in. But personally, I would do my research before hand (linkedin searching) to find out whose in your office, and what group their in, and set up coffee chats with them. I would try and meet ALL partners, but also have a target set of partners you really want to meet. I say this, because partners can always put you in touch with people and have more weight given their status.

Other than that, if you don't have networking before hand, your first project is usually a coin toss and up to chance/luck.

Jan 13, 2015

1. For what positions kind of non-Big 4 positions did you interview? You mentioned tech, banks, etc. but I am just curies for which roles you applied.
2. Which interviews went well, and which didn't? I'm curious which were the jobs that you think you could do with your experience, and which are the ones you couldn't.
3. What projects did you work on within the FS space? Regulatory, tech implementation, PMO?

Jan 13, 2015
HarvardBusinessingSchool:

1. For what positions kind of non-Big 4 positions did you interview? You mentioned tech, banks, etc. but I am just curies for which roles you applied.

2. Which interviews went well, and which didn't? I'm curious which were the jobs that you think you could do with your experience, and which are the ones you couldn't.

3. What projects did you work on within the FS space? Regulatory, tech implementation, PMO?

1. I went down two routes: (1) industry specific (focus in Tech because I have an interest in that space and can see myself making a career out of it) and function specific: things like doing M&A, valuations, etc. work that is industry agnostic. To give you guys a background on myself, I am a Finance & Accounting major from a non-target. I have a

With that said, for the industry route, I interviewed with a few tech companies out west (eg. Salesforce, Samsung, etc.), but also a few in the Midwest (i.e. Uber) most of these were in their Business operations groups or implementation side.

For the function specific roles, most of my interviews were finance focused: I interviewed with a small FS shop in their Valuations side (got the offer but didn't like what what they focused on), also had some screeners with a few small VCs out east, but did not really have a good enough story as to sell myself. And lastly, got a few ib interviews as well.

2. In all honestly, I felt that one could really do any of the above jobs. If anything, I feel like the job I got and accepted was the one I was least qualified for. it just so happened to be the one where my story was the most polished. For the VC roles and even some of the tech companies - it was very hard to sell my story and interest in the industry. At the Big 4 I was aligned to the Financial Services industry, and never worked with any tech companies and failed to really show an interest in the Tech space through my extracurriculars. This was 100% my fault. But in all honesty, the work that was required for the job was very similar to what I was doing at the Big 4, just for a different industry - so I definitely felt like I had the technical expertise to do the role, just didnt sell myself enough regarding my genuine interest in the industry.

3.Most of my projects fell into 2 buckets: Implementation and Strategic Planning. I was on a implementation project for about 1 year of my 2+ years at the Big 4. It sucks, but in all honestly, if you're trying to go into Industry, being part of a implementation project is very useful, because it shows that you can get your hands dirty and really deliver the product. Yo ujust have to make sure that you get exposure to projects beyond that, because most implementation cans be 2+ years long, and can really leave a bod taste in your mouth.

For the Strategy Planning, I may have labeled this incorrectly, but this is for all the phases before the Implementation, which include the following:
- Business case development: analyzing the cost/benefits for a specific project and why a company should consider one versus another
- Vendor selection: Helping the client decide on which vendor to use for a specific product/vendor
- Roadmaping & Resource planning: Roadmapping helps the client prioritize and plan out which projects to pursue and when, and provides them a strategic timeline for them to pursue their laundry list of projects based on their goals. Resource planning helps the client understand, for a given project, how many resources will be needed for which workstream, at any given time, so that they can plan accordingly

Jan 14, 2015

Thanks for taking the time.

1) You do mention interviewing with tech firms, so it sounds like you had at least some broader opportunities, but do you feel like your focus on FS sector limited your exit opps at all during the process?

2) What were the typical exit paths for your group in general?

Jan 13, 2015
coastie:

Thanks for taking the time.

1) You do mention interviewing with tech firms, so it sounds like you had at least some broader opportunities, but do you feel like your focus on FS sector limited your exit opps at all during the process?

2) What were the typical exit paths for your group in general?

1. I definitely feel like it did, but that just could be because I was not completely fond of the industry. I feel that the FS industry itself is much more unique than many others - making it hard to switch into some "sexier" industries like Tech, Media or Consumer products. To be fair, your best exit ops are usually the industries that you operate in, so many of my exit ops were FS-focused (e.g. Insurance firms, Banks in their Strategy, Ops or Reg team), some people may have an interest in this, I have 0 interest in this. So it was a huge obstacle to work around.

2. It really depends on how early you leave. When you're there for a year or two or less, I feel that its much easier to switch out to different industries since its really just a stint/stepping stone for you to gain experience. Once you make Senior or above, it that when it gets difficult to switch industries, by that time, its more viewed that you're in it for the long haul, so many of your exit ops will be within that industry (e.g. insurance, banks), if you're lucky, you may be able to lateral out if the function you do is really industry-agnostic, an example is that I had a Senior who was a Big Data guru, and was able to join a completely different industry but still focused in Big Data, so his technical expertise (not industry expertise) helped him get out.

With that said, I have seen a lot of people from my class leave for the following: Other Big 4 Consulting firms (primarily in the same group/function, just for higher pay), boutique/regional strategy firms (either wanted to move back home or wanted to do less implementation work), Start-ups/Techs (Had a few friends join Uber, Samsung, Facebook and some other startups). To be fair, most of the kids that went the start-up route were based out of the SF. The ones in the Midwest all went to uber.

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Jan 15, 2015

Hey Hugo, congrats on the new role! I will be joining a consulting firm next fall- do you mind if I send you a PM with a couple questions?

Jan 13, 2015

Yeah man, feel free to PM me with any questions you have.

Jan 15, 2015

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Jan 15, 2015

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Jan 15, 2015

I received an offer from EY Advisory (FS) Risk, any thought about this? is it very much an internal audit role?

Thanks

Jan 13, 2015
chin-rie:

I received an offer from EY Advisory (FS) Risk, any thought about this? is it very much an internal audit role?

Thanks

I actually interned in this group, haha, so I have some exposure to their practice - but in all fairness in can differ significantly by industry.

To answer your question in short, I did feel that it was kind of an IA role - BUT you're not focused purely on financials. when i interned we audited the client's processes of an entire division to see if there were any majors gaps/risks. This was focused on the Industrials/Manufacturing industry.

I had a former coach of mine leave for EY Risk but in their FS group - he specializes in Risk mitigation for large banks, so a lot of portfolio exposure type of work, which is 100% different from what I was doing in that group, so I have a feeling that their Risk group is pretty broad and that, depending on your industry, you may or may not enjoy it.

Also, I heard EY kills it in the Risk space - their the leaders of the space according to a lot of people I've talked to from other Big 4

Jan 15, 2015

What was your salary progression like while you were there. Currently entry level at another big 4 in financial services advisory

Jan 13, 2015
SoldMySoul:

What was your salary progression like while you were there. Currently entry level at another big 4 in financial services advisory

So i joined in 2012, and have been with the firm for 2.5 years, but only went through 2 review cycles. My raises for both review cycles were 8% and 6%, respectively. I got the same rating both years (the 2nd highest rating offered), but my understanding was that rating did not affect your raise, it only affected your bonus.

the reason for the 8% raise the first year and 6% raise the 2nd year was because of a starting salary raise for the class of 2013. As a result of our firm raising their salary they increase the raises for our class slightly to make it more fair (even though it was still marginal). This was a promotion year for me and I was expecting a raise somewhere around 14-18%, but that's just speculation.

To be fair though, these numbers only applied to my class and in my industry - I've heard of kids in different industries getting different raises.

Jan 15, 2015

What do you think of all these people who think they can join Deloitte BTA and quickly get only S&O strategy projects and like?

Jan 13, 2015
abacab:

What do you think of all these people who think they can join Deloitte BTA and quickly get only S&O strategy projects and like?

Its doable, but hard. Trust me when I tell you that 95% of the people are thinking/trying to do the same thing. Its a mixture of effort and pure luck and you have your work cut out for you in you're trying this, because almost everyone else will be trying to get on those sexy "strategy" projects too.

It ill really come down to networking and reputation. If you have a strong network and have a good reputation for delivery good results and being dependable, it should open doors. The downside, is that you take the risk of having a partner not want to lose you and constantly trying to keep you under his wing, so he'll switch you from of his projects to another, and so on. thats when you need to have a strong network to be able to see whats out there and to find a way to get others to fight for you tot pull you out.

Jan 15, 2015

1.) What is the best thing that a freshman/sophomore in college can do to prepare for a career in consulting?

2.) Do you feel that the interview process was as rigorous as MBB Consulting?

Jan 13, 2015
Benzilo:

1.) What is the best thing that a freshman/sophomore in college can do to prepare for a career in consulting?

2.) Do you feel that the interview process was as rigorous as MBB Consulting?

(1) First thing is network. I like to think of networking as a long-term investment. If it delivers right away thats awesome, but more times than none, you're trying to foster relationships for a year or 2 down the line, so then you're ready you already have those connections and you already put in the work. Out of UG, but the time I graduated I did 3 internships with 3 different Big 4 companies, all in different groups. I started networking when I was a sophomore, so a year later when I was a junior and everyone was meeting recruiters for the first time, I had already been in touch with them and expressed my interest.

second: be active on campus, and do case competitions. Simulate doing real client work as much as possible. Simulate presenting, working in a team environment, logical reasoning and problem solving, anything that encompasses the consulting profession. The GPA requirement is just a filtering requirement, once you meet it, its all about what you did that differentiates you from others. They would much rather take someone with a 3.5 that did X amount of case competitions and community service, over a 3.8 person that was not that involved.

(2) 1000000x No. At least when I interview the process was semi a joke. I know most of the Big 4 are trying to make it tougher now, but its still no where to the degree of difficulty as MBB.

For UG, Deloitte has 2 cases, one in the first round and one in the 2nd. They required that you bring calculator. That should be enough in itself. i will admit the hardest part was the interview int he 2nd rnd, it was a 2 on 1 interview with 2 partners, and they played good cop/bad cop. They messed me up a bit.

For PwC, not sure if they have cases for the 1st round, I know they do for the second when I did it. They give you the case before the office interview, and let you prep for it. You make a few slides to talk through with your interviewer. Pretty basic.

For EY, their case wasnt that bad, but they also had a written portion to their interview as well in their final round. aOverall, I did not think it was too difficult either.

For KPMG, no idea here.

Jan 16, 2015

1. How much do you think working at a B4 helped you get your new gig? Or presented solid exit opps? I'm aware it's not top of the line consulting, but do employers still value the skills and pedigree B4 can give you?

2. What are you doing between quitting and starting the new job?

Jan 13, 2015
the_stig:

1. How much do you think working at a B4 helped you get your new gig? Or presented solid exit opps? I'm aware it's not top of the line consulting, but do employers still value the skills and pedigree B4 can give you?

2. What are you doing between quitting and starting the new job?

1) Not sure how much it helped. To be honest, my opportunity to get the offer was more by chance/luck than credentials. I just happend to connect with someone (through a friend that use to be in IB) and learned about his background and how he got to where he was. I expressed my interest in potentially pursing the IB route, and he reached out when an opening occurred with his old company (this was ~8 months after we spoke) to see if I had an interest in interviewing. From there, my credentials definitely didn't hurt me, I just don't think it made me stand out as a top IB candidate. But to be honest, I felt like a was able to sell a lot of what I did in consulting to IB. Everything is relatively client facing, working under tight deadlines, managing multiple projects/deliverables - you know, very generic things that both professions have. The interview was pretyt easy to prep for, used a lot of things from here and IBankingfaqs, and also just worked on my story. The nature of the work itselfs between the two roles are different, but you just have to try and find as much commonality, and also stress your ability to learn quickly (which i feel that most people in consulting can do, since its part of the job)

The exits opps really depends on your experience and network. Consulting itself is so broad and can mean so many things, and when you talk about a firm as big as the Big 4, they literally do almost everything. So with that, everyone's experience can be drastically different. In my start class, I've had kids work on customer experience/online experience projects for tech companies, I've had colleagues work solely on information strategy (e.g. big data, data strategy, information management, etc.), had others work on Risk/regulatory works for banks to make sure they complied with SEC regulations, and also had people just do project management work for 2 years and hate life. The functional skills you develop are solely depending on your projects and have a huge impact on your exit opps. To be fair, I know of kids that were able to switch into something completely different from what they did, but those arent common.

2) For me, I actually don't have too much time off. Originally, I had about 2-3 weeks offer before i started the new gig, but did not quit from the Big 4 until recently due to a deadline for my current project. I didnt want to up and leave and screw my director over, so i offered to stay and help him finish it since it was a very small team and I had a pretty big role. I basically just have an extended weekend before i start work and will be vacationing with what little time i have.

Jan 16, 2015

Can you talk about your transition into MM IB? How did it happen, how did interviewers treat your background/skill set, etc.

Jan 13, 2015
jckund:

Can you talk about your transition into MM IB? How did it happen, how did interviewers treat your background/skill set, etc.

Refer to my response to the_stig for the "how it happened" portion. Like I mentioned, it was more by chance/luck and network than credentials.

In terms of the interviews, I was very fortunate, the process was pretty easy. I did ib interviews in UG, and have to say this was on par with what I experienced then. I was afraid since I was coming with 2+ years of experience, that the questions would be a bit more technical, but all the MDs, VPs and associates were chill.

During the interview - they did not really have a negative perception of my roles in consulting. Just more confused as to why the switch. You have to really connect the dots for them, and explain why IB. Fortunately for me (like i mentioned earlier) I interviews with a few IBs in UG, so had my story down since college. I just had to update my story line and put my spin as to what i learned in consulting, and why I decided to make a switch now. You also need to make sure you know the day-to-day and what the role entails, and what your getting yourself into. Oneof the biggest misconceptions I had was that IB was much more excel focused, but what I've learned (and im sure this is firm/role dependent so I may be off based), but the split between how much excel work versus ppt/word work you do is close to what I experienced in consulting. Id say in consulting i was 70/30 split, with 70% of my time on powerpoint, and 30% in excel (and that 30% was inflated, because I had to beg my team and offer to take any and every excel-related task). In my research and conversations with analysts. Its a pretty similar breakdown in IB. SO i really had to illustrate I knew that since I know a common answer that many consultants say as to why IB is "I want to do more modelling/analysis"

Jan 19, 2015

just to demystify, what kind of work a year 1-2 does in your firms?

Jan 13, 2015
hellocon:

just to demystify, what kind of work a year 1-2 does in your firms?

Good question. In my first 2 years with the firm, I worked on 3 projects:

The first was a 1-year + long implementation project. For this, my role was of a Business Analyst. I worked with our client and the software vendor, and basically wrote requirements for the new system. It sucked and not very interesting, especially since my degree was in Finance/Accounting and I have 0 background or interest in Tech work. But it is a necessary evil. But before I even got "upgraded" to do business requirements work, I wrote test cases, and also executed test cases. Essentially, whenever I software vendor create a product (think a webpage or a program), we need to make sure that it meets all the criteria/requirements that was set in the business requirements. So I would review the requirements, then start writing scenarios to test to make sure if it works (e.g. If i try and submit something that was not complete, an error message should pop-up saying the form is incomplete).

Trust me when I tell you it sucks as much as it sounds. I did this for about 2 months when I first joined to "establish" myself. After that stint, I was given a team of offshore people that I actually got to manage as they executed the test cases, and I would just summarize our findings/results (e.g. how many failed, how many passed, what the issues were) to our client.

The second was a 5 month planning exercise. A new client wanted to develop a new web application/site. They already had a vendor selected, and knew what they wanted to do, but wanted our help to understand how much it would cost and what resources they needed and also what a realistic timeline was for their delivery. So we came in, met with all the business groups/tech groups and basically interviewed them to see what the future-state would look like, how it compared to what they had now, and how much work they needed to do on their end to make the necessary updates/changes. This portion was much more meting driven and client facing and had some excel modiling work involved (which i wanted)

Last was a vendor selection: we came in and helped the client determine which vendor to use for their specific project. We helped them narrow the list from 30+ down to 8 or so using some filtering criteria set by the client and also from us based on their needs. From their we generated an exhaustive questionnaire that we sent to the 8 vendors to have them fill out, and we objectively scored their responses to determine a few finalists to invite for a formal demo. The finalists came in for a week-long demo, and showed their product to our clients, and did a Q&A, and from there we did another round of scoring to identify a winner, then helped our client during the negotiation process.

For the 3rd project, this spanned from my 2nd yr to a bit of my 3rd yr. Although I did not get promoted after my 2nd year, I was an acting SA for this project, since it was just me and a Director (the Director was rarely on site). So I would usually be the only person at the client site and lead a good chunk of the meetings.

Jan 13, 2015
hellocon:

just to demystify, what kind of work a year 1-2 does in your firms?

Good question. In my first 2 years with the firm, I worked on 3 projects:

The first was a 1-year + long implementation project. For this, my role was of a Business Analyst. I worked with our client and the software vendor, and basically wrote requirements for the new system. It sucked and not very interesting, especially since my degree was in Finance/Accounting and I have 0 background or interest in Tech work. But it is a necessary evil. But before I even got "upgraded" to do business requirements work, I wrote test cases, and also executed test cases. Essentially, whenever I software vendor create a product (think a webpage or a program), we need to make sure that it meets all the criteria/requirements that was set in the business requirements. So I would review the requirements, then start writing scenarios to test to make sure if it works (e.g. If i try and submit something that was not complete, an error message should pop-up saying the form is incomplete).

Trust me when I tell you it sucks as much as it sounds. I did this for about 2 months when I first joined to "establish" myself. After that stint, I was given a team of offshore people that I actually got to manage as they executed the test cases, and I would just summarize our findings/results (e.g. how many failed, how many passed, what the issues were) to our client.

The second was a 5 month planning exercise. A new client wanted to develop a new web application/site. They already had a vendor selected, and knew what they wanted to do, but wanted our help to understand how much it would cost and what resources they needed and also what a realistic timeline was for their delivery. So we came in, met with all the business groups/tech groups and basically interviewed them to see what the future-state would look like, how it compared to what they had now, and how much work they needed to do on their end to make the necessary updates/changes. This portion was much more meting driven and client facing and had some excel modeling work involved (which i wanted)

Last was a vendor selection: we came in and helped the client determine which vendor to use for their specific project. We helped them narrow the list from 30+ down to 8 or so using some filtering criteria set by the client and also from us based on their needs. From their we generated an exhaustive questionnaire that we sent to the 8 vendors to have them fill out, and we objectively scored their responses to determine a few finalists to invite for a formal demo. The finalists came in for a week-long demo, and showed their product to our clients, and did a Q&A, and from there we did another round of scoring to identify a winner, then helped our client during the negotiation process.

For the 3rd project, this spanned from my 2nd yr to a bit of my 3rd yr. Although I did not get promoted after my 2nd year, I was an acting SA for this project, since it was just me and a Director (the Director was rarely on site). So I would usually be the only person at the client site and lead a good chunk of the meetings.

Jan 19, 2015

sound like you are on the tech consulting side. retrospectively what did you do that help you get staffed into your first few projects

Feb 26, 2015

Thanks a lot for doing this. I actually just accepted an offer to join the FS advisory arm of Grant Thornton as an SA. I have worked for two years in corporate finance for a big bank and felt like I have plateaued in terms of learning within the bank. I am hoping that this new job will provide me with more exposure to the industry. I have a couple questions for you.
1) In the long run, if I want to move to strategy consulting or internal business planning/strategy/corporate finance for banking, how easy/difficult is it to make this transition?
2) In terms of lifestyle, how long are the hours? Is it as crazy as audit or better?
3) How common/easy is it to transfer to big 4 advisory?
4) My background is finance as well. Do you think it's a waste in the consulting environment or I can network/communicate with the partners to get involved in for financials/models-related projects?
5) How much exposure does an SA get? Running meetings with client managers, presenting final reports, coaching junior staff,etc.?
Sorry for asking so many questions. This thread is incredibly helpful to me personally, so I hope that I can get as much info as possible.

Jan 13, 2015
Rain_Maker112:

Thanks a lot for doing this. I actually just accepted an offer to join the FS advisory arm of Grant Thornton as an SA. I have worked for two years in corporate finance for a big bank and felt like I have plateaued in terms of learning within the bank. I am hoping that this new job will provide me with more exposure to the industry. I have a couple questions for you.

1) In the long run, if I want to move to strategy consulting or internal business planning/strategy/corporate finance for banking, how easy/difficult is it to make this transition?

2) In terms of lifestyle, how long are the hours? Is it as crazy as audit or better?

3) How common/easy is it to transfer to big 4 advisory?

4) My background is finance as well. Do you think it's a waste in the consulting environment or I can network/communicate with the partners to get involved in for financials/models-related projects?

5) How much exposure does an SA get? Running meetings with client managers, presenting final reports, coaching junior staff,etc.?

Sorry for asking so many questions. This thread is incredibly helpful to me personally, so I hope that I can get as much info as possible.

1) Hard for me to say. This is a cop out answer, but it really depends on your experience. Even at the big 4, amongst my peers, all of our experienced differed vastly, which made our exit ops different too. I know some kids that were able to get into it those roles while others were a bit more pigeon-holed. I think given your previous experience in Corp Fin, it should better position you.

2) Again, it all depends on the project. My most recent project, prior to me leaving, was relaxed. 45 hour a week, and I only travel 2-3 days out of the week. I had colleagues that travel the regular 4 days a week, (some did 5 daysof travel) and worked closer to the 60-65 hour mark every week. I had a few stints where I had long weeks, but not for an entirety of a project. Its all dependent on the project, which is impacted by: your manager/director of the team and his/her style, the nature of the project, the duration of the project, and the staffing of the project. All those have direct influences on the amount of hours you'll be working.

Other than hours during the week, I rarely worked on the weekends. Some here and there, and some email checking, but Id say I worked (meaning more than 2-3 hours at a time) ~ 1 weekend ever month and a half or so.

3) It depends which big 4. I think Deloitte is a bit more selective, since its been established a bit longer, but in general. Once you work in the field for 1 year +, its not that hard to lateral in. I had a bunch of colleagues that lateraled to other big 4 and were actively recruited by them as well, and also know other kids that came to the Big 4 from GT and other smaller shops so I think its more than doable

4) Hard for me to say. Consulting itself is so broad. I can only speak to my experience doing work in my sector (Financial Services - Ops). And in that segment, i did barely any modeling work. I felt like it did go to waste. But that's not to say its always the case. I can't speak for all the other sectors and functions out there, but for mine, I did feel like it was a waste, and one of the reasons I wanted out.

5) You get a lot of exposure. Even coming out of UG, I got a lot of opportunities to meet with clients right away and work with them. Being an SA, the expectation is that you'll be able to pick it up even faster than UG hires, and thus, I t=would imagine your exposure would be even more/or at least faster than my experience.

Hope this helps.

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Feb 26, 2015

Thanks a lot for the info. This is really helpful. I also have a couple follow up questions:

1) How much does your personal input/preference drive the staffing decision? My industry group is mortgage banking, but I'd prefer to do more work related to banking and financial statements rather than compliance or process review.

2) What is the bonus like? I've heard that the year end bonus is peanuts (a couple thousand) in audit and tax. Is it the case in consulting? The recruiter would not give me a straight answer on what to expect, which I find really strange.

3) Any tips for networking with managers and partners for opportunity to transition to different groups and manage relationship upwards for engagement/year end performance review? I'd prefer to keep my options open.

Feb 26, 2015

double post

Mar 1, 2015
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