social life and lifestyle in consulting??

my question/s...Do most consultants keep apartments in the city? Do your fellow-consultants become your new best friends/social life? Do consultants socialize during the week at the hotel bar after work, etc? Do you get to the point where on the weekends you don't want to drink or go out to eat, because thats all you do during the week??

Can anyone comment on their lifestyle while doing consulting?? both specifically during the week and weekend. Multiple perspectives would be great.

Traveling Consultant: Lifestyle and Socializing

How you socialize on site can be broken down into a few different variables.

  • Age of your peers
  • Seniority of your peers
  • Workload

The age of your peers can be the difference between night out or just hanging out drinking at a hotel bar. Usually the younger the group the more fraternizing the experience. However, it also depends on your work load on site. In addition to going out there are dinners with the team that can become repetitive after so many meetings. Making plans at home also revolves around workload.if you've been away traveling it may be difficult to make quick plans with friends since they'll likely have prior engagements.

The Home Life of a Management Consultant

You're lifestyle will be variable depending on the amount of money you want to spend. As an example you could spring for a great apartment with luxury amenities and great location. That way everything you need is at hand when your at home. Contrary, you could choose to spend a minimal amount on housing because you're not home much anyway. Hours vary as well and are usually dependent on demand. According to the Wall Street Oasis Consulting Industry Report they can range from as low as 45 hours to as high as 87 hours a week.

from certified user @BigPicture

Work hard during week (M-Th). Generally 8am to 10pm or 11pm. Sometimes later (2am), very occasionally stop work earlier. Team dinners once per week or two when work less. Up earlier on monday for a flight, and leave client around 5pm on Thursday.

A bit lighter on Friday (8 hours, give or take)

Rarely work at all on weekends, other than some emails Sunday night.

from user @kennethlchen

If you're in a crappy city, with people all older than 45+ - yea, its not much fun.

If you're in a cool city, with people your age - its pretty fun.

I knew a guy that alternative traveled even more than me. He was from the LA office, but only went back to LA once every 3 months so he didn't even have a place and just had his stuff at different friend's house. You end up saving a lot of money when you don't pay rent.

That said, I also know plenty of people that go home every weekend to see friends / family.

It kinda depends on what you want to do.

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Comments (38)

Feb 26, 2010

When you are traveling, you might actually see the same people (in your team) from the time you step out of your room in the morning (worse yet, same home airport) to get breakfast in the lounge, get stuck in the same conference room for the entire day, then have team dinner (every night or even once a week). So 730AM-9PM? Frankly, stories get old, you know everyone's vacation plan, and if the team is not very young, its little less fun. And if you have that annoying person in the team (or you are the one), it can only get worse. But most times, it works out pretty well.

I do have the tendency to want to not do anything in weekends now and then. One of the problems you'd also hear about is how odd it feels to try to connect to (in town) friends when you have been MIA for a week. Worst case scenario is somewhere near 'Up in the Air'. Also whoever this guy was had a great blog at one point, you can pretty much track him going through his ups and downs.
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-reports/372595...

    • 1
Mar 2, 2010

thats a great read! i wonder what happened to him?

Mar 2, 2010

I think it really depends on what your social life is and the projects you get. If you like to see friends through the United States - then consulting is for you. Alternative travel is the best part of consulting. When I first started, I was in an LD relationship so I got to see her every weekend. Was great. Other weekends, I saw friends in NYC. At the time, I lived in a room in a house for $480 / month in the bay area. Obviously it wasn't a great place.

If you're local in consulting and you want to travel, life sucks. Fridays on site sucks.

I agree that I didn't like seeing the older members of my team in the hotel or at restaurants I ate because I felt like I had to talk to them and I wanted to enjoy my evening. However, I think some of the older folks know this and they too don't want to be bothered so many times a simple wave or nod will suffice.

As for friends being consultants - Some of my best friends are consultants. I did the hotel bar thing maybe once a week but that's only if you have the energy to. When I was on a project with everyone under 26, it was pretty awesome - they become really good friends of yours and you go out during the week. When I was on a project when everyone was 45+ - I stayed in my hotel and watched on demand movies that the hotel comp'ed because I made a deal with them.

If you're in a crappy city, with people all older than 45+ - yea, its not much fun.

If you're in a cool city, with people your age - its pretty fun.

I knew a guy that alternative traveled even more than me. He was from the LA office, but only went back to LA once every 3 months so he didn't even have a place and just had his stuff at different friend's house. You end up saving a lot of money when you don't pay rent.

That said, I also know plenty of people that go home every weekend to see friends / family.

It kinda depends on what you want to do.

Also - did I read that right - you're traveling Monday - Friday - hopefully Friday on an early flight (2pm ? )

I actually like eating out - it doesn't really get old for me. I have friends that cook so that's fine. I don't have an issue with that. I'm not a huge drinker either - so a lot of my meal dollars go to waste. A lot of times I just stay at home and watch movies that I rent from Itunes.

Best of luck - pray to God that you get on a project at a cool location. If not - give me a ring when you get to Oklahoma.

Mar 2, 2010

I started out working for a consulting company that didn't care where you lived as long as you could commit to Monday - Thursday travel and working from home on Friday. There were occasions when you had to be on site on Fridays, but that didn't happen very often unless you were traveling internationally. As far as going out, going out to eat & becoming friends with your coworkers - I can honestly say that my colleagues with the exception of 2 were 40+ and never wanted to do anything after work except go to the hotel & sleep. I'm pretty young & wanted to go out and explore the cities that we were in. I met a lot of different people in my many nights out, tons of people from different consulting companies actually. I would sometimes go out with my colleagues to dinner or meet for a drink once every few weeks in the hotel bar...

As for the weekends, I know this sounds lame, but there were some weekends that I just wanted to veg out and be lazy. Sometimes I was so tired from work that being lazy was what I needed to recuperate before getting back on the road on Monday morning & sometimes I just enjoyed the peace and quiet of my own house! There were other weekends when I was ready to go home & party with the few "local" friends I had left. I won't say that I stopped seeing my "local" friends, but I recognize that my career in consulting had caused us to grow apart. Honestly, I think we were bound to grow apart because we wanted different things in life & my career choice just made it easier.

I recently accepted a position with one of the "big 4" consulting firms. The position that I accepted stated 100% travel which is perfectly fine by me. During my final interview I discussed the travel and travel options & was advised that travel is usually Monday - Thursday, work from home on Friday or work from the office on Friday. I live a few hours away from their closest office, so working from home on Friday is probably the best option for me. I can imagine though that I have to go into the office at least once a month if needed.

Hope that answers your questions. :)

Mar 6, 2010
Miss_Consultant:

I recently accepted a position with one of the "big 4" consulting firms.

for curiosity's sake: mcK, bain, bcg, and..? mercer? ow? booz?

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Mar 6, 2010
dagro:
Miss_Consultant:

I recently accepted a position with one of the "big 4" consulting firms.

for curiosity's sake: mcK, bain, bcg, and..? mercer? ow? booz?

The Big 4 are accountancy firms: Deloitte, KPMG, PWC, E&Y. All have 'consultancy' divisions of various forms. Only Deloitte's is really proper consulting (and still mediocre).

And to clarify, Mercer is now a very specialised consultancy and wouldn't really be directly compared to strategy houses.

Mar 7, 2010

Previous posts are pretty accurate. I also kind of got tired of restaurant food. Depends on the city. Sometime you just eat around the hotel and only few choices, chains. It gets kinda gross after awhile.

Mar 2, 2010

KPMG and EY do not have consulting divisions. They have ADVISORY. (difference - advisory folks go to their home office and bill with maybe a partner / SM going to the client site once and a while)

PWC has a consulting arm that's starting up - Deloitte is the only one with a formal one.

Anyone that says Big 4 consulting probably works for D because everyone I know at MBB knows better to call it "the big 3" or they're not really consulting.

Mar 2, 2010

Sorry it has taken me so long to respond...long crazy week.

Kennethlchen hit it on the head...I am working for D....interestingly enough though, I also received an offer on Wednesday for a new department within ACN in risk mgmt my true passion so to speak.

Mar 2, 2010
Miss_Consultant:

Sorry it has taken me so long to respond...long crazy week.

Kennethlchen hit it on the head...I am working for D....interestingly enough though, I also received an offer on Wednesday for a new department within ACN in risk mgmt my true passion so to speak.

Just a quick thought - both are terrific firms.

ACN's hours are supposed to worse than D all around. They also don't honor 3-4-5 as much - but I agree that doing something you enjoy is more important than hours / 3-4-5.

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Mar 18, 2010

What is 3-4-5?

Mar 2, 2010

Travel/work arrangements: 3 nights away from home, 4 days on client site, and 5 days of work -- every week.

Mar 2, 2010

at what level( consultant, manager, etc) does the 3-4-5 stop?

Nov 7, 2013

.

Mar 2, 2010

Really?

Nov 7, 2013

I've heard two schools of thought when it comes to lifestyle:
1) Save as much as possible by living somewhere under your budget because you're never there anyway
2) Live in a nice building because you want to maximize the time you have at home with amenities close by.

I definitely fall into the first camp, and so far, I'm glad I did.

In terms of rewards, all the BAs/Associates/ACs at my office send out emails when new promos come out. If you're in Starwood properties, get a SPG card. If you don't have good credit now, use your corporate card (assuming you'll get one?) and then use that history of paying a high bill off for a couple months when you call and ask for a personal card (with whatever provider your corporate card is).

Give yourself a few weeks in LA before your job starts, especially if you need to have all your personal shit together to focus. You probably won't want to spend your first weekends once you start working buying furniture, unpacking, setting up new accounts, etc.

Jun 3, 2012

yes

Nov 7, 2013

Work hard during week (M-Th). Generally 8am to 10pm or 11pm. Sometimes later (2am), very occasionally stop work earlier. Team dinners once per week or two when work less. Up earlier on monday for a flight, and leave client around 5pm on Thursday.

A bit lighter on Friday (8 hours, give or take)

Rarely work at all on weekends, other than some emails Sunday night.

Nov 7, 2013

Pretty good synopsis from BigPicture. Because you can get staffed on a range of things, aside from having meetings with your team, client, and third parties involved and using PowerPoint, the work you do day to day varies too much to wrap into a paragraph.

Nov 7, 2013

Echo what's already been said. I've actually done both (IBD and Consulting) and have found that IBD is very much long-hours, no matter if you're actually working, whereas consulting is long hours if and only if there is more work to be done. Average for me in a week is 60-70 hours, but can be as low as 45 or as high as 90 (both uncommon). Maybe 5 weekends in a year.

Nov 7, 2013

Thank you for the replies. pr4mence, which one do you prefer? How does the salary differ in consulting? Or the challange the work offers? I hear that i-banking not really challenging, looking at the 'intellectual' work. What about consulting?

    • 1
Nov 7, 2013

There are much better threads out there with this information already, especially on comp vs. lifestyle tradeoffs. I would search for them and see if they answer your questions.

Nov 7, 2013

Salary discrepancy is obvious between consulting and banking, but I value the time that I have highly (especially the weekends) so I don't feel short-changed one bit switching from IBD to Consulting. I've frequently run into my friends on their way to the office on a Saturday, while I'm out meeting friends for brunch, etc.

I also feel like consulting is much better on un-planned work. Because it's structured as projects, cases, or engagements, there is on average less fire drills and random requests than banking, though that doesn't mean they don't happen - this is still client service after all.

In terms of intellectual work, I do find that I spend more time in consulting, even from an early stage, thinking of solutions or novel ways to address client problems. I'll caveat that I didn't spend that much time in banking, so I don't know exactly what life is like for those 2-3 years in and didn't jump ship to HF/PE.

Nov 7, 2013

Read this article for another comparison: http://managementconsulted.com/consulting-jobs/que...

It is from a consulting website, but imo more balanced than the M&I one. In terms of the intellectuality of work I don't think the first 2-3 years in consulting and banking are meaningfully different on average, although in consulting you are probably more likely to get somewhat challenging tasks that you can think about at least every once in a while, something which is all but absent if you are a banking analyst. Make no mistake though, almost all of your time as a new hire is going to be spent on routine tasks.

Nov 7, 2013

Are you able to go to the gym Mon-Thurs?... I work in ER and work 60-70 hours, but I have pretty good flexibility with my time in that I can choose to go to the gym anytime after 6 PM really. I can also decide if I want to work 15 hours on Monday and then only 10 hours on Tuesday.

Does consulting offer this type of flexibility?

Nov 7, 2013
CFA_monkey13:

Are you able to go to the gym Mon-Thurs?... I work in ER and work 60-70 hours, but I have pretty good flexibility with my time in that I can choose to go to the gym anytime after 6 PM really. I can also decide if I want to work 15 hours on Monday and then only 10 hours on Tuesday.

Does consulting offer this type of flexibility?

You will not have flexibility to go every time you want to. There is no way to give a blanket answer to this question. I would guess that for the majority of weeks you'll be able to go at least 1-2 times from Mon-Thur if you don't mind going late (around 9-10pm or so) often, but surely there will also be weeks where you go home at 1am every night. On the other hand you might get lucky, be able to go to the gym at 6 pm, go home and do another hour of work from the hotel. The real answer, as so often with consulting, is that it'll depend on your project.

Nov 7, 2013

I would say in terms of going to the gym, the only time you'll be able to consistently go is before work. Assuming you get into work at 8am, this means getting to the gym around 6am or so. It sucks, but whether you get 5, 6, or 7 hours of sleep, chances are you're going to be tired anyways after work. So I just get up early and do it then. After work is too much of a crapshoot (dinners, more engagement work, internal work, etc.)

Nov 7, 2013

.

Nov 7, 2013
Nov 7, 2013
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Dec 4, 2012