What's wrong with operational work? Why hate?

Just curious, why do a lot of people on this form look so poorly upon "execution and project management" and operation work? To me, they are key functions that would help any business and are just as, if not more, important than strategic work.

Is it boring, not intellectually stimulating...?

If I were to look at someone's resume and see that she reduced costs by 25%, that would be just as impressive as someone saying that he helped introduce company X to market Y.

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Comments (18)

Jan 14, 2011

Better just do a search, it's been talked about since the beginning of time.

Jan 14, 2011

There's nothing wrong. Operations wizards at portfolio comanies in PE make good money.

Jan 14, 2011

Do what you want. Just keep an eye out for what others are doing to give yourself some ideas on what you might like. But don't think those finance or consulting jobs are everything.

Jan 14, 2011

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with 99% of jobs in any field. It's just a matter of how it fits your personality, goals, etc. Some people probably like ops, just like there is probably a guy that loves his job as a prison chef. To answer your question, most people don't work as hard as they can to get into XXX bank in order to do back office type work. It's just a matter of preference and drive.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Jan 14, 2011

Only my two cents: Assuming we're talking strategic vs. operational consulting, I think the difference in glamor comes from the thought that Strategy consulting is performed traditionally at a higher, executive level of clients, where as operational work can be solely middle management for some projects. Also, if you would be looking to PE as an exit opp for example, strategic thinking is clearly more valuable than PM & Ops work. From an MBA perspective, both set you up quite nicely.

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Jan 14, 2011

Like JBS50, I'm going to assume that this isn't about operational or back-office work at a bank. Unlike back-office bank work, operational consulting is front-office in the firms that do it, so the back-office/front-office dichotomy is irrelevant. Also, operational people at PE firms do more than pure "operations" work.

I think part of the reason why people frown on operational work is the belief - correct or not - that strategic work is harder than operational work and takes more ingenuity or insight or whatever. The extension of this would be that people who can do strategic work could do operational work, but not vice versa. I'm not saying it's true, but that's the perception.

Jan 16, 2011

I do operations consulting, and it can be painful at times. If you are just doing high level recommendations, it's all good. But if you are also responsible for implementing something like cost cutting (which turns into taking money out of people's budget or negotiating), it can turn into a slogfest. Also as someone mentioned, depending on the company size, you may not be chatting up with the CFO on a daily basis, etc. so very high level exposure can be limited. Also just by the nature of business, many times operations deals with 'back office', so it just may not sound as glamorous. On a good note, you learn quite a bit about how the company function in detail.

Jan 16, 2011

Operations consulting =/= operations.

A lot of very smart people end up in operations. There is nothing wrong with it--pay is decent, hours much better than most FO gigs, plenty of job security, etc.--but it is not as intellectually stimulating nor does it give you as many other opportunities as FO work. Ops people, in some places, are also not necessarily treated as well by others as they ought to be (ie not respected for whatever reason).

Jan 19, 2011

Dude, strategy consulting is more prestigious so its better.

Operational consulting is for state school kids.

Jan 19, 2011
HBS_or_Bust:

Dude, strategy consulting is more prestigious so its better.

Operational consulting is for state school kids.

Ignorance at it's finest...... what can you do that a state school kid can't do?

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

Jan 23, 2011
blackfinancier:
HBS_or_Bust:

Dude, strategy consulting is more prestigious so its better.

Operational consulting is for state school kids.

Ignorance at it's finest...... what can you do that a state school kid can't do?

Some of the brightest most ambitious grads are from State schools. Strat can definitely sound more prestigious, but both ops and strat are pretty good places to be right now.

Just be happy your not in logistics, supply chain, or IT consulting... I heard that stuff is pretty rough.

.

Jan 23, 2011
Khara 3alekon:
blackfinancier:
HBS_or_Bust:

Dude, strategy consulting is more prestigious so its better.

Operational consulting is for state school kids.

Ignorance at it's finest...... what can you do that a state school kid can't do?

Some of the brightest most ambitious grads are from State schools. Strat can definitely sound more prestigious, but both ops and strat are pretty good places to be right now.

Just be happy your not in logistics, supply chain, or IT consulting... I heard that stuff is pretty rough.

Why not logistics or supply chain?

Jan 30, 2011
brand_new_consultant8891:
Khara 3alekon:
blackfinancier:
HBS_or_Bust:

Dude, strategy consulting is more prestigious so its better.

Operational consulting is for state school kids.

Ignorance at it's finest...... what can you do that a state school kid can't do?

Some of the brightest most ambitious grads are from State schools. Strat can definitely sound more prestigious, but both ops and strat are pretty good places to be right now.

Just be happy your not in logistics, supply chain, or IT consulting... I heard that stuff is pretty rough.

Why not logistics or supply chain?

Well, there is no problem with Logistics and SC, just the fact that some of the work will be associated with working out of an actual warehouse or Factory in some random city in the U.S. (maybe in an International city) and from what IBM told me: "we do not get paid unless we SHOW the client how we have sliced their overhead while trading off inefficiencies..."
So through my eyes, logistics and SC are the core to making better company operations, but the career cost is HUGE: 1) your stained as an IT SC guy, 2) your no fit for strategic in most cases and 3) the nature of the work is just.... rough and tough.

All in all, in my opinioin, ops and strat are the best places to be even though in some cases IT SC pays better if your the guy leading the team on the remote site.

Thats just my opinion, before trading i got offers for IT SC strat and Ops... the Ops job offer and company seemed the best.

.

Jan 30, 2011
Khara 3alekon:
brand_new_consultant8891:
Khara 3alekon:
blackfinancier:
HBS_or_Bust:

Dude, strategy consulting is more prestigious so its better.

Operational consulting is for state school kids.

Ignorance at it's finest...... what can you do that a state school kid can't do?

Some of the brightest most ambitious grads are from State schools. Strat can definitely sound more prestigious, but both ops and strat are pretty good places to be right now.

Just be happy your not in logistics, supply chain, or IT consulting... I heard that stuff is pretty rough.

Why not logistics or supply chain?

Well, there is no problem with Logistics and SC, just the fact that some of the work will be associated with working out of an actual warehouse or Factory in some random city in the U.S. (maybe in an International city) and from what IBM told me: "we do not get paid unless we SHOW the client how we have sliced their overhead while trading off inefficiencies..."
So through my eyes, logistics and SC are the core to making better company operations, but the career cost is HUGE: 1) your stained as an IT SC guy, 2) your no fit for strategic in most cases and 3) the nature of the work is just.... rough and tough.

All in all, in my opinioin, ops and strat are the best places to be even though in some cases IT SC pays better if your the guy leading the team on the remote site.

Thats just my opinion, before trading i got offers for IT SC strat and Ops... the Ops job offer and company seemed the best.

Just to add my 2 cents:

I know a lot of grads that went into IT Consulting, and they tell me they hate it because it's long hours for what they see as below-average comp. It's also pretty tough to make the jump from IT Consulting to any other type of consulting. Apparently, once you're an IT guy, you're an IT guy.

Jan 27, 2011
HBS_or_Bust:

Dude, strategy consulting is more prestigious so its better.

Operational consulting is for state school kids.

If you're bitter about not getting into Stanford and got stuck at Berkeley instead, you'd be bitter if you got stuck in ops consulting.

On the flip, if you swallowed your pride and accepted your second-tier status in life and actually came to /enjoy/ Berkeley, you'll probably also learn to love the safety job that is operational consulting.

Jan 28, 2011

Don't worry - do what you want and what you are passionate about

Jan 30, 2011

All SCM Consulting is not IT Consulting. You could be working on distribution network strategy or global sourcing or reverse logistics or manufacturing/demand planning, etc. that may have no IT other than getting the data dump.

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Jan 30, 2011