Former top-tier consultants from McKinsey, BCG, and Bain are highly sought after on the job market. In fact, the stellar exit opportunities rank as one of the key reasons why graduates want to work in consulting.
In this article, I want to look at:
- Why are consultants leaving their prestigious firms?
- What makes MBB consultants so desirable in the job market?
- What are the typical exit opportunities in consulting?
Why are consultants quitting their job?
There are a variety of reasons that consultants may choose to leave the industry, including:
- Burnout: Consulting can be a high-pressure and demanding job, with long hours and tight deadlines. This can lead to burnout and a loss of motivation among some consultants.
- Lack of job satisfaction: Some consultants may find that the work is not as fulfilling or interesting as they had hoped, and may choose to leave the industry in search of more fulfilling work.
- Better opportunities elsewhere: Some consultants may choose to leave the industry in order to pursue better opportunities in another field or industry.
- Work-life balance: The demanding nature of consulting can make it difficult to maintain a good work-life balance. Some consultants may choose to leave the industry in order to have more control over their time and to prioritize their personal lives.
- Lack of professional development: Some consultants may feel that they are not being given the opportunity to develop their skills and advance their careers, and may choose to leave the industry in search of more opportunities for professional development.
- Limited career progression: Some consultants may feel that they have reached a ceiling in terms of career progression within the consulting industry and may choose to move on to other opportunities.
- Lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion: Some consultants may leave the industry due to a lack of representation and discrimination, feeling that they are not being given equal opportunities to succeed.
Once a consultant decides to leave, there are plenty of opportunities for change and new challenges.
As a general rule, the full benefits of having worked at MBB are usually unlocked after 2+ years with a particular firm. It is at this stage that headhunters start reaching out with interesting job offers and more higher-end jobs become available for application.
Why are former MBB consultants so popular with employers?
There are a variety of skills that make consultants so desirable on the job market, including:
- Problem-solving skills: Consultants are trained to analyze complex problems and develop effective solutions. They are skilled at identifying key issues and developing strategies to address them.
- Project management skills: Consultants are experienced in managing large-scale projects and are able to work effectively under tight deadlines. They are skilled at coordinating teams of people and ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget.
- Communication skills: Consultants are skilled communicators and are able to effectively present complex information to a variety of audiences. They are able to clearly articulate their ideas and recommendations to clients and stakeholders.
- Analytical skills: Consultants are skilled at analyzing data and making strategic decisions based on that data. They are able to identify key trends and patterns and use that information to inform their recommendations.
- Industry knowledge: Consultants are experts in their field and have a deep understanding of the industries they work in. They are able to bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to their clients and help them navigate complex issues.
- Adaptability: Consultants are able to quickly adapt to new and changing environments, and are able to work effectively in a variety of different industries and settings.
- Leadership skills: Consultants are often in leadership roles and are able to effectively manage and lead teams of people. They are able to inspire and motivate others to achieve a common goal.
- Interpersonal skills: Consultants are able to build strong relationships with clients and stakeholders, and are able to understand and anticipate their needs.
- Continuous learning: Consultants are required to continuously learn and keep up to date with the latest trends and developments in their field.
These are just a few examples of the skills that make consultants so desirable in the job market. The combination of these skills makes consultants valuable assets for companies and organizations looking for expert guidance and strategic direction.
What are the typical exit opportunities for consultants?
There are a variety of exit opportunities for consultants, depending on their skills, interests, and career goals. Some of the most common exit opportunities include:
Many consultants choose to leave consulting and transition to a specific industry, using the skills and experience they have gained in consulting to excel in their new roles. Popular industries for consultants to transition to include finance, technology, healthcare, and retail.
Due to the prestigious nature of their previous job, they are usually skipping several steps of the hierarchy when switching to an industry role.
Some consultants choose to start their own businesses and become entrepreneurs, using the skills and experience they have gained in consulting to create their own successful ventures.
Stay with the firm and transition to a different career profile
Some consultants stay with their firm and switch to a different career track, for instance by becoming an expert or professional development manager. Even though consulting firms are working with the up-or-out principle, they still try to keep their employees close and offer other opportunities before letting them go.
Some consultants choose to move into in-house consulting roles, working as internal consultants within a specific company or organization. This can be a great way to use consulting skills in a more focused, specialized environment.
Former MBB consultants might also take the leap into freelance consulting or even start their own boutique consulting firm, focusing on a particular industry or function.
Government and non-profit:
Some consultants choose to transition to roles in the government or non-profit sector, where they can apply their skills and experience to work on important social and public policy issues.
Some consultants choose to transition to roles in academia, such as teaching or conducting research at a university. This can be a great way to stay connected to the consulting industry while also pursuing a passion for teaching and research.
Senior management roles or board positions:
Depending on their tenure with MBB, some consultants go on to take senior management roles in a company, using their consulting experience to lead and manage teams and drive business strategy. This is usually the case for consultants that leave their firm at the project manager level or above.
Some consultants decide to retire after a successful career in consulting. This move is mostly relevant for senior partners at the end of their careers.
It’s important to note that these are just some examples of exit opportunities for consultants. Many other paths and opportunities are available, depending on the individual’s preferences, skills, and circumstances. On top of that, sometimes, several roles can be combined. For instance, a former MBB consultant might move to a senior management role, while becoming a lecturer for an MBA program, all while sitting on several advisory boards.
Consulting firms may also offer career development programs to help their employees plan for the future and make a successful transition to another career.
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