Management Consulting – Part 1

Hello and welcome to the MBA talk podcast. I’m very happy to present to you this new podcast series about management consultancy. To produce this podcast series we are joined by Orestes Peristeris an MBA graduate at Yale and HEC Paris, and currently a management consultant. With Orestes, we discuss everything about consulting companies, networking, CV-building, interview preparation, and more.

This first episode is separated into audio files. In the first one, we discuss: 

  • What does a management consultant do?
  • Which are the key companies in the consulting industry?
  • And we discuss internal versus external consulting companies. 

Check out the second one and learn what are the key skills to be successful in the industry, and know about what a day in the life of a consultant looks like. 

Without further to add let’s get into the episode. 

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Episode Notes

Orestes Background

Orestes, welcome to the show. I’m very happy to have you here so we can talk a little bit about what MBA consultants do, where they work, and what kind of work they do after an MBA. 

Just to start, can you give us a little bit of your background. Where do you come from? Where are you living and where you went for your MBA?

[1:29]  Sure, yes, thanks Andrés. It’s very good to be here for the first podcast to discuss with you. Also to reach all of the MBA students that are out there listening to us. 

So my name is Orestes Peristeris. I’m originally from South Africa, Greek descent, and I did my MBA, actually, a shared dual degree. I did my MBA at HEC Paris and that was in 2016. I was there for one year. Then spent time in Switzerland, and also did the MBA fieldwork project for three months. And then I did the second year of the program at the Yale School of Management. That was in the Master of Advanced Management Program. Which is an add on to MBAs from the partner schools of Yale.

What are you doing today?

[2:23]  Today I’m a senior consultant at DHL Consulting in Bonn, Germany. This is the head office of the company, and I’ve been doing business and management consulting there since 2018.

You also teach for Optness?

[2:42] That’s right. I’m an Optness associate and professor since 2017. I actually attended the workshop. I helped to organize the workshop in HEC Paris when I was the president of the Industry Club there. And I was really amazed by the content and very impressed with the workshop itself. 

And from there, I joined the Black Belt program and also became a professor. So I’ve been teaching workshops for Optness, and being part of the educational mission. And already presented workshops in the US and also here in Europe and in the UK.

Orestes, we were talking about doing this podcast for a long time. Can you tell us what was the motivation behind this series of episodes?

[3:30] Yes. I’ve always been interested in education, also uplifting and helping others. Because I believe that in life everything that you learn and that you do, it’s always involving other people. And there’s so much to be gained from people who have done things before you and who’ve had that experience. 

I think this is especially true if we think about MBAs and business schools extensions programs. An MBA or Master’s program, it’s something you will do once in your life. So, when you go through it, you are in with a cohort, and the other people also do this once. 

And it’s the most value that you get, in terms of early learning, about the best practices, is from people who’ve done it before. So, people helped me when I was entering the business school, and also in the school itself, in a lot of ways. And I really saw the value of that. 

I really like to take some of my time every week to help out, whenever students reach out to me on LinkedIn for help, for advice with career advice. Or thinking about choosing which MBA to do, or which company to join, or how to prepare for applications to companies. Whether it’s consulting or in general, I’m always happy to make time for them. 

So the motivation for me is that I think the podcast is a great platform to reach a wider audience and to share the knowledge and experience that I’ve gained that it really worked well for me. 

With a lot of people that are part of our network, alumni of Optness, and also MBA students in general who are trying to learn more. I think we can add a lot of value and help a lot of people with experience. It’s something they can learn from as well.

Podcast Introduction

Can you walk us briefly what kind of topics we will cover?

[5:22] Yes, in the episode that we’re doing today will cover subjects specifically about management consulting, giving people more information about the industry, the job itself. If you look at the job reports of most MBAs, it’s either the top one or the second field that MBA graduates go into when they complete the studies. 

It’s also a great field to join after an MBA, because in a lot of ways, management consulting has similarities with the business school. So in terms of having many colleagues, that also came from other business schools, working in big and small teams, problem solving, in analytics research, working on C and high level business problems. 

It’s very much what you’re taught to do in the MBA, is highly compatible and with a job or career, consulting it’s really a rewarding field to go into. We’ll be covering that in the session today and give everyone a bit of background on this. Then also, will have a series of podcasts going forward that will be about recruiting tips in recruiting, positioning and advice in general, for MBA and master students. 

Then we will cover in more depth each of the steps that are involved in successfully recruiting out of a business school, into companies in any industry. And that will cover areas such as: how do you research companies effectively?, doing networking, your CV, cover letter and application. 

I get so many questions about this. I speak to a number of students weekly about how to do an application. How do I stand out with my CV? Do I need a cover letter?  Those kinds of questions and interview preparation. 

Also then, what is very seldomly covered in the business schools and the Career Centers, normally do a great job preparing students. But actually one area that when I was in the business schools, at least, was the receiving and often negotiating. And that needs to be done with equal skill to really have a successful offer and to be able to join the company. 

So that’s something we’ll look at and something that I’ve used myself. And I’ve seen people do it very well, I’ve seen people do not so well. I think that it’ll be quite interesting to go through all of those topics as talk in the upcoming weeks.

Let’s start from the beginning, what does a management consultant do?

[7:53] I think that a lot of students that come into business schools especially from different countries around the world, maybe it’s not so typical knowing management consulting. And it also was for me, I really thought about it or learned about consulting when I first joined the MBA, and it came really onto my radar. 

In management consulting what you really do is that you work on business problems for clients. They have a specific business problem or goal that they need support with. You can see it as something that is mission based, having a fixed time period, and it can range in anything that’s really strategic within a company. 

The range of topics can be anything from your organizational design and transformation. It could be digitalization, which is very typical nowadays. 

So, how does a company go from where it is currently to being in a position to adopt, and implement all of the digital tools that exist out there on a large scale in a way that’s meaningful for the company? 

Can also, be in the finance area, financial implementation of different standards that come along, it can be market entry. So, how does a company enter particular markets? How should they enter? What should they do? Like, marketing strategy, for example.

It also is that companies sometimes want external help. Very often as a consulting team you are also independent business experts that a company is bringing in to give an external perspective and objective view. 

The people that follow methodology, such as management consultants, can really come in look at a goal or a problem statement. And working in a team structure, do the research, put a structure in place, and then do the research itself, develop innovative solutions. Then provide it to a client who can then decide to use that and to put that forward.

This is really what consultants are doing and in this sense you also have the difference between the external and Internal consulting. 

A number of companies found the value of having an in house consulting department. But we have consultants doing the same job in a kind of the same structure as having teams and having the consulting structure in place. And then having the teams working on specific missions, within the company. This can also be of course, more typical of external consultants who work on a contract basis and get invited to come and work on these projects.

Main External Consulting Characteristics and Players on Market

For management consultants, what are the main companies they can aim for?

[10:38] If we look at the external, we call them the external consulting companies. This is the ones that are most well known, with a global brand. So here you have them, if you look at the Business School terminology, it comes up quite quickly that you have let’s say the big three or the top three, which is MBB firms – McKinsey, Bain, BCG

Those are seen as the top three, they have the longest history, a very strong brand. Very well regarded worldwide in terms of the consulting, they do the research and the knowledge that they put out. Also the alumni network is very strong. 

So, you find many executives and CEOs of companies are actually alumni of the MBB firms. So within the business environment, these are the ones that most people aim for and really aspire to join. And then another group that we have is what we call the big four. 

The big four, is the typical consult accounting firms that have also developed consulting arm or have acquired consulting companies over time. That would be for example, PwC and they have their arm to score the strategy end. And, Deloitte just wanted to deploy it with the consulting arm there, and also KPMG and EY, Eastern & Young. 

So, there’s a difference between having your strategy consulting, which is more general business consulting, compared to, obviously, tax and financial consulting, which assumes more detailed knowledge or experience or understanding of a specific industry. So today, we’re talking generally more about management, consulting, business consulting in general. 

Within these firms it’s important to note different departments, some departments are pure management or strategy consulting. But they can also have financial consulting, or tax consulting. 

So you need to really understand when you’re looking at the companies: what is the job that you’re looking at, and what part of the company is that opportunity for? 

And, you also can add operational firms, firms that are doing consulting, but more focused on operations. And that would be AT Kearney, as one example, and also Accenture. These are two that, also, really take in MBAs. But sometimes they also are looking more to people that have an operational, supply chain background, IT background, because their projects are more heavily weighted in that direction. 

And it’s important to note that the MBB firms also have, sometimes, the operations focus and implementation part of the business, which is also then kind of focused more on the supply chain area. So when you start looking at these firms, you’ll see that they also have different business lines of consulting as well. 

While the one I can add down the end, it’s something that quite a lot of MBAs recruit into, is what we call the boutique firms. The boutique firms are smaller companies that can be anywhere from five, maybe up to 100 consultants that you have. And, normally, they could be globally spread out or within a specific region or country. These boutique firms, there are thousands of them. 

They’re also really a viable option for MBAs looking at internships, and also, at full time opportunities. But in that case, because there are so many, they have a specific focus of an industry, or region, or country or service line, maybe a certain function that they specialize in. 

So, these are more specialized firms. They really exist also in your major business centers. Like in Paris or London, in Spain, in Frankfurt, Munich, Milan, you would find a lot of these firms. And normally, they also are represented at the recruiting events of the business schools, and you’ll see them there, but the brands themselves are not so well known.

Can you wrap up for us the different kinds of specializations a management consultant can go?

[14:37] In terms of specializations the first and the main one, the biggest one is your business or management consulting role, and that would be the role of a generalist or general consultant. That’s where you are a management consultant and you can work on any range of topics that the company gets projects in.

So, this is very important to know, that those kinds of jobs do not assume that you are an expert or a specialist or have prior experience in a certain function, and those are your generalist roles. The vast majority of consulting roles have this profile, where it’s a skills based job, not a knowledge based job. 

The other types of consulting that I’ve come across are operations, supply chain consulting, which will be more focused on your process optimization. Looking at supply chain networks, on supply chain processes, supply chain strategy. Operations optimization in terms of looking at warehouses and how to increase efficiency, optimize warehouse operations or distribution operations. 

And another area that comes up often is finance consulting. Normally, they would recruit people who’ve worked in investment banking before or in financial services. Who then, also, does an MBA, and they would be good candidates then to do consulting for financial services firms. 

That could be either an insurance or investment banking firm or organization transformation or processes or process optimization, within the financial services industry. And these are the ones that most typically come across in one of these three categories.

External Versus Internal Consulting

What are the main pros and cons between MBBs, Big Four and Boutique Firms? 

Going back to the external consulting firms, how would one navigate between them? What are the main pros and cons of working at MBB, the big four or in a boutique firm?

[16:27] I think that there’s a lot of benefits in joining the external firms, in one way that they have great brand names and they are world-renowned. Just like going to a very good business school gives you great brand recognition globally. The same applies to your consulting firms. 

So going to McKinsey, Bain, BCG or a big four firms really gives you that from a career perspective. It’s a great place to start your career post MBA because then it builds your CV. You have a great school, and then you have a great brand name in a company that you’ve worked for as consulting. 

And that’s really a big plus. Because then people can also see that not only were you in a good business school. But now you’ve also been able to transition through a very tough recruiting process into a great consulting firm. So that fact alone is great. 

Another thing that’s good about them is they have a highly focused corporate culture. So, the main land of the business is management consulting, is management in excellence, the researchers that they have, the analytics capacity that they have, the training programs that they have for full staff. They live and breathe consulting, and they focus all of the attention on that. 

And this and the main value of a consulting company, is it’s people. The investment in the people is very high and that’s where you get a lot of benefit from that investment. 

Also, adding to that is that if you start your career post MBA there, you get exposure to a large range of different industries and projects. Because in the consulting companies, they have customers across the world and across all industries. Joining a firm in a big office, each office would have its own customers and would have all kinds of industries in that region, which are prominent.

We’re not talking about all the industries in the world, but they would have three, four or five industries in large customers that they would support. Knowing the office that you’re interested in, you can then also look at what is the industry in that region. And then if you join that office, you would get exposure to all of those companies and those industries.

It’s a great way to get exposure, and also an accelerated exposure because you’ll be doing projects of maybe three to six months. Then you will change company or change industry and have different business functions or problems to solve. That’s really a great accelerated learning, team formation, working with different people, getting to know different companies. So, that’s really great. 

I think something that people need to keep in mind. However, when joining external firms is that the work life balance will be much more weighted towards the working aspects. 

In terms of the symptoms because of travel days you could be traveling Monday to Thursday. And because you will typically work at the client’s premises at their office. You will normally be out of your home city, your hometown, where you normally are residing. Maybe, four days a week you’ll be away from home.

And then, typically, when you’re on a consulting project, you work on it for long hours or much longer hours. I’ve heard from many colleagues that are in different firms across the industry. 

This can be anything from working till 9:10pm, working till 12:00am, working to 1:00am or 2:00am, depending on the deadline and the project that you’re working on. So, it’s quite pressurized, and they all have a lot of working hours. 

So the work that you’re doing is great. I think working in teams and being on sites, it’s a great setup. But people need to know that definitely the work life balance is going to be quite pressurized. This is one of the factors. 

Another factor to consider joining an external firm is that it is opposed to joining maybe a company in a function or joining a company in pharma, for example. An engineering company or something like that or FMCG companies (Fast Moving Consumer Goods), that you want to get into and become a specialist or an expert or very knowledgeable about one company or one type of industry. 

So, just like the job will be more of a generalist in a generalist role. So, we’ll also, then, be your experience more general. And that has also, of course, it’s pros and cons as not having broad exposure. But not really having that much depth on one particular industry in most cases, this is the typical situation. 

So of course using that broad experiences could be a positive thing in the long run. But compared to people who go into one company, you would miss some of the depth of the industry, of the company. 

Internal Consulting Main Characteristics and Function

You’ve mentioned that some companies have internal teams with consulting tasks, can you explain what is Internal Consulting?

This gives us a nice introduction to the type of company or type of consulting I didn’t think of before, which is internal consulting companies. There are companies that have their, as you mentioned before, internal teams or internal branches that focus on consulting as the big companies do. Right?

[21:08] Yeah, absolutely. And this was also something interesting for me to learn, that actually there are companies that are large enough. Where they made the decision to actually set up their own in house subsidiary or department that’s doing in house consulting. 

When you hear about in house consulting or internal consulting. When students come across these opportunities or this concept, sometimes used to refer to under different names. So, you may get the internal consulting being called in house consulting, department or in house consulting or internal consulting or it could be called a project department or it could be called strategic projects, departments. I’ve also seen it being called process optimization.

So be aware that there are different names that are used for the concepts. But the concept itself it’s that you have a team or department or subsidiary of a company that has been set up specifically for the purpose of having people with consulting skills, and working on a consulting and project basis. But normally only for the company and for specific topics that the corporate company itself would have. 

For example, here in Europe, you have companies such as DHL Consulting or Bayer Business Consulting, Siemens in House Consulting, BASF, Mercedes Benz, Porsche, Merck. All of them have some form of in house consulting department and if you look at different countries and also maybe in the US, you would find that you have quite often these in house departments.

And how this happened because these companies can rely on external consulting as well?

[23:30] Yes, that’s actually a really good question because the companies actually use external consultants quite extensively alongside the internal consultants. And what you would find is that the internal consultants are used for projects, and where being able to hit the ground running quickly. 

Having knowledge of the company and the internal network. And having the trust that’s the base, highly suited to doing certain types of projects and supporting the business in that way, because they know the company, they know the business. 

They bring a lot of knowledge and experience understanding of the company upfront, which is very difficult to get with external consultants. So there’s definitely a benefit in having that, and also, projects that maybe are a longer time period or involve much more engagement with stakeholders. 

So thinking more like a PMO, Project Management Office, perspective or helping to set up a strategic initiative but being much more involved in working closer with the team in the corporate company or in the business unit. 

That’s why it makes sense to have in house consultants because with external consultants, it’s normally much more specific scope. More mission focused is normally about giving a recommendation to working only with top management or very senior executives or C-level executives.

And then the implementation of that is normally done by the business itself, where with in house consulting you can find that there’s probably a mixture of projects. Where you get sometimes implementation. But also then, you still have your strategic projects that are there. 

And I mean, of course, that it also makes sense for a company to have its own staff that work as consultants, as opposed to having externals. Also, because of the cost perspective, the fees are very high for external consultants. 

Normally, the company’s in the house consultants are also valued equally. But if you think of it on a group level, this definitely does make sense to have some of this capacity in house as well.

How do you know if a company has an in house consulting branch?

Is there any heuristic to understand if a company has an internal consultant branch? Like maybe, I guess , the size of the company, maybe a hint to know that they have an internal consultants company. Maybe you know what to look for?

[26:05]  So, normally, the way you would look at it is from the job postings, it’s very important to understand. 

When students are looking at career opportunities and it can say consultants for a company. That is only a good indication that they’re looking for MBAs to fulfill theirs in the house or internal consulting role.

And then they will also need to look at the job profile to understand, because you also get the title of consultants in the IT area. So if a company has an IT services organization, they could also have consultants that they recruit. But those are the IT consultants working on IT projects, and that’s the difference. So that would be one I think. 

Secondly, it also is the size of the company, that is an indicator. Thirdly, it’s typically industrial companies or finance companies in my experience, that have these in house consulting firms. And, that would also then be fourthly, to look at the Google search.

So, if you put the name of the company and in house consulting, internal consulting or consultant. You would then quickly find if they have dedicated pages or maybe some marketing material. And the same would also be for LinkedIn search to see if they actually have this title of consultant, if they brand themselves as consultants.

Pros and Cons of Internal Consulting

From what you said in internal consulting there is a better life balance, but what are the main pros and cons of Internal consulting?

From what you previously commented it seems like internal consulting somewhat has a nice balance between the pros of an external consulting. Like, having a great brand behind in your CV, having exposure to different projects, but at the same time, it brings other pros that are cons for external consultants. Right?

[28:01] Yeah, absolutely. If you look at the benefits or the pros of in house consulting one of them is that if you’re joining an internal position you will find that you’ll be one of the highly valued employees within the company. Because the consulting departments or consulting colleagues, they are known over time, they both built up the brand, they bring value, they bring unique skills, they bring innovative solutions, they have the knowledge of the company, and they help to get things going and to get things achieved. 

Also is definitely being a highly valued employee within the company, is a great position. Especially compared to being normally just in the function, and being just one of the normal employees. Sometimes with consulting, it’s like a team that’s really valued added and that’s great. 

There’s also, typically, a better work life balance then external consulting. You still work longer hours than a normal functional or corporate job, but not to the same extent. And sometimes it’s also that there’s less travel involved. 

If you are based at a major regional office or close to the headquarters of the company, you would typically be doing projects in the headquarters or for the head offices of business units, which will be in the same place, in the same location geographically. So you will also have then potentially this non travel. 

In terms of other benefits, it’s also the ability to build deep knowledge about a specific company in the industry. So, yes, while you might still be doing general consulting, projects, or business consulting, on the first level of detail, from the second and third level of detail of the job or the content of a project. 

Then you will be dealing with the business model products, the finances, the brand, or in every all of those things of the company that you’re working for because all of your projects are focused on that one company and its business. So that ‘s also the good thing. It’s good to have this knowledge. 

And, of course, if you choose to work in an in house consulting firm. Then you would and I would advise that you also have an interest in the company itself. Because what you’ll find is that there are very good exit opportunities in the main corporate company. In many of the in house consulting firms, you also have this kind of career path or exit path, which is facilitated or encouraged to join the corporate company. 

And what I can say also, in terms of a day-to-day working level that the trust and the client intimacy is typically higher, within in house consulting. Because in this case you are still seen as a colleague of the company. You’re still seen as someone who works with a company, and, yes, you’re a consultant, you may be coming to do a specific project or a mission. 

But in my experience, you are still treated as a consultant, but also as a colleague itself and people are quite open. We have worked as an external consultant, and then it was a much more structured engagement. Maybe only in a certain office or a certain room. You are able to talk to specific people and then work off-site and those kinds of things. 

Over time, as you work in in house consulting projects, more and more, you feel like you’re part of the team. And the client sees you as a valuable part of the initiative or the strategy. You can definitely sense that. So, there are definitely some very good things about in house consulting as well.

Do you build better relationships in internal consulting and is there more stability?

I can see that, for example, you can build relationships with your colleagues as well, with your superiors,  with your team, because you see people more often and, I guess, with less stress as well, you don’t have to jump from project to project ,to city to city, like an external consultant. Right?

[31:53] Yeah, that’s a very good point. So if you look at your in house consulting firms or organizations,  it’s normally from 20 or 30 people up to about 100 employees in total. So you kind of have this small feel almost like a boutique kind of consulting, the same thing you would get there. 

And, like you say, you’re not moving around, there aren’t so many people, it is focused on one company, normally, working in the same location. You definitely build a sense of community and togetherness with the in house consulting, because you together with so many people. 

Also, the tenure could also be sometimes longer for people working in house consulting. You could be there for a longer time period, maybe three to five years. When an external consulting person will stay in maybe for one or two years more typically and then moving on. 

So there’s also a bit of, in some cases, a longer term view, as well, and people then also are getting to know each other very well. So of course, when you have a smaller organization, and people are staying in the same place, you can boil the social informal social networks and socialize with colleagues. And this is really also a great benefit.

Is there any kind of cons you can see in internal consulting?

[33:11] Something that people need to think about with in house consulting is that you are committing to one specific company. And you will also be known by the brand and by the business of that company. So, if you join a company that’s focused on logistics, or focused on the automotive sector. Even if you’re doing a consulting job function, in terms of your career progression, and how you would be seen as in from recruiters in the future, they would still link it back to the specific industry. 

You need to think about this because it will also define how people look at your profile in your CV in the future. It’s more something to think about to know. “Okay, yes, I’m doing consulting, but if I go on in house, I’m gonna be part of a company.”

So make sure that you like the company, that you are interested in that industry or the business of the company. Make sure the mission and the brand resounds with you, because that’s something you’re going to be much closer to than. 

Career Paths and Organizational Culture Differences

What would have been a case with external consulting? Where is it more about? What projects did you do, functions were you involved with, and what are the industries into it and not? Which companies do you work for because everyone knows that it’s the normal fortune 500 company?

[34:33] That’s the thing with inhouse consulting. I think it also depends on which company you join. Of course, it’s not going to be as mature, as developed in terms of the training or the personnel organization as it would be in a pure consulting company. 

So, you’re better or your best in house consulting firms could be the same or a par. But you would need to do the research, and talk to alumni. Talk to people to understand how much of the consulting career path, the consulting training, organizational structure and methodology is being applied. This can differ between firms, between companies, that some is around more like a project department on a project office kind of basis. And in other firms it’s fully consulting focused. 

So, for example, in DHL consulting, it’s a fully focused consulting organization running independently, with all the training, with a methodology, with organizational structure. The recruitment is 100% focused on consulting. So that’s great. 

But in other companies, it may be different and it also depends on knowing how independent or separate or is the consultant function itself. If it’s very close to the corporate company, which we’re like a strategy department. Or maybe involved with M&A or seen as operations optimization or something much closer to the business. And it would be maybe a mix of corporate functional role and a consulting role at the same time. 

So, as a student, you need to know about the difference. Like if you really are very passionate about consulting, and you want to do a full on consulting job, make sure you join a company that has that structure in place. Whether it’s external or internal because potentially some of the boutique firms may, also, be more of like a family business, or founder led business. 

I’ve also received a lot of feedback from colleagues that say that in boutique firms also are quite a different experience. Actually, it’s not just in house consulting, but also in boutique consulting that you could have different experiences. So make sure of that. 

That is why I think that the best way is to talk to alumni and talk to people that have worked in the firms and can give you a comparison or give you their view. That will be helpful.

What are the main differences in terms of salary and career progressions between both types of consulting?

I don’t want this to make an internal versus external consulting episode. But one last question on this regard, what would be the comparison in terms of salary and career progressions between both types of consulting?

[37:13] So within an external consultant there’s also a scale, and from that perspective, the MBB firms would normally have the highest salaries, and you can look at Glassdoor. So the information is available on the internet.

If you go to Glassdoor and look at a particular city or a large city, the salaries are already posted there. So it’s quite transparent. If you look at that research data, the MBB firms, typically, have the highest salaries, followed by big four, and then, potentially, by boutique firms in most cases. So that’s normally and they would be not much difference, but there would be some degree of separation for sure. 

If you look at the in house consulting firms, it can vary a lot. So, again, I think Glassdoor is a good resource to go and compare. Normally, I would say it can maybe be a close call between MBB and Big Four. But that depends on the company. This is a very broad statement and also depends on the region that you located in. But it would not be much different, I would say. But be clearly the MBB maybe are in the highest bracket by some percentage points.

In terms of career progression, is this clear inside consultancy companies? I guess this depends also on the companies, but how would you compare both?

[38:43] Yes, I think in terms of the career progression those who are going to the external and internal consulting, will find that they have a clear notion of career progression. 

Along with the Apple Out career path, which is the most typical, which means that within each job level, you normally have a two or three year tenure time you spend in that role. Then towards the end of the role within six months or until the end of that term, you would be expected to have developed the skills, the experience and had project performance to allow you to be promoted to the next level. 

So if someone is starting as, for example, as an associate, coming out of an MBA in one of the firms. It could be a two year or three-year career path that is expected to meet all the requirements, to be able to be promoted.

So, within consulting, you also have this accelerated career path because the system is designed. The organization is designed so that everyone is always moving up. You can’t have someone being an associate, kind of coming in as a junior consultant for 10 years, you don’t have that happening, to move up in the long term in consultancy. Usually, people would need to maybe go in a full research role, like an analytical role in the company. 

Some of the bigger consulting firms allow people to have this kind of staff role, which is more of a supporting role. But it’s not the career track of consulting. It’s normally the up way principal. The same thing would apply to internal firms, mostly. Well, that’s how it works. 

What’s very nice is that from a career policy, you are continuously going up. In terms of the prospects, career development it would be slightly different between the two. So on the external consulting it could be that you get a role or are given an offer by a client that you work for. This is the most typical case in both internal and external consulting that people get to work with you. And they get to know how you work and they’ll really like how you work potentially. This is typical. 

My sense is that this is in external consulting because of this there’s a bit of a distance. Then it’s more that people are going into strategy roles or business development roles within the industry. That seems to be the trend of people going to those roles from external consulting depending on which level people are exiting.

So if someone is exiting two or three years, maybe there could be a business development manager for a company, or moving to the strategy department, or M&A department or corporate company. So that would be an exit strategy. 

If you look at in house consulting, that can very much be in any business unit corporate function. Where a person has done a project, made an impression, and where there is a recruiting need that could then be offered directly to join that team or that initiative on a full-time basis. 

And I would say the transition is easier with in house consulting in a way because you have this more of intimacy. And you’re kind of already doing a role that is sometimes on a project basis, but it’s also very close to the business. So that’s it’s giving a very good opportunity to do that. 

And that’s why I say that, also joining in house consulting it’s also important to know and like the company that you will work for, because the chance that you will go up in that is quite high. So it could be as much as 70% to 80% of people who are leaving the consulting department are actually going to the corporate company directly.

Orestes, let’s take a break here. And you listener, be sure to check the next part of this episode. See you soon. 

Thank you for joining for this episode of the MBA talk podcast. A podcast brought to you by Optness Institute. You can find all Notes for this episode, as well as SUBSCRIBE for future [email protected]/mbatalk. And if you’re enjoying the show, or have any comments, topics, or guest suggestions, I love you, you shoot me an email. My name is Andres, and you can write to me at [email protected]. With that, thank you and we’ll see you in the next episode.