Career insights by GGI is a new series by GGI sharing hacks and tips around management consulting, MBA, product management and public policy.
In this GGI career insight, we will be sharing insights into: the pros and cons of working in management consulting firms like BCG, McKinsey and Bain.
Are you a management consulting enthusiast? Have you ever wondered what are the pros and cons of working in management consulting?
As a former BCG consultant, I share my insights on consulting absolutely free of cost. I have divided this career insight into 8 pros and 4 cons.
1.1 Good Projects
As a management consultant, you are part of an extremely intellectual environment you work together on some really good projects.
You get an unparalleled kick from solving complex problems like mergers and acquisitions, restructuring of organisation, cost optimisation, etc. Had these been easy problems to solve, the Fortune 500 companies and their equivalent would not pay a bomb to the MBB.
1.2 Peer Network
You’re an average of the five people you surround yourself with.
The creamy layer of pears that you surround yourself with in management consulting can not only be excellent for your IQ, but also your EQ. The best managers are those who have a high EQ.
Such people are an excellent source of inspiration and learnings on many fronts. I am awed by their presentation and communication skills.
I have got the opportunity to work with the CEOs and CXO of leading FMCG, entertainment and education sector companies in India. The kind of packages you get are the topmost in the country.
If you want to know more about the salary and working hours, then check out my insights here.
1.4 High Savings
Now out of this great salary, you also have the opportunity to save a lot. This is because your flights, hotels and travelling expenses are all taken care of by the company.
When I was working as an advisor in an international relations firm in Dubai I was able to largely save my entire salary because Dubai is tax free.
The five-star hotels and chauffeurs will look very glamorous to you as a young management consultant.
While this can be very relaxing in the initial few days, it does have a marginal, or in fact, diminishing utility after a point in time.
1.6 Exit Opportunities
After my boutique management consulting role, I got an extremely lucrative offer of working at a leading E-commerce in a strategy domain.
After BCG I got multiple offers to work in private equity or as Chief of Staff to the CEOs of leading unicorns in India. Of course, I ended up choosing the role of an adviser to an international relations firm in Dubai.
The training that you go through at your consulting job prepares you for the best roles.
Are you wondering when is it the right time to leave management consulting? Feel free to read my thoughts here.
1.7 Alum Network
BCG has a global alum network. I have been able to connect with these alums in various places ranging from Boston to Serbia.
These people have not only helped me in my endeavours, but I have also been able to help them in their endeavours.
1.8 Exposure to Multiple Industries
In my boutique management role, I worked in the solar industry, telecom industry, and RFID. Similarly, at BCG I worked in FMCG, IT project, Wires and Cables and public sector projects.
You eventually get exposed to a diverse set of industries.
In management consulting, it is often sad that you cannot solve everything. If you are over indexing on getting good exit opportunities, then you must forgo yours work life balance.
2.1 Sleep Deprivation
I was on average clocking 60-70 hours a week from Monday to Friday. This excludes the time I spent on travelling.
Evidently, consulting is not for the light hearted.
2.2 High Stress Environment
You are essentially charging the client for the time spent on their site. Thus, it is expected that you turn around the situation and solve the problem as quickly as possible.
The probability of you facing an extremely high stress situation increases. Though, things also depend on the kind of managers and case partners you have.
Travelling is not always very lucrative for people who are in their mid-30s. You get very tired and just wish to relax back at home. The fatigue could set in.
2.4 Women Specific Problem
This is not freely talked about in the open.
But, a lot of males are not comfortable with females earning more than them. This may be the case once she becomes a partner in the firm.
At Global Governance Initiative, we teach the practical problem-solving skills required to become a management consultant. Our masterclasses are hosted by leading professionals in the industry of consulting. This helps our students learn from real time experts.
Author: Shatakshi Sharma, Co-CEO Global Governance Initiative, Ex-BCG Management Consultant, Former Policy Advisor, Tony Blair Institute for Global Change
If you are interested in learning about GGI's MBA Scholar program, you can learn here.