Beyond Your Consulting Career

He may be an Oscar winner now, but do you know that John Legend used to work 9-5 as a consultant at Boston Consulting Group?

Management consulting can be a rewarding career, but at some point, you may feel like it’s time to move on. According to research by Case Coach, the typical length of time a consultant works at a top firm is 2-4 years, and some statistics even show that 2.7 years is the average point at which a consultant leaves a top firm like McKinsey, BCG, and Bain.

Whether you’re making the shift due to grueling working hours, lifestyle reasons, or simply because consulting wasn’t your true life calling, you’re in luck: There are a lot of potential opportunities available for you on the horizon.

The typical length of time a consultant works at a top firm is 2-4 years.

Case Coach

In fact, leaving consulting is often seen as a positive opportunity for your career. Kicking off your career early in consulting itself is seen as an advantage by itself.

Ex-Consultant Advantages

About 5% of CEOs over the last 10 years used to be management consultants. Even though this represents an unconventional career trajectory, one 10-year study shows that companies run by a consultant-turned-CEO perform 20% to 30% better compared to their counterparts.

Not to mention that big firms such as BCG, McKinsey, and Bain maintain a strong alumni network that will ready to welcome you with an open arm when looking into other opportunities.

Companies run by a consultant-turned-CEO perform 20-30% better compared to their counterparts.

Ivy Executive

In addition to that, consulting skills are extremely transferable, no matter where you’re heading to. For example:

Hard Skills

  • Quantitative & qualitative modeling
  • Structured & analytical thinking
  • Slide-making
  • Vast business knowledge

Soft Skills

  • Communication
  • Storytelling
  • Creative thinking
  • Problem-solving

Career Leaps Beyond Consulting

Whether you’re currently planning a long-term goal or contemplating your next move next year, here are some career paths that you can take to realize that leap of faith.

Higher degree (e.g. MBA)

When joining as an MBA graduate or experienced hire, you’re likely to transition to manager level after two years on the job and then have to make a decision over whether you want to stay on and make it to Partner, or leave and do something else.

Banking

We often see consultants become investment bankers and vice versa. Sharing a similar skill-set (hello, excel and powerpoint), consultants can be a great fit for jobs in asset management and equity research.

Startups

Ex-consultants acquire experience in project management, data analysis, and problem-solving, and this makes them excellent candidates for management positions in start-ups. They are also ideal resource-persons for the launch of start-ups.

Entrepreneurship

Want to be your own boss? Running your own show has many benefits – greater flexibility, autonomy and a chance to create something of your own. The flipside, as many a business owner will tell you, is that the work never seems to stop. But if you love what you do, you may not mind! 

NGO or non-profit

This option is similar to joining a corporate or startup. Only in this instance, you may be extra motivated by ‘doing good’ – after all, who wouldn’t be motivated by seeking to reduce child mortality rates, increasing access to education or improving water sanitation in developing countries. You may decide to join an independent not-for-profit such as the Red Cross, Oxfam, or The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Consulting skills are extremely transferable, no matter where you’re heading to.

Every career path comes with its ups and downs.

While skills are something that you hone as you grow your career, top consulting firms—or being a management consultant in general—offer an excellent platform that can help you go a long way.

Maybe you’ll end up taking that MBA you’ve been dreaming of. Maybe you’ll finally act on that business idea. Or maybe, you’ll become another Oscar-winning celebrity like John Legend.

Who knows?

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