You have criss-crossed the country like a presidential candidate ahead of Super Tuesday — Columbus, Kansas City, Tulsa, Des Moines, Omaha, Pittsburgh, and back to Columbus again. The layout of the Marriott Courtyard executive suite is more familiar to you than your own apartment. You are always first on the business class upgrade list. Clients have drunk deeply from the fountain of your infinite wisdom. Your minions across the world salute your intelligence as translate your chicken scratch to slides that will change the course of business history. Its time to take your career to the next level. But what and how?
There are many excellent reasons to stay in consulting but for most people, it has been designed as a transition career. One that gives you the turbo-boost you need early in your post-college or post-MBA career. The hours are long, and the travel grueling but you make up for it in the chance to work on a range on challenging projects across industries. But as I speak to people who have decided to move on from consulting careers, there are typically 3 key reasons:
Post-MBA, its usually at between year 3 and year 5. At this point, you are potentially senior enough to join a client at a Director level or higher, thereby fast-tracking your corporate career, and it also tends to be the point where people are looking to settle down and choose a less travel-intensive lifestyle. Pre-MBA, it depends largely on whether and when you want to go to business school.
Most top-tier consulting firms give you “search time” to find your next career, and actively help you land that next gig. So if you are at one of those firms, the question isn’t as much about how to resign, but rather, how to use this search-time well.
The Working with McKinsey blog, has an excellent post on how best to use your search time. There is no one model so you should find what works best for you. If we can offer you two pieces of advice on how to use this time well, it would be to:
This is the hardest question of them all and often leads to people vacillating on the decision to even leave consulting. While it may feel daunting and definitive, you are only really choosing the next stepping stone of your career and approach it as such. The Muse has an excellent list of 5 post-consulting career options. We have some excellent job channels compiled right here to help you browse typical post-consulting career options. And if you browse those lists, you see that the world is your oyster. You can go to corporates, or startups, or non-profits. Most people tend to do strategy roles, but consultants also tend to go on to do sales and business development, equity research, finance roles, investor relations jobs, product management gigs, and so much more. So here are my three rules to figuring out your next move:
Maybe consulting is your calling after all, or maybe there is a better job for you out there. Either way, make that decision actively and make your career a daily habit. Hope we can help. If you have ideas of job channels that we can add to help your career search, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org