How Consultants make the move into Industry
There generally comes a time when a management consultant makes the decision to either work their way up the consulting ladder or take their experience and move into industry. The latter, while exciting, can be a big change.
Throughout a consultant’s career, it is common to have worked in many different industries. Unless you have built a career specialism, the first few questions that needs to be answered is ‘what industry?’ and ‘what type of position?’. Take stock of the clients you have worked with, projects and most of all what interests you - whether it is Airlines, Consumer Goods or Tech, and do your research. This is so you can decide what route interests you best and what offers you the career path you desire.
Another factor you may want to consider is deciding the right time is to move into industry. Consulting has a well laid out career progression and it is always visible when the next step is coming. Once you have made the decision to move there are a few more points you may want to consider:
Titles do not mean everything – if you are due a promotion in the next 6 months, it may be worth while holding tight. A senior title may help you command a higher title or salary. Part of leaving consulting may also result in taking a pay cut – be prepared for this, especially if relocating to another market.
Research, research, research – become familiar with your target industry, especially looking at companies that appeal. Being a consultant is knowing how to stand out, selling yourself on your ability to solve complex issues. However, when it comes to moving into industry, it’s all about fitting in culturally. Analyse the current organisations in the market which appeal to you – whether that be a large FTSE 250 organisation or a small company with a start-up mentality; find what suits you on a more personal level.
Use your network - Speak to industry colleagues as well as previous alumni who have moved into industry. Not only will their advice be invaluable, but they will also be able to introduce you to contacts that may prove useful in your job search. On top of this, recommendations are also the best way to go about your search – people want to work and hire trusted individuals who have been recommended by Partners.
Reach out to head-hunters - Our job is about connecting people! Head-hunters have diverse networks, similarly to consultants however their roles are just about helping an organisation to hire top talent, you may feel awkward asking colleagues for positions within their company so leave those difficult conversations to the experts.
Lastly, do not be afraid to reach out to your career development advisor within your consulting house. Not every consultant can be a Partner or wants to be.