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Should I Leave Consulting to Go and Work in Industry?

As discussed in another article on Strategy Expert, the work hours for consultants are long and hard.  Some are not cut for consulting, and others either burn out or find that consulting does not fit into their new lifestyle.  There are arguments for both sides - whether that means staying in consulting or moving into industry. 

Arguments in favour of staying in a consulting position include higher pay and a greater variety in work tasks.  Arguments in favour of taking a job in industry include better hours and the opportunity to achieve more in-depth knowledge.  More pros and cons of each position are found below.

Job Pros Cons
Consulting
  • Better pay (typically)
  • Variety in work engagements
  • Work with a diverse clientele
  • Flexible hours (more so when independent)
  • Gain specialised experience in a variety of fields
  • Great training and learning of best practice (when with a consultancy)
  • Challenging work environment
  • The ability to travel
  • Keeping career options open
  • Long hours
  • Repetitive activities at times
  • Stressful environoment
  • Requires people skills
  • May need to deal with many people - can be a too many chefs in the kitchen situation
  • Concern about the actual difference you add (especially when working with a large firm)
Industry
  • Better work hours (typically)
  • Less presurised environment
  • The ability to formulate in-depth knowledge
  • Some consultancies offer placement services and networking for those wishing to make the career transition
  • The ability to make a tangible difference to the firm (depending on level of seniority)
  • Boredom! - if you are used to having variety in work from consulting, then working in one industry may be boring
  •  Lower pay (typically)
  • Fewer opportunities to travel (typically)   
  • May experience the sensation of being thrown to the wolves in terms of training
  • Fewer options in terms of career roles and hours (especially when transitioning from working as an independent consultant to working with a company)  

 

Leaving a consulting job will not necessarily sever you from your current company.  Many consultancies, Bain & Company, for example, have placement services set up to help consultants wanting to get their feet wet in industry.  Part of the advantage of this practice for consultancies is that it places former consultants, already familiar with practices of the consultancy, into the industry.  Another advantage is that many former consultants, after working in industry for a period, come back to the consultancy after gaining valuable and specialized experience.

IndustryBefore deciding to leave your consulting job to work in industry, take stock of current life and career goals.  Do you simply want more time to spend with family for a greater work-life balance?  Some of the larger consultancies offer flexible options including part-time work, extended leaves, and sabbaticals.  If, on the other hand, you want more stability in terms of type of work and experience-or if a particular industry has caught your eye, then maybe it is time to leave consulting to go and work in industry.    



 
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