Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Pilgrimage for a Job - PhD to Consulting

I have to be proud of myself, but even prouder of the people who actually take some of their precious time to read my blog. I am so happy with the feedback obtained with the previous Pilgrimage for a job post, that it acted like nuclear fuel propelling me to improve my communication even further. From the pit of my heart, Thank you all! 

I think today we have a great lecture ahead of us. I am particularly excited about this one because I have put a lot of thought into the idea of dropping Academia once for all. A role in Industry or a Consulting position in detriment of Academia is my favourite option. Why dropping academia? Why a role in Industry? Why Consulting? 

Answering these questions would require a post for each of them, but in really short words I can assume that the Academia world is a mind-grinding vicious system that uses young talent to exhaustion, postpone their personal dreams taking advantage of their youngness and naivety, and in the end gives them a postdoc throwing most of them to a career void. The Industry does not represent the good guy in comparison to Evil Academia; that is not what I am trying to say. But I cherish the "stability" offered by a position in the Industry and the much better payroll that actually uses more vividly your professional skills. I am a Researcher and I want to be a Researcher for the rest of my life, if possible, but I wish not to be a day dreamer. Consulting has become a real good way out of the Academia for those who are not lucky to nail an Industry job. Please don't take all these answers literally as they are mere bullet-points, but for many like me these explanations are not that far from the truth!

Consulting represents a great future for most of us. I can definitely see myself as a consultant. I speak four languages, I have plenty of research experience in my area, I know a lot about other areas related to mine and I have a good number of strong transferable skills. But what do the experts say about it? I had to read to try and understand how and why to transit from Academia into Consulting. If you feel enticed by becoming a consultant, just stick around for some good advice I collected this week:

1) There are three main types of consulting opportunities (freelance, own company or boutique consulting firms);

2) Many management consulting firms are actively recruiting PhDs in all disciplines (for their strong analytical skills);

3) Some firms will place recently graduated PhDs initially at a lower level until they prove they belong in the business world. And here it is why I have taken/attended/participated in so many venture challenges, business courses and business conferences these last six years.

4) Always check the websites of firms before applying. Read their specific policy to know which position suit you best. Known the Top Management and Consulting Firms. Verify each of them carefully to see if you fit any of their projects, to start with. And if you really see yourself working for the Top Ones, check this list.

Damn Important!!! When applying to companies that serve specific industries, you will be thoroughly tested. On the other hand, if you are going for companies serving many industries, excellent general thinking will be seen highly. Anyways, be prepared for the case interview, seriously! That is essential.

As for career progression an MBA really makes a difference. I actually asked a person in an Oxbridge talk if an MBA was crucial for career progress in the consulting industry. His face along with his simultaneous silence/furrowing brow kind of offended me, but I got the gist.

Also very important is the notion that later on if you have landed a consulting position and feel that you are to look for something different, former consulting workers are highly regarded in the job market, especially for their problem-solving skills gained in a real wide world business setting.

I definitely feel that I need to embrace this possibility and for that matter will have to get back to this subject later on. I hope that the guidelines presented can help you as I believe they will help me when a bifurcation happens and I have to decide. Most of these ideas were obtained from this original article that I have complemented here and there with the links I present you throughout the text. Thanks for reading such a long article. Much appreciated!

Image kindly taken from raise5, [] on the 14th of January 2015.


  1. Thanks you to share your ideas. They open a new window of possibilites, and a new way to see consulting!

  2. This type of information will let the people to find with the relevant resources for their job opportunities at the same time by hiring with the best for Recruitment panel. Thank you and please keep update like this

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