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When should you leave Management Consulting?

Shatakshi Sharma, St Stephens College, University of Delhi Graduate, ISB MBA, strategist to government of India, former BCG management consultant, advisor to tony blair institute, ivy league exchange student, LinkedIn Top Voice and co-founder of Global Governance Initiative

Career insights by GGI is a new series by GGI sharing hacks and tips around management consulting, MBA, product management and public policy.

In this GGI career insight, we will be sharing insights into: when it is the right time for you to leave management consulting.


Have you ever wondered what are the exit options after working at BCG, McKinsey and Bain? Or have you questioned how you can learn 3 times the salary after exiting the MBB?

As a former BCG consultant, I can share my experiences of what life after BCG looks like.

I am a big fan of the MBB, as these institutions have managed to retain a premium reputation. Due to this, their employees and ex-employees gain great benefits.

In this career insight, we will discuss when it is the right time to leave consulting and what should be your next step.

1. Value of Consulting

The bitter-sweet truth is that working in these premium companies is really a symbol in society. Especially in India, with a 1.2 Billion population, there is a lot of competition.

Prestigious employers symbolise competent employees.

After studying at top MBA schools, if you can work at BCG, then it is a signal to the next employer of your competence.

It shows that you are not just a part of the creamy layer but in the creamiest of the creamy layer. This will eventually help you get outstanding exit opportunities.

2. Transferable Skills

As a consultant, you pick up a lot of business acumen. This includes prowess in growth ideas, business models, financial models and inter-departmental thinking.

You learn how to solve and structure problems. You would be able to find structure in a messy and abstract situation. These skills are applicable to most industries. Thus, former consultants have a high value in the job market.

Similarly, in terms of soft skills, you develop fantastic negotiation and communication skills. These skills are particularly important in dealing with CXOs.

For this reason, consultants generally get to work with CEOs from the clients’ side or in a leading unicorn.

3. Reality of Consulting

The fact of the matter is that consulting can be very draining. It involves ballpark hours and a lot of travelling. Personally, I didn't enjoy decking and the toll consulting took on my health either.

You can check out a closer look into the life of a consultant here.

4. Exit Salaries and Funding Opportunities

After BCG, I was given an opportunity to work in Dubai. It was a public policy advisory role in an international affairs firm. I ended up making 3 times my BCG India salary.

It benefited me greatly as I got a chance to work abroad. They also gave me a 30-40% jump over a BCG consultant in Dubai.

In addition to this- we get a lot of funding opportunities for our education venture, even though we have consciously decided not to take that path. This happens primarily because my background in BCG adds to my credibility and connects me to a large network of alumni.

5. So, when is the right time to leave?

I am a huge believer in not just advancing your wealth, but advancing your well-being.

So if you are not someone who enjoys your work, then perhaps you should start considering your exit.

You may find the hours and travel unsustainable or you could wish to be a part of the execution not just the ideation.

If you need more help getting into management consulting and product management, feel free to check out my education venture- Global Governance Initiative. We invite industry leaders to host Masterclasses and teach our students the hard and soft skills required to excel in their careers.


Author: Shatakshi Sharma, Co-CEO Global Governance Initiative, Ex-BCG Management Consultant, Former Policy Advisor, Tony Blair Institute for Global Change

If you are interested in learning about GGI's MBA Scholar program, you can learn here.

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