Friday, July 07, 2006

Life in Consulting

Having worked for over three years at the firm that invented the 2x2 matix I feel qualified to write about the pros and cons of being a consultant.

The pros
  • Consulting is on a face-value basis extremely well paid. (i.e. if you do not take hours worked into account) At 23 I was making around what people in a "non-consulting non I-banking" industry make after 7-8 years of work experience. The year-end bonuses don't hurt either.
  • A top-notch consulting firm looks great on your CV. It almost ensures an interview call on the basis of the "if he has been there he can't be that bad" philosophy.
  • When frequent flyer miles add up they can lead to good things (such as flying to India first-class to attend a friend's wedding)
  • The jollies are great (in my first year, the entire Munich office flew to Crete for 3 days, we had "Practice Group" meetings in settings such as a chateau in Chantilly, and suchlike).
  • The work is occasionally stimulating, and you get to meet (some) people you read about in business magazines.

The cons
  • Catching 6:30am flights six months in a row at the height of the German winter (I know, 6:30am flights in any county are torture but -15 degrees adds a level or two)
  • Visiting a place 15 times and seeing less of it than a tourist would in a day
  • Soul-destroying work at times waiting for million-record databases to update
  • Clients feeling free to give you a piece of their mind for free (at least they pay for yours)
  • Living from review to review

All in all, it was a good three years. Saw a lot, learnt a lot. However, I never miss the life, and I'm getting paid more anyway (at least on a per-hour basis)


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