Professionals who lack a strong work ethic or who can't work long hours aren't usually successful in consulting. Consulting isn't a 9-to-5 job. You might feel like you're “always connected,” as you're expected to spend a lot of time on the road and it can be tiring. If you envision stability and structure, consider a career elsewhere.
So, you can design your work to a large extent, Wouter said. To work in consulting, you'll have to create your own work structures and be responsible for your impact. Consulting is the most popular career path for MBA students, and consulting jobs are extremely competitive. This means that there are a lot of hard-working people competing for very prestigious jobs.
The biggest problem is that most candidates work very hard to get a job that they know next to nothing about. Imagine applying for a job when you really don't know what that job is? How would you formulate your answers for the interview? The first objective of the book is to give students a practical understanding of what work is. You're surrounded by some of the brightest and most motivated people in any profession. It's not necessarily more difficult from an intellectual point of view.
But, on average, the hours are longer, the deadlines are tighter, etc., which can affect you. Keeping track of the hours you worked and what you did is also horrible and can make you feel bad about taking an hour just to relax and refresh your brain, while in non-consulting jobs you don't have to be working every second of the day. Unfortunately, I think that there is a culture of adaptation in consulting, which normally means that most consultants are somewhat similar. As someone wrote, consulting can be great; it depends on your personality type, your team and your company.
When I was a consultant, I used to go to networking events at universities and I was cornered by candidates who asked the wrong questions and made themselves look bad. Tuck's professional counselor, Stephen Pidgeon T'07, draws on his own experience as a consultant in a new book that demystifies the hiring process. I THINK IF YOU'RE REALLY INTERESTED IN CONSULTING YOU SHOULD TRY IT, BUT IF YOU'RE LIKE ME, YOU WON'T LAST MORE THAN A YEAR OR TWO. To help demystify the process, Pidgeon recently wrote a new book, “How to Get a Job in Consulting.” When a partner interviews a candidate, that candidate has usually already been through initial interviews with younger consultants.
Of course, after working as a consultant for a while, you start to develop real experience in a field and then you can bring a lot of value to the customer, not only by being an expert in processes, but also by being able to say: “I haven't worked in your company before, but I've seen a similar situation in many other fields. It seems to me that consultants tend to please people and get great personal satisfaction from meeting customer expectations, being useful, etc. In fact, an interviewer often overlooks a mistake if he sees what he is looking for in the rest of the interview, which has much more to do with “does this candidate feel like a consultant? My conversation with him revolved around understanding what young professionals should know if they are looking for a career in consulting. In my experience (I worked in an insurance company and a consulting firm), working in an insurance company is much more difficult than intellectual consulting.