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What am I missing?

 
#1 What am I missing?
19/11/2012 11:24

jeremyfisher

Yes sorry another career change post, constructive input appreciated.

My situation;

26

Graduated 4 years ago with a 1st Chemistry and Law, decent university (but not Oxford Cambridge LSE)

Been an officer in armed forces for coming up to 3 years, going outside shortly.

I've been applying for grad schemes at strat houses with very limited success. I've got strong academics and good transferable skills.

It occurs to me that what I may be missing is commercial work experience, is this likely to operate as a bar or there something else?

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#2 RE: What am I missing?
19/11/2012 11:41

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to jeremyfisher (#1)

Which strat houses have you been applying to? The "elite" ones (competitive to say the least) or the rest (facing financial pressures)?

I'll be honest:

At 0 years experience you just gotta bring brains and enthusiasm.

At 4 years experience level you've gotta bring something meaninful to to the table - e.g. a bit of relevant experience and knowledge of how a competitor does things.

So, what are you bringing? Why would a strat firm be interested in an ex-squaddie who got bored of getting shot at in the desert and now wants big bucks? As compared to, say, one of the cheaper young recent grads who have been more focused on their career path and are more malleable (read: cheaper, less likely to have opinions, and likely to work harder)?

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#3 RE: What am I missing?
19/11/2012 12:08

marsday to jeremyfisher (#1)

As Bushy points out, strat houses will be looking for people who are still malleable. Bluntly, they will be reluctant to bring someone in on a grad scheme who in all likelihood has a stress/pressure threshhold far in excess of what they like to employ as part of their formation process. You are, basically, too robust an instrument.

You will do better focusing on execution focused firms who will appreciate the lateral, practical thinking the armed forces excel in so think operations, restructuring, IT etc. The lack of commercial experience is not a barrier in itself - there is a well worn path from armed forces into consulting, banking, law etc and the transferable skills are highly rated.

Bear in mind also the state of both the economy and the consulting industry - the client environment is tough and margins are being driven down both by clients and by consulting firms consolidating to meet price/service/coverage pressures, which in turn further fuels margin reductions.

Keep applying - but look outside consulting for the short term too.

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