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34 year old post MBA looking to transition into MC

 
#1 34 year old post MBA looking to transition into MC
16/01/2013 19:06

jamespascoe

Hi Everybody,

I am new to the forum and was wondering if anybody could give me some career advice. I am 34 years old and am very keen to move from a technical hands-on (software/hardware) role into management consultancy.

Here is a brief synopsis of my profile:

- MBA with distinction from Warwick (2012)

- PhD in Computer Science (IP Networking) from the University of Reading (2002)

- 1st class BSc (hons) in Computer Science from the University of Reading (1999)

Apart from this, I did a PostDoc in the US (Emory University), have worked in a high-tech startup for 3 years and have been working for a large multi-national semiconductor firm for the last 6 years. I have held a variety of roles at both technical and managerial levels and have technical skills in both hardware and software development.

I loved every minute of the MBA and having completed the course am very attracted to the work in MC. The thought of working with clients, soliciting / analysing data, solving complex business problems and communicating recommendations in a client friendly way makes my heart sing. However, I would really appreciate some expert advice on how to proceed and which companies I would realistically stand a chance with, given the current state of the industry.

I am not looking to enter technical consulting per se and would ideally like to enter the industry in a generalist role, potentially specialising in a few years.

What do you guys think? What are the pitfalls I should avoid? Are there any good recruitment sources/events I can pursue?

Many thanks for any advice you can give,

James

Ps. I am looking to base myself in London.

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#2 RE: 34 year old post MBA looking to transition into MC
16/01/2013 19:23

Camster to jamespascoe (#1)

James,

This area of consulting is called TMT - Telecoms, Media, Technology.

Some specialist firms in this space: Value Partners, Delta Partners, Detecon, etc. Wyman as well, they have a decent CMT practice.

Usually, in consulting, you start out as a generalist and then specialise. It's the nature of things, demand, etc. A firm can then sell you (as a specialist) for more £££.

I would advise applying to firms directly as an MBA applicant. Or use LinkedIn to network.

Other points. Consulting requires extensive travelling, where we talk about 80% billability/utilisation. Don't expect to have a London base.

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#3 RE: 34 year old post MBA looking to transition into MC
16/01/2013 19:43

jamespascoe to Camster (#2)

Hi Camster,

This is excellent advice - exactly what I was looking for - thank you very much.

Great - will do. I will research the companies you suggest. Also, would you mind providing me with some guidance on what sort of starting package is currently typical for somebody with my profile? The money is not my primary motivation, but I would rather not undersell myself :-).

Thanks Camster - have a good evening,

James

Ps. Sorry yes, I should have clarified. My comment about being 'based in London' was that I would like to work for a consultancy which has an office in London. The thought of getting out on the road after being in my cubicle for 6 years is just superb :-).

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#4 RE: 34 year old post MBA looking to transition into MC
16/01/2013 20:05

Camster to jamespascoe (#3)

James,

Someone like Marsday (another poster on here) is way more qualified to answer this question. Even more so as Mars recruits and knows the UK market very well.

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#5 RE: 34 year old post MBA looking to transition into MC
16/01/2013 20:56

jamespascoe to Camster (#4)

Hi Camster,

Brilliant - thanks again. Fingers crossed Mars will take a look.

Thanks again and have a good evening,

James

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#6 RE: 34 year old post MBA looking to transition into MC
16/01/2013 21:46

baykus to jamespascoe (#5)

Would also suggest applying to MBB (at least the MB - not sure about Bain) as they have expanded quite a bit into the technology space and a profile like yours might have a good chance (provided you present your experience well in your CV).

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#7 RE: 34 year old post MBA looking to transition into MC
17/01/2013 01:32

Camster to baykus (#6)

Tbh, I wouldn't bother with MBB.

Like I said before, when it comes to TMT, a pure strategy play will not cut it. Spent ages in industry (telecoms), am well entrenched with most of the media players (from Arqiva to, say, RTL), undertook all sorts of Technology projects.

The OP has a first degree in CS. Then, Ph.D. in packet networking. A player like Detecon has a packet networks practice (oddly enough, called PN). Should be able to do both tech and non-tech projects.

More examples? Sure! With some of the names mentioned, you can do things like... due diligence in the potential takeover of an operator, NPD, launching of a new mobile operator, handset subsidy challenge, etc.

You can't do these things with MBB.

Finally, to the OP, do consider something like solutions consulting with a vendor. Contrail (SDN startup) came out of stealth on a Monday and was sold to Juniper for USD175m on Wednesday. Not bad! A lot of people here will concur that "consulting" is not what it's cracked up to be.

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#8 RE: 34 year old post MBA looking to transition into MC
17/01/2013 08:49

marsday to Camster (#7)

james listen to Camster - as usual he is giving you excellent advice imho. Some top notch telecom consulting firms out there but you need to choose your flavour. Peppers? Booz? Greenwich? All the firms Camster suggested too. The most exciting options in TMT are actually - probably - industry side as has already been implied. If you want to go generalist route you'll struggle now - you have already established a TMT specialism, and even if you could get onto a generalist track somewhere you would be looking at having your experience at least halved in value. Not great.

Best bet is make the best of your MBA network. Warwick has a good reputation - so get networking with your alumni networks.

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#9 RE: 34 year old post MBA looking to transition into MC
17/01/2013 08:50

baykus to Camster (#7)

More examples? Sure! With some of the names mentioned, you can do things like... due diligence in the potential takeover of an operator, NPD, launching of a new mobile operator, handset subsidy challenge, etc.

You can't do these things with MBB.

Am I missing something here? MBB are very active in TMT, and do DDs, launches etc. all the time. If you mean MBB won't do technical analysis you're probably right, but definitely wrong for the strategy, marketing, operations etc, ie. anything else.

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#10 RE: 34 year old post MBA looking to transition into MC
17/01/2013 09:06

jamespascoe to Camster (#7)

Hi Everybody,

Excellent - thank you very much - this is easily the best advice I have had. Should we ever meet, I would be very happy to buy you guys a beer.

I was just wondering about one more thing. Would you mind giving me your thoughts on what sort of things I should be doing to prepare for TMT interviews? I have been doing some general case study preparation (the type exemplified by www.caseinterview.com) and have worked through the interview preparation sections on several sites, but I would really appreciate some advice on how to perform well TMT type interviews. Would you guys mind giving me some guidance on what I would be expected to know and should be able demonstrate? Are there any particularly good sources or activities I should be looking at?

Thanks again and have a good morning,

James

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#11 RE: 34 year old post MBA looking to transition into MC
17/01/2013 09:20

jamespascoe to marsday (#8)

Hi marsday,

Thank you very much - this is very helpful.

I would agree with you - I am naturally drawn to working in TMT as these are the types of problem that I enjoy working on. Would you mind expanding a little on the industry side consultancies that you are referring to? Also, would you mind giving me some idea of what sort of starting package is typical for somebody in my position, given the current climate? Money is not my primary motivation, but I would rather not undersell myself :-).

Many thanks and have a good day,

James

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#12 RE: 34 year old post MBA looking to transition into MC
17/01/2013 09:25

marsday to jamespascoe (#11)

James I was referring to industry - not industry side consulting (which I would assume refers to internal consulting/strategy/projects teams).

When someone keeps saying money is not the primary motivation but I would rather not undersell myself this tells me money IS a major consideration. Nothing wrong with that but you need to decide where your point of trade off lies. Are you prepared to make a salary sacrifice to move into consulting? Not saying you'll need to (I dont know your current package obviously)

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#13 RE: 34 year old post MBA looking to transition into MC
17/01/2013 11:24

jamespascoe to marsday (#12)

Hi marsday,

Ah - thank you, yes, I see what you mean about industry. For example, ARM gave a really good recruitment presentation at Warwick recently. They are currently looking for MBAs with technical backgrounds.

Sorry, I should have clarified in my previous post. I am currently earning 50k plus a 10% bonus and I can not afford to take a pay cut. Ideally, I would like to guage what I could potentially earn starting in a TMT consultancy role so that when I go to firms and they ask me what my salary expectations are, then I can make a sensible reply. What do you think? Can you give me some idea?

Thanks marsday - I really appreciate the insight.

Thanks again and have a good day,

James

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#14 RE: 34 year old post MBA looking to transition into MC
17/01/2013 13:02

Camster to jamespascoe (#13)

James, some sample TMT questions:

1. An OTT player wants to enter a new market in ???. Estimate the market size. How should the OTT player approach this?

2. There is Tesco Mobile in the UK. Does it make sense to do the same in other countries where we operate?

3. What can you tell me about the subsidy model? What are the impacts if this is changed?

4. What do you now about Big Data? How can a TMT industry player leverage/utilise Big Data?

5. What do you know about SDN. Estimate the SDN market in, say, wherever?

The above are rather specific. There are the usual engagements, you might be asked about these 'usual' type projects, e.g. financials, context pricing strategies, etc.

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#15 RE: 34 year old post MBA looking to transition into MC
17/01/2013 14:27

jamespascoe to Camster (#14)

Hi Camster,

That's brilliant - thanks - exactly what I was looking for.

Thanks again,

James

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