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What happens after work when on client-side?

#1 What happens after work when on client-side?
16/06/2013 21:12


Hi all,

I was wondering if you could give me some insights as to what a normal evening looks like when you are on client-side away from home?

I have passed the final interview stage for a management consultant role at a big consultancy and I will hear back in the next few days if I got the job. I have also been offered a job in industry two days ago so I am in two minds what to go for if I get the consultant role offered. The salary is similar for both roles as I would be new to consulting.

The consultant role would be three nights away on client-side (UK only clients). My concern is that I might get lonely being by myself in a hotel room half of the week on an ongoing basis.

So my question is:

How does a day after work look like when staying on client-side away from home? Does the consultant team go out for dinner together after they leave the clients' office, or does everyone just go to the hotel, and do you continue working in the evening? Also what keeps you leading this lifestyle? Is it mainly the financial reward?

Any insights on this would be much appreciated!

Thanks, Lisa

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#2 RE: What happens after work when on client-side?
16/06/2013 21:37

detoilet Consultant to Lisa1984 (#1)


it depends on many factors, location, team and intensity of gig.

if it's big and intense you're working late and get pizza sent in to client for your evening meal these are known as an Italian jobs

If things are relaxed and you can leave stuff 'till mañana these are the Spanish jobs.

Recently though we have seen an emergence of new type of job known as the BHJ - Bravehearted job for this you get laid by the senior consultant in a cheap hotel normally a travel lodge and at their expense after hours - thankfully these are the rarest, I mean have you seen inside a travel lodge recently ?

TO be honest it does depend quite often on what sales have sold the job for - ie is there room for nice hotels diners drinks etc or are you working so late and so hard that travel lodges and pizza is the order of the day. Generally you do tend to meet up after work in some boring hotel bar for drinks and curry, although I did have the delights recently of sun loungers and cocktails in a Dubai hotel so it is different.

Ps just watch for the BHJ's always end it seems with iPads and tissues ( so he informs us)


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#3 RE: What happens after work when on client-side?
17/06/2013 10:52

Anon MCs to Lisa1984 (#1)

Hi Lisa,

I'm surprised you haven't received a diluge of answers on this one. Unfortunately as with most things in MCs, your answer is "it depends":

- on the programme in question

- location

- team makeup

- Senior mangt makeup

- client makeup

But lets try and do one of those "on average". Hence on average:

- Yes, the MC group on client site (especially when its a younger group) will regularly do things such as dinner or gym together. If a big ish group, they will break into interest groups (such as gym bunnies and workaholics) and go out in those groups

- Sometimes you are lucky to love it. Great group, solid partner, good budget, really nice client. Sometimes it is awuful. Partner who sees you simply as a dollar sign, backstabbing colleagues, clients who are awful. Keep your ears open.

- Ultimately, the days away will be what you make of it. I used to go running after work so that I got to see more of the town I was visiting. Otherwise it was work / eat / work

The best way to look at it is - are you more of a home bird or a travel lover? Depending on the answer, you will know which is the favoured option. Industry will still mean travel, but it will be far less than an MC.

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#4 RE: What happens after work when on client-side?
17/06/2013 16:47

Arby the Manager to Lisa1984 (#1)

Hi Lisa

I travelled all over the world with Accenture - and there is a real difference between the short-term trips to fun places in South America, Africa or Asia, where there was a real blitz of activity during the week (really work hard, play hard) to those times where you are working on a client site (not client "side") on a long term basis (6 months +). When this happens, you are generally thrust into an artificial situation whereby you are almost forced to socialize with the very people you work with. Combine this with the mind-numbing, almost Alan-Patridge like aspect of long-term hotel stays, and it can be quite a soul destroying experience (espcially with the UK weather and long-gloomy nights for 8 months of the year). There is also the element of "cliqueness" which develops when large teams are staffed long-term somewhere which can be a shock if you are joining an established project.

Looking back - I'm glad I did my travelling - but it was really a dog's life. You watch your friends in "normal" careers going out for drinks with non-work colleagues in the evening, sleeping in their comfy beds, watching TV which doesn't consist solely of CNN or Sky News and generally enjoying their early 20s..... The short, sexy business trips to exotic places do not really come until you're more senior, so consider this a rite of passage if this is what you ultimately want.

My tip for you is - don't get sucked into the drinking, bed, up for work mentality. Try to see a different part of the city you're in. Go to the cinema, try new restaurants - but try to "switch off" in the evenings from work. I didn't for many years, and it's something I really regret.


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#5 RE: What happens after work when on client-side?
17/06/2013 21:14

presidentbartlet to Arby the Manager (#4)

First 3 years working in Newcastle, hangover every Friday without fail, fun times (and I wasn't paying)!

No comment about the Geordie lasses, except to say I'm now married to one ;) (and tend not to be hungover on a Friday anymore...)

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#6 RE: What happens after work when on client-side?
17/06/2013 21:36

Lisa1984 to Arby the Manager (#4)

Ooops, yeah client site not side, hehe.

I have heard the braveheard story, his personal crisis thread was quite entertaining, it read like a soap opera.

Thanks for your insights, really interesting. I have properly thought this through again and do not think I can actually cope with being away half of the week every single week.

I enjoy my hobbies too much in London and going home after work so I will be better off taking the job in industry.

Thanks again you all!

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#7 RE: What happens after work when on client-side?
18/06/2013 09:08

Camster to Lisa1984 (#6)

Like everyone has said..... depends.

The firm I worked for previously, everyone travelled business class, stayed at the same (and rather expensive) hotels, etc. When I say everyone, this includes entry-level BAs. It was possible because geniuses like me knew how to add these expenses to the price, as per proposal, whilst maintaining the required margin. Here's an example. On a longer engagement, if I was also the PM, I would allow team members to take a flight back (economy class) and have a week off in the middle of the project. Of course, we made sure there were no interruptions to work, etc.

So many possibilities. It really depends on the firm, your luck, etc.

Work-wise, if I'm doing work packages (or workstreams), I always had to do additional work on the weekends. Hmmm... maybe apart from the longer projects.

You mentioned "bi consultancy". Sorry. I don't know how things work in the bigger (Big 4, etc.) firms. Hmmm.... sometimes, I wonder if I missed much by not working with a Big 4???

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#8 RE: What happens after work when on client-side?
18/06/2013 14:32

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Camster (#7)

What a shame... This industry (consultancy) yet again loses another potential consultant, who in this case sounds like she would have been a good one (articulate, thoughtful questions, referring to "a job in industry" rather than pigeon English like "a job in the industry", etc).

Lisa, have you considered applying to smaller firms of consultants? Big firms can be pretty grim places. Oftentimes, they ram their brand down your throat, treat you with indifference, and enable non-performers to maintain their existence through playing politics rather than through delivering. Small firms, however, may have a specific niche or geographic client base which means you do not have to travel anywhere near so much. It tends to be the big firms that phone people up on a Friday night and say "right, you're working in Wigan for the next 9 months, now pack your suitcase and we'll see you there 8.00am Monday morning along with the other 20 consultants we're sending up there". Small firms can often get away with doing most of the work from their own offices and just popping by to the client office for meetings every now and then.

Definitely try smaller firms if you're interested in consultancy but don't want to be absorbed into the Big 4 "borg"...

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