Leaving Management Consulting for a Corporate Role

Every year we’re retained by several non-consulting companies to recruit management consultants to their corporate strategy or business development teams, or to IT or operations roles.  Generally these roles are at the Director or Manager level, targeting consultants with five to fifteen years of professional experience.  Our clients are from various industries and are usually mid-cap to Fortune 500 size organizations.  While there’s great variety in our clients’ industries, size, location, and the roles, there are common factors that make consulting candidates attractive to them.

Functional focus

Deep functional skills are always necessary for these roles.  Just like our consulting firm clients, our corporate clients are looking for specific expertise when they’re hiring from the management consulting industry.  The areas of expertise we look for include growth strategy, strategic due diligence, supply chain management, strategic sourcing, marketing strategy, IT strategy, and ERP software implementation.  You can expect to be asked to provide multiple examples of project work demonstrating your expertise.

Project management expertise

Usually our corporate clients’ searches target consultants at the Engagement Manager or Associate Partner level.  Our clients are seeking individuals who can immediately take-on responsibility for projects or programs.

It’s assumed that experienced management consultants have developed project management skills, but you should be prepared with specific examples to prove your expertise.  You should be able to discuss details of several projects that you’ve led, including the objectives, results, budget, and team size.

Industry knowledge

Our clients vary widely in the amount of experience working with companies in their industry that they require for candidates from the management consulting industry.  The industry may be defined as narrowly as downstream in oil and gas or as broadly as consumer products.  They usually require significant experience for operations and IT roles.  Industry exposure is often less important to our corporate clients that are hiring for their corporate strategy, corporate development, and business development organizations.

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If you’re interested in leaving consulting for a corporate role, we suggest you do a couple of things.  First, identify and contact alumni of your firm and school who work at the companies that you’re interested in.  Second, identify executive search firms that have a practice focused on recruiting management consultants to industry.  Email them a brief note describing the role you’re interested in and any location preferences and attach a resume.  If they’re engaged on a search that’s a possible fit, they’ll contact you immediately.  If not, they’ll create a record for you in their database for future opportunities.

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