A key success factor in getting a consulting offer is matching your skills and abilities not only to the right firm, but often the right office in that firm. Offices can vary dramatically in terms of size, culture, and type of business and when you apply to consulting firms, they usually ask you to pick your office preference very early in the process. So you need to do your homework up front.
Here are the important characteristics to consider:
- Culture of the firm and office: Not only is there a difference between the cultures of different strategy consulting firms, but the culture within the offices can vary as well. A small, new office will have more of a start-up feel than a large, established office.
- Work/ life balance: Some firms make sure you are in the office on Fridays. Some have the “standard 12 hour day” that flexes regularly to 15. Know what balance works for you.
- Options for personal and professional development: While some firms have a firm-wide staffing model, you still want to be in the home office of the partners you want to mentor you. Make sure you’ve done your homework on what professional training is available and what additional support systems exist.
- Functional areas the firm covers: You can determine from where the partners are located which offices are key for the operations practice, or the finance practice.
- Industries the firm covers: Again, reading the bios of the partners in the office can give you an insight into how much work is done in healthcare, or defense, or entertainment
- Geographic scope of projects: Different firms have different staffing models, but if you don’t want to travel as much, you want to be in the office that is located near the heart of that type of industry.
There are several paths to discovering the focus of individual offices. On the websites, you can often look up partners who specialize in different functions or industry groups and see where they are located. Some firms will include office-specific descriptions. However, for the best information, you will want to use your networks. Find current and past employees who can give you the details on the office culture and the type of work usually available.
Consulting Career Academy would love to have a conversation with you to answer any questions and propose the best approach for your management consulting career plans. For more information, Contact Us today.