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Exp prof Army Officer leaving military to move into mgmt consultancy

 
#1 Exp prof Army Officer leaving military to move into mgmt consultancy
14/04/2017 10:10

D_Jackson

All,

I would appreciate some honest and candid advice for a British Army Officer looking to transition into mgmt consultancy.

Background: 10 years within a top organisation within the army. Throughout, I have been at the top of my peer group, lucky enough to have excellent jobs with substantial leadership and planning responsibility, operational deployments and several commendations.

Without going into the details, I know absolutely that now is the right time to leave. Through thorough research and networking, I feel that management consultancy is absolutely the right move to make.

I have one issue however; 11 years ago I received a Third class degree from a strong university (UCL). There were some mitigating circumstances that I won't go into here. But either way the result is poor. I have pushed myself my whole professional career to put this behind me.

I know I have the intellectual capacity and personality to do well in this field, however I would really appreciate some experienced advice relating to my options:

- How restrictive 11 years on would be degree be, given that I have a very strong career record (peer leading, lots of responsibility, notable military organisation)?

- Are there certain organisations that wouldn't even consider me?

- How can I mitigate this deficiency? I am currently completing a distance learning undergraduate degree through a top university (for personal closure) but this will not be complete until 2018.

Any wider insights would be very useful and welcome.

Regards, D_Jackson

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#2 RE: Exp prof Army Officer leaving military to move into mgmt consultancy
18/04/2017 13:02

DonLeslie to D_Jackson (#1)

I was asked for similar advice some years ago when I recruited for the strategy houses at BLT.

On that occasion it was a British Army Major who had a 2.2 from a good, but not Russell Group, university. He wanted to join McKinsey, BCG or Bain. How should he go about it?

In essence, I told him to forget it. But he was determined, so I suggested:

- take an MBA at a top Business School

- graduate in first place

- invest in case study and strategy house interview prep tuition

and thought no more about him.

Two years later he rang back to say he'd had offers from MBB and three other 'name' strategy houses. How had he done it?

- graduated first in his class at a top 5 UK business school

- spent another six months after graduating honing his interview skills at Big Four and other large (but not his target) firms; developing relationships with former Army Officers at MBB; and using paid-for case study interview coaching.

So it can be done.

I'd recommend you use the military networks which help resettlement into civilian life to link up with consultants, and explore opportunities in the Big Four and PA Consulting. (In my day PA had the largest number of ex-military.) Some defence contractors have consultancy arms (eg BAe), and there are also a number of small defence consultancies (mainly US and UK owned) to research.

Let us know how you get on.

Good luck

Don

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#3 RE: Exp prof Army Officer leaving military to move into mgmt consultancy
18/04/2017 15:21

marsday to D_Jackson (#1)

+1 to Don's sage advice.

Focus on firms with a defence sector practice, as your armed forces background will immediately resonate and you're much more likely to find yourself contacting other former military personnel. I would suggest excluding the strategy houses for several reasons - your academic background, no matter the mitigation, will make an investment of time and effort in pursuing strat houses unlikely to pay off. Yes you could take the MBA etc route, but why delay the move even further when you won't yet know if it's for you? I would strongly recommend focusing on operational consulting firms, where you are more likely to be successful anyway and whose ethos are more likely to appeal - hands on, very much solutions driven, real time types of work. For someone with a military background a firm like AlixPartners or such like would, I suggest, be a more satisfying environment than say McKinsey.

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#4 RE: Exp prof Army Officer leaving military to move into mgmt consultancy
19/04/2017 14:07

Anon MCs to D_Jackson (#1)

Hi Jackson,

Good advice given here by the other reps, hope it all helps.

A lonnnnnng time ago I had a chat with an Army Officer who was also wanting to join an MC (he had done circa 5 years and had excellent grades behind him). We looked at his CV, options etc.

He joined one of the big firms (eg think the likes of KPMG, Deloitte, Accenture, CapGemini etc - I would rather not say here) and I have no doubt will be doing well over there.

I will contact him on LinkedIn and ask him to come into this Forum. Hopefully he will be able to help you.

UCL is a tough Uni to get to, so I am assuming that although you got a 3:1, you have strong A Levels behind you. I know it was a long time ago, but that may help to mitigate the UCL (alongside your new degree).

Anyway, hopefully he will come in and give you some advice.

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#5 RE: Exp prof Army Officer leaving military to move into mgmt consultancy
20/04/2017 11:56

Harris to D_Jackson (#1)

D_Jackson,

I am the ex- army officer that Anon MCs assisted a few years ago.

I am more than happy to help although I am currently on holiday with limited signal/internet so will have to wait until next week I am afraid.

Management consulting is quite a broad church. Have you thought where you might wish to aim for (type or tier). I would imagine some areas and consultancies would be more sympathetic than others.

Best wishes,

Harris

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#6 RE: Exp prof Army Officer leaving military to move into mgmt consultancy
20/04/2017 17:20

Mr Cool to D_Jackson (#1)

Have a look at Bishopsgate Financial - bit of a niche consulting firm, they run a Miltary Talent Programme to get ex- services into FS consultancy...

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#7 RE: Exp prof Army Officer leaving military to move into mgmt consultancy
23/04/2017 01:38

Richthekeeper to Mr Cool (#6)

PwC loves ex military people, pretty sure you could just turn up at the office in uniform and get given a job

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#8 RE: Exp prof Army Officer leaving military to move into mgmt consultancy
14/05/2017 21:43

Harris to D_Jackson (#1)

Apologies for the tardy reply - my memory took a while to kick in post holiday.

From my experience, degrees are often used to assist in an initial CV filter but rarely part of the conversation after that. There will be doubtless be some elite consultancies that are not drawn to you because of that and you may not fair as well going directly as you could be sifted out. However if you can use your network and the Officers' Association network (let me know if you don't know what this is and I can explain further) to prove your credibility with someone in the firm, the university degree result will be a minor issue to many consultancies. Furthermore, If I remember correctly, I think EY have removed degrees from their entry criteria now. I know a few ex-military officers who were not graduates and secured a decent job through using the ex-military network, accepting it was not in consulting.

As Mr Cool mentioned, Bishopsgate Financial do run a scheme specifically for ex-military so it might be worth exploring. I think KPMG and Capco also run a scheme and Deloitte certainly offers insight days for ex-military.

Happy to provide any further advice on transitioning from the military into consulting if that would be useful - just post on here and I will ensure i reply quicker next time!

Good luck,

Harris

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