new opportunity

After Consulting: How to Evaluate a New Opportunity

You know you’ll have a lot of options when you decide to leave consulting, but do you know how to make the right choice? The following clips from recent interviews shed some light on how to properly evaluate a new opportunity.

The Criteria:

Dave Rickard, Vice President, Continuous Improvement for Uline told Raines he weighed three factors — where, what and how the new opportunity would serve him.

“I thought about three things when I looked at where to go next: the firm and the industry, the skills, and the fit,” Rickard, a Boston Consulting Group Alum says. “I wanted to join a growing industry leader. Second, I had developed a lot of skills and experiences over my time in consulting, and I wanted to join a firm where that was going to be valued and I would be able to contribute from the get-go.”

“And the last was really around fit. I have had the benefit of consulting many different companies and realized there are a lot of different corporate cultures out there,” Dave explains. “My style won’t resonate with all of them and I wouldn’t expect it to, so finding the match was quite important.”

Chad Lusk, Chief Strategy Officer of Ferrara Candy Company, looked for three keys when leaving McKinsey. Lusk told us:

“Number one, did I believe in the investment thesis? Number two, did I see what my individual contributions were going to be and did my particular role fit what I wanted to do? And number three, is the leadership team a collaborative, change-oriented, driven team that could get us to our goal?”

David Snider, COO/CFO of Urban Compass, factored in geography, industry and investment when choosing a position after business school.

Outside of where he wanted to work, Dave, a Bain & Company Alum, focused on finding “an industry that broadly interested me –not healthcare, and not a bunch of other things. But real estate, financial services, and a couple others I could see myself in.”

Dave also wanted to know he would have an impact in a business that had a solid future, and he felt he would be best served if he already knew someone at the company.

“Finally, I thought it was important that there was an equity component in some form,” Dave said. “No matter what, I wanted to feel a deep personal investment in the success of the business. So I looked at a lot of different options, but tried to keep those criteria in mind. I figured I’d reasonably get four out of six, and the opportunity at Urban Compass was six of six.”

The Big Questions:

A flexible mindset will expand your opportunity set. The key questions when the opportunity arises are “Is this experience going to stretch and develop my skills?” and “Is this going to be rewarding in terms of the elements that are important to me as an individual?” I would say that generally I am on a global finance path… but there is not really an ideal or fixed path. – Andrew Townend, CFO, PepsiCo Australia and New Zealand | Boston Consulting Group Alum

Vatsa Narasimha, EVP, CFO, & Chief Strategy Officer, OANDA, highlights the importance of positive recommendations and advises hiring managers vet potential employees by checking to see how their peers view them.

“If I’m a manager at BCG, I don’t take you on to a case without checking with two other managers for whom you’ve worked, to ask how well you work in different settings,” Vatsa, a BCG alum. “At the same time, you’d talk to some of the other consultants or associates and ask them, ‘Who has worked with Vatsa? How is he as a manager?’ Seems like basic stuff, but when you’re looking for a job, I think people fail to do that.”

Look Beyond Money and Team Size:

Vatsa also recommends consultants take the time to thoroughly review new roles before jumping ship. “A lot of consultants don’t have time to breathe in consulting, so they take the first offer that comes their way,” Vatsa says. “Most people leave because they had one or two bad cases in a row. They aren’t making a conscious, careful decision to leave. They’re all talented people, and then they get offered a job that is going to pay them more, at a pretty good company.”

And, even if the pay is great, Vatsa reminds that you have to “take a step back and really assess what you want,” instead of being lured for money. “Don’t just look at the dollar sign.”

Arjun Moorthy, VP, Business Development & Channel Sales, Hubspot, also recommends taking a step back — in terms of what your role is. “Don’t be in a rush to become a manager,” Arjun, a BCG alum, says.

“There’s something amazing about being an individual contributor, whether it’s carrying a sales quota or designing a product – you’re the person that’s driving the company,” Arjun describes. “You may be driving a small part of it but you’re actually driving it.”

Instead of being focused on jumping up the food chain, focusing on having control and being invested in the building blocks. “Management has so much overhead, and they make decisions that steer the company, but they don’t drive it,” Arjun told us. “You shouldn’t be in a rush to get to that point. In the last ten years, I, and probably a lot of my peers, have been obsessed with titles and salaries. But really the higher the title and the more the compensation, the further you’ll be from driving the ship. You’ll be in a bureaucratic layer steering it, and I don’t think that’s always fun.”