Transitioning From Audit to Management Consulting

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Question:

Thank you for support that you provide to us via web site and e-mail. I am working in a big international company in the audit department [Big Four accountancy firm], but I would like to continue my future career as a management consultant.

Can you advise me of the approach I should use to get preparation for management consulting (actually I have management background, obtained from University)?

My Reply:

Audit is unfortunately not perceived as a prestigious field amongst the strategy consultants (and even the strategy consulting groups within big firms like the one you work for).

I think the perception is that the work is more of a transactional repetitive nature, as opposed to big picture strategic oriented. This may not be a very fair perception, but I think it does exist.

A good way to transition to strategy consulting is to get an MBA from a Top 5 or Top 10 business school. What that does is signal that even though audit is not perceived as a prestigious field, according to the top business school that admitted you, you are one of the most talented people coming out of audit.

This can wipe out any negative perceptions the top firms may have about your audit experience.

If you already have an MBA, it would be much tougher to make this transition directly. You might look at transferring within your company (though I see accountancy firms recruit a lot of outside talent for their strategic planning practices) or work in industry (in a non-audit field) and try to apply as an experienced hire in a few years.

 

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