Moving from a firm of 300,000 to 30

Deciding on the next move and changing jobs can be rather challenging. The uncertainty of the new mixed with the desire to be challenged can be quite confusing.

In this article, we are capturing some simple considerations in what could help to make a jump from big and powerful to small and nimble Consulting companies.

For additional context, this article is written for professionals in financial services and specifically for management consultants. The aim is to provide a framework, useful to bring some lights during time that some of you face: “a career dilemma”, should I stay where I am or take a leap of faith.

There are no right or wrong answers in what I will describe, and the below 5 considerations are based on choices and opinions that we have experiences, and we hope it might help some of you to make your next move.

Are you a repressed entrepreneur?

As with most start ups, entrepreneurship, self-starting skills and willingness are almost mandatory. This could represent a challenge for people who prefer structure, and well-established processes. For others, it will provide the opportunity to get involved in the creation of something new, different, potentially more aligned to the organisation you want and need. At Quorsus, we are currently developing and enhancing our capabilities and tools to deliver our work, joining the company during its infancy/teenage years allows us to drive the direction of these outcomes. For someone with strong entrepreneurship, this consideration is critical, it  can give you a sense of purpose. Having a strong impact on the growth of the company, being part of the growth journey, taking on more and more responsibility can continuously drive you  and help you to develop to be a more well rounded and experienced consultant.

 

Are you a self-learner?

One key difference between a big consultancy firm and a small boutique start up is obviously the size, scale and scope. A large consulting firm can be and do pretty much everything, and this is good, both from a business perspective and from a career perspective, as it opens multiple opportunities for their employees. In a boutique, there are 2 key words; “specialism and focus”, and the ability to foster deep technical knowledge in a particular area and work with experts. One of the main differences between a large and small firm, is the change in mindset from “I need to find out who the expert is” to “I need to learn about this myself and be proficient”.

 

Are you ready to trade established structure for agility?

A boutique consultancy like Quorsus can be incredibly agile – if you want to introduce a new process or initiative, there is the flexibility to get this off the ground without having to go through multiple layers, like you typically would in a larger firm. Similarly, if something isn’t working it is easy to adjust or change course without causing a massive disruption. For those who are used to working in a very structured environment this may be a challenge, as the best path to take may not be laid out before you but it’s a great opportunity to provide input into the way your organisation works.

 

Can one be too visible within the consulting company?

Often on an engagement you can be immersed in your client team and it can be difficult to touch base with your home team consistently, let alone with the firm’s leadership. Having access to Managing Partners on a day-to-day basis, who are aware of what each team member is working on and what they have achieved, is refreshing. On the other hand, for some this may be unwelcome exposure – as much as your successes will be highlighted, there is also nowhere to hide if anything goes wrong, responsibilities are spread across fewer people, so the pressure is on to make sure you do your part.

 

Can one be in the front line too much?

Sometimes, maybe often, bigger consultancies tend to work on bigger engagements, where large teams are engaged for large programmes during long phases of work. It might not suit everybody, as some of us really enjoy the day to day contact with clients, the interaction, sometimes even the stress and the excitement. Smaller consulting firms tend to win smaller, human-size engagements, and offer faster opportunities to interact with clients, the catch is your own personal readiness and confidence to do so, and your overall appetite to be a front-line client facing consultant.

 

Do you crave Culture consistency?

One of the big advantages, in my opinion, of a small firm, is the consistency and the family feel of the organisation. A small structure allows you to get to know everybody you work with at a personal level, and that enables you to build the culture and develop a tight network. In a relatively flat and small structure, the culture must be consistent, and all partners and employees are driving it. It also means that it’s pretty obvious when one does not fit in that culture.

 

Ultimately, deciding between a large firm and a boutique consultancy is a very personal choice – if you are willing to take the risk and jump into the world of a boutique consultancy, then these are some things we have considered and have seen the benefits of since we joined Quorsus.

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