Why and How to Begin a Career in an Internal Consulting Firm or a Large Group?

 

Consulting careers are not limited to those in “external consulting firms.” External consulting firms come first to mind when you think about “consulting.” Whether McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, Accenture, etc., all the great consulting firm names are external consulting firms.

 

cabinet de conseil interne externe

 

Put yourself in a client’s shoes, in the shoes of consulting services buyers. It is in their interest to internally reproduce a maximum amount of skills to move forward by themselves on many subjects. This provides one of the keys to understanding one of the challenges of consulting: the need to innovate in order to provide the client the greatest added value. You must understand that this is not something to be taken lightly. If the client can simply copy and paste, or even make minor adaptations to your recommendations to apply by himself… he will do it, and that would be much less expensive than using an external consulting firm. Therefore, the consultant must always aim for new standards to keep a qualitative advance on his customers.

The client who wishes to enhance its ability to progress internally would likely put in place an internal Consulting Department. This department may have the company and its subsidiaries as exclusive its customer. It may also sell its own advisory services to external customers. In banks, there is always a strategic staff department, that I will call an “internal consulting department.”

 

How to Become an Internal Consultant

 

The most natural way to become an internal consultant is to start a consulting experience in an external consulting firm. Typically, after two years of experience, you’ll have a dozen references in terms of consulting. A scenario I’ve seen many times, so classic, is to get poached by the client company. The consulting firms generally do not object to this; it’s part of the game.

They are, indeed, pleased to put one of their former employees in such a position in order to strengthen their presence to the client. Generally, if the client comes to poach you it is because you already showed great interest as part of the assignment, so it is likely that the sector interests you. Another scenario is simply to target these positions after leaving your consulting firm. With these internal Consulting Departments consisting of former consultants, you will not have difficulty to get interviewed when the time comes.

 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Internal Consultancy

 

The advantage of internal consulting lies above all in the most balanced pace of life compared to conventional consulting firms. You client is your employer; it simplifies things quite a bit. The pressure is lower, and this type of transition is sometimes welcome after a few intense years in strategy consulting. You do not have the high turnover and pressure of “up or out.” Finally, it is the perfect opportunity to truly “scan” the company where you work.

So if you then want to take managerial positions, you will have the opportunity to really project yourself into different services, departments, divisions, and also subsidiaries and branches. Cons to this would include the fact that the challenges will be less high and you’ll have lower standards of excellence. Regarding remuneration and career development, it will be aligned with the company’s grids. But hey, this is called the flip side!

 

Other Resources On Consulting Firms

 

Links of interest - Management Consulting Firms Overview in The US
Videos on this topic - Management Consulting Firms Association
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