Monday, December 11, 2006

Your view counts!

In recent weeks there've been many forum threads on, discussing the relative merits of using a recruitment agency - or avoiding them altogether. There've also been some comments about the most - and least - professional agencies out there.

Our annual reader survey has just been launched and gives you the chance to find out how consulting candidates are currently looking for a job; which channels and providers they recommend other readers should use; what the general recruitment market conditions are likely to look like in the coming months - and much much more.

It takes just a couple of minutes to share your thoughts - and your views would be highly appreciated! Every contributor will receive a copy of the full PDF report, so to take part simply click here now.

For those anxious to progress their job search ASAP, it may be helpful to know that the two recruitment agencies our readers have voted for most highly in the past are BLT and Prism.

Happy job hunting and thank you for taking part in this year's survey.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Videos - Accenture, Atos Consulting, BearingPoint, BT....

A short post to confirm that the careers fair recordings are now live - full length videos of all the presentations given by:

o Accenture
o Atkins Management Consultants
o Atos Consulting
o BearingPoint
o BT Global Consulting
o Celerant Consulting
o EDS Consulting Services
o Ernst & Young
o Hedra Plc
o Management Consultancies Association
o PA Consulting Group
o TATA Consultancy Services

To view these simply go to:

Happy viewing! Tony

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Careers Fair -- Videos

A great big THANK YOU to everyone - consulting firms and readers alike - who made this year's Consultancy Careers Fair such a huge success.

I've just seen the video recordings of the presentations given by many of the top consulting brands on the day - many provide fantastic insights into what it would be like to work at that particular firm. These will all be available to watch on within the next week and I hope they will really help you to make the right decision about your next consulting employer.

In the meantime, my colleagues have loaded up a photo album that gives a great impression of the scale and reach of the Consultancy Careers Fair. If you missed this year's event
do take a look here...

Will have those videos ready for you to watch ASAP.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Management Consultancy recruitment update

Following hot on the heels of last week's Consultancy Careers Fair, I wanted to take a few minutes to record my thoughts on the direction the management consultancy sector is headed, particularly as regards recruitment.

To listen to this 5 minute snapshot, simply turn up the volume on your computer and press the play button below.

Related link: Revealed -- How to ace your case study interview

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

And the brightest consultants are...

Monday night saw the inaugural Young MCA Consultants' Challenge take place in central London, with a dozen teams entered from some of the biggest names in consulting. Comprising teams of ten, the various rounds challenged consultants to demonstrate the skills they use in their everyday lives - communication skills, risk assessment... were thrilled to be sponsors of the event, with £1,500 being raised on the night to support the DEPAUL TRUST.

Both Accenture and BT got off to slow starts, with the night looking like it might provide something of an upset. Could one of the smaller firms trounce the bigger names in our industry? Well as the leader board below confirms, Accenture emerged as eventual winners; a joint Tata Consultancy Services / Impact Plus team came second; BT came third.

And to give them their moment in the spotlight, here's the winning team from Accenture accepting the winner's trophy:

Thanks to Natalia, Joy, David and the rest of the team at the Management Consultancies Association for organising what was a fun night.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Martin Hancock - charitable donations please!

Many of you will know Martin Hancock, who in 2006 was one of just 7 recruiters named Top Management Consultancy Recruiter in recognition of outstanding candidate feedback from Top-Consultant readers. Well Martin is embarking on what looks like a hellish endurance race together with colleague Tara Benton - and it's all in aid of the charity Sportability.

The Coast to Coast Race will be held over 2 days and will see the two cover a distance of 120 miles through a mix of fell and road running, on and off-road mountain-biking and kayaking.
Tara and Martin hope to raise as much money as possible for this worthwhile cause and you can contribute on a corporate or a personal basis via:

Martin & Tara need your help to reach their target of £1,000 - so please help make their effort worthwhile. Rgds, Tony

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Talented young consultants - take the MCA challenge!

In recent years our industry has seen a new priority emerge at the Management Consultancies Association – and that is to foster the development and enthusiasm of young consultants who will be the lifeblood of the industry’s future. became sponsors of the Young MCA a year ago as part of a fun drive to broaden the reach of the Top-Consultant brand. Events to date have included a riverboat cruise and talks from networking experts, sporting idols and entrepreneurs. But now the Young MCA have gone a step further and are appealing to consultants’ competitive nature.

Hot on the heels of programmes such as The Apprentice and Dragons’ Den, the MCA have announced the launch of “The 2006 Young MCA Consultants’ Challenge” which will see teams of consultants pitted against one another to complete a series of tasks and challenges. Whilst intended to be a fun event, knowing the consulting industry you can imagine the rivalry there will be between firms to secure their place as leaders of the pack! And for those of you looking to broaden your consulting network, entries are now being sought from teams of young consultants interested in taking part in this month’s event.

The format will see teams of consultants from compete in three activities designed to test the skills management consultants use during their daily work. Top-Consultant are pleased to be sponsoring this charitable event and hope to see as many readers there as possible. For further details and to register a team see:

Hope to see you there - Tony

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

NHS blow for consulting industry

A number of high-profile consulting firms have been reeling from the impact the NPfIT project has had on their finances, with cash either coming into the businesses far slower than anticipated - or provisions having to be made for expected future losses on the work. This is having a very real effect on the consulting workforce, with many firms financially strapped and unable to push through the salary rises that many in the industry have been expecting from the resurgent industry.

As if these financial woes were not bad enough, the consulting industry is now to be hit by a further NHS blow in the form of bad press. The Guardian and Accountancy Age are just two publications that are today covering the news that the National Audit Office's review of the NPfIT project is to be reopened - only weeks after it was given a clean bill of health in an NAO report. The decision tees up weeks of potential bad press for the consulting industry, as problems with the project are dragged up again - and consultancies are made the scapegoats for what is proving to be a political dream that's exceptionally hard to realise. Expect this one to drag and drag through until Christmas time at least...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A lesson in consulting's murky past

I was made aware quite some time ago of a new publication being launched this year, by Chris McKenna of Said Business School. Entitled "The World's Newest Profession: Management Consulting in the 20th Century", the book was set to chart the rise of the management consultancy profession and how alumni of the top consulting firms have come to yield such power in today's corporate world.

The publishers have yet to send through my review copy, but a piece in the Observer this last week reviews some of the key messages to emerge from the book. One observation is how the consulting "profession" came to exist thanks to changes in legislation in the US that essentially created a need for consulting professionals. It's then suggested that changes in legislation ever since - most recently in the form of Sarbox - have stimulated further waves of demand for our services and helped to sustain the growth of the consulting sector.

Unfortunately much that is published on the subject of consulting these days seeks to portray management consultants as underhand and undeserving of their success. Similar vibes emerge from this review of the book, though it is unclear whether it is the Observer's take on McKenna's work or the actual content of the book itself that is to blame.

Looks like an interesting read nonetheless, if only to gain an understanding of the roots of the consulting industry.

Enjoy. Tony

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Consulting lifestyle issues

Consulting lifestyle issues - has anything changed?

Just recently got back from vacation and one of the most pleasant aspects of my holiday was not worrying whether I'd get disturbed by urgent calls from the office. Partly this is an acknowledgement of the trust I have in our talented team (thanks all) - but it particularly stood out as it's a degree of relaxation totally at contrast with my experiences as a consulting employee. Back then (pre-2000) interruptions to weekends and holidays were a major source of discontent - and indeed even the possibility of being disturbed was enough to take some of the shine off of one's free time.

During the hols I met up with a friend who's now leaving consulting for these very reasons. Whilst on holiday, a call came in asking what time his plane was touching down on his return. The consulting firm in question wanted to figure out if there was a way of having the consultant get home from holiday, pack things and be back out on a transatlantic flight to start work with a new client that same day (a weekend, incidentally). This got me thinking, have consultancies really not moved on at all in this respect?!

So I thought it would be an interesting exercise to test the water with you all. Do you still:

o have a problem in your office that consultants are disturbed whilst on holiday or go away on holiday uneasy at the prospect that they might be called?

o leave the office for the weekend either knowing that you've got to come back in over the weekend or dreading the fact that you're likely to get a call asking you to?

o find a long-hours culture prevails?

I'd be interested in your feedback, because I'm convinced that simple company policies on these issues would make consulting employees sleep a lot easier and would have negligible impact on client delivery if the senior team members knew that they had to adhere to these rules.

So what have your recent experiences been - do you still suffer from these types of problems? Any others you'd like to flag up too? Post your comments below - I'm looking forward to reading them! Thanks, Tony

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

World Cup horror story

Watching the World Cup these last weeks has brought back vivid memories of one of the grimmest days of my consulting career. I wonder if any readers have similar tales of the woes they've faced as a result of working in the high-paced world of consulting? What events have you missed out on or traumas have you faced? Do post your comments / stories below...

Mine relates to the England - Argentina match in the 1998 knock-out phase of the World Cup. Working on a strategy assignment for an airline, I was fortunate enough to be bumped up to first class on the night of the match. An avid football fan, I was however mortified to be on an overnight flight at the time of England's game - but still relatively junior in the firm there wasn't much I could do about it...

Anyway, the stewardesses came round and asked if the 1st class passengers had any particular requests for the flight. My colleague and I asked if the pilot could radio the ground and keep us abreast of the score situation in the England vs Argentina match. Much to our surprise our request was duly passed on to the cockpit and sure enough a short while after the match began we learnt that England had gone 1-0 down to an early goal.

Some time later, with dinner served, the pilot piped up that England had fought back and the scoreline was now 1-1. We regained our appetite, the beef wellington tasted somehow better and we felt a new wave of belief in the team.

Then around what must have been full-time he came on again - Michael Owen had scored a wonder-goal and England were 2-1 to the good. Buoyed by the news and the fact that only minutes of the game remained, we got ourselves some champagne and toasted England's passage to the next round - while all those around us settled down for a night's sleep.


My eyes squinted open to the sound of the pilot on the PA system again. Pulling my blanket off I heard him say "for those of you who were following the England match, the news isn't so good. It was back to 2-2 by half time and then Beckham got a red card. It went to penalties and England will be on a plane home later today..."

What a depressing way to start a week of consulting! It's one thing to have your beloved team lose at the World Cup - but to celebrate a historic victory only then to discover that you lost was truly horrible.

The pilot had, it seems, been receiving updates only sporadically and had had to stop the announcements once passengers started going to sleep. So much for the feel-good factor of flying first class!! And so much for the desirable jet-set lifestyle...

Got any such tales of your own from your time as a consultant? Do feel free to post them below.