I have 4 years of work experience, I am sure I will get an interview if I apply to an entry level consulting position. Right?

by Jaineel Aga

This chapter is a free excerpt from The Best Book on Getting Consulting Jobs In India.


I have received so many emails with this question,  I had to dedicate an article to this topic -

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I have received so many emails with this question,  I had to dedicate an article to this topic -

The general misconception is that if an experienced individual applies for an entry level position at a consulting firm, their candidacy will be received positively because they are willing to do the job of an entry level candidate (read: fresh from college). Unfortunately consulting firms do not share this line of reasoning. Here is why  -
  1. You come across as DESPERATE! The whole  value proposition of  consulting firms is that they hire the smartest people from college/ B school and help a client solve the most complex business problems. When you have the experience to be a manager but apply for an entry level position, who are surely not coming across as the most  "fought over" candidate in the market. Remember managing your "brand" is crucial in the job hunt process
  2. EGOS will CLASH - Operationally, hiring an experienced person at an entry level job can induce clashing egos. Think about it -  Parthenon hires a 22 year old as an entry level associate. After 2 years he is promoted to a Senior Associate and is managing other associates. You are a stellar IT engineer with 4 years of experience at Infosys. You have been in front of clients and have managed 22 year olds but have now decided to move to management consulting  and  joined as an entry level associate at Parthenon.  You would now have to report to a 24 year old. Would you be okay?  We would like to live in a Utopian world, but lets be honest this is asking for trouble!
  3. Bottom of the corporate ladder again?  All of us have been the entry level candidate once - Its tough work - I would say it helps  you build character when you sweat it out and all of us have to do it at least once. The question is , will you do it twice? You have been at the bottom of the ladder at your first job and have climbed up to an experienced level. Now, to revert to the bottom is very unnatural even though you may try to convince yourself that it is not a problem. The consulting firm does not want to take a chance with this either!
Always apply to a position that is suitable to your experience and age. Of course, the case is different for someone with just 1.5 years of experience and in that case she may apply for an entry level position but If you have considerable say  3- 4+ years of experience, always apply to non entry level positions for consulting.


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