Why is management consulting considered prestigious

Consulting as a stepping stone - the 10 most common reasons for leaving

As a consultant, you have a job that is very popular among young graduates. A steep learning curve, the exciting everyday work and the high compensation probably have you with yours too Career choice convinced. With a flawless résumé and intensive preparation for the difficult interviews, you had to assert yourself against the great competition. Many fail on the way to the final offer, but you made it to the goal with a lot of ambition. Congratulation!

But if after a year or two in your job you already have thoughts about your Exit and take the next steps in your career, then you are like most consultants. Many anticipate the “up or out” principle and decide for the “out” themselves after a few years. But why is it that only a fraction of his career starts in consulting and retires as a consultant?

⇓ Straight to the reasons

Leaving as a natural career move

One thing is certain: in almost no other professional field is that Turnover rate as high as in consulting. More than half of the 2,500 business consultants surveyed in the “Consulting Monitor 2017” study are seriously considering getting out of the car as soon as possible:

The candidate pool of consultingheads confirms the high fluctuation rate within the consulting industry: 71% of our users who are actively looking for new career opportunities only have a maximum of five years Consulting experience.

This fast-moving change is quite normal in management consultancies. The exit is seen as positive and natural career move seen. The entire recruiting and the pyramid-shaped corporate structure are geared towards this.

The 10 most common reasons to quit

Most of the time, several factors play a role in the decision to exit. Maybe you are still yourself indecisivewhether you really want to get out. Then the following list of the most common reasons for the exit will hopefully help you to get more clarity.

In order to make your final decision, it is also important that you also think about what initially motivated you to become a consultant. By using the Pro and contra arguments contrast and weigh up, you can better recognize whether it is just short-term frustration or long-term dissatisfaction in the job. Because such an important career step should be carefully considered.


1. An offer that you cannot refuse
2. “Up or out” - The next promotion is pending
3. Desire for more flexibility
4. Dissatisfied with the job choice
5. A better work-life balance
6. You want to lend a hand yourself
7. A job that makes sense in a pleasant atmosphere
8. More focus and not have to start from scratch again and again
9. Desire for direct contact with the consumer
10. Thirst for knowledge

➥Infographic: 10 reasons for the consulting exit [PDF]

  1. An offer that you cannot refuse

As a consultant, many doors are open to you after the exit, because your skills mean that you are in great demand. You are broadly based and get to know many different industries through the various projects. The likelihood is high that you do regularly interesting offers and receive inquiries. Such as?

  • You have convinced a customer who wants to hire you.
  • Your adviser has a good alumni network and gives you good connections.
  • Inquiries from headhunters land in your mailbox every day via Xing or LinkedIn.
  • You're on an online career platform like consultingheads Registered.

If you finally have an attractive career opportunity, it is understandable that you should take the chance and accept the better offer. Some consultants start their job knowing that they only want to stay for a short time. They are mainly focused on that promising exit opportunities out.

  1. “Up or out” - The next promotion is pending

In management consulting, your career ladder and its individual stations are clearly pre-structured. "Up or out" - if you fail to get promoted within a limited period of time, you will be kicked out. One reason for your exit can of course be that you are forced to leave because you, as a low performer, did not prevail against the strong competition. But at least at the beginning this is rarely the case for young consultants.

It is more likely that you will decide yourself to exit. Be it because of an exciting exit option or because you don't want to be promoted in the first place. While you enjoy working on projects, the next stage in your career involves other areas of responsibilitythat you may find less appealing to you. For example, as a manager, you are often responsible for selling projects. If this is not fun for you, it is time for you to benefit from the many exit options and to reorient yourself professionally.

  1. Desire for more flexibility

As a management consultant, you have a job that is characterized by strictly regulated structures. You cannot simply choose teams, projects and customers, they are usually assigned to you. Even over the long working hours, you only have little control. If a certain level of freedom of choice is decisive for your job satisfaction, it is clear that after some time you will strive to exit.

But apart from that, if you enjoy your job, we have good news for you: You can leave your management consultancy without completely turning your back on the consultant profession. One comes for you Freelance work in question. Here you can freely choose the projects and customers. We at consultingheads help you to find suitable projects on a regular basis.

  1. Dissatisfied with the job choice

As in any other job, it can happen in consulting that after a few months you realize that you have made the completely wrong career choice. You just don't enjoy business consulting. Perhaps you have the profession from the very beginning wrong motivation aspired to, for example exclusively because of the high salary or the attractive exit opportunities. You completely forgot to realize what the job actually means and whether it suits you at all.

In any case, you imagined your job as a consultant to be somehow different. After the initial euphoria, you regret your decision. The downsides become increasingly clear to you, which you previously ignored or underestimated. But do not worry'Nowadays you don't have to struggle through the first few years. We have already helped many consultants who were similar to you to find exciting exit options, even with just a few years of professional experience.

  1. A better work-life balance

Coming home late at night and spending entire weekends on the project in another city often loses its appeal after a few months. The lifestyle that you found tense and exciting at the beginning suddenly no longer appeals to you. At your 60 to 70 hour week you don't even want to calculate the hourly wage. You are just stressed and longing for a better work-life balance.

Mainly personal reasons play a role here. You are tired of the fact that your social life suffers from work and you finally want to have time again for friends and leisure activities - even during the week. At the latest when your circumstances change and your own Offspring you are looking for a job that offers a higher hourly wage and more free time.

  1. You want to lend a hand yourself

After the first few years in consulting, you are likely to be frustrated by the slow and inefficient company structures. You make an effort to set up well thought-out methods and models, but their actual implementation then depends on the customer himself. Most of the time your work only takes place in the Slow motion pace Fruits, you often don't even notice the outcome at all and sometimes even your complete results just end up in the drawer.

Then there usually comes a point where money and prestige are no longer satisfactory for you. Instead of giving external strategic advice, you get pleasure yourself to lend a hand in a business. You long for more personal responsibility and decide to exit into industry or even to start your own company. But be careful: If you want to switch to industry, you have to expect that most employers will hire you for your consultancy skills and will probably want to put you in a strategic position.

  1. A job that makes sense in a pleasant atmosphere

There is a strict business dress code in management consultancies, you have to work under high competitive pressure and constant observation. If that annoys you, then you feel like many other consultants who want a relaxed working atmosphere flat hierarchies to wish. They want a company in which they can develop and where the relationship with colleagues and superiors is more relaxed. That is why they decide to leave, for example in smaller companies or start-ups.

Aside from creating a relaxed work atmosphere, fulfilling work can also lead to greater satisfaction in the workplace. Perhaps after years of completely profit-oriented work, you are fed up with longing to use your skills to solve problems that are more important globally. That's why you decide to get out of a ethically motivated companythat may even be completely nonprofit.

Infographic: 10 reasons for the consulting exit [PDF]

  1. More focus and not always having to start from scratch

Do you feel that your work on the changing projects no longer seems so exciting, but rather repetitive? With every new project you have to start again from scratch and you don't have the opportunity to really focus on a project.

Because as a consultant you have to assert yourself in front of CEOs who have often been concentrating on a company or product for more than ten years. Without being able to familiarize yourself with the project for a long time, you should then stand by this CEO as a consultant. That can be overwhelming and frustrating be. It is quite normal for you to long for more focus and to sit on the other side of the table yourself.

  1. Desire for direct contact with the consumer

You may also consider opting out because you lack the direct contact points with the consumer. Because in consulting you mainly deal with companies and come through that only indirectly in contact with consumers.

Perhaps it is only after a few years in the job that you realize that you are in this B2B environment no longer feel good. Then you have the opportunity to switch to a smaller B2C company or to start your own company if you have an idea for a product yourself.

  1. Thirst for knowledge

If you are always eager to learn something new, then you have made exactly the right career choice with management consultancy. In the first few years you can work in consulting from the very steep learning curve benefit. With every project and every customer you get new knowledge and insights into a wide variety of industries and business models. The work in the competent and experienced teams stimulates you and through the many advanced training courses you can quench your thirst for knowledge.

But after a few years, like in any other profession, the learning curve in consulting flattens out. Due to the initial exponential growth, the stagnation may seem a bit more extreme than in other professions. Then you may feel like you hit a wall after a sprint run. One thing is clear: you have Desire for change and new learning effects. Are you looking for a new professional challenge or are you opting for a postgraduate (MBA) degree.

Desire for change

What all exit reasons have in common is the desire for change. That's human, because you can imagine working for a management consultancy something like this: You rent a new apartment, clear it out and decorate it. After six months of work, you give them up and buy a new apartment so you can start all over again. It's exciting and fun with the first apartments, but with time and age it becomes monotonous and exhausting. Sometime do you long for a new task? - maybe even build your own house afterwards or do something completely different.

In any case, you should be careful not to make any thoughtless decisions and your exit should be thorough and, ideally, already plan early. It makes sense that you keep up to date with your career options on a regular basis. We will help you and make sure that you don't miss any important career opportunities. On consultingheads you will find exclusive jobs only for consultants and we will conveniently send you the best opportunities into your inbox every week.

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Odgers Berndtson (2017): "CONSULTING-MONITOR 2017 "Access to: https://www.odgersberndtson.com/media/3899/consulting-monitor-2017.pdf