But instead of my telling you again about how I made the transition into consulting, I thought you might benefit from hearing a few other people’s stories. Up first is the story of Zach Steeb.
Enjoy and let me know if you can think of other questions you’d want to ask.
What consulting firm(s) do you or have you worked at?
How long have you been in consulting and what is your area of expertise?
One and half years – Finance Accounting and Operations
What has been your biggest challenge to making it as a consultant?
Convincing folks that the experience I gained in audit could make me a good consultant.
What advice would you give someone trying to make the jump from industry or audit to consulting?
If your company/firm has a consulting service, look there first. Firms want to retain top talent, so it will be easier to get face time with consulting folks at the upper levels. Avoid relying on your current HR team – they seem to know little about the service offerings available throughout the organization. They also seem to drag their feet to keep you doing what you are currently doing for as long as possible. Write a solid intro email, find a partner/director in the group you find interesting, be bold and email them. Responses may vary based on your annual review ratings.
Describe how you went about transitioning into consulting?
Due to the perceived difficulty of switching from audit to consulting at PwC, I first applied to several consulting firms outside of PwC. I made it through the interview process but did not receive offers due to my lack of consulting experience. This was a result of me applying for experienced consulting positions, ie. positions above analyst. I then started to look within PwC. I did this by reading whitepapers produced by PwC over topics I found interesting. At the end of each of these whitepapers there is typically a listing of partners and directors to contact if you would like more information. I constructed a brief, professional intro email detailing my situation and interest. I kindly asked for 5 to 10 minutes of their time to speak to them a bit more for advice and guidance on making such a move.
All responses received were very positive, although the willingness to help varied greatly. Once I was able to get a partner on the phone, the process really began to get traction. People began connecting me with others as they began to understand my skill set and interests. In the end, I was put in touch with the group I was eventually brought into. The whole process took 3-4 months, which I think is fairly quick compared to other transfer stories. I attribute this to the leg work I put in myself rather then relying on HR to get me in touch with the right folks. I did not disclose to HR my intention to switch until I was offered the position in consulting. I did discuss my intentions to switch with my anchor client’s audit team to ensure proper resource planning could be performed.
More About Zach
Zach began his career in the Life Science and Venture Capital Assurance Practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers. He obtained his CPA and then moved into their Management Consulting practice. Here he focused on helping companies solve business problems within their Finance and Accounting departments. He graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and is currently a Business Operations Manager at Applied Silver, Inc.