It’s a question we get asked all the time: How do strategy firms (or practices) see tech consulting experience? If your main goal is strategy consulting, will this experience help or hurt come recruiting season? The short answer? Yes, tech consulting experience will hurt you. No matter how relevant the work, the perception of tech consulting in strategy houses has remained negative. However, that doesn’t mean all is lost. Nothing is impossible, although some paths are easier. Today, we’ve broken down the reasons Strategy firms see tech consulting experience the way they do, and how you can mitigate their concerns. A short disclaimer before we get started: there is no way we can share universal facts about all of tech consulting. Tech consulting is almost as broad as the tech sphere itself…you’ll be working for tech companies, tech functions, or companies that want to incorporate more tech. Which is everyone.
First, tech consulting does not entail a lot of modeling or business analysis. Instead, you’ll be spending most of your time conducting process analysis. In actuality, tech consulting is very operational in nature. Should you take a tech consulting internship if your long-term goal is strategy work? Only if you’ll be doing financial modeling – not just process mapping. If the choice is between tech consulting and IB, and your ultimate goal is strategy work, we’d go IB every time. The transferable skills you’ll gain there will outweigh what you’d get in tech consulting. Strategy firms don’t care about the kind of consulting you were great at – using your achievements in tech consulting to sell yourself to a strategy firm is like telling us you’d be great at tennis because you are a champion ping pong player. They are two completely different games.
Consulting firms, unlike in many other industries, prefer to bring you in fresh and teach you their own methodology. So how do you package your tech consulting experience when aiming for a strategy role? Think intentionally about your skill description – from the perspective of the business problem you were solving. Whether fair or not, whether you’ve been in tech consulting for 3 months or 13 years, you’ve been pegged as having a certain type of skillset. One way to begin to change the narrative is to tell less stories and write less bullet points about the process you instituted; instead, highlight the impact your work had on a division, SBU, or vertical. Tech consulting is by nature detail-oriented and in the weeds – It’s this kind of emphasis that shows you understand the big picture and know how to approach problems with the end in mind.
We help hundreds of clients/year transition from tech to strategy consulting. Book a Power Half Hour today with an MBB consultant to develop a personalized plan to transition over.