Booz Allen interview on Obama and public sector consulting

If you’re not familiar with my interview with a consultant from Booz Allen, we briefly covered government consulting which generated great reader interest.

Booz guy thoughtfully followed up with some additional thoughts on the topic. My notes are in italics.

In no particular order, here they are:

1. Government and public sector consulting generally follows the workweek of your clients, so only nine or ten hours per day on site. With that said, a lot of people do work later on at night from the firm’s office or at home and you are expected to turn around deliverables on the same schedule as commercial work

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2. Since due diligence and budget analysis don’t tend to be an assignment in the public space, government consulting gives you an opportunity to actually work with the meat of a problem. There can be high exposure to the decision makers

This is a definite perk in commercial work but can vary considerably by project

3. Booz Allen is hiring aggressively, but the standards just jumped several rungs. You can’t rely on degrees/former companies to get you in the door. In the past few weeks, I’ve seen applicants for positions at my firm with very prestigious MBA credentials, top-level security clearances, or fantastic companies on their resume who don’t get a second look because they can’t explain their work experience, or how it relates to our needs

Another reason why interview prep and careful resume and cover letter writing is more critical than ever

4. I’m going to have to disagree with the suggestion that firms are hiring many people in the Middle East, India, etc. Up until a few months ago, this was definitely the case, but several prominent firms lost contracts in the UAE when their sovereign wealth fund dropped significantly in November, and quite a few consultants are on the beach right now because of it. If you have any experience with debt or risk assessment, you might have a shot, but kiddos fresh out of school are going to have a hard time. It will get better, and those markets will be exciting once the money starts flowing again, but for now things are really tight

5. Commercial work is in a bad state right now. I’m interested to see if some firms pick up projects that are “below them” in order to keep people billable, or just cut staff

On a side note, Siemens recently decided to drop “use of all external consultants” estimating savings at close to “300m Euros this year”

6. Government consulting is about to be extremely busy. While the Obama administration initially was talking about cutting the number of contractors and consultants that they brought in to fix problems or develop strategy, they quickly realized that the federal government doesn’t have the resources or knowledge base to do it on their own. If you have experience/interest in health care, energy, finance or other areas on the new administration’s agenda, there will be some incredible opportunities pretty soon

That wraps up our discussion on the current state of government and public sector consulting! If you have more questions, email us or schedule a Power Half Hour for a 1:1 discussion on how to break in to public sector consulting. We would love to chat with you!

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