{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I am an HR Business Partner at my current company but have been afforded a few human capital consulting opportunities with various big 4 firms. I don’t think I’d want to make a career out of it given the long hours, however I’m contemplating accepting the role and doing consulting for 2 years and then going back to industry. Is this a practical path? How hard is the transition from consulting to industry and what sort of roles have ppl landed that did transition to industry? Would love advice!", "post_id": "5ff0afa87ce5de0021b044e5", "reply_count": 34, "vote_count": 7, "bowl_id": "5a61465686d4c300180e0562", "bowl_name": "Org Development & Human Capital", "feed_type": "bowl" }
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I am an HR Business Partner at my current company but have been afforded a few human capital consulting opportunities with various big 4 firms. I don’t think I’d want to make a career out of it given the long hours, however I’m contemplating accepting the role and doing consulting for 2 years and then going back to industry. Is this a practical path? How hard is the transition from consulting to industry and what sort of roles have ppl landed that did transition to industry? Would love advice!

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Please know that I say this without a bit of malice in my heart, but: oh, honey. You have FOUR (4!!) years of experience. You have to realize that your career is a marathon, not a sprint. A move to consulting may very well be the right next move for you, but you first have to understand what it is you’re chasing. If it’s your perception of what others have and what you think your career *should* look like at this point in your life, you’d be doing it for all the wrong reasons. I’ve led folks like you in the past and while your drive and passion is admirable, I imagine your leadership is thinking “what does she expect us to give her at this point, she’s got FOUR (4!!) years of experience.” This is to say - all in good time. I’m not sure what you’ve been conditioned to expect, but as a wise woman once said, “the race is long and in the end, it’s only with yourself.” You need to think about the long game here - where do you want to be in 10/15 years and what career opportunities will enable you to achieve that vision? Please understand that you are still SUPER early in your career and patience would do you a world of good (note: patient <> passive).

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I made this exact same jump OP (albeit not from as recognizable as a company as Boeing). Folks are right, it will “feel” like a step backwards and your position may not be as senior but you’ll learn a ton.

You’ll understand what good quality works actually looks like, and when you’re ready to return back to industry you’ll be light years ahead of folks. My only advice is that if you truly love HR, make sure to self-advocate to do those kinds of projects. If people see you as strong talent you may end of getting staffed on things completely unrelated (which may make it difficult to transfer back when the time comes).

Happy to talk to you offline if you’d like. But overall, there aren’t a ton of cons to making the switch. It’s tough at first, but the experience you’ll gain will be worth it.

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P3 makes a great point here about being staffed on the right projects. Because we come from industry we often get put on projects where industry knowledge is valuable but the project is not necessarily of interest. I got bounced around so much I ended up leaving HR completely because other practices found my skill sets more value.

As much as I’ve said don’t do it, you do learn a lot and you need to assess where you want to be in 5 years before you make the decision.

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You will almost always be brought in at a lower level than you are already as a BP. You will be making decks, writing interview scripts for current state assessments and be playing in excel. You will miss the human relationship aspect of your job, being involved in decisions and being able to advise your industry stakeholders on real issues. Unless you want to move into Change Management permanently, I would strongly advise against consulting.

likehelpful

Don't do it! I moved from HRBP to consulting two years ago and I miss all of the things mentioned above.

likesmart

The grass IS NOT greener on this side. Overglorified profession with a very toxic culture. Consulting at big firms to strengthen your resume is becoming a thing of the past. Better opportunities elsewhere like in tech or early-stage start-ups

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DON’T DO IT.

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I went through a 2 yr HRDP, worked as an HRBP for 3 years then went to business school. After bschool, I became a consultant and although I make more than 2x my former salary, my hours have also almost doubled, and so my hourly wage is...the same. Work life balance is important, and I plan to return to industry after 2 years in consulting, so I can actually enjoy my life. Consulting culture is toxic; you have no real power, everyone is stressed and that translates to impatience and frustration. I miss my HRBP days - I had real client relationships, I was a trusted advisor, I was properly trained in my job, and I had decision-making power. Although I think part of that was my former company afforded me power in the HR dept.
I do think you should consider what you want to do in 10-15 years and how important work life balance is to you. More specifically for consulting - are you ok with working 8 am to 8 pm Mon-Fri? Try it out for a week. Can you do it for 3 weeks? Can you keep up that schedule for a year? I’m doing it now and it SUCKS. I get through it by reminding myself I have a time limit on this consulting thing and it’s not forever. HR consulting is pretty much your current job but less depth in your client relationships, less time to get your work done, a steep learning curve on each new client/industry, and less power (bc you’re not internal HR, whom people tend to try messing with less bc internal HR can actually make job decisions).
I encourage you to find a job at another company, perhaps leveraging your HR background or an HR manager position. People do consulting for the sake of money, but it’s not a sustainable motivation.

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I feel this so much. I also haven't had any luck so far in trying to move back into an HRBP role from consulting 😔

I think you're forgetting option 3....go to another firm that isn't consulting. I just exited from consulting to industry and the grass is truly greener. Benefits, comp, and lifestyle are drastically better. In consulting the salary might look great, but divided by the amount of hours you work, coupled with the toxic cultures most firms have, you're making less. I've never made more money and had more time than now. Don't get me wrong, not all consulting firms are horrible, but to go from Hr BP to senior consultant is essentially you getting shafted. Seniors are glorified and overworked. You won't see a manager title for years....and then when you try to exit to industry, you'll be shafted for lack of management experience.

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Would you be open to sharing more via DM or this thread? Looking to make a similar transition. TIA

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What type of role on consulting is it for? Many people transition. I was in an HR role and then moved to consulting but for me I enjoy consulting more bc i feel more impactful what project work. I felt HR work was mundane and cyclical which got boring after years in it. Consulting is a different pace and honestly the pay is much better. 

likesmart

I left as a Senior Manager and quite enjoy consulting depending on the project.

The big difference is building a career remotely in consulting is a bit more challenging and takes time. The face to face with the same client group usually doesn’t happen in consulting. In addition, 2 years is really not enough time to really gain all of the benefits.

Another factor, all of the stocks and benefits at my previous company were much better. The independence at a Big 4 is considerably damaging if you had stock options and opportunities to buy stock at a considerable discount.

Good luck 🍀

likesmart

I value this insight. Super straight forward. I do need to sit down and ask myself where I want to be in 10-15 years.

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Thank you for taking it in the spirit with which it was intended! You’ve got this 👍

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What PwC 1 says i think applies to big 4 firms, but there are a lot of other firms out there. Whats the goal of 2 years in consulting? (Former hrbp turned consultant btw)

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So, i think this is more your current workplace problem vs something consulting exp will fix. First, 2 years may be 4-5 consulting engagements at most, probably more like 3. Depending on the firm you would go with they might all be in the same industry. Also, most likely you wont be interacting with HR, maybe a 50% chance per engagement. Finally, HR is mostly all the same, especially at fortune 500. Some have more this or less that (usually coaching/learning or systems) but there isnt a lot of secret HR sauce out there. Depending on what your willing to do i would say moving companies for a promotion is the better way to go. Message me though if you want and we can talk more specifics.

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People are quite jaded. I think consulting is always an option to get different experience.

I think someone else noted that you should create some goals for your exit. Do 3-6 month check ins and make any necessary adjustments based on your progress. Good luck and enjoy the journey!

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Transitioning back to industry isn’t the issue—it is the transition to consulting that will be the painful one as you will have substantially less quality of life than you are used to now.

Nevertheless, of it is something you really want to do, having 2+ years of big 4 experience won’t hurt your chances of going back to industry!

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You have to decide what you want to achieve in those two years. As yourself these three questions. What is it specifically you are not achieving in your current position?
How is being a consultant going to help you gain these goals?
Is quality of life important to you? If so, working for a big 4 firm is hard driven and requires long hours. It’s very rewarding if you are young and have a desire to work hard and have access to several company cultures in a short period of time.

Thx MLC 1. I want to build more credibility. I’m only 27 w/ 4 YOE and 3 at company. I’m frustrated b/c despite my performance my pay is not moving the way it should. My peers from grad school are making tens of thousands more than me and have also been promoted faster. It’s defeating. I also like the idea of working across multiple industries and being viewed as a trusted advisor. I do have great WLB.

I’m honestly surprised that Boeing is treating you this way as my friends from grad school who have gone through their HRDP at Boeing are well compensated/similarly compensated to me in a consulting role. However, what I have heard from them is that Boeing’s HR is kinda BS and not very strategic. Have u looked into transferring to Boeing’s internal change consulting team? I heard it’s made up of a group of IBM vets, that could be an option to get a look into consulting/consulting life without fully exiting to big4 or other consulting firm.

Nope they haven’t! Only about 3 years now I would say. We graduated in 2018 may from grad school and they started hrdp right after (you probably know them lol)

Hey I left a corporate HR role and also HRBP and had the same intentions - to go back after 2 years. Was at a similar company to yours too. I am now 5 years in consulting and loving it so you never know. Feel free to DM me for a chat

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