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career direction: consulting vs industry

career direction: consulting vs industry

career direction: consulting vs industry

(OP)
Hi
I am a junior in college in electrical engineering and I am looking for an internship this summer.

My question is:

Which is the most desirable career path to take? Consulting or industry? The reason I ask is that I have friends who are majoring in accounting and typically the path which leads to higher level positions in the course of a career is to join a top national public accounting firm (Price Waterhouse, KPMG, Deloitte, or Ernst & Young). Usually about 2 years of experience is a desirable qualification to get hired into a good industry position. It is like paying your dues to have a better career in the long run.


I know consulting is long hours and high pressure like public accounting, but is it desirable experience for a transition to industry/government after a few years? Or is it a completely separate discipline, which has no bearing on improving career positions in the long run.

Thanks for your input!

RE: career direction: consulting vs industry

(OP)
I guess for both

Ideally, I would like to receive a job offer from the internship (if I liked the internship). I am talking to both consulting firms and industry companies at career fairs in my pursuit of an internship.

RE: career direction: consulting vs industry

Here's the deal.

In the fields of engineering I worked, when I hear/see consultant I think subject expert.

How the hell is a new grad going to be an expert?

Different fields may use the term differently though.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: career direction: consulting vs industry

I'll start it off. I don't think it really matters. Concentrate on being as good an engineer at the start as possible. That the internship that offers the best entry level experience. And the same for the first job. Once you've been at it for 2-3 years you will have much more insight to help guide the path you're thinking about at that time.

Career paths are like semi-controlled Brownian motion. You can generally guide your path but it will also be influenced by factors you have little or no control over. Things like technology, industry trends, management styles... That's true or accountants as well. Most accountants are needed as a result of tax laws, regulations, etc. If a wave of simplify the tax code took over many "accountant" firms and positions might be in question. (This, of course, is historically unlikely bigsmile ).

Have Fun!

James A. Pike
www.xl4sim.com
www.erieztechnologies.com

RE: career direction: consulting vs industry

My impression, in automotive, is that the glory days of the consultants have gone. There are exceptions, for instance I'd talk to Ricardo about a new engine.

As to internships at consultants, if you can get one, go for it. But at least in automotive, consultants tended to be the experienced guys for obvious reasons, I ain't paying 300 bucks an hour for a grommet (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=gro...).

Cheers

Greg Locock


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RE: career direction: consulting vs industry

(OP)
Thanks everyone for your input! I really appreciate your insights!

RE: career direction: consulting vs industry

Oh and while I think about it I recall going to one career recruiting event at university when some of the big Accounting & Management consulting companies came in to give a presentation.

As I recall they were stressing how they only recruited 'the brightest and best' and only looked at folks with a 1st (read close to 4.0 GPA for my American friends). However in Engineering they'd potentially accept a 2:1 (read somewhere a bit above 3.0) and in some courses such as Aero they'd even consider a 2:2 (potentially under 3.0).

So, you could always take your engineering degree and go join the dark side.winky smile

Oh, and as to your "I know consulting is long hours and high pressure like public accounting" depending on employer, location etc. the same can be true in industry.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: career direction: consulting vs industry

Consulting Engineering companies have juniors and interns too. And unexciting work.

I think it really is pot luck though. Consulting companies tend to have a flow of varied work. Large companies will run longer term projects. As a very short-term employee, you'll not notice the difference. A large company is going to have a mix of development and manufacturing, with possibly some industrial relations thrown in. But as I've said, as an intern, you'll probably see none of that unless your department gets the chop while you are there.

- Steve

RE: career direction: consulting vs industry

I worked in machine design for 5 years, went into consulting , now I am back in machine design.

Right now consulting is a ruff unstable field in many areas. In some industries consultants tend to be looked down upon because they are expensive, typically just do enough to get the job done, "Change Orders$$$$$". There is typically no product ownership, as such, there are often few improvements made that would reduce cost, construction time, and generally benefit the project. Its actually almost a conflict of interest, making things better means less work for the consultant.
The companies I know have had to greatly streamline in the last 6 years, having to rough it out the bad economy, have found ways not to use them to avoid the expense.

When the economy is chugging along well again, their will be an increased need for consultants.


RE: career direction: consulting vs industry

PS,

I definitely learned a lot, and would do it again, but right now I it doesn't fit my left.

RE: career direction: consulting vs industry

life.

doohoo!(why is there no edit option)

RE: career direction: consulting vs industry

this got me to thinking about an idea that's been churning in my head for a few years. with the ever prevailing web/cloud "connectedness" perhaps the day of the direct hire maybe limited. maybe everyone becomes a "consultant" with a web/cloud connection to the customer with the need at the time. isn't the cloud idea to only use what you need when you need it ..... hourglass

Have Fun!

James A. Pike
www.xl4sim.com
www.erieztechnologies.com

RE: career direction: consulting vs industry

I was fortunate to go though an attempt at outsourcing engineering duties and various other methods for outsourcing/managing work load.

The inherent problem with a lot of outsourcing and using consultants is the need for great Company Standards and in house people that are extremely knowledgeable of the standards and can check the work of others. The term configuration management comes to mind. Also contracts with the consultants need to be extensive to maintain quality, if you care about quality, some people dont (aka MBA's).

The cloud may make communications easier, but i doubt it will replace in-house engineering

RE: career direction: consulting vs industry

IMHO once you starting checking reports from outsource you're skrewed. the reports have to be right before they're submitted. the work needs to be overseen by someone the home company has confidence in, one of their own supervising the work, or someone from the outside that is "blessed" by the home company.

consider a report produced in-house, it'd be reviewed by the functional mgmt and that'd be it; it wouldn't be reviewed and approved by another group (which is what you do when the out-source submits a report to be approved by the home company).

Reviewing completed reports is extremely difficult.

Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

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