The most Popular Career Paths after Consulting

maart 14, 2024

Consulting is a widely coveted career path for many professionals due to its challenging and dynamic nature. However, it often serves as a stepping stone to other opportunities in various industries. In this piece, we will explore some of the most popular career paths that former consultants pursue after leaving the consulting world. From entrepreneurship to corporate leadership, these individuals have leveraged their consulting experience to excel in diverse fields. 

Why do most people leave consulting?

Despite the excitement and rewards that come with consulting, many consultants ultimately decide to leave their positions for various reasons. From burnout and lack of work-life balance to limited career growth and a desire for stability, the decision to quit a consulting job is a complex and personal one. Let’s explore the main reasons why consultants choose to move on from their roles in search of new opportunities and fulfillment.

– Burnout: Consultants often work long hours and face high-pressure deadlines, leading to burnout and exhaustion. This can cause them to reevaluate their career and prioritize their well-being.

– Lack of work-life balance: The demanding nature of consulting can make it difficult for consultants to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Many choose to leave their job in search of a career that allows them more time for personal and family activities.

– Limited career growth: Some consultants may feel that their career progression is stagnant and that they are not advancing at the pace they desire. This lack of upward mobility can be a driving force behind their decision to quit and seek out new opportunities.

– Desire for stability: Consulting often involves frequent travel and project-based work, which can be disruptive to a stable lifestyle. Some consultants may leave their job in search of a more stable and predictable work environment.


Freelancing is a great career path for ex-consultants who want more flexibility and control over their work. Instead of being tied down to a specific company or project, freelancers can choose their own clients and projects to work on. This allows them to have a better work-life balance and pursue their passions on their own terms.

Many ex-consultants find freelance work appealing because it gives them the opportunity to use their skills and expertise in a variety of industries and projects. They can take on different types of work, expand their network, and continue to learn and grow professionally. Freelancing also allows ex-consultants to set their own rates and schedules, giving them the independence and autonomy they may not have had in a traditional consulting role.

Transitioning to Big Corporates

When transitioning from consulting to big corporates like McKinsey, having a background in consulting can give you a leg up in terms of entering the company at a higher level than others with similar years of professional experience. Typically, many consulting alumni find themselves in roles related to strategy within these big organizations. However, there are also opportunities in functions such as operations and product management for those coming from a consulting background.

Big corporates value the skills and expertise that consulting alumni bring to the table, making them desirable candidates for various roles within the company. With the ability to think strategically, analyze data, and problem-solve effectively, former consultants are well-equipped to excel in roles that require a strong understanding of business operations and a knack for driving innovation and growth. Overall, transitioning from consulting to big corporates can open up a range of career paths and opportunities for those looking to leverage their consulting experience in a new environment.

Boutique Consulting 

After spending time working as a consultant at a big firm, many professionals choose to transition to boutique consulting as a popular career path. Boutique consulting firms are smaller and more specialized than their larger counterparts, allowing consultants to work closely with clients and have a greater impact on projects. This can be an attractive option for those looking for a change of pace or wanting to focus on a specific industry or skill set.

In addition to the appeal of boutique consulting, many consultants also choose to pursue careers in industries such as tech, finance, or entrepreneurship. These paths allow consultants to apply their skills in new and exciting ways, whether it’s managing a startup, analyzing data at a tech company, or working in finance. With a background in consulting, professionals have the knowledge and experience needed to succeed in a variety of fields, making it a versatile and sought-after career path.


Many consultants find themselves drawn to the world of start-ups after spending years in the consulting industry. The fast-paced and innovative environment of start-ups provides a new and exciting challenge for those looking to apply their skills in a different setting. With their experience in problem-solving and data analysis, consultants are well-equipped to navigate the ups and downs of founding or managing a start-up.

One of the key advantages for consultants transitioning to start-ups is the opportunity to have a more hands-on role in decision-making and strategy development. In start-ups, there is often more freedom to experiment and take risks, which can be appealing to consultants looking for a change of pace. With the right skills and mindset, consultants can thrive in the dynamic world of start-ups and make a successful transition from consulting to entrepreneurship.

Private equity 

Private equity is a well-liked choice for many former consultants seeking a new career path. This is because investors value the practical experience and skills that consultants bring to the table. With a background in finance, ex-consultants are in high demand in private equity and venture capital firms, where they can put their expertise to use in analyzing investments and helping companies grow.

Transitioning from consulting to private equity or venture capital can be a lucrative move for those with a finance background. The skills and knowledge gained from consulting work can be applied to making strategic investment decisions and working closely with companies to drive growth. Many financial services companies actively seek out ex-consultants for their strong analytical skills and ability to understand complex business challenges.

How long do most consultants last?

It’s not uncommon for management consultants to leave their jobs after a couple of years. For some, the promise of higher pay, more control over their work, or a healthier balance between work and personal life lures them away. Others simply crave new challenges and a chance to learn something different, while some have bigger dreams and goals that lead them to seek out new opportunities. Whatever the reason, the decision to move on from a consulting role often marks the beginning of a new chapter in their career journey.

Challenges When Transitioning from Consulting to Industry Roles

Transitioning from a consulting role to a new gig in a different industry can be a real rollercoaster ride for many professionals. Whether moving to a big corporate setup with its structured hierarchy and play-it-safe mindset, diving into the world of startups where flexibility and autonomy rule the roost, venturing into freelance work with its promise of independence and the grind for clients, or shaking things up in the world of private equity where due diligence and building relationships are the name of the game – consultants face a variety of challenges.

From figuring out how to adjust their skill set to fit the new situation, adapting to the unique cultures of their new workplace, and juggling the balance between work and play, these transitions can throw up quite a few hurdles. It’s all about being nimble, open-minded, and gathering up that industry-specific know-how to steer through the storm and find success on the other side.

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