|Company: IBM Global Business Services, a large Management & Technology Consulting Firm.
Job Title: Senior Consultant.
Years in industry: 7.5 (including internships).
Education: BS in Computer Science, Business Strategy Certifications, plus graduate courses.
Hours per week: 50+
Entry level salary: $65k
1. How did you get your first job in this field?
I interviewed with the company as a Freshman in college, and was offered a Cooperative Education position, in which I took a semester off from school to work full time for the firm and was granted 9 Technical Elective Credits towards my major.
2. How do most people break into this field nowadays?
It’s important to have a firm technology background, either computer science or electrical engineering. But not to mention other areas such as: Math, Physics, Statistics, and History.
3. What is a typical career path in this field? How often are there advancement opportunities? Is most advancement within or across organizations?
Typically employees will receive an 8% raise annually, and will receive their first promotion after 2-3 years (promoted from Level I to Level II). And, a promotion from Level II to Level III will typically follow in the next 2-3 years. After being promoted to a Level III, the employee must then bring in at least $2 million in business to be promoted to a Level IV.
4. What do people in your field look for in a candidate? (Skills, personal qualities, etc.)
The ideal candidate is one who has prominent leadership qualities, someone who is very articulate and who presents themselves well. As well as a strong academic background (for Comp Sci or EE majors, usually at least a 3.0 GPA), but the most important factor is real world working experience. We typically want to see that the student has had some real world working experience in his or her major.
5. What personal qualities are necessary for someone in your job to thrive?
Again, strong leadership qualities take precedence here, as well as strong networking skills. You also have to be very proactive and outgoing about your career, because this is consultant which means that it’s a “people business.” You have to work and consultant clients / people on a daily basis. And you must be comfortable and confident enough to work with a very diverse group of individuals.
6. What advice do you have for someone with a bachelor's degree looking to enter this field? What about someone with a master's or doctoral degree?
Individuals with a BS, I would advise that he or she obtain an internship (or two) before entering/applying for a professional full time position. Again, real world working experience is key.
An individual with a Masters or Doctoral degree, I would advise that he or she be extremely strong in his or her craft, and be able to convey to their potential employer that he or she is an extremely valuable commodity to that company’s business. And that their advanced degree has afforded them the ability to be a leader that will bring very unique qualities to the table.
7. Are there any books, journals, web sites, resources, associations, etc. that someone looking to break into your field should be aware of?
I would suggest that anybody looking to get into this business to stay abreast on current and future technologies that may have an impact on the content area your consulting agency focuses on. For example, for the military or any of its supporting agencies, a few good websites include: http://www.fas.org
8. What do you like best about your job?
I typically work with the space industry, and the intelligence community. So I deal a lot with the technology analyst who analyze the pictures and data that the satellites provide. And, I deal with a lot of cutting edge technology that involves space, which I always have found interesting.
9. What do you like least about your job?
I would have to say that the time that it demands. There are certain instances throughout a project that may require you to put in very long days 13-16 hour days.
10. What is your typical day like?
Usually try and arrive between 8:30-9:00, catch up and answer to emails for an hour or two. Then may spend some time preparing for meetings, probably have to drive to different client sites, give presentation, conduct research, etc…
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