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Thinking about a career change

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  • #41767

    Finguy
    Participant

    I’m looking for some insights from existing consultants…  I’m a Finance Director in a Fortune 500 company.  I was an MBB in GE and TRW for 2 1/2 years with a ton of project experience and good success in transactional, financial, and cash flow projects.  I’ve also done a fair bit of C level presentations, leveraging my finance credentials to make the case for many process changes and ROI cases.   I was “certified” by TRW in their early days… based on project work and training hours, but the certification feels largely symbolic since the program was so new (I was one of the first MBBs there).  In retrospect, I wished I would have pursued a more recognized certification… but such is life.
    Lately I’ve been debating getting out of the corporate world and Finance in general and jumping into something more entrepreneurial.   I have a real passion for transactional processes and, even as a Finance leader, have always enjoyed driving process improvements and living six sigma.
    Is there anyone out there who can offer me some advice… where to get started… what the market is like… potential avenues… networking opportunities?
    I used to use this site as an MBB… so it’s nice to make a post after an extended absence. 
    Looking forward to hearing from you!
     

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    #131325

    Super Intelligent
    Member

    I think you are exaggerating when you  say:Tons  of  projects???

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    #131328

    Anirvan Sen
    Participant

    Hi Finguy,
    Sharing my thoughts on your position. I strongly, believe that the next phase for 6-sigma implementations are going to be in the transactional areas. When I say this, it doesn’t mean that organizations all over the world aren’t already doing it. But even today, 6-sigma gets attached to the manufacturing arena more than any other discipline. Therefore, I would recommend transactional areas where you can focus.
    Secondly, with globalization and out-sourcing there is a tremendous opportunity wrt to improvements in the support models as well as drive monetary benefits. Financial, IT, Sourcing,HR, etc. areas maybe where you can start.
    I’m sure you also may have embibed concepts on LEAN. That is again, an area that holds a lot of promise.
    Let’s talk some more on the topic if you want.
    Cheers,
    Anirvan ([email protected])

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    #131334

    Charles H.
    Participant

    I agree that transactional processes offer tremendous opportunity for both Lean and Six Sigma projects.  Logistics, R&D (especially reveiw and verification processes), distribution, and accounting (payables and receivables) can offer great returns.  The cost of waste of defects in transactional processes are tremendous and often unknown – they are just accepted as the way things are – and they lengthen lead times for product and services. 

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    #131347

    Finguy
    Participant

    probably between 40-60 projects across AP, AR, Billing, Closing, Sourcing, etc..  I had 8 BBs working for me.  Not sure if that qualifies as “tons” but I think it’s significant.
    Anyway…still looking for some words of wisdom regarding the consulting world and opportunities.
     

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    #131350

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Finguy,
    It sounds as if you have never done the consulting thing before and are considering starting your own business. If you are married and particularly if you are married with children you might want to take a job with a current company before you burn up cash trying to get a business started. The travel time is pretty devastating ona pesonal relationship and when children are in the mix it gets worse.
    One of the largest problems you would have right now is that people are paired up for the next year already. Signing anything significant between now and November 2006 is going to be hit and miss. There are the odd companies that have a different fiscal year end but you are looking for those companies, looking to do SS and you have access at the C level that distribution is pretty narrow.
    If you want to talk about it please email me at [email protected].
    Just my opinion.
    Good luck

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    #131352

    Finguy
    Participant

    Mike,
    Thanks for the thoughtful post.  I would certainly appreciate any insights you have and may just take you up on the email offer.  I recognize your name from a few years ago…and from some spirited postings. 
    You are correct that I’ve never been out on my own as a consultant.  I most likely would like to link up with an existing small firm and drive business that way.  I certainly have more due diligence to do and what to approach it out of passion and not out of $ need (ie. do my homework now before some downsizing or other corp event forces me to think about it).  I have a mentor who’s an operating partner in a private equity firm… I would probably start there.
    I’m in a dual career situation now and can “afford” some instability so why not look into doing something you love and are good at vs. something you are good at.
    Thanks
     

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    #131356

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Finguy,
    The part most people miss when they decide to get into this is that it is primarily a negative cash flow business. For the most part AR’s run about 65 days. To keep someone on the road domestically runs just under $2k/ week so basically you are in the hole about $15 -20k per person on the road before you collect any revenue. That bill starts running after you get a customer. The marketing expense on the front end is another deal.
    Way to many of these people you see post here seem to see this as some type of glamourous thing traveling. The shine wears off quick on the traveling so if you don’t really love doing this it wears on you pretty quickly.
    The international market is a lot more fun these days. The US market has been pretty polluted with some off the wall nonsense where people want this to be complicated. We pretty much stick to the basics and focus on delivering results. Business is all we need and we have a pretty good time.
    Just my opinion.
    Good luck

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    #131365

    Mikel
    Member

    Wow, I was looking to see if the date on this was December 19, 1995. Your insights would have spot on ten years ago.
    CRE (2nd or 3rd largest expense in most companies and unmanaged) and embedded automation are the next frontiers. 

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    #131396

    Seven
    Member

     
    My experience as a MBB has allowed me to port across different divisions and companies.  Before pursuing the independent consulting gig (which I have done), I suggest looking into Procurement/SCM for Financial Services companies or Rep/Client Management roles.  Both have been holes in many companies and are still big grounds of opportunity.  You may also consider the Health arena.  Still a lot of low hanging fruit for improved patient outcomes.  Most of all, pursue something that you have a passion for versus what is just “hot.”

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    #131403

    Scott
    Member

    Totally agree on previous post guys. Take it from someone who was there (the conculting business) not in the Six Sigma arena but the IT arena. It’s very hard and I am afraid you need to quickly expand in order to be able to take some hits if they come. If you don’t you need a lot of cash reserve to be able absorbing those hits (as said).
    On the other hand I do agree with the idea that transactional is going to be more and more important in the future, but than again you will be dealing with computer systems or things that are mostly related to computer programs. And who do you need for that ? Right, IT people. That is what has driven me from the IT-world to the Six Sigma world. I had a 15 year carreer in the IT business and am now starting to understand the whole Six Sigma game. Another two years of experience and I think I will hit the consultancy world again but than with good knowledge of both IT and SixSigma world. Should give me a distinct advantage over the competition, don’t you think ? If you’re interested in talking to me please leave your E-mail address in reply, I will get back to you. If your looking for someone with the business knowledge (IT-related) than certainly we need to talk…

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    #131404

    Heebeegeebee BB
    Participant

    As usual, Mike speaks the truth!
    Negative cashflow and long lead payments (net 60 is accurate)
    The life of a road-warrior is not all glitz and glam…

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    #131406

    george2
    Participant

    $2k week travelling expenses?????  Of course you americans eat and especially drink plenty.  I’ve seen it, although not a consultant  my self.  You need to watch out or you” turn into a divorced alchoholic. You only need enough money to keep yourself and your family happy….reaching for the extra buck causes destruction.  I really don’t think i met a truly happy consultant….met a few rich ones though.
    G2 

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