Sunday, April 5, 2009


So now onto the Associates. In reality, there are two type of As, the newbies who are fresh from business school without having been at the frim previously (the majority of hires in the States are like this), or the ones who have been promoted from SC, either via business school or not.

The newbie A will get assignments much like an SC, with a slight extra helping of responsibility. On a given project for example, the A might lead a workstream just like the SCs, but would typically be given the most difficult / important one. Expectations are also higher – after all the firm is paying you 40% more. Having said that, performance of new As often lags behind the seasoned SCs – the SCs simply have more hours on the ground doing consulting projects, and are familiar with management. However, where the As sometimes come out on top is by virtue of their wider work experience – it is not unusual to have As who have gone to business school looking for a career change and hence have a good bit of outside experience under their belt. Theoretically this gives them a “business voice”, the ability to talk knowledgably about business issues. I don’t buy it personally, but then again I’m not running a consulting firm.

As who have come up through the ranks are on a bit of a faster track than the newbie As. They know the territory and have either demonstrated A level skills already or have gone to business school. This means they get tougher and better assignments, and are on the track to team and job management much faster than newbie A.

Overall, the attrition rate is said to be highest amongst As. I haven’t done the analysis to back this up, but it feels right. I would take it one step further and say it is highest amongst newbie As – I suspect “come up through the ranks’ As stay at least until Engagement Manager.

Next post will be not be on Engagement Managers. I am working on one that announces why I am applying for business school – kind a of a cathartic reflection that hopefully will motivate me a little to get moving on GMAT study.


  1. Have you started on the GMAT study yet. I have just sort of started mine. Really hard to find time!

  2. Definitely. I am struggling with it. Am thinking about doing an intensive couple of days over Easter. Are you planning on applying this year to business school too?

  3. Yeah I am planning to apply this year too. And the GMAT is only the beginning of the ardous process. Away for Easter so not much studying happening then. At the moment just trying to cram in an hour after work every second night. What study prep are you using? Just the OG?

  4. Yeah, although I have heard good things about Kaplan 800 - will have to look into it.

  5. As a "newbie A" I can confirm that while we are indeed given more responsibility (especially in terms of client contact), we definitely draw the short straw when it comes to staffing preferences! Something which is personally driving me crazy, as we have very little time to prove ourselves and it's not easy to do on uninspiring projects...

    I hope you enjoy your MBA, mine was amazing!