Job Doctor: Each Tuesday Darren Robinson answers questions about career development and finding a new position.
Dear Job Doctor,
Is it truly beneficial to have experience with a “big four” or “magic circle” firm?
A great question to kick-start 2013. I do get asked this question often, and will provide a two-part answer in relation to the benefits of working and gaining experience in “international and well recognised advisory firms” in part one, and I will address the benefits of working and gaining experience in “local and smaller advisory firms” next week in part two.
I have asked Fraser Turnbull, a senior consultant at my firm Badenoch & Clark, to give his expert opinion on “international and well recognised advisory firms”:
“Importantly, there are strong advantages and unfortunate negatives for all structures, though as the reader’s question is about the ‘benefits’ I will focus on the fundamental principles of why it is good to have such experiences--quickly summarised as ‘training’, ‘internationality’, and ‘market perception’.
“Generally, the structures under discussion have a significant training budget and formalised development programmes available for each individual employee: off-desk; internal/external programmes; and, on-the-job. Therefore the opportunity to continue structured learning and certified courses through your career is offered and thus you can ‘prove’ and ‘document’ your yearly learning and progression. This can support both internal progression through a large structure, and also your external marketability outside of the firm.
“Due to the very size and scope of the organisations under discussion, there are more global opportunities which you will have access to immediately: internal secondments to other offices of the same structure; and development programmes in centres of excellence and headquarters allow you to travel the world and still have the stability of one employer. Then considering international applications, i.e., out of Luxembourg and out of your employer, it is generally regarded as more straightforward if you have an international advisory body evident on your CV as your most recent employer-- such experience makes you more readily ‘transferable’ and easier ‘understood’ to a foreign marketplace due to a perception and assumption of skills and practice. It does not guarantee a role, but it does open a difficult door.
“Along with being a ‘recognised brand’, the marketplace generally finds reassurance in candidates who have experience of a large international advisory structures due to an assumption of exposure to large and complex client requirements. They generally perceive someone will have had wider and more encompassing exposure--technical and practical--and more formalised training through such a firm and therefore be of evident value to their own organisation through this mass of experience and knowledge.
“Also I should note that the ability to move ‘down’ in an advisory body--i.e., from international to local, from top-tier to lower-level--is much more straight forward to do rather than moving ‘up’ within the same industry: as the feeling is that a smaller structure can gain more from someone with ‘top’ experience rather than a large structure can gain from someone with ‘lower’ exposure.
“Overall, there are evident advantages to joining and gaining experience in an international, well-recognised advisory organisation. However, the key for anyone to consider is your own personal motivation for the workplace: is your motivation international and training orientated, or Luxembourg and variety or responsibility focused, or some certain combination totally unique to you? The answer to your own motivations will lead you to the right role and what you are seeking at the particular time in your career.”
Next week, I will address the benefits of working and gaining experience in “local and smaller advisory firms”.
Darren Robinson is managing director of Badenoch & Clark Luxembourg, the largest staffing and recruitment firm in the Grand Duchy.
Have a question for the Job Doctor? Send an email to [email protected] with “Job Doctor” in the subject line. Your inquiry will be confidential: the Job Doctor will not be given your name, nor will it be published anywhere by Delano.