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Software Engineer Turns BCG Consultant After EU Business School MBA

Making a career leap to consulting isn’t easy, but the pay-off is worth it. For this Boston Consulting Group consultant, it was an MBA that helped steer a big career pivot


By  Jonathan Oldaker

Mon May 4 2020

Consulting jobs are desirable, with great salary prospects, big responsibility, and the opportunity to have meaningful input in projects across a variety of industries. But it’s a daunting leap. Top consulting roles demand not only strong quantitative skills, but the right leadership and sharp business acumen.

It might seem like a bold career pivot, moving from a hands-on engineering role to a consulting role at Boston Consulting Group (BCG), one of the world’s biggest consulting firms—but that’s exactly what Zia Siddiqui did, after embarking on an MBA at EU Business School to steer his career change.

“A bachelor’s degree wasn’t enough to go higher in the corporate world”

In 2007, Zia started a bachelor’s degree in IT in his native India, graduating four years later.

“Right after my bachelor’s in engineering I found a job as a software engineer,” Zia explains.

Starting out his career at Headstrong, an IT services company specializing in capital markets, Zia adapted quickly to life as a software engineer.

“The initial few months of life as a software engineer were exciting, but I soon realized that a bachelor’s degree wasn’t enough to go higher in the corporate world,” he said.

Software engineering provides technical challenges that require an analytical skillset, but if you want to accelerate your career into a higher management role, you’ll need something more. Zia had this ambition and had worked out how best to get there.

“I knew an MBA would help me gain insight into the corporate world. Senior roles are often occupied by MBA graduates—it motivated me to get a good GMAT score to pursue an MBA.”

For Zia, it was clear an MBA could give him the right business acumen to graduate into the senior positions he had his sights on. Making the move from India to Germany was sure to open his eyes to the international world of business, too.

An MBA at EU Business School

Zia started hunting for the best business school for his MBA. After reaching out to someone to talk to, he knew he’d found the right fit for him.

“I got in touch with an alumnus from EU Business School. They advised me that the lecturers are working professionals—so I’d gain real-world business knowledge, alongside the more theoretical elements.”

Moving to their campus in Munich, Germany, Zia enrolled on the program in 2015. He knew the school had a great international reputation and would also give him the chance to be at the heart of a multicultural Europe, with access to global opportunities.

“Students come from across the globe—you interact with people from completely different cultures, with different mindsets,” Zia said.

As a software engineer he had a great understanding of technical problem-solving—but felt that he was missing the bigger picture as to why and how business decisions were being taken.

“The MBA focused my attention on the broader picture,” Zia said. “I was able to look at things from a business perspective while still having a technical understanding of what’s going on.”

An MBA is the perfect precursor for taking on a consultancy role, offering the skills that all top firms are looking for, including problem solving, team work, and the ability to foster strong relationships.

The curriculum of an MBA ticks those boxes, with quantitative modules alongside team projects to build the necessary communication skills. At EU, the program takes a hands-on approach involving case studies and simulations to prepare students with real-world business experience.

“I got my contract just after finishing my MBA”

For an MBA graduate looking to enter consulting, it’s rare you’ll look beyond the Big Three firms. Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Bain, and McKinsey offer some of the highest salaries around and consistently rank as the best companies to work for.

No wonder then, that when Zia secured an interview with BCG it was too good to turn down.

“My department at BCG were looking for someone who could start immediately,” Zia said. “I got my contract just after finishing my MBA. I always wanted a job where I could combine my technical and business knowledge to help clients realize their potential.”

It was an intensive interview process that Zia felt he couldn’t have cracked without his MBA.

“You need to possess the right amount of business knowledge and experience. It’s a prerequisite.”

Moving into a position as senior IT analyst after a year at BCG, he soon landed a role as product consultant. The pay-off after making his career leap was certainly worth it. Zia has been with BCG now for over five years. Consultancy is demanding work but for Zia, the pay-off of seeing your input have a direct impact on businesses is what sets it apart.

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