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Top 5 Exit Opportunities for Consultants in 2022

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September 22, 2022
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6 minutes
Experienced copywriter who spends a lot of money at restaurants and regrets it later.
Thinking about moving on from consulting? Rest assured, you’re not the only one who has had this thought. If you want to learn about life after consulting, then this is the right article for you. But first, let’s dig deeper and understand why people leave the consulting industry.

As you may already know, the consulting sector has cutthroat competition. The up-or-out culture forces people to be very competitive. However, being very competitive has nothing to do with being a good consultant. Some consultants realize this and move on. Furthermore, there are some more common reasons why employees quit consulting. Many may be bored with their job, while others want to create an actual impact on the world (not just money). 

However, if you've worked hard to get into a consulting firm, try not to quit very soon. Gain at least a few years of experience so that you can get access to more exit opportunities. And this brings us to the main topic of this article—alternative career options after you quit consulting.

Today, we will discuss the top five exit opportunities for people who want to quit consulting. So, let’s dive into it. 

1. Non-profit Organizations

Regarding exit opportunities for consultants, it doesn’t always need to be about money. You could also use your vast knowledge and problem-solving experience to help the world. And if you’ve worked for Big 4 consulting firms, then maybe you’ve already had NGO clients. Your best bet would be to reach out to old NGO contacts and meet them for a coffee. They’re usually looking for bright brains to help them reach their goals.

So, how can you, as an ex-management consultant, help an NGO?

Well, first, you could help them optimize their processes and operations. You see, NGOs usually have a lot of volunteers working for them. Now, a lot of them may not be qualified enough to use complex consulting frameworks. They may also be unfamiliar with critical thinking and innovative problem-solving, this is when your expertise can help. 

Alternatively, you could also provide them with an external perspective on internal issues. For example, suppose an NGO organization is trying to raise funds in the wrong cities. Then, you come into the picture. You collect data, conduct focus group interviews and find cities where people will most likely donate. Using your insights, the organization maximizes its fund-raising efforts and uses the money for its cause. And everybody goes home happy!

When you quit consulting, you’ll find out that it’s not only the Fortune 500 companies who need your help. Sometimes, help is required even in the most unexpected places. By sharing your energy with NGOs, you could help make this world a little better than you found it. 


  • People should get a few years of experience before quitting consulting. More experience opens more doors for ex-consultants.
  • Many consultants choose to work for NGOs after they quit. These people aren’t motivated by money, but by their passion to help the world. 
  • The ones who are motivated by money may join private equity firms as advisors or investors.
  • Many politicians and top government officials are ex-consultants. Something to look for if you’re into politics. 
  • You could also start your own business or become a freelance consultant. A freelance consulting platform can help you find high-paying clients. So, make sure to send your CV to an online consulting platform, such as Consultport. 

2. Private Equity

Now, let’s get back to the money and discuss the second one of the five exit opportunities for consultants. Private equity is one of the most common consulting exit options. Usually, when you work for a consulting firm, you’re on the advisory team. But when you get into private equity, you can actually have equity in a business. Alternatively, you could also join private equity firms as an advisor, this is in case you don’t want to invest your own money. 

Consultants are a great addition to a private equity team due to their strategic mindset. You see, any investment, whether it’s a private equity, hedge fund, or venture capital, requires strategy. It’s kind of similar to playing chess. If you make the wrong move, you lose. That’s why you need to be very level-headed and strategic. 

If you have worked for big consulting firms, especially MBB, then use your networks to get into PE. Of all the consulting exit options, this one may be the most profitable. 

READ MORE | What Private Equity Firms Do and How?

3. Government 

Great, now let’s discuss the third one of the five exit opportunities for consultants. Ever considered joining the government after you quit consulting? If not, then maybe you should think about it. The fact is, companies have problems for sure. But governments? Well, they have ten times more problems than any client you have worked for, you can help your local government with a lot of issues. For example, economic policies, change management, organization design, operations, IT, and more. 
Need some extra motivation? Well, let’s introduce some consultants who turned into politicians and officials. Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister of Israel, used to be an economic consultant for BCG. Lael Brainard, ex-McKinsey, is the 22nd Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve. Peter Orszag, who worked as Barack Obama's OMB director designate, used to work for McKinsey previously. Alexander De Croo, the current prime minister of Belgium, used to work for BCG. 

The list can go on, and one thing is for sure: You can have a very successful career in government after you quit consulting. If you’re still choosing between consulting exit options, and you’ve got a flair for politics, go for it. 

4. Start-up

Now, let’s move on to the fourth one of the five exit opportunities for consultants. As a consultant, you may have helped dozens of clients with their business problems. You may be the reason behind the revenue growth of many businesses. Your recommendations may have resulted in successful change implementation. Your operational strategies may have decreased a client’s overhead costs by millions. 

Now the question is: If you can help other businesses grow, why not start your own? Many people have quit consulting in the past to plunge into entrepreneurship. Again, we’ll discuss some examples to motivate you. Gagan Biyani, one of the founders of Udemy, said he was bored working at Accenture. He didn’t think his work was impactful. So, Biyani and other co-founders bootstrapped their way to entrepreneurship. They started Udemy in 2010, a company that generates millions in revenue to this day.

There are many similar examples of entrepreneurs who used to be consultants first. If you want to quit consulting for any reason, you can transition into start-up ownership. Of all consulting exit options, this one may be the riskiest, and profit may come very late. But since you’ve learned the ins and outs of business through consulting, you’re not as likely to fail. 

5. Freelance Consulting 

And the last one of the five exit opportunities for consultants is…

(Drum roll, please)

Freelance consulting! If you like to choose your own clients, work only on exciting projects, and be independent, read on. 

The fact is, not every company can afford to work with top consulting firms like McKinsey and BCG. But they sure wish to have expert advice from top consultants. That’s when you, as an experienced consultant, come into play. You see, even though some clients can’t work directly with MBB or the Big 4, there’s still another way. They can simply hire independent consultants who used to work with these top firms. By doing this, they’ll still get expert recommendations without paying way more to top-tier consultancies. 

But wait, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Finding clients as a freelance consultant may be challenging—even if you’re very talented. But there’s a solution to that: freelance consulting platforms, like Consultport. A freelance consulting platform can connect you with clients who are looking for independent consultants. Here at Consultport, we have more than 3,000 freelance consultants in our pool. Even you could join us and get access to high-paying clients. So, if you want us to find projects for you, get in touch now. 

CHECK OUT | The Ultimate Guide You Need for Working with Consultants

Note: We only choose the best of the best. If you’ve worked with top consulting firms, digital agencies, or blue-chip companies, connect with us now. Your next freelance project could just be a few clicks away.