CIL Management Consultants Reviews

Updated 18 Dec 2020

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4.4
82%
Recommend to a Friend
100%
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CIL Management Consultants Managing Partner Giles Johnson
Giles Johnson
10 Ratings
Pros
Cons
  • "Long hours and intense projects(in 13 reviews)

  • "Working hours can be long and unpredictable (but this is typical of consultancy)(in 10 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.
  1. "it was a nice experience."

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sales Associate in New Delhi
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at CIL Management Consultants full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    nice environment and good culture

    Cons

    work load high and overtime sometimes

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  2. "Great consulting job"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manager in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at CIL Management Consultants full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    CIL is an independent management consultancy based in London. It works across a range of sectors and typically with UK medium-sized businesses (revenue ~£10-100m) and Private Equity investors. It is increasingly working on larger and international engagements, and recently opened a US office in Chicago. • The company is quite small (~100 people) so you will get responsibility earlier than at other firms, and more exposure to senior leadership and to clients. This also leads to more accountability between staff at different tiers, because junior staff are less frequently thought about as a pool of anonymous ‘resource’ than might be the case at larger firms. There is also more opportunity to get involved in non-project workstreams such as recruitment, training, D&I / other ESG initiatives, and sales (especially if you have language skills or a background in a given industry). • Projects are typically short (~3-6 weeks) so you will learn quickly through exposure to different businesses models, investment theses, clients, and markets; as well as working with a range of different teammates and managers, and below different partners. This variety also helps keep the work interesting. A lot will be expected of you, and you will learn quickly. • Feedback comes thick and fast at the lower ranks – after every project, as well as in twice yearly formal reviews. The company has also tried to encourage ongoing feedback and mid-project reviews, albeit this does not always happen. Junior employees are encouraged to engage in ‘upwards’ feedback – reviewing senior colleagues. If you are doing well, you will be told, and if not, you will be coached. Some people don’t like this, and there can be downsides (e.g. occasional deflecting of blame downwards, a bad ‘month’ resulting in multiple poor reviews), but approached with a constructive mindset it can be invaluable for your progression. • The company grew rapidly 2014-19, and looks set to continue doing so. With this growth have come opportunities to work on more interesting projects and with larger clients, and to progress upwards through the company at a rapid rate (e.g. for strong performers to be responsible for day-to-day management of a project after ~18 months). This also means that there is less ‘up or out’ pressure than at other firms. • The culture is generally constructive and welcoming, with senior colleagues willing to help out / coach junior ones. Socials are generally fun but also non-compulsory. There is no ‘face time’.

    Cons

    Some of potentially negative aspects of any professional services job do rear their head at CIL: • Project staffing can feel random / reactive, and attempts to align to a sector don’t always change this. Some senior colleagues do try to take juniors’ development needs in mind, but this isn’t always possible. It’s difficult to know what is coming next, or to have any say over what that might be. • Teams are small (~3-5 people) which means that people can’t ‘hide’, and the intensity of your workload will often be decided for you. • Hours can be a combination of bad (post-midnight finishes) and unpredictable. This can sometimes feel like a ‘Sword of Damocles’, which is stressful and makes it difficult to plan social events / exercise around work. • Your experience will vary significantly from project to project – different team, different boss, different industry, etc. Some projects are really interesting, whereas others feel more like process management. It is entirely possible to be dealt two or three bad projects in a row, and end up having a pretty sad 2-4 months. There are senior staff trying to keep an eye on this but things could be improved. On the whole I enjoyed my time at CIL and will take the things I learned forwards throughout the rest of my career. However, some aspects of consulting / professional services work are disagreeable (more so to some people than others), and this is as true at CIL as anywhere else.

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  3. "Great job"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Analyst in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at CIL Management Consultants full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Interesting work, great people, good perks.

    Cons

    Hours can be long, but that's the nature of the job.

  4. COVID-19

    "Great place to start your career with very supportive senior team"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in London, England
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at CIL Management Consultants full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    CIL has a great family feel and the senior staff really care about the success of the company. CIL provides a great business education (almost like a mini MBA). It is a good stepping stone to get into PE / other M&A / corporate strategy roles without having to do accounting qualifications. The projects are short (4-6 weeks) so you get to work across a wide variety of companies and industries which I really enjoy. You will spend the majority of your time working on CDD (Commercial Due Diligence) projects for mid-market PE firms. This is a great way to learn a wide array of skills including primary research, market research, strategic thinking and excel modelling. There is good opportunity for progression if you are willing to put in the hours at the beginning. This is not a 9-5 and you will often be required to work long hours, but CIL are good at giving you days off afterwards to account for this. The job is definitely best suited to those who thrive under pressure (but the same can be said of most consulting jobs). The nature of the work means that little travel is involved. This is a key selling point as unlike with other consulting jobs, you don't have to live out of a suitcase Mon-Thurs (not as glamorous as it first seems!) The company socials are fun, frequent and well organised. They include a Winter and Summer Party and other activities around London in the evenings. Senior staff are very supportive and I have learnt a lot about strategy / consulting from everyone I work with.

    Cons

    There are some great people at CIL, but there is also a bit of a 'lad culture' leading to some inappropriate behaviour that goes unchallenged. This is not helped by activities such as golf trips and dinners at private members clubs (these were not strictly men only, but only men attended...) The company is trying to address this with numerous diversity initiatives (eg Women in Consulting etc) but I think more needs to be done to address this directly with the individuals involved. Some of the promotions seem a bit unfair and are more reflective of which senior staff people have worked with (or which office they are based in), than genuine ability. There are a lot of couples / relationships in the office which only helps to fuel office gossip and can make staffing projects difficult! Salaries were cut quite significantly due to Covid-19 leaving little differentiation between middle management and new joiners. Re-incentivising middle management could be worth thinking about moving forward as there has been quite a lot of churn of good people with the voluntary redundancy scheme.

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  5. Helpful (6)

    "Glad I did it but I wouldn't do it again"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Analyst in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at CIL Management Consultants full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Ultimately, CIL is a very good place to start a career, with healthy exit opportunities. There is a culture of constant feedback, it is a great place to develop useful skills for a corporate career, such as slide design, analytics (excel), and critical thinking / storytelling. Employees are generally pretty engaged in the subject matter, and there is a good culture of healthy debate. There is good exposure to private equity/M&A (great exposure for graduates, if that is what you are looking for). People are generally pretty friendly, I would describe people as curious and open. Employees really care about the quality of work. There are a lot of great people working at this firm. There are also good opportunities to involve yourself in any horizontal business functions (albeit time spent on this is on top of your project work). As the firm has grown quickly it had some problems ensuring that ops was up to speed. The firm made some new hires in ops recently so that seems to be in a good place now.

    Cons

    The working hours are long and unpredictable. You may be told on Monday that your last project, which you have been reading up on for a week, has been cancelled, and you will be joining a 'sprint' project for the next 2 weeks (i.e. cancel all your plans and throw your reading in the bin). This is a consequence of the nature of the work. Salary is a little lower than at other consulting firms, which is seemingly justified by working less / having a good culture. Often, this 'trade-off' doesn't quite materialise, and you will find yourself at the mercy of investor timelines / whatever work the firm has managed to sell. TOIL (Time off in Lieu) is sold as a key mitigating factor, but this is discretionary and rarely materialises, and does not come close to compensating for hours worked (and if it does it never reflects the hours put in - you might work to 1am for 8 nights and get 1 day off, for example). The firm seems to have it's head in the sand about a few things: Employees and management sing laurels about the culture, and how nice everyone is. I would disagree - while there are a lot of lovely people, there is a bit of an 'old boys club' mentality (which I think management is aware of and is trying to change - there are some fantastic D&I efforts at the moment, mostly propelled by junior staff). You will be told that the firm is 'non-hierarchical' - this is not true. Senior staff can throw their weight around in the office (not all choose to, but some do) in ways that would get junior staff into a lot of trouble. There are some very cliquey circles (particularly around mid-senior management), that can make socialising with established employees difficult / uncomfortable for new joiners (I have heard this from several people). The environment is very gossipy; there are a lot of eyes in the office. The senior half of the firm is aware of all feedback/progress of all of the junior half of the firm. There can be a blame culture in review processes. The quality of middle management varies significantly (CIL had a void in this area not too long ago, so perhaps some promotions were rushed). There is little to no say as far as how you might specialise. Ultimately, if a project comes in when you are free, you will be staffed on it. The firm still seems to believe (or chooses to believe) that analysts have a choice - they don't. You will be told to network upwards to specialise - but this rarely translates into self-determinism. Often, you will be staffed on a project as you worked on a similar project previously. Most people who specialise do so out of happenstance. Some analysts find themselves doing several projects in one industry that they do not want to specialise in. There is a very low level of client interaction for juniors. A lot of the work is 'cookie cutter'. This doesn't necessarily mean that it's a bad learning experience, but a lot of the work is long and monotonous. You may spend a month cold calling, or tying up/proofing call transcripts. Currently, management's top priority is to deliver excellent client work. Employee well-being is a priority, but very much secondary.

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  6. "Some pros but more cons"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Analyst in London, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at CIL Management Consultants full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - Really good experience across industries from early in your career. - The office tends to have a good vibe to it. - You will learn a lot in a relatively short period of time. - Good out of work socials.

    Cons

    - The benefits are less than competitors offer. - The hours are very long and the barrier for getting TOIL is very high. - Work tends to be judged on the inputs rather than the outputs. - The company has tried to expand too quickly and has lost a big part of its culture. - I felt the role was oversold to me in terms of travel opportunities and training offered etc.

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  7. "Great learning opportunities and transparent progression"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Analyst in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at CIL Management Consultants full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    - You are constantly learning! As projects are short (typically 4-6 weeks) this means you are learning about different businesses and industries all the time. - Great office culture, everyone is welcoming and supportive. There are plenty of socials/sports to get involved with. - Training is continuous and of a high quality - You have responsibility and accountability from day 1, something you would not get at a larger consultancy. - The hours can be long but this is to be expected for all strategy consultancies and managers are very good at managing expectations. - The people are lovely and it is encouraged to have plenty of hobbies outside of work. - The career progression pathway is very transparent.

    Cons

    - Salary is not as competitive as at similar consultancies (LEK, OC&C etc).

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  8. "Great job!"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Analyst in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at CIL Management Consultants full-time

    Pros

    Great exposure to M&A strategic advisory.

    Cons

    Long hours close to engagement deadline.

  9. "Nice people. Good place to start career."

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in London, England
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at CIL Management Consultants full-time

    Pros

    People are lovely and there is a good learning curve to start with.

    Cons

    Work can become repetitive and culture is changing. Hours can be long.

  10. Helpful (5)

    "There are better places to work."

    3.0
    Current Employee - Analyst 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at CIL Management Consultants full-time

    Pros

    There is concern taken by senior staff to limit working hours, which at times can be extremely brutal. It is unlike other consultancy firms in this regard. Some senior staff take a genuine interest in junior stuff, which helps you into feeling welcome.

    Cons

    Although pay has been increased slightly, it is still significantly below competitors operating in the same vertical. The lower salary is justified by the "great culture" at CIL, this culture has been somewhat eroded in recent years, this is in part due to a fairly high staff turnover, and a rather aggressive growth strategy. There is almost a constant stream of feedback (if you are on a project for a week or more, meaning it is not uncommon to receive more than 3 pieces of formally written feedback a month). Since significant importance is attached to these pieces of written feedback during your 6-month review, junior staff can be fearful of making any mistake, which are often written up in your feedback. Feedback is often contradictory and I have experienced and witnessed a blame culture, where more senior staff use the written feedback to frequently deflect responsibility downwards for bad output. This makes feedback very unhelpful for personal development. CIL has a good product which is respected by industry, this means that project managers often give the project team little freedom to deviate from established methods and templates. This rinse and repeat attitude means that whilst the sound of Strategy work for a Management Consultancy may sound appealing, the reality of it is that 90% of work is tedious and monotonous.

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