Consultants make $175,000 right out of business school. But some of them have nothing to do — so they're just sitting around getting paid.

 Consulting firms like Bain, Boston Consulting Group, and McKinsey are facing a situation where new hires, fresh out of business school, are experiencing idle time due to a lack of sufficient projects. This has been reported by The Wall Street Journal, which gathered perspectives from over 30 current, former, and prospective consultants. The uncertain economic conditions have resulted in lower demand for consultants, leading to periods of downtime. During this time, some consultants are using their free time to run errands, catch up on sleep, watch television shows, and even apply for other jobs.

Being "on the beach" or "on the bench" is not a new concept in consulting, but it seems to be happening more frequently and for longer periods of time due to the economic slowdown. The concern among early career consultants is that this idle time could have a negative impact on their performance reviews and hinder their career progression. Consulting firms often offer lucrative salaries, with MBA graduates from top schools earning median salaries of $175,000. However, the downtime is not always as enjoyable as it may seem.

To address this issue, consulting firms like Bain have offered to pay some new hires tens of thousands of dollars to work for a nonprofit, go on a safari, or become a yoga teacher, while delaying their start dates with the company. This impasse for new hires comes at a time when consulting firms have been downsizing their workforces, with McKinsey announcing layoffs of approximately 3% of its employees in March.

Overall, the current economic conditions have led to a decrease in project availability for new consultants, causing some to experience periods of downtime. This situation has raised concerns about the potential impact on their career development, as well as the need for consulting firms to find creative solutions to keep new hires engaged and motivated during these slower periods.   

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