A Book and a Break – How I Entered KPMG through the Side Door

Photo by Thomas Peham on Unsplash

I’d sort of fallen into my jobs in financial market data and trading systems, but this work – strategy consulting work – sounded like everything I wanted to be doing.

When I read The Mind of the Strategist by Kenichi Ohmae, I felt like my brain caught fire. I wanted to do that!

However, there were several issues. The first was I didn’t have a MBA and had no interest in getting one. The second was Excel gives me hives.

Try as I might, I couldn’t figure out how I could get into one of the big consulting firms, so I continued to work in sales.

Flash forward to being laid off from Sharp Electronics, which was to be the first of three layoffs in four years, and wondering what I was going to do next. I was sad because I really loved that job.

I was getting some interviews, but was floundering around a bit. And I was getting divorced with the help of attorneys for family issues.

I’ll never forget walking around my neighborhood on a nice day when my phone rang. A former vendor who I worked closely with at a previous job said he needed to hire me. He then said he was currently working at KPMG. (!)

I started laughing. I said I didn’t have a MBA and I couldn’t balance my checkbook – much less work at an accounting firm. Did I mention that Excel gives me hives?

He wouldn’t listen to reason and told me he needed someone with knowledge of the capital markets who could manage projects and who could write well. I could do all of that with the latest features of a payroll software system.

I felt like the biggest fraud as I went through the interview cycle at KPMG. How the heck was I going to pull this off?

But I did it. I got hired and achieved my dream of working for a global consulting firm. I got in through the side door.

And years later I was hired by Arthur Andersen and Deloitte because I did, in fact, have the mind of a strategist.

What I love about my work now as a career transition coach is helping clients to see possibilities. If you’re feeling paused right now, let’s talk– because you always have options (but you might not be able to see them).

What you need is an outside set of eyes and the mind of a strategist to help you uncover your right next step.

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