A Raines International interview on compensation tips with Chris Kempczinski, BCG alum, who joined PepsiCo out of consulting and is now SVP, U.S. Grocery Division at Kraft Foods.
When you were a management consultant, how did you envision your compensation would change after you left the consulting world?
I expected that my compensation would go down in the long-term, because I knew that even if I was a senior person at a corporation, I wouldn’t make as much as a Partner in a consulting firm. But I did figure that, given my tenure, I could probably net out at about even, in terms of where I was at that stage in my career.
In addition to compensation, what other factors were you looking for in a new position?
I wanted to make more of a tangible impact with my work, where I could really feel that I was not only contributing to the decision, but also seeing it through to completion. I think that if you are the type of person who likes to have very tangible signs of accomplishment, you will get that out of a position with an industry or corporation. You also get more of a sense that you’re on a team. Whereas the teams are always changing in consulting, you are not working with the same people, and you don’t really get that sense of “We’re all in this together.”
What “quality of life” issues, if any, affected your decision?
The fact that you travel less in an industry job than you do in the consulting world was a definite pro for me. And while the hours, so far, have been about comparable, you have to take into account the fact that you are usually working in town.
What, if any, of your compensation needs were you willing to compromise?
For me, a position would have been less attractive if I couldn’t have been kept relatively “whole,” but as long as my new compensation was in the same ballpark, I was comfortable with that. Let’s just say that compensation was certainly a key consideration, but it wasn’t the consideration.
What negotiation advice can you offer current management consultants who are considering a move from consulting to industry?
My advice is that it’s always better to have two companies bidding over you than one. You’re in a much stronger negotiation position if you’re able to walk away from the opportunity. Having something to walk away to becomes a pretty strong piece of leverage.
Also, take into account whether or not you really want to leave your job. I was in a situation where I was totally content with my current position – as a management consultant – when another company, MyWay.com, tried to recruit me away. In that case, it wasn’t that I was leveraging two different positions, but since I was happy with my job at that point, I was perfectly willing to take a pass on MyWay if they didn’t meet my compensation criteria.
What was it like leaving the consulting world for an Internet startup?
It was certainly different, but it was exciting because it was very fast-paced. I had a lot more autonomy and was making a lot of decisions, so to a certain extent it was much more entrepreneurial than consulting.
How should current management consultants view compensation in terms of the whole opportunity being offered to them?
I think it depends on the individual situation. You have to ask yourself questions like, “Do you have kids, don’t you have kids?” “Are you married, are you single?” “Do you have a high-cost lifestyle, or a low-cost lifestyle?” I think when it comes to compensation, it’s really a person-to-person issue.
If anything, what would you have done differently in your compensation negotiations?
This question applies more for when I was working at MyWay.com, not to my current situation. I think it’s essential when going to a dot-com that you make sure that you adjust the value of your options, and realize that they are not the same thing as cash.
Corporate Compensation Guide | the different components that make up a corporate compensation package (and what you should consider with each).
2012 Compensation Study | our analysis of offers made to consultants recruited in 2012, including a look at the actual compensation packages themselves.
Retire Before 40 | how Bain alum John Wilen retired at the age of 38.