What's the difference

working in consultant agency and in-house?

for those who had worked in both situation.
which one did you prefer and why?

Of course some differences are easy to tell, but I guess there must be something that’s unusual about either two. (I’m now search job)

Thanks in advance!

the size of the company also comes in to it. AS I work in-house at a small place so get/have to do a variety of tasks compared to working in-house for a large company.

biggest difference typically is that at a consultancy you work on a larger variety of types of products. could be consumer one day, medical the next, high tech, or furniture after that (or at the same time). depending on the consultancy of course.

in house, you’d normally be working only on one type of product (whatever the company type is of course).

as well, i’ve found that in a consultancy, you may work on more projects, on a shorter timescale.

as dawolfman666 mentioned, depending on the size of the corp. or consultancy, there also may be a different break down of tasks. ie. in-house may have a separate marketing dept, development team, etc.

hope this helps.

I’ve been in a design consultancy for 1.5yrs doing a variety of products, and then in two smaller corporate offices. now i’ve started my own consultancy, which compared to both, is a whole different ball game :wink:


you may work directly with sales or marketing to describe product;
often, you may be the first to work on a new project while the techs and engineers are slaving away solving problems on other projects;
you will learn a lot from other disciplines, how they work, technologies;
you will see projects through from beginning to end, see parts made, assembly problems;
you will learn about market acceptance, sales issues;
you will see your design being churned out on the factory floor;
generally more employment security.

many projects, often short - week to several months;
different markets (as noted above);
limited involvement - a few sketches and renderings, cost estimates. Of course, some consultancies have more involvement but you as an id will probably be more limited in actual involved activities;
project manager will always be bugging you about time to complete;
usually only working with your own consultancy team, occasional meetings with client - information gathering, presentations;
rarely to never will you see parts being made or assembled;
you may never hear anything about project after doing a few sketches;
consultants are personnel machines: they use up employees. Often after substantial project’s numerous people are let go. It’s an unclean fact of consulting - contract work.

Having worked both for about the same amount of time now I can say that both have positives and negatives:

Consulting: Broad
Corporate: Deep

Consulting: fast turn around, lots of deadlines, different types of projects, meeting with clients, learning about a lot of industries, removed from decisions, rare impact on bigger strategies, always a hand off at some point.

Corporate: tied to the bigger brand strategy, see the products through to production, detailing, more time on individual projects, work with sales to push things through, work on less design, possibility of getting pigeon holed, getting too familiar with company best practices which can limit exploration if you are not careful to force yourself to break rules.

Personally, I’m happy with the way it has worked out for me so far, 5 years consulting, getting experience in all kinds of industries, 4 years corporate, going deep, 6 months director, focussing on directing a team and building a collection of product. After that, who knows. Lots of options.