I Will Steal Your Watch and Sell It To You or All About Consulting
All of you have heard about consulting firms. Many of you must have even watched 'House of lies', a famous American sitcom about the lives of a group of management consultants. But in this podcast we will go into depth of what a consulting firm is, why would you want to work there, and how to get into one.
Basically, consultants are brought in when an organization wants to improve its performance, maximize growth or get a competitive advantage. Thus, a consultant's role is to generate or implement a set of actions to help the organization in the abovementioned fields. Consultants work for all kinds of clients: from blue-chip companies to governments and non-profit organizations. An experienced consultant will also specialize in a particular service and industry. Such services include strategy, implementation, IT, HR, economics and overall management consulting. As for the industries, the biggest are financial services (banks, funds and insurance companies), healthcare, media and telecommunications, public sector (governments, charities, non-profit organizations) and consumer products (food, household products etc.).
The consultancy market is made up of three key players, known as MBB. MBB stands for the first letters in the names of these companies – McKinsey, BCG and Bain. All three work in strategy, implementation and management consulting. And yet, even though they are considered to be the biggest and the most recognizable, there is a number of smaller and more focused firms that often take away a lot of clients from them. In particular, Roland Burger, OC&C and Marakon work only in strategy, CHP and Accenture are experts in IT consulting, and NERA does economics.
When it comes to reasons to go into consulting, they are almost always financial. Consulting is indeed notable for its generous pay packages. Apart from the actual salary, there is a variety of perks on offer. Those may include pension schemes, private healthcare, gym membership or even a sponsored MBA. Most consultancies will even give you a golden hello, which is a one-time cash bonus given to a new employee.
Yet there are other reasons to join. The steep learning curve means you will get to know something new every day. Say, you know nothing about ketchup manufacturing – well, guess what, tomorrow you may be off to advice one of those manufacturers on their strategy. Additionally, once you finish that project you are guaranteed immense satisfaction. And, of course, the primary appeal of consulting is the variety of work that they do. This means that getting bored is not an option there. All this, coupled with being entrusted with responsibility from day one on the job makes consulting a highly competitive field.
So what do you need to get your foot in the door? It is crucial to possess analytical skills, as your main job will be to solve your client's problems. Management consulting also requires a high level of initiative and ability to react in a timely manner. Being a good communicator will not hurt either, as you will be presenting your finding to clients through different mediums. Yet, apart from being a good communicator, you will also need solid influencing skills. Even if you have the best solution in the world for your client, but you aren't able to convince them to act on it, your solution is quite worthless.
To sum it up, consulting is obviously not for everyone, but if you get in, you are guaranteed to never get bored!
- go into depth
- competitive advantage
- blue-chip companies
- to be made up of
- entrusted with
- to get your foot in the door
- timely manner
- act on it