I can’t remember a time when I’ve seen so many colleagues leaving the firm. Some people are jumping because of a unique opportunity not available within the firm. Others quit go to a competitor (ouch!). I remember when I made a change to a competitor and there were a whole lot of questions about the why. Part of me just needed a change but I also knew that the firm’s timing wasn’t going to work for me, so I acted accordingly. [Read more…]
Excel is one of those things you can spend a lifetime trying to master everything it can possibly do. Luckily you don’t need to know everything Excel can do to get a lot out of it.
I work with a partner now who is known to make the claim that Excel is the world’s largest Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.
Also, I can tell you when I started in business school at Kellogg, we used two fancy macro workbooks to run sophisticated statistical analysis until they shifted to having everyone use STATA.
STATA was/is infinitely better than Excel, but you’d be amazed at what you can do in Excel, with a little bit of coding know-how.
This post is about the Excel formulas, though – the little statements you type into a cell to make magical things happen.
Read on to dive into the ten Excel formulas you need to know and love to…excel as a consultant. [Read more…]
On time and under budget has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
In order to do that, some clear professional boundaries and expectations have to be set before agreeing to a consulting engagement. Those boundaries will act as the guiding principles if any significant changes in information come up during the course of your work.
You might be thinking your business can’t afford to turn away money because of some stupid policy.
You’d be thinking wrong. [Read more…]
Not every deadline you have to hit is going to be reasonable.
Sometimes deadlines won’t even feel possible.
Part of your job as a consultant is to make the unreasonable possible. This often entails assigning a ton of action items and dates to people who probably would prefer you faded away into oblivion.
Part of having an action item that’s worth anything is making sure you have a mutually agreed due date.
But there’s another piece of the puzzle that’s frequently overlooked – the respect for the deadline. [Read more…]
In the management consulting world, you go to a lot of meetings.
Because of all of those meetings, one of the most important things you can do coming into consulting (or any other career) is make sure you know how to take notes.
Working on consulting engagements, it’s not uncommon to have multiple meetings to prepare for the “real” meeting with the client. If you play your cards right, the meetings, at least, yield useful information.
There’s a huge problem with all of these meetings though – people have short-term memories. By the time the participants leave the meeting and get back to their desks, that discussion will have long faded from their memory.
And even worse, when you ask people about their commitments made in the meeting later, they act like you’re speaking in a language they’ve never heard before. (I suppose accountability could be considered a language, and I know there are some people out there who aren’t familiar with it.)
That is exactly why you’ll find the rich and powerful to be avid note takers.
When taking notes for yourself, you should consider adding structure for searchability using a tool like Evernote. When it comes to meeting notes, you’ll want to email those out and be sure to focus on capturing the six following pieces of information. [Read more…]
Management consulting was different back in the day.
It used to be about selling some solution you developed to a prospective client because you knew it worked.
After all, you spent countless hours developing pristine PowerPoint presentations to showcase how great a service you provide. How could you let it go to waste?!
It’s a natural response, but one that does both you and your client a disservice.
Consider the three points below next time you have the opportunity to pitch a client. [Read more…]
So you’ve made it through the three steps to becoming a management consultant, nailed the interview, and accepted the job offer.
Now your journey as a management consultant begins.
Because the truth is a lot of people who start in consulting don’t last more than a couple of years. Some of the attrition is voluntary (e.g. because of excessive travel), and some is the result of staff being coached out because it’s clear the situation isn’t going to work for either side.
For those that stick around and find success, they have a few habits in common that I’ve observed. [Read more…]
I hate flying.
The requirement of flying for business was the one reason I didn’t pursue consulting coming out of undergrad. Instead, I thought I wanted to go into audit. Auditors had to visit client sites, but my sense was most of their travel was by car. And that was good enough with me (After showing up for an interview without my pants, that plan didn’t work out, which you can read about at your convenience.) [Read more…]
Do you need an MBA to start a career in management consulting?
Yes, I have an MBA, but I’ve also seen many consultants (campus and experience hires) who had no intention of getting an advanced degree. There was a time when educational pedigree seemed to trump all. These days, real-world experience and problem-solving skills are all the rage.
The credentials you need also depends on where you want to live in the consulting world. You can think of consulting for the most part as four different categories: [Read more…]