Joining a Consultancy firm shortly? Here’s just a little of what you’ll need to know.
I spent much of my working day talking to experienced management consultants. I’d ask them: what advice would you pass on to a new consultant who is about to start their first consulting role?
Here are a few of their tips.
- Start planning your exit before you even start. It helps to have some idea about your long-term career goal, as spell in consulting can speed your progress towards it. For example, if your 10 year aim is to be head of a pharma company, make sure you get as many pharma consulting projects under your belt as you can. You’ll be exposed to the problems that keep pharma companies’ CEOs awake at night, and you’ll meet the senior pharma execs who’ll have the authority to offer you a job.
- Build your network within your consulting firm. At the beginning, volunteer for everything. Offer to do the projects no one else wants. Look for the engagements that get you working alongside the key project managers, directors or partners. Be highly visible. One Principal told me that in the early weeks of her consulting career she preferred to keep her head down, and wait to see what came her way. It was only after a couple of months “on the bench” (ie with no projects assigned) she realised that building relationships with her senior and peers she would be on the pick-list for projects. And that helped her advance.
- Be clear about your part in a project, and understand how your workstream contributes to the overall success of the engagement. You might think your part is small, but it’s there for a reason. As the apocryphal janitor at NASA, who, when asked what he did in his job, replied “I’m helping to put Man on the Moon.”
Of course there’s more to being a successful consultant, and getting what you want out of your time in management consultancy. Whether you need guidance about getting in to a consulting firm, or advancing further up the ranks, there are many resources out there to help you. If you’d like to know more, contact me: Don Leslie firstname.lastname@example.org + 44 (0) 203 051 8540
©Don Leslie 2016