2006-11-16

Consulting Job

I earnestly intend to redo the content on my blog. I have started to dislike it myself - it is too serious and borders on pontification. But before I do that, let me share a few things about consulting, about which there is much demand.

What do consultants do. What is a typical day in the life of a consultant. Why are consultants hired...these are some of the oft-asked questions

There is no one thing that a consultant would do. The kind of work depends on what the client has hired the firm for. What would a client hire the firm for. It could be defining strategy (including redifining the same); help the client do due diligence / valuations; help the client improve processes, draw an organization chart, lauch a new business. The list can be as long as the clients needs (that one can imagine) can be.

Strategy Work - in this kind of work, there will be interaction with senior officials of the client, but not necessarily on a daily basis. however, much of the work will be about gathering data, making hypotheses, making a business case, proving / disproving the hypotheses...during the process, consultant keeps taking client feedback. this kind of work includes making high quality PPT deck and making final presentation to the client management. the no. of people on the team will depend on the size of the work. such projects are not very long, unless we are talking about redoing the strategy of a large org like State Bank of India. SBI strategy project has been on for many quarters now....

Process improvement / Biz launch - this will usually involve tight timelines, which means that there will be a lot of running around. the interaction with client officials will be high. the client team and the consulting team will work closely (almost as one team). usually the work will have many mini-work streams. the importance of PPT is not very high. but there will be a need to make presentations in between about the progress of the project. the length of such projects would be longer....


These are just two examples. Within these, there can be many shades of gray. The point is there is no one kind of work that a consultant does. That does not mean that a consultant does not have a typical day. But such typical days are project-specific. When he moves from one project to another, the typical day may change. If travel is involved, then the typical day will be quite tiring. Long interactions with clients can also be tiring. The day before a presentation can take the stress levels high.


As a one spends more time in consulting, one specializes in an industry. It helps to specialize because

- consultant will be in demand whenever there is a project in that industry

- one creates exit options - getting into line jobs in that industry or joining a PE firm which invests into that industry.

In line jobs, as you go up the ladder, u work less and less. In consulting, a partner works harder and travels more than others junior to him. So, many people when they join consulting do not necessarily intend to become partners. But, in large consulting firms, there is too much of money at stake. That said, it is not easy to become a partner...

The post gives a sketchy description of a consultant's work. For people interested to know more about consulting, my suggestion is read " the Mckinsey way", read blogs written by some senior / ex consultants (needs some googling)...

PS: I am still clueless about why there is consulting-obsession in the b-schools.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Vijay ,

The past 2 weeks I feel iI have done a useful - Job, yes I'm done with u'r blog,till the last update.Most MBA blog will be similar to watching a crime story(cos it will be gripping to know who the culprit is...), U'r blog was a real Crime story ...with awesome ending - "Diamond Cluster". Tho' the movie ends but life moves on...U'r blog and ur journey too.U'r blog inspires so many and I'm one among them. By reading u'r blog I learnt so many a things - Life @ ISB, Y the name of the blog - I THE ABSOLUTE, Importance of making - Resume, The clarity of thought, so many words,Jargons,Philosophical posts, Insightful thoughts... So many books to refer, Tho' somethings are know to us - the reading it thru' some other means REMINDS us again wat we have learnt and missed implementing it in our own life....keep the good work going !!

jasmine said...

Hey Vijay,

thnx 4 the lil post...im sure all much awaited bloggers of ur website will find it interestin jst like me.
Yep it def is a hazy pic....bt better than nothjing at all. reg. the b-school hyping up Consulting...i dont know y either.

like say 4 ex. when researching 4 b-schools i used to look at the % of class's profiles and whr they land up after MBA and consulting was the highest. Also for people like me who aint really very sure would like to explore their options.

infact i jst attended this open event on consulting by one of the Co. and was a sheer waste of time! they were typically jst promoting themselves. though i did manage to talk to a few people who did mention about business process. Basically this firm was an IT consulting one so the main Q raised my many non-IT people ....is it possible to get in w/o any IT background? and one of the options told to us was business consulting in which business process was a part of it.

& honestly....i got as only as much as i could from your blog....bt yep i think it would be a good idea to read up that book!

thnx :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Vijay,
I am a big fan your blog, particularly because of the clarity of thought they carry...currently, I am doing my MBA from Univ of Oxford....may be I can tell you why B-schools are crazy abt MC(may be I am wrong), most of us are bored by the routine jobs that we have done for 4-5 yrs(more so if one is in IT)...the short duration of the projects/the variety of the projects(from NASA to Banks to Oil Exploration)/and the big thing..Money....and it is a great way to get into any industry after you have spent 4-5 yrs in MC..

Thanks,
Sun

Ford Prefect said...

Welcome back your highness ... And a splendid post on consulting.. and I have a clue about why they all wanna get into consulting ... They all want to be like YOU ....

itheabsolute said...

Vinod

Thanks for your comments. Good luck for your GMAT and ISB Plans.

Jasmine

Your over-dependence of just a few blogs to know about consulting is dangerous. I would sincerely advise you to read books on consulting. There are many out there. You also need to google to find good blogs being maintained by seasoned consultants


Sun

Thanks for the comment. Do not agree with you completely. I am sure there is life beyond consulting which is interesting.


Ford

Thanks for your comments. People want to be like me?.not a good idea...

in fact, i would recommend them to want to be like you...world will be a better place with some inventions happening to help people with everday issues (superabsorbent? :-))

Anonymous said...

Hey Vijay,

How important are these mock case interviews for a guy who is not aspiring for consulting roles?

Amit
Co07 ISB

itheabsolute said...

Amit

Mock case interviews give an opportunity to review the entire MBA syllabus. It does not hurt.

All the best

Cheers

2006-11-16

Consulting Job

I earnestly intend to redo the content on my blog. I have started to dislike it myself - it is too serious and borders on pontification. But before I do that, let me share a few things about consulting, about which there is much demand.

What do consultants do. What is a typical day in the life of a consultant. Why are consultants hired...these are some of the oft-asked questions

There is no one thing that a consultant would do. The kind of work depends on what the client has hired the firm for. What would a client hire the firm for. It could be defining strategy (including redifining the same); help the client do due diligence / valuations; help the client improve processes, draw an organization chart, lauch a new business. The list can be as long as the clients needs (that one can imagine) can be.

Strategy Work - in this kind of work, there will be interaction with senior officials of the client, but not necessarily on a daily basis. however, much of the work will be about gathering data, making hypotheses, making a business case, proving / disproving the hypotheses...during the process, consultant keeps taking client feedback. this kind of work includes making high quality PPT deck and making final presentation to the client management. the no. of people on the team will depend on the size of the work. such projects are not very long, unless we are talking about redoing the strategy of a large org like State Bank of India. SBI strategy project has been on for many quarters now....

Process improvement / Biz launch - this will usually involve tight timelines, which means that there will be a lot of running around. the interaction with client officials will be high. the client team and the consulting team will work closely (almost as one team). usually the work will have many mini-work streams. the importance of PPT is not very high. but there will be a need to make presentations in between about the progress of the project. the length of such projects would be longer....


These are just two examples. Within these, there can be many shades of gray. The point is there is no one kind of work that a consultant does. That does not mean that a consultant does not have a typical day. But such typical days are project-specific. When he moves from one project to another, the typical day may change. If travel is involved, then the typical day will be quite tiring. Long interactions with clients can also be tiring. The day before a presentation can take the stress levels high.


As a one spends more time in consulting, one specializes in an industry. It helps to specialize because

- consultant will be in demand whenever there is a project in that industry

- one creates exit options - getting into line jobs in that industry or joining a PE firm which invests into that industry.

In line jobs, as you go up the ladder, u work less and less. In consulting, a partner works harder and travels more than others junior to him. So, many people when they join consulting do not necessarily intend to become partners. But, in large consulting firms, there is too much of money at stake. That said, it is not easy to become a partner...

The post gives a sketchy description of a consultant's work. For people interested to know more about consulting, my suggestion is read " the Mckinsey way", read blogs written by some senior / ex consultants (needs some googling)...

PS: I am still clueless about why there is consulting-obsession in the b-schools.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Vijay ,

The past 2 weeks I feel iI have done a useful - Job, yes I'm done with u'r blog,till the last update.Most MBA blog will be similar to watching a crime story(cos it will be gripping to know who the culprit is...), U'r blog was a real Crime story ...with awesome ending - "Diamond Cluster". Tho' the movie ends but life moves on...U'r blog and ur journey too.U'r blog inspires so many and I'm one among them. By reading u'r blog I learnt so many a things - Life @ ISB, Y the name of the blog - I THE ABSOLUTE, Importance of making - Resume, The clarity of thought, so many words,Jargons,Philosophical posts, Insightful thoughts... So many books to refer, Tho' somethings are know to us - the reading it thru' some other means REMINDS us again wat we have learnt and missed implementing it in our own life....keep the good work going !!

jasmine said...

Hey Vijay,

thnx 4 the lil post...im sure all much awaited bloggers of ur website will find it interestin jst like me.
Yep it def is a hazy pic....bt better than nothjing at all. reg. the b-school hyping up Consulting...i dont know y either.

like say 4 ex. when researching 4 b-schools i used to look at the % of class's profiles and whr they land up after MBA and consulting was the highest. Also for people like me who aint really very sure would like to explore their options.

infact i jst attended this open event on consulting by one of the Co. and was a sheer waste of time! they were typically jst promoting themselves. though i did manage to talk to a few people who did mention about business process. Basically this firm was an IT consulting one so the main Q raised my many non-IT people ....is it possible to get in w/o any IT background? and one of the options told to us was business consulting in which business process was a part of it.

& honestly....i got as only as much as i could from your blog....bt yep i think it would be a good idea to read up that book!

thnx :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Vijay,
I am a big fan your blog, particularly because of the clarity of thought they carry...currently, I am doing my MBA from Univ of Oxford....may be I can tell you why B-schools are crazy abt MC(may be I am wrong), most of us are bored by the routine jobs that we have done for 4-5 yrs(more so if one is in IT)...the short duration of the projects/the variety of the projects(from NASA to Banks to Oil Exploration)/and the big thing..Money....and it is a great way to get into any industry after you have spent 4-5 yrs in MC..

Thanks,
Sun

Ford Prefect said...

Welcome back your highness ... And a splendid post on consulting.. and I have a clue about why they all wanna get into consulting ... They all want to be like YOU ....

itheabsolute said...

Vinod

Thanks for your comments. Good luck for your GMAT and ISB Plans.

Jasmine

Your over-dependence of just a few blogs to know about consulting is dangerous. I would sincerely advise you to read books on consulting. There are many out there. You also need to google to find good blogs being maintained by seasoned consultants


Sun

Thanks for the comment. Do not agree with you completely. I am sure there is life beyond consulting which is interesting.


Ford

Thanks for your comments. People want to be like me?.not a good idea...

in fact, i would recommend them to want to be like you...world will be a better place with some inventions happening to help people with everday issues (superabsorbent? :-))

Anonymous said...

Hey Vijay,

How important are these mock case interviews for a guy who is not aspiring for consulting roles?

Amit
Co07 ISB

itheabsolute said...

Amit

Mock case interviews give an opportunity to review the entire MBA syllabus. It does not hurt.

All the best

Cheers