Career insights by GGI is a new series by GGI sharing hacks and tips around management consulting, MBA, product management and public policy.
In this GGI career insight, we will be sharing insights into: the skills I learned while working as a management consultant.
In this career insight, I will be reflecting on the work and interesting projects I had taken up as a management consultant at BCG.
1. Thinking for the future
Consulting teaches you how to forecast the future and think about the next steps.
Typically you don’t end the document with just recommendations. You also tell the client what are potentially the next steps for them as well as you.
You are not just solving for the present, but also foreseeing the possible bottlenecks in the future.
2. Creating structure in chaos
The clients are generally dealing with a lot of things at once, from operations to marketing and sales.
Thus, it is tough for them to break down the situation into clear blocks.
This is where management consultants help them. You bring the structure into a messy situation. In fact, I believe this is your biggest value proposition as a consultant.
3. Anticipating client expectations
A good consultant has to be in sync with the expectations of the client.
You should not sway a lot more than what the client expects.
If the client is looking to increase their profits, you should not dabble with the problem of reducing costs.
Being aligned with the client can help you focus on things that really need to be solved.
4. Analytical skills
As a consultant, you are not just expressing your opinions.
Everything you say has to be backed by data. Your data should come from multiple sources and eventually be triangulated.
5. Ability to synthesize
Consultants deal with CEOs and CXOs who are less on time.
Your ability to filter down the key ideas that a CXO really cares about is going to be pivotal for you to become a good management consultant.
6. People management
Management consulting is a people’s business.
On one hand, you will be dealing with the CXO of the client's organisation and on the other hand, you will be dealing with the partners and HRs from your own organisation.
You can not have a chip on your shoulder and expect to be a good team player.
7. Business awareness
It is essential for you to know the business jargon of the industry.
You should be clear on the basics. It does not mean that you need to have an MBA.
There are several resources online that you can use for this purpose.
8. Time Management
Consultants are taking care of too many things. You have to align with the partner, take meetings with the CXO and travel a lot.
This skill is crucial otherwise there is potential for you to burn out.
9. Problem Solving
In management consulting, you have to get to the root cause of the problem. Very interestingly, sometimes that has nothing to do with the symptom of the problem.
Afterwards, you start benchmarking solutions or find new creative solutions.
10. Personal well being
Consulting is an extremely hectic job, it is not for the weak hearted.
I was putting in 70 hours a week back when I was working at BCG. This means that you have to take the time to groom yourself as well as do intellectual research for the client.
If you need more help getting into management consulting and product management, feel free to check out my education venture- Global Governance Initiative. We invite industry leaders to host Masterclasses and teach our students the hard and soft skills required to excel in their careers.
Author: Shatakshi Sharma, Co-CEO Global Governance Initiative, Ex-BCG Management Consultant, Former Policy Advisor, Tony Blair Institute for Global Change
If you are interested in learning about GGI's MBA Scholar program, you can learn here.