Updated: Nov 24, 2022
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 hard and soft skills required by MBB consultants
Are you a management consultant enthusiast? Do you wish to know the various skills management consultants need to not only survive but thrive in the industry?
In this career insight, I will be sharing the hard and soft skills that every MBB consultant needs. I will be taking into account my personal experience as a former BCG consultant.
1. Hard Skills
1.1 Microsoft Excel
This is the primary technical skill you need to excel in the industry :P
A lot of my time as a management consultant was spent on excel. It is an essential tool since you would be required to do a lot of number crunching, projections and cost savings analyses. You are expected to know these skills, especially if you are an experienced professional.
1.2 Business Acumen
This is going to be quite pivotal in your journey as a consultant.
I remember my first day at a boutique management firm, where my manager had asked me to explain the business model of a company. I was astounded due to my lack of experience in this business field.
Not only are you expected to know the jargon of the industry, but also have an intuition about such things. Additionally, you ought to know the basics of financial accounting and marketing.
Taking the example of my first case at BCG, where the client was an IIM Ahmedabad gold medalist. Despite our thorough analysis, he would always ask questions about our reports and suggestions. Gone are the days when you deal with dull and inactive clients, especially in the MBB.
You have to be ready to display your competence.
I only came to realize the importance of PPT making after some time.
Consultants are primarily storytellers. You are selling a story of qualitative and quantitative data.
You need to have an airtight presentation on why they should spend large amounts of money on your suggestions. PPTs come in very handy to share a succinct narrative with the client.
2. Soft Skills
2.1 Communication Skills
These skills are the bread and butter of a management consultant.
As a consultant, you deal directly with CXOs from your as well as the client's organization. These are extremely busy people. So you should be able to deliver your points effectively in 2-3 minutes.
2.2 Emotional Intelligence
In a working environment, you must be able to have an influence amongst your colleagues. This includes your team, the professionals from the client's side and your case partner.
In the corporate ecosystem, people are often obsessed with downward management. Though, upward management is more important to launch your career. You have to be able to manage your case partner and team project manager sustainably.
Emotional intelligence has various other components like listening skills and reading body language. A street smart approach, involving high EQ, will always benefit you in your career. Daniel Goleman has an excellent book on this, in case you wish to dig deeper into the topic.
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.