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Internal Learning at Big 4

#1 Internal Learning at Big 4
05/10/2006 11:15


Hi everyone,

I have seen how all the Big Four (and probably many other consultancies from which I really dont know enough to speak about) have plenty of internal courses and maybe hundreds of e-learning courses and curricula.

My question: does completing some courses voluntarily make a difference at all within the company and in the marketplace? (appart from the joy of learning and all that stuff)



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#2 RE: Internal Learning at Big 4
05/10/2006 17:02

niikki to MB (#1)

None at all, and most of us avoid doing them- unless we need a break from the client.

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#3 RE: Internal Learning at Big 4
05/10/2006 23:11

Warner to MB (#1)

Makes bagger all difference except indirectly i.e. if it helps you learn something you then use to improve your work. I've found most of the online courses are designed for the support groups (IT, admin, etc.) so you can do a course in how to write a business letter, how to use MS Office or Lotus Notes but not courses in consulting topics.

The face-to-face courses in things like project management can be okay, but it depends whether you get a decent trainer or not.

Unfortunately, a lot of people do get into the mindset that training is a waste of time so it doesn't get resourced properly and it becomes culturally normal to get pulled off internal training for any small matter like a conference call. It takes more than a year to get onto the introductory consulting skills course at my firm because it's only run once a year for 10 people at a time - it's really just a show exercise.

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#4 RE: Internal Learning at Big 4
06/10/2006 08:43

JJ to Warner (#3)

Typically in my consultancy the online courses consist of a 200 page presentation and maybe a couple of interactive questions in the middle. They seem to me to have been designed by people with absolutely no understanding of how people learn. As a result everyone is turned off by it and take up is low.

In comparison a good distance learning provider such as Open University use a wide mix of media including tapes, TV, books, exercises and personal tutors. This keeps people interested and learning.

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#5 RE: Internal Learning at Big 4
09/10/2006 18:42

MB to JJ (#4)

However, I was wondering, do they make a difference to people up the ladder at work? Are they at all noticed by them?

I love learning new things and I would like to know if some big fish within the firm cares at all and if I can prove my point that way, or it would be a sort of "freakish" attitude. (in spite of endless ppt presentations!).

I have seen plenty of times, like Warner says, people interrupting teaching for minute matters. It feels very "short term-ist".

Quite a pity, I think...

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#6 RE: Internal Learning at Big 4
09/10/2006 19:59

Yahoo to MB (#5)

P'haps it depends where you are, but I find the more senior the consultant the less they appreciate you going on training. Partners at my firm really hate signing off on training - they're actually quicker at signing off when you want to spend the money on a pub crawl and p!ss it away. Some more IT-based consultancies might value getting the latest knowledge, but for more generalist management consultancies it seems people get so used to flying blind with unfamiliar client challenges that they prefer to make it up as they go along even when the relevant knowledge is available out there.

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#7 RE: Internal Learning at Big 4
10/10/2006 12:18

MB to Yahoo (#6)

Hmm... what if that internal training is on your spare time?

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#8 RE: Internal Learning at Big 4
10/10/2006 19:14

londonkiddo to MB (#7)

I'm inclined to start cracking down on training related queries, I'm afraid, for the following reason: training in consultancy is largely a red herring. Lip service is paid to it, and sometimes stupidly large budgets devoted to it. This sorry state of affairs is self-perpetuating because no one has the balls to stand up and say "classroom training is a waste of time and money". Everything I've learnt has been learnt on the job, and that's the way I like it.

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#9 RE: Internal Learning at Big 4
10/10/2006 23:29

BigHitter to londonkiddo (#8)

Yeah, learning shi! it totally gay. If I knew anything I'd be the client not the consultant. Better not to know anything - I'm the client's bi!ch anyway - they tell me what what they want they hear. The less I know, the more I can pretend this is actually a value-adding relationship rather than existing to stroke the CEO's ego.

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#10 RE: Internal Learning at Big 4
14/10/2006 09:03

MB to BigHitter (#9)

Well, I tend to agree with u, londonkiddo, that most is learnt on the job. However, the reason for me engagiong in consultancy is a strong strong desire to learn.

As you can imagine, Bighitter, I disagree with u totally. I am honest and straightforward with the client about their needs. If they go under, they wont be able to say that its all because of me.

I believe that good learning can give you, rather than knowledge by itself, a good framework from which to learn and sort of structure to plug in many pieces and bits of information and help you make it understand as a whole.

Probably big fish within consulting firms do not see it that way, then. Kinda sad, maybe.

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