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Typical consultant’s day…….

#1 Typical consultant’s day…….
20/03/2009 09:21


Expressed in hours, how much of your working day is spent in front of a PC/Laptop

Of that time, which applications do you use, and in which proportion?

This is a very basic straw poll, designed to help me decide if consulting if for me.

Would be interesting to see how many people reply “8 hours, 100% powerpoint” I’ll run a mile………..

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#2 RE: Typical consultant’s day…….
20/03/2009 09:39

Casio to loop (#1)


8hrs a day, 2hrs max not at laptop.

50% Word. 40% Excel. 10% PPT.

Obviously alot of web surfing, reading etc alongside.

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#3 RE: Typical consultant’s day…….
20/03/2009 09:44

Village Idiot to Casio (#2)

Less than half my day in front of the laptop, as most of my time is spent in meetings. Mostly email. And some web browsing.

Fewer than 2 hrs of PPT a week.

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#4 RE: Typical consultant’s day…….
20/03/2009 10:10

anon to Village Idiot (#3)

see 19141

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#5 RE: Typical consultant’s day…….
20/03/2009 10:17

Casio to Village Idiot (#3)

Village Idiot (and others) would you mind including your role? I'd be interested to know how the breakdown evolves as career progresses. Also interesting to see how it varys at same role but different consultancy.

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#6 RE: Typical consultant’s day…….
20/03/2009 10:58

Village Idiot to Casio (#5)

It's pretty straight-forward. The higher up you are on the tree, the less grunt work you do. In terms of career progression in a big 4:

1. Consultant

Little real responsibility. Likely to be working on internal projects, contributing to proposals, creating lots of Powerpoint decks (which will later be thrown out by the partner who reviews it, since most of what you create is likely to be shite).

2. Senior Consultant

Similar to consultant, except that you will now be wasting clients' money instead of your own. Kidding aside, these are the guys who do most of the heavy lifting on client projects. Lots of Powerpoint / Excel work at this level, some participation in meetings / workshops but mostly as a note-taker.

3. Manager

More autonomy over day-to-day work, but still likely to have a fair element of churning out documents. You will be almost entirely client-facing at this level, probably with responsibility for delivering significant parts of a project.

4. Senior Manager / Director

At this level, there is an increased focus on selling, and you are likely to be leading big projects. Lots of time spent in meetings. Focus is more on reviewing the work of SCs / Ms than of producing work yourself.

5. Partner

You lose the ability to read and write, dropping in periodically to create havoc in projects to justify your profit-share.

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#7 RE: Typical consultant’s day…….
20/03/2009 11:19

Skint to Village Idiot (#6)

Interesting thread there Villiage Idiot. I am wondering if the same breakdown applies at MBB firms? I mean do the MBB firms place more emphasis on financial modelling rather than IT type work?

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#8 RE: Typical consultant’s day…….
20/03/2009 12:12

Village Idiot to Skint (#7)

You might swap Powerpoint for Excel, but the basic premise remains. You're unlikely to be let loose in front of clients until managers / senior managers are comfortable with the fact that you are "safe in traffic"

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#9 RE: Typical consultant’s day…….
20/03/2009 12:41

anon to Village Idiot (#8)

That's totally different from Acn. Even as an A1 you're on client facing projects straight from the off with accountabilities and deliverables for clients. Manager and senior manager i agree though.

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#10 RE: Typical consultant’s day…….
20/03/2009 16:29

anon to Village Idiot (#6)

On a side-note, VI's examples are a great example of grade-inflation at Big 4, esp. the accountancies. Perhaps based on DC or EY?

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#11 RE: Typical consultant’s day…….
20/03/2009 16:44

Village Idiot to anon (#10)

Curious about your comments, anon -- how is this grade inflation? As long as I have been in consulting, partners / directors were the primary sales engines; senior managers and managers lead the projects; and consultants / senior consultants did the grunt work.

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#12 RE: Typical consultant’s day…….
20/03/2009 21:00

Hannan to Village Idiot (#11)

Who are you consulting to if you're not consulting to clients? Nobody, ergo you're not a consultant. If your job is to analyse the things you're told to analyse, you're an analyst.

Who are you managing if you're not managing people or budget? Nobody and nothing, ergo you're not a manager. If your job is to consult to clients on a specific task, you (may be) a junior consultant.

This is one of the reasons clients laugh at Big 4 consultants.

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#13 Typical consultant’s day…….
21/03/2009 07:59

Proudfoot Man to Village Idiot (#6)

Interesting. A big 4 manager does what a Proudfoot Senior Consultant does! Proudfoot beleives that consultants should be out with the clients walking the floor rather than stuck in the bird room infront of a computer. Of course this philosophy was developed before email and computers but there is still some truth in it. Powerpoint and Excel dominate, with a few bits on word (writing procedures) once in a blue moon.

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#14 RE: Typical consultant’s day…….
21/03/2009 10:13

Evil Consultant to Proudfoot Man (#13)

There's a bit of a problem with grade inflation and mapping, but that's not the end of the story...

In my final pre-MBA role my title was "Senior Consultant" but I managed budget, had 25 people reporting to me and was 100% client facing but didn't have that much autonomy.

My first post-MBA job title was Associate; I managed neither budget or other staff but was 100% client facing at a senior level (senior manager/director/CXO level) and had an enormous level of discretion in how I did the job.

Being a "manager" is not the be all or the end all.


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