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Recommend readings before starting a job in consulting

 
#1 Recommend readings before starting a job in consulting
26/01/2010 22:08

MathWhizNot

Hello!

So I'm starting a job at a management consulting firm soon and I have some time on my hands and nothing to do until then. Anyone wanna recommend good readings for new consultants? Thanks!

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#2 RE: Recommend readings before starting a job in consulting
26/01/2010 23:50

Kristiana to MathWhizNot (#1)

1) Quality newspapers (Economist, FT, etc.) - you'll never get quite enough time to do this once you start

2) Industry journals relevant to your new firm/practice - you get even less time for this once you start, and few people who work there will bother so you immediately have valuable knowledge

3) Any books/white papers written by the firm's staff - even fewer people who work there will have read them, and it's good to know where some of the firm's buzzwords originate

The "how to consult" books just aren't worth it - better to learn the firm's preferred frameworks when you get there.

And don't worry too much about being "productive" before you start work. Just try to relax and make the most of the time off.

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#3 RE: Recommend readings before starting a job in consulting
27/01/2010 00:38

Kevlar to Kristiana (#2)

If you've got a bit of spare time before you start work, I'd forget the books and go and spend some time with friends and family. If you've got some cash then maybe a bit of a holiday. You can read up on stuff when you start - enjoy your time off.

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#4 RE: Recommend readings before starting a job in consulting
27/01/2010 08:55

Anon to Kevlar (#3)

At entry level, you'll be doing work that is WAY below your capabilities. So, I agree with the others.... just take it easy and relax!

I can remember being involved in team meetings with heated debates over the most stupid of stuff. Such as "why it's better to write your presentation in Microsoft Word rather than Powerpoint, because the file size is smaller". This was at a top strat firm. I kid ye not.

Another one of my favourites was being lectured about why my interest rate calculations were wrong in some analysis I was doing. I'll summarise the problem for you here as it's worth repeating. Basically I had to calculate how much interest was payable on a loan at the end of a 10 year term. Lets say the amount was £100 and the interest rate was 10%. So, by my calculations the answer is £159.39 (simple compound interest). The rest of the team however seemed to feel that it would be £10 x 10 years = £100 interest repayable. This caused great controversy and resulted in a 30 minute 'mentoring' session during which I was lectured about how to do percentages.

And forget all the talk about industry knowledge. I sat in on a meeting where a partner started talking about the turnover of a bank. He was talking about £ by the way, not something else like staff turnover. As an economist who understands that banks invest assets rather than turning over stock for profit, I sat there dumbfounded.

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#5 RE: Recommend readings before starting a job in consulting
27/01/2010 09:29

Realist to Anon (#4)

Dilbert, so you know you're not alone.

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#6 RE: Recommend readings before starting a job in consulting
27/01/2010 09:36

Wiseman to Anon (#4)

Stock turnover?? Maybe that's where Gordon and Alistair wnet wrong?

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#7 RE: Recommend readings before starting a job in consulting
27/01/2010 13:54

anon to Wiseman (#6)

"I had to calculate how much interest was payable on a loan at the end of a 10 year term. Lets say the amount was £100 and the interest rate was 10%. So, by my calculations the answer is £159.39"

Oh dear - I can see why you didn't last long in that job !

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#8 RE: Recommend readings before starting a job in consulting
27/01/2010 14:16

anon to anon (#7)

simple typo on a forum, should be £159.37

but you hopefully get the main point i was making.

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#9 RE: Recommend readings before starting a job in consulting
27/01/2010 14:57

D to anon (#8)

"I sat there dumbfounded"

This type of situation happens a lot, most commonly because the junior person only has visibility into one small part of a much bigger picture (ie their small piece of analysis versus the whole project) and therefore doesn't really know what is going on and can't see the wood for the trees. It rarely means that the most junior person is actually the only person in the building to be able to grasp basic concepts

This may be the fault of more senior people but, in reality, there is often just not enough time to explain every little thing to everyone. Rest assured that sitting around dumbfounded is not the best way to progress your career

As to the original question, just go and have some fun for a few weeks

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#10 RE: Recommend readings before starting a job in consulting
27/01/2010 15:06

anon to D (#9)

The reason I sat there dumbfounded was because this very highly paid partner was sat there talking about a bank's "turnover". That's like talking about a car's altitude meter. Or a telephone's miles per gallon. Or a chocolate bar's voltage.

Then again, this was the same person who was bragging to a client that he knew how to speak Japanese, then got angry and defensive when I called him on his bull$hit and asked in a friendly and genuinely interested kind of way how you say "pleased to meet you". He never did answer that question... even after the client pressed him on the matter at least 3 times.

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#11 RE: Recommend readings before starting a job in consulting
27/01/2010 15:16

Frank to anon (#10)

Showing up your partner like that in front of the client will do your career wonders. With an intellect like yours, no wonder you are frequently dumbfounded.

You still haven't got your compound interest calculation correct either, tw@t

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#12 RE: Recommend readings before starting a job in consulting
27/01/2010 15:23

anon to Frank (#11)

firstly, frank - my career is doing just fine thanks. this was many, many years ago and said partner has now retired. I myself am now a partner in a respectable company and don't make the same mistakes he did.

secondly - the compound interest calculation is just fine. let me guess, you didn't read my words properly and think the answer is £259.37?

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#13 RE: Recommend readings before starting a job in consulting
27/01/2010 16:26

D to anon (#12)

My original point still applies

Your response has just re-stated your original point, except that you have now augmented it with another relatively puerile-sounding rant that I can't imagine would come from any partner in any top consulting firm that I know - I don't believe you.

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#14 RE: Recommend readings before starting a job in consulting
27/01/2010 16:46

anon to D (#13)

*beep* The Ego has Landed.

Firstly, I don't give a toss if you believe me or not! Your opinion does not matter to me.

Secondly, your original point no longer applies as I have already refuted it. You seem thoroughly unable to follow the logic of the argument.

Thirdly, I'm leaving this forum for a few weeks. People like you do my head in so badly with your warped logic and excessively high opinion of yourself that I just have to get away. Arguing with you is like arguing with a child - i.e. pointless!

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#15 RE: Recommend readings before starting a job in consulting
27/01/2010 17:53

D to anon (#14)

In response to your points:

1)That is fine. I expect nothing less than for you not to care and I would have bet all my worldly wealth on just such an overly aggressive response

2) You haven't refuted my argument. I stated that it is entirely possible that you were/are too junior to understand all of the things going on within that case, which can of course lead to confusion for the junior staff. You haven't responded to that at all. You did say that the partner couldn't speak Japanese, and I will concede that I couldn't follow the logic flow from the bank interest rate calculation to speaking Japanese.

3) Seeing as I didn't bet all my worldly wealth on your response to 1), I would be willing to bet it all on you not leaving the forums. Which is a shame. Only a few weeks? Why not take off for the rest of the ski season?

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#16 RE: Recommend readings before starting a job in consulting
27/01/2010 19:26

another anon to D (#15)

lol - I really love these forums

Instead of going to the cinema I think I am going to buy some popcorn and stay at home!

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#17 RE: Recommend readings before starting a job in consulting
27/01/2010 23:30

Melissa to MathWhizNot (#1)

I did a quick Google search for ya on this.

I found a well written book, that seems to be rated pretty good. You might want to check it out.

http://www.amazon.com/Management-Consulting-Complete-Guide-Industry/dp/0471293520

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