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How to impress?!

#1 How to impress?!
11/08/2011 19:47


Hello all,

I am about to embark on a career as a management consultant at one of the Big 4.

I was looking for hints and tips as to how to progress up the promotion ladder as soon as possible. I realise that there are a number of experienced individuals on this forum who will have some invaluable advice.

In sum, what are the best tips you can give for an entry level graduate (e.g. networking etc) and the biggest pitfalls to avoid.

Thank you

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#2 RE: How to impress?!
11/08/2011 22:27

newconsultant to Qwerty (#1)

Brilliant post - I am joining a consulting firm within the next six weeks and would to hear top tips & what to avoid?

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#3 RE: How to impress?!
12/08/2011 09:43

Tony Restell ( to Qwerty (#1)

Qwerty - a great question and very timely given the firms are about to welcome their fresh grads through the door. I recall there've been some good posts on this in the past so thought a good starting point would be for me to point you in the direction of them:

Tips for a Grad wanting to make a big splash

Advice for becoming a Great Analyst

and to a slightly lesser extent What do junior consultants do in strategy consulting firms?

Hope these give you some good pointers and do ask here if they prompt any further questions. Best of luck getting your career off to a strong start.

Tony Restell

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#4 RE: How to impress?!
12/08/2011 13:29

philipp2507 to Tony Restell ( (#3)

The most important and impressive skill is to ask smart questions. It is sometimes not easy but try to ask as many questions as possible and dont fall into the silent mode.

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#5 RE: How to impress?!
12/08/2011 14:13

Qwerty to philipp2507 (#4)

Brilliant post Tony, the links you have posted have given me a very good impression of the skills needed to succeed! if i am successful ill be sure to post you a % of any future earnings ha ha.

Just a quick one. What is the makeup of a project team. For instance, in a team of 5/10/20 how many are associates/consultants/directors etc. A bit of a nothing question but just wish to know.


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#6 RE: How to impress?!
12/08/2011 16:12

Big4Partner to Qwerty (#1)

From the perspective of a Big 4 Partner:

1. Listen and learn. We know you don't have any content, thats the point. Be a knowledge sponge. Your firm will have knowledge resources. Everyone will tell you they are poor. Ignore that advice and read as much as you can about what your firm does and its core service offerings.

2. Accept whatever roles are given to you with gusto, either on a project or internal. My first job was maintaining the project Risk log. You'll get lots of interesting things to do if you are in the right place at the right time. Until that happens, do anything. Even if you don't realise it, you'll be learning.

3. Don't do the same role twice, unless its in a different industry. Each new role gives you something new to put on your CV.

4. Do what you say you are going to do. The best consultants always deliver on time. Make sure you consult your stakeholders regularly along the way in whatever assignment you've been given.

5. Don't focus on promotion. It drives us nuts. Focus that energy into doing great work for clients and the promotions will follow. Don't believe the beer talk about 'needing the work the system'. Its rubbish. All of the big 4 have excellent processes for career development.

You've picked a great place to start your career. Get stuck in and enjoy it.

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#7 RE: How to impress?!
12/08/2011 16:28

Tony Restell ( to Qwerty (#5)

Qwerty - that's a really hard question to answer. The leverage models in consulting vary by firm and vary by practice and by type of consulting assignment being undertaken. All projects will have a pyramid structure - but how many analysts / junior consultants there are for each project manager or partner will vary enormously. Also average project team size will vary enormously - in strategy consulting you have small teams (typically a dozen people or less) but with each consultant on high average daily fee rates; in other types of consulting the team sizes can be many multiples of this, but on much lower average daily fee rates.

Tony Restell

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#8 RE: How to impress?!
12/08/2011 17:04

Qwerty to Tony Restell ( (#7)

Thanks Big4Partner for taking the time to pass on some excellent advice. You are right, I shouldn't focus on promotion but rather on delivering consistently good pieces of work for clients and only then will the possibility of promotion occur. I have taken into account your other words of wisdom especially the need to "be a knowledge sponge" and not accepting the same role twice (not something that even crossed my mind).

Thanks Tony for the quick response. It has been noted. Keep up the good work.

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