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My observations after moving to Consulting

 
#1 My observations after moving to Consulting
05/08/2015 10:23

TransactionsExec123

I joined as a Transactions Services grad in one of the Big Four about four years ago. Just over a year ago, I made the move to Consulting.

There are a couple observations I have noticed that I wanted to share.

1) Progression.

Whereas in TS, you more or less are constantly moving up and up, progression in Consulting seems really odd. The age range per consulting grade seems really wide.

Yes, some people at my Senior Consultant grade are around my age (mid twenties) but there are some others that are much older than me (40s).

Granted, a few came from industry, so have to step down slightly before they can move up again, however even at Manager level, I see some who are in their early thirties...and others who are Manager but in their late thirties, early forties and it makes me wonder...?

2) Knowledge.

I am not actually sure what knowledge you pick up in consulting at times...some senior people I have worked with are VERY knowledgable in their particular specialism. They know the subject matter inside out. It's great. It's inspiring.

Whereas some other senior people I have been on projects with...I'm not sure if they actually know anything? They know the sector...but that seems to be it.

Many times, it often feels like they are just making it up as they go along, nodding at the right times at client meetings or saying 'yes that's an excellent idea' with passion, but with no substance in the work that takes place in the project room?

I know this sounds judgemental...I really don't intend for it to be. It's just when I contrast against my experience in TS, there, you get shot down quite quickly if you don't know your stuff, whereas in Consulting it feels like everyone is just blagging it?

Consequently, I wonder what their skill set actually is? I'm really not sure...?

Sometimes, I feel I might have even picked up more knowledge than the senior person I am working with because I have actually spent time researching the issue and methodologies, speaking with colleagues to understand best practice, thinking it through etc.

I was wondering if anyone has made moves from one service line to another and made similar observations?

I don't feel I'm at the point where I can confide confidently about this with anyone in my team, so it's really interesting to hear what you all think of this.

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#2 RE: My observations after moving to Consulting
05/08/2015 12:22

marsday to TransactionsExec123 (#1)

Consequently, I wonder what their skill set actually is? I'm really not sure...?

Sometimes, I feel I might have even picked up more knowledge than the senior person I am working with because I have actually spent time researching the issue and methodologies, speaking with colleagues to understand best practice, thinking it through etc.

Therein lies the nub of this whole post, imho. What you have acquired is some detail on a particular issue or methodology. Great stuff. Now tell everyone how this will actually get executed in the business. Not how it plays out in powerpoint, but out there where politics, culture and so forth are at play. This is what the senior guys bring to the table - understanding how to get things done. You wont learn this any way other than experience and learning the rules of the game. That's why they are where they are.

Keep picking up the content, but focus in learning how they play the game, not what game they are playing.

Cool, Bushy and the others will have a lot to say here for sure.

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#3 RE: My observations after moving to Consulting
06/08/2015 06:32

Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) to TransactionsExec123 (#1)

I concur with Mars. There are a variety of reasons that clients bring in consulting teams. Many are to do with getting the job done:

  • Internal politics / lack of ownership of past mistakes needs to be overcome
  • Insufficient resource or project management expertise to get a project delivered quickly
  • Lack of confidence in the leadership of certain parts of the business addressed by bringing in a consulting team
  • ...

As a consequence, bringing domain expertise is only one element of what a consulting team will need in order to be successful on a project.

With regards to the spread of ages at different grades, I would say that consulting is a pretty results-driven business. Of course playing the internal politics game comes into play when it comes to getting promoted. But overall you'll see people being promoted at very different rates depending on how they're performing and whether they are ready to move up to the next level (is this person ready to manage teams? is this person ready to start owning client relationships? does this person have the sales skills necessary to start winning us business?)

To me it sounds like the deeper issue is that you're not entirely comfortable working in a business where you feel that the expertise of the team isn't as compelling to the client?

Hope the above helps.

Tony Restell

Founder, http://www.Social-Hire.com and http://www.Top-Consultant.com

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#4 RE: My observations after moving to Consulting
15/08/2015 18:52

Katz to TransactionsExec123 (#1)

Consultant skills at Accenture at least add up to over engineering the smallest task into a full blown project where every single meeting has a boatload of slides, dissertations in notes with a boatload of action items that must now be programmatically managed and billed for. It's all about the billable hours for the unsuspecting client. Internally when those consultants want to get off of the road, it operates exactly the same way where changeability rules...yup, you've got to get someone internally to pay for your tab by over engineering the smallest task to try and make yourself relevant. It defies logic, criples innovation, and creates armies of people living and perpetuating spreadsheet rodeos. The old internal guard ruthlessly protects this model as if they were found out to be incompetent for paying MD's and Sr Managers to run spreadsheet rodeos, then you would have to let go of masses of people that don't know how to do anything else as in imagine attending a meeting with out the ability to create slides, take notes, create unnecessary actions and actually have to participate in a thoughtful discussion where you may determine that no actions are needed. Or learning how to use real, automated statistical tools that provide real analysis and hiring real finance people that can help you understand the economics. Oh Noooo they couldn't do that as it would kill the spreadsheet rodeo empire and changeability model. They'd be cooked.

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