As young management graduates, who don’t romanticize about the plush job as a Management consultant in top-notch firms such as Bain, Goldman Sachs, McKinsey and Boston? Management Consulting or Strategy Consulting is one such profile which has been seen with awe mainly due to the huge responsibility it brings along and its tough selection process. We all know that one needs to have certain special qualities to make a cut at firms of this stature.
In our previous post we discussed why corporates hire management consultants and in this post, we will enlist all those qualities that distinguish a well-prepared aspirant from the pack.
(1) Being grounded
It might sound clichéd, but firstly, to have a rewarding Management Consulting career in India, you need to be much grounded. It is quite an established fact that strategy consulting pertains to decisions at the top management level based on facts, figures, judgement etc.
However, it doesn’t mean that as an entrant you will get to brush your shoulders with those at the helm of the company. You may need to start at the grass root level wherein your role would only include a collection of data and facts. Respect your role, understand the significance of producing accurate facts and figures to the management in the process. Strengthening your base is the first step to scaling new highs.
(2) Ability to prioritize
As a strategy consultant, you are going to have your hands full always. You need to prioritize your tasks. Focus on those which are very crucial and require great concentration, postpone those which do not need immediate attention and delegate routine work if you are authorised to do so. You will have limited time at your disposal and maximum productivity to offer. Ultimately it is your call how to juggle the hats.
(3) Be all ears!
The art of good listening cannot be overemphasized. To solve complex business issues for the client, you need to understand their concerns well. Not all clients can articulate things well. You need to read in between lines, decipher the issues from their body language, ask relevant questions to get to the root of the matter and lastly give a patient hearing to the entire problem, even if it may seem unimportant. You never know which state has the key to the solution. It is only when you listen well to a client and offer a customised solution that you rise above the rest as a management consultant.
(4) Express and implement knowledge
Here the emphasis is not just on the possession of knowledge, but also implementing and expressing it in the most efficient way. As a strategy consultant, you need to possess deep knowledge about various business aspects, sectors, and be updated about the latest happenings in the business world. Not only this, it is of utmost importance that you express and implement your knowledge as well. You should have the ability to think on your feet and make prompt application of your knowledge when the situation demands.
(5) Ability to break down complex problems into simple parts
Having management consulting career in India, you will be dealing with complex business problems. However, let the enormity of the problems not get the better of you. You need to have a problem-solving mindset. One that has the ability to quickly break the problems into solvable chunks and into simpler bits. You need to strategize well to address the business case. Even with all your knowledge and experience, if you do not know how to approach a problem, then you will struggle to be a management consultant role.
For example, your client company, a shoe manufacturer, is losing market share to its competitor and doesn’t have money to innovate or ramp up its advertisement cost. Your approach to the problem should be three-pronged: (1) How to expand market share in the short run without spending too much on advertisement (2) Study its competitor’s strategy (3) How to create a provision for more funds in future,
(6) Possess good judgement skills
Understanding a problem and approaching it well is half the battle won. But to provide a practical and customised solution, you need to have sound judgement skills. A combination of perception, objectivity, analysis and patience does the trick. It is important for the consultant not to jump to any conclusions but take time to analyse the situation, consider facts, hold a discussion with peers and management and then take a decision.
Conclusion: Can you help businesses achieve their goals?
This is obviously not an exhaustive list, but it gives a fair idea of how the mindset of a management consultant needs to be. It is the diverse nature of the job that makes it challenging as well as rewarding at the same time.
So, do you think you have it in you to build a great management consulting career in India? Do you have the skills to help businesses achieve their goals?