Your first job after undergrad or business school has the potential to establish your long-term career trajectory. And with employers competing aggressively for skilled talent, numerous rewarding career paths are available to you.
One such rewarding path is management consulting. And below are four reasons why it could be the perfect fit.
1. You’ll master your problem-solving skills
Management consultants are hired to solve clients’ most challenging and pressing problem such as market penetration strategy and M&A due-diligence. Newly minted consultants get to learn and experience an exceptionally structured and hypothesis-driven approach to problem solving. Problem-solving frameworks such as Mutually Exclusive Collectively Exhaustive (MECE) and 80/20 rule tend to become part of a consultants’ daily vernacular. So, if problem solving excites you, management consulting will offer ample opportunity to hone your skills.
2. You’ll gain exposure to a variety of industries
A typical strategy engagement lasts for three to four months. M&A due-diligence engagements are even shorter, and implementation engagements can be longer. In any case, management consultants don’t stay with one client forever, meaning consulting offers the opportunity to learn about many different industries and lets you dabble in them without making a long-term professional commitment. If you’re not sure what industry to align yourself after college, management consulting could offer you the platform to try out multiple industries before committing to one.
3. You’ll embrace life-long learning
Since consultants work with clients for brief periods of time, no two management consulting engagements are identical. Furthermore, clients pay top dollar for consultants, expecting them to offer meaningful insights and actionable plans—you’re expected to quickly get up to speed with the client’s market position, competitive advantages, financial standing, and overall business model. This offers a unique opportunity to embrace life-long learning. If you consider yourself an inquisitive person, and the process of learning fascinates you, management consulting might be the perfect path.
4. You’ll master the 3Cs: client management, communication, and collaboration
The essence of client management is understanding your clients’ needs—those your clients articulate by and those they don’t—as well as creating a message in the form of a story that resonates with your clients. Another key requirement to be successful in the consulting industry is the ability to present ideas backed by data with utmost conviction and clarity—that is, you need excellent communications skills.
You also need to be able to collaborate. Depending upon the nature of the engagement, three to five consultants are dedicated to each engagement (and for implementation engagements, the number can be significantly higher). In other words, a management consultant is never an army of one. Therefore, if you tend to embrace teamwork, thrive in a collaborative environment, and have the desire to develop dexterity in the art of communicating ideas, management consulting could be an ideal career option.
Recipient of the Presidential Award from The White House, Vibhu Sinha is an intrapreneurial and bottom-line driven senior management professional with experience in leadership roles across banking and capital markets. He has advised institutional clients on corporate strategy, idea generation and pitching, financial planning and analysis, M&A, investor relations, and ESG. Vibhu developed his acumen in Behavioral Psychology at Harvard University as part of a master's degree program. He also earned an M.B.A. from UCLA Anderson.
In management consulting, you’re expected to quickly get up to speed with a client’s market position, competitive advantages, financial standing, and overall business model. Clients pay top dollar for consultants, expecting them to offer meaningful insights and actionable plans.
“New hire’s remorse”—at least under this name—is a recent phenomenon that we broached last week. Also called “shift shock,” it arises when an employee regrets taking a job because it isn’t the right fit or is completely different from what was expected.