Management consulting is one of those careers that is hard to articulate and explain. It is not banking and it is not accounting so what exactly is it? What are the working hours like and is it only for Economics or other social science students?
What is being a Management Consultant really like? Find out below — Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
René and I often get asked lots of questions by students about being a management consultant so we thought we would answer some of the most common ones here as part of our #StudentSeries blogs.
You can check out our previous blog from this series covering How to Make the most of your University Experience below.
In this blog post, we answer some common questions providing insight into life as a management consultant. The first three questions and answers are here and the final three over on René’s Medium blog.
1. Why did you want to be a management consultant?
MA: For me, deciding to become a management consultant was via a process of trial and error. I had experience doing internships in other financial services companies and for me, the balance of client-facing and team-based work as a consultant appealed to me. I would advise students deciding on what they want to do to not stand still but to instead try as much as possible via work experience or at the very least reading and studying the options available to them.
RG: Prior to working in Management consulting I spent 2 years at a US Investment Bank and one of the things I really craved was variety. Variety in opportunities, what I was learning, the people I worked with. Because of this, when I decided I wanted to do something different, consulting was the obvious choice. In the year and a half I’ve been in consulting, I’ve worked across two different clients, acting as a project manager, technical support analyst, focusing on User experience, customer channels, Adobe experience manager, and the Open Banking regulation. I think Management Consulting is a great career choice if, like me, you like to try different things and maybe you’re still undecided about the industry and skills you’d like to specialize in
2. What does your typical day look like?
MA: This is a hard question to answer as every day is truly different as a management consultant! On average I aim to get to work for 8.30am to have breakfast and address any emails I haven’t answered first thing (or sometimes during my morning commute on the train). I then usually have a few meetings with my team as well as one or two with the client. Overall, I would say preparation is key as sometimes the day goes by so quickly and you have conversations on multiple different topics. As a result, you learn to manage your energy pretty quickly
RG: I agree with Mary in that every day is different so there isn’t really a typical day and a lot of it is very role dependent. When I was in a project management role, I spent most of my days on calls, bringing various teams together to get updates or I was leading/attending workshops. In my current role as a technical support analyst, I respond to queries from the client via email/phone and provide technical training sessions.
3. What would you say is the best thing about the job?
MA: The best thing about my job is the exciting and interesting projects I get to work on. These are often projects with big reputable companies and I love getting an insight into the firm’s culture and helping them solve problems. To me, consulting is great because you are always trying to solve complex problems and preempt what the client truly needs. It feels great to be part of that kind of forward-thinking work.
RG: The best thing about my job is that working at a technology consultancy, I get to be part of some really innovative projects and work with people who really try to think outside of the box and help clients to. Working with different clients means I’m exposed to different working cultures and ways of doing things, which I really appreciate and can learn from.
Hopefully, this is an insightful post for students who are interested in pursuing a career as a Management consultant or those looking for a career change. If you have any follow-up questions for either of us feel free to reach out.
Lily Okorokwo shares her thoughts on the second Now You’re Talking brunch.
On Saturday 3rd November 2018, 14 females from various careers came together to discuss goal-setting with Urenna Okonkwo, founder of Cashmere. The event was organised by Now You’re Talking, a community for millennial female leaders, Urenna shared her journey on being a tech founder and tips on goal setting.
Flyer for Power Women’s Brunch
What Cashmere allows millennials to do is to save up enough money for their luxury trips and luxury products. If you’re looking for a smart way to buy a Gucci bag in the future, you can begin saving for it without breaking the bank or going bankrupt. Her journey like many other founders started when she saw a gap in the market between expensive luxury items and millennial money. She also shared some incredible tips on being an entrepreneur and running her own business.
Attendees at the brunchHere are the top lessons on goal-setting from the event:
Clear Planning — Always plan in detail and seek help, you can’t do it all alone. Look at your strengths and your weaknesses and understand what you can outsource. Be eager to learn and receive feedback
Goal Setting — Always write goals down
Plan For The Week Ahead — Be very detailed in your planning even up to each hour of the day. At the end of the week, go through your list of achievements and understand whether you have achieved your goals of the week!
Be Mindful Of Your Time — We all know how social media can be a big distraction if we do not manage our time properly. Urenna suggests we set time apart for social media use and also to track the time we spend on social media.
Calls And Email Are Better Than Meeting Up — Is the meeting absolutely necessary? Can you discuss the matter over the phone? How much of your time would this take? Urenna explained how she deals with time wasters or people who want to meet up for the purpose of meeting up to discuss “ideas”. She normally asks if they can send her a list of questions on the business idea/agenda of points to discuss in the meeting. If the questions or points can be answered via email, she sends her responses to save time and energy
Schedule Time On Your Calendar — Urenna suggests that Calendly (free meeting scheduling app) has helped her to manage her schedules for meetings and calls.
Take Your Mental Health Seriously — Happiness planner has been useful to create time and awareness of her mental well-being.
Have Your Accountability Partners — You’re the average of 5 people around you. Your accountability partners are those who are equally as ambitious as you are and with whom you share goals. They will check on you to make sure you’re on track to achieve your goals
Document Your Achievement — She finds that documenting her achievements makes her feel better and is also a form of self-care to acknowledge your hard work.
Believe In What You Do Before Taking A Leap — Social media can be quite misleading in terms of what people choose to share and not share about their journey to success. She agrees that it can be difficult to take the leap, but it’s also very rewarding. In her own words “if it’s what you want and what you believe in, go for it!”
Now You’re Talking will be running events in 2019 across London. Not just for the wisdom being dropped across the table but also for the new friends & advice you can gain. Want to learn how you can effectively set goals and achieve them? Keep an eye out for future events here.
Think of your future self today and do what you would do as that person, attend the events she would attend, do the things she would do and meet the people she would meet.
This blog post first appeared on Lily’s blog, The Glowing Colours which focuses on Art, fashion & business. Check out her blog here.
The end of the year is my favourite time of the year. It is a great time for both reflection and celebration. There is no better time to ask yourself and others about resolutions, goals, successes and lessons learnt and this all makes for great conversation. As part of my end of year wind down process, I also evaluate my career (as well as my budget tracker, my new year’s resolutions, books I have read etc.)
Therefore I thought I would share the 6 career questions I ask myself with you. A great way to take a moment to pause and reflect and either answer them in your head or jot down answers in a notebook.
6 Career Questions to ask yourself before the end of 2018
Enjoy and have a happy new year when it arrives!
1. What new skills did you learn in 2018?
Why ask this question? I am a big fan of the kaizen (continuous improvement) approach to life so I think this is a great question to ask yourself to think about the learning journey you have been on in 2018. Anything you couldn’t do this time last year that you can now? Think about both the technical and non-technical skills you have developed throughout the year.
You will quickly realise if you have de-prioritised learning in 2018 (if you can’t name many skills) so also think about the skills you would like to develop in 2019.
2. What are your 3 greatest Career lessons from 2018?
Why ask this question? Another question I love asking myself is about my 3 greatest career lessons from the past year. Usually, there are some surprises and also some nuggets that you hope to never forget. You will find that lessons learnt can come out of both successes and ‘failures’.
Thinking aid: Ask yourself what you learnt from particular low points you had this year. What one word would you use to summarise X project or Y experience? This reflection should lead you to the lesson or lessons learnt.
3. What have you accomplished in your career this year?
Why ask this question? If you are anything like me, once you have achieved something you are already looking towards the next goal or milestone. This question is great to remind you about all that you have done in the past year at work. Try to think of at least 3 or 4 accomplishments and don’t just go straight for the notable milestones like promotions or role changes.
Thinking aid: If you find this one hard, flick through your emails or work notebook to see all the tasks you have been working on throughout the year.
4. What daily/weekly/monthly activities improve your mood?
Why ask this question? Work-life balance or work-life integration is so much easier said than done. When it is needed the most is often when you don’t even have the time to think about how to improve it. That is why I think it is a good idea to have a list of daily, weekly and monthly activities that you know improve your mood and can refer to when required. For instance, a daily activity could be a 5-minute walk during your working day, a weekly activity could be meal-prepping and a monthly activity could be going to a museum or a park.
Thinking aid: If you need other ideas for activities to improve your mood, I wrote a blog covering 12 wellness tips for millennials including breathing exercises and listening to music.
Why ask this question? I also find it useful to ask some forward-looking questions. This question should help you think about your medium-term career goals. Where would you hope to be in 5 years’ time and as a result is there anything you do that you should stop, start or change as we enter into the new year?
Thinking aid: I would imagine holistically what you want your life to be like in 5 years’ time and even vision board it if you haven’t already. Try and keep the focus on your career but think about how your envisioned future career would impact your personal goals and decided what you will and won’t compromise on. In the back of your mind, you should be asking yourself — What does success look like to me?
6. What do you want to be known for in your career?
Why ask this question? A great question to remind you about your ultimate aims and goals. What do you want to be known for or what do you want to achieve with your career? This should help provide direction and vision for planning ahead and the opportunities you say yes or no to going forward.
Thinking aid: Think about your big career aspirations and why you entered your chosen field in the first place. It may also be useful to write down your dream title or job description so you can refer to it whenever you feel you need the reminder.
I hope you enjoyed this post and that you prioritise taking the time out to answer these questions before the New Year.