This article was contributed by Bhagwati Prasad, Professor and Associate Dean, Healthcare Management, Welingkar Institute of Management.
A lot of millennials find jobs in consulting firms very attractive. Many aspire to work for the top consulting firms but very few are successful in landing a job in a consulting firm. As a consultant, you will be required to help clients in solving their business issues. You will carry out research, meet client’s employees, identify issues, and present findings and recommendations to the client.
Here are some tips to be successful consultants:
- You are the product: First and foremost, as a consultant, you do not market a product or a service. You yourself are the product and the knowledge that you bring to the table is valuable to the client. A lot of the points below will make sense after you have understood this.
- Finance acumen: Irrespective of your specialization or electives in MBA, develop good financial and business acumen. You should know not only know how to read financial statements but also understand the financial implications of decisions and recommendations.
- All-round business knowledge: At the start of consulting career, you are expected to work with clients in all industries. Therefore, be flexible to work in all industries and functions. It is essential to develop an understanding of all functions and an ability to connect dots across all industry sectors.
- Critical thinking and problem-solving skills: Critical thinking and non-linear thinking abilities are extremely important for consulting jobs. One simple way to develop these abilities is to read a lot and asking “5 Whys”.
- Presentation: Having knowledge is not enough.The ability to translate knowledge and ideas through good communication and presentations is necessary. This will help in gaining a client’s confidence in your abilities.
- Resilience: Responding to clients’ needs and meeting deadlines means working long hours and dealing with constant high pressure. It will require an ability to never give up to sustain in consulting roles.
- Networking and Social Quotient: You need interpersonal and networking skills as you will be required to partner with a variety of experts to solve a client’s issues. Even if you don’t have answers, you should be able to quickly get experts on board who can provide solutions.
- Digital quotient: In addition to IQ (Intelligence Quotient), EQ (Emotional Quotient), SQ (Social Quotient), you will need DQ (Digital Quotient). That means you need the ability to apply emerging technologies (artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotic process automation, chatbots, internet of things, blockchain, cloud technology, etc) to solve client’s issues and for the transformation of businesses.
- Appearance: You should groom well from head to toe as that forms the first and lasting impression. Carry all papers in a business briefcase.
- Physical well-being: To be able to cope up with the pressures of consulting roles, you also need to look after your body and mind. Ensure to exercise, meditate and get good sleep. Take occasional vacations to between busy periods.
The views expressed are the author’s personal views.