In a management consulting career, you have the opportunity to take on many roles to partner with clients on their toughest challenges. You get to learn from the best of the best in many fields, and from day one you gain diverse work experiences in a variety of industries. But you’re also expected to have a wide range of skills – problem solver and strategist, expert communicator, project manager, etc.
There are great rewards in this profession. Finding a culture that helps a new consultant grow and thrive is also key to reaping those rewards.
For those considering a career in management consulting, INC. contributor, Rhett Power, shares 6 tips as you start out in a management consulting career and what to look for in an organization, quoting Credera’s Lauren Hamilton on her perspective on working for a growth-focused firm.
1. Find a growth-focused culture.
Power explains that finding the right place to begin a career in consulting starts with a culture where executives care about their employees’ growth. He mentions Credera as a place where consultants have opportunities to grow:
“Look for signals that top-level leaders take an interest in entry-level workers’ careers. At most companies, executives consider other responsibilities more important. When young team members, such as Lauren Hamilton of Credera, are given early opportunities to gain exposure with client executives, it’s a good sign that a company cares about new hires’ development.”
2. Differentiate through specialization.
You can’t do it all. Finding specific passions and niche skills will help young consultants stand out as their career develops.
“Rather than try to be everything to everyone, use your first few years in consulting to develop niche skills that few early-career consultants possess.”
3. Learn strategy above all.
Keeping the bigger picture in mind and knowing how decisions will play out in the long run is key to your success as a consultant.
“According to the 2019 High-End Talent Report by Business Talent Group, ‘strategy’ is the most in-demand skill for independent consultants. Independent or employed, every management consultant must be able to predict how their decisions might play out.”
4. Come prepared.
Do your homework! Learn who you’re working with, key things about them, and impress your teams with your attention to detail.
“Impress colleagues and clients by familiarizing yourself with marquee partners and projects before the first meeting. Know the names and positions of everyone involved. And, of course, proofread emails for style and grammatical errors. Clients might ignore such mistakes after relationship-building, but don’t expect it as a new consultant.”
5. Cultivate a personal brand.
Take the time to invest in your personal brand. This includes managing your social platforms, deciding what you want to be an expert on, and adding value in those spaces.
“Building a positive personal brand might sound like a back-burner activity for new management consultants, but executives know better. Business leaders consider reputation damage their No. 1 risk concern, according to a Deloitte report.”
6. Never take relationships for granted.
Don’t take any relationship for granted – make a point to be well connected in your communities and offices.
“Rather than focus solely on connections with the high and mighty, get to know the workers who keep the gears turning. Assistants and planners are as responsible for executives’ schedules and contracts as the executives themselves — if not more so.”
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