I was influenced as a young BBA undergrad student by a professor who had been a Management Consultant in New York. The stories and experiences seemed fascinating and the lifestyle of moving from challenge to challenge as a sought after expert advisor was just too compelling.
Though I later moved to a graduate econometrics program, I found that the technical and analytical skills that I had developed within the sciences were just as applicable within the domain of management consulting as my business degree. Not long after I was a newly minted management consultant, "living the dream" at McKinsey & Company.
Like many consultants, I am a problem solver at heart. As my area of practice centres predominantly on financial modelling and analytics, I am able to apply modern approaches, methods, and tools to common problems...that seem to be ANYTHING but common to my customer.
Consulting has, for many, become either a "four-letter word" for over-paid know-it-alls or something that has such a broad definition that it doesn't mean anything at all any more. I think it is incumbent on all of us as a community to change perceptions of our profession, by having a sharp focus on delivering and accelerating real value to the customer, and in the process being a fierce advocate and partner in their success.
So many...I'm stumped! I do love working with large well-known brands because the work and the solutions may not be sexy from my kids' perspective...but the client might be. I'd have to say that working with Nike and adidas are tops on that list, as well as several defense contractors that we work with, because, well they make "things that go fast, and things that go 'boom'".
Listening. As the Greek Stoic adage goes, "you have two ears and one mouth for a reason". I've found that as a "visual thinker" I construct a mental picture of business problems that are communicated verbally. And one of the things that consultants are often able to do naturally is to identify patterns. Patterns in problems. Patterns in the circumstances, Patterns in the objectives. Patterns in the solutions. There's a lot of value in recognizing these patterns and then matching them up. You don't need a unique, started-from-scratch solution in order to provide value.
Only one book? No problem – the Bible. It is an understatement to say that the most read "book" (or set of books in this case) of all time is "deep", but it certainly has plenty of content to keep me engaged. My luxury item probably would be one of my automatic watches. I'd hate to keep time with a battery-powered quartz if I'm going to be there for a while.
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