Finance vs Strategy

The financier cares about the next 3 months or less.

The strategist cares about the next 3 years or more.

The financier wants the deal to close as soon as possible so that he can earn his bonus.

The strategist is open to taking action if it will strengthen the firm’s position over time, and a better outcome can’t be achieved in some other way.

Pushed to his limits, the financier will find ways to package debt in more creative ways. While the strategist will carefully assess the situation and consider various ways to respond or adapt the approach.

A successful firm will need to pursue sound strategy and, at the same time, stay on top of its finances. However, the outcome that results when the leader focuses primarily on one or the other could not be more different.

Leaders who have exhibited a strong “financier” mindset include Jeff Skilling, Ken Lay and Bernie Madoff.

Leaders who have played the role of the “strategist” with gusto include Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet and Richard Branson.

The conflict between the financier and the strategist is a very real one, and must be fought by each of us.

The tension between short term needs and the long and more difficult road towards building a sustainable position from which you can consistently solve problems and delight people.

Consulting Applications

ARE you an aspiring consultant with an interest in pursuing a career in the management consulting industry?

Breaking into the management consulting industry is extremely difficult, and so with this in mind we have produced a number of free consulting resources to improve your chances of success.

Where To Apply?

The first problem that applicants face is knowing where to apply.

University careers services and consulting clubs are often an invaluable source of information about consulting firms and application deadlines. However, this will not always be the case. Some university careers services are under funded, some consulting clubs have different priorities, and most consulting firms will only target applicants from a select group of universities.

To get you pointed in the right direction, we have produced nine excellent guidebooks which provide an outline of the most prominent consulting firms in America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Africa.

Please click the links below to access these free consulting resources:

  1. Consulting Firms in America,
  2. Consulting Firms in Canada,
  3. Consulting Firms in Australia,
  4. Consulting Firms in New Zealand,
  5. Consulting Firms in the United Kingdom,
  6. Consulting Firms in India,
  7. Consulting Firms in Singapore,
  8. Consulting Firms in Hong Kong, and
  9. Consulting Firms in South Africa.

How To Apply?

The second problem that applicants face is knowing how to apply.

Students often ask questions like:

  1. How do I prepare a cover letter?
  2. How do I structure my CV?
  3. How do I highlight my experience in a way that will resonate with recruiters?

When it comes to consulting applications the stakes are extremely high, and so to help you prepare a successful application we have developed some indispensable consulting application resources, which you can access by clicking the links below:

  1. How to Create a Winning Résumé
  2. Template Résumé
  3. How to Create a Killer Cover Letter
  4. Template Cover Letter

Need Application Help?

The free consulting resources described above will help you prepare a strong application. However, if you want to get an edge on the competition, then we are pleased to let you know that we are now running a professional careers service that can arrange for a consulting careers expert to review your application.

Why get help from an expert?

Three reasons.

Firstly, the cost of an undergraduate degree is significant, typically 3 years plus tens of thousands of dollars in expenses and foregone earnings. Applying for consulting jobs without getting help from an expert places your entire investment at risk.

Secondly, top consulting firms receive thousands of applications each year, and recruiters spend only a few minutes reviewing each application. Our consulting careers experts know what recruiters are looking for, and so can help your application stand out in the crowd.

Thirdly, you can access the careers service for as little as $30 (that is, just 5 beers) and we provide a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Exceptional value for money at no risk to you. Seeking support from a consulting careers expert is a prudent step to help you de-risk your application.

To access the careers service, please click here.

Excuses or Solutions

We each face obstacles at times that prevent us from achieving our goals as quickly and effortlessly as we would like.

In your professional life, difficulties may result from factors outside your control: fierce competition, lack of customer demand, or a new well-heeled company entering your industry.

Hurdles can also result from factors a little closer to home: outdated skills, insufficient experience, or a weak reputation.

Obstacles may be unavoidable, but we do have a choice about how we respond to them.

One option is to search for excuses, stories that make us feel safe by allowing us to avoid the difficulty by giving up on the dream. “Success is impossible, I’m too old, I’m too young, I’m too busy, I’m too tired, I’m too inexperienced.”

If you are in the habit of searching for them then excuses will always be easy to find, but they come at a cost.

By adopting excuses you are making a choice to live in a more constrained world, to accept defeat in advance, and to rule out the most favorable versions of the future that are open to you.

There is another option.

By clinging to the possibility of success, however unlikely it may seem, you give yourself the chance to learn and grow from the experience.

What are you trying to achieve? What is standing in your way? And what steps can you take to bolster your position or move in the right direction?

A relentless search for solutions will keep you on the front foot and allow you to discover openings that may have remained hidden had you not taken the trouble to look.

Social Climbers

The problem with being a social climber is that you erode your base of support.

Your customers or boss may love you, but if you actively disdain your subordinates, employees, suppliers and other members of the community, you will erode over time the foundation upon which future success can be reliably built.

All stakeholders have value, not just the ones who can reward you most immediately with money, praise and recognition.

Happy New Year!

Happy new year, and best wishes for a prosperous and productive 2015.

Cavett Robert, founder of America’s National Speakers Association, once said that “character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed.”

May you have the character and conviction to persevere with your plans for the year ahead.