What Do Consultants Do Each Day?

What Do Consultants Do Each Day

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Consultants work on projects of varying lengths, and are often required to travel to work on site with the client.

The specific tasks that a consultant undertakes will depend on which firm she works for, the project requirements, as well as her level of seniority and experience.

Projects typically follow a predictable cycle which involves five stages: pitching, hypothesis generation, research and analysis, reporting, and implementation.

1. Pitching

Pitching involves selling the firm and its consultants to prospective clients, and includes not only sending the final proposal but also conducting industry research, investigating prospective clients, and making sales calls. Much of the pitching process at consulting firms is handled at partner level.

Consultants who are “on the beach” (that is, not staffed on a client project) may spend time researching prospective clients and supporting the firm’s marketing and business development efforts.

2. Hypothesis Generation

Prior to commencing any research or analysis, most consulting firms start by developing a case hypothesis about the specific business problem that needs to be solved. This may require a few days of brainstorming involving the consulting project team and members of the client organisation.

3. Research and Analysis

The consulting team will perform research and analysis to test its case hypothesis. This may involve gathering information from the client, conducting market surveys, attending client meetings, interviewing employees and building quantitative models.

The consulting team will use its research findings to uncover insights and develop a set of recommendations.

4. Reporting

The consulting team will usually communicate with the client organisation throughout the project at various intervals: daily, weekly, monthly.

The purpose of ongoing communication is to keep the client informed about the evolving hypothesis, get buy in about key assumptions, and make sure the consulting team is on track to meet client expectations.

The consulting team will often conclude its project by delivering a final report accompanied by a polished PowerPoint presentation.

5. Implementation

Providing recommendations is often not the end of the story, and clients often engage consultants to help implement the recommendations produced by the consulting project. Depending on the nature of the project, implementation may involve project management, software development, systems integration and testing, or post-merger integration.

[For more information on the management consulting industry, download “The HUB’s Guide to Management Consulting“.]

Scarcity or Abundance

Not enough, or more than you need.

It’s generally one, or the other.

Are you working for the money, with grand plans for what you will do when you one day finally have “enough”?

Or are you just happy to be here, every day, because you can’t believe they are paying you to do what you’d happily do for free?

Are you waiting until you have the money you think you need, before you start living the life you want?

Or, do you look each day for new ways to increase the impact you can have with the resources you already have available to you?

Do you believe that the only way for you to win is if other people lose?

Or, do you view life as a chance to collaborate, and strangers just as friends who you haven’t yet had the chance to meet?

In some sense, wealth is a mindset.

And since a mindset is something which is free for each of us to adopt, then why not choose the way of thinking which ensures that you will always have more than you need. The approach which says “I love what I do!”, “I love finding new ways to contribute!” and “tomorrow is a new chance to do it all again!”.

Types of Consulting

Types of Consulting

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There are many different types of consulting.

As an aspiring consultant, you would be well advised to understand your options so that you can make an informed decision about which kind of consulting is right for you.

Here are five (5) of the main types of consulting that might interest you:

  1. Strategy: Think BCG, McKinsey and Bain (although it is worth noting that these firms are doing less and less “pure” strategy work and more operations, implementation and restructuring). Strategy consulting is the kind of consulting that you probably think of when people say “management consulting”. Strategy consultants work with the CEO and senior management to address strategic problems including declining profitability, growth strategy, market entry, product development, or responding to a competitive threat.
  2. Operations: While strategy consultants give recommendations about what a client “should” do, operations consultants help clients actually improve existing operations. Operations consultants might work on projects relating to supply chain management including streamlining procurement or improving manufacturing efficiency.
  3. Information Technology: In an increasingly competitive digital world organisations are increasingly looking for digital solutions. IT consultants work with the CTO and senior management to develop software solutions to improve efficiency and organisational performance.
  4. Human Resources: For many firms wages are their biggest expense and people are their biggest asset. HR consultants help organisations attract, select, train, compensate and assess employees.
  5. Economic: Economic consultants normally work with government and law firms to provide economic forecasts and expert evidence based on statistical analysis and econometric models.

[For more information on the management consulting industry, download our “Guide to Management Consulting“.]

5 Reasons It’s Okay To Say “No”

  1. If you are using your talents in a way that interests you for the benefit of other people, then that’s a good thing. Charities, non-profits and religions may come to you for aid, but it’s valid to refuse if your gifts to them would detract from the good work you are already doing
  2. Giving more than you can manage can create an imbalance in your relationships with other people, which can damage or destroy those relationships when you discover that they do not reciprocate to the same extent
  3. Saying “no” marks a boundary beyond which you are not willing or able to go right now, which helps to demonstrate your independence and enhance your identity
  4. It makes sense to put your own Oxygen mask on first. Helping other people when your own affairs are not in order can cause harm to you or harm to other people who may need to step in and rescue you
  5. One of the three necessary ingredients of a have strong personal, professional or corporate strategy is “focus”. Steve Jobs once said that “[p]eople think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”