First and foremost I want to address the myth that all high achieving students have about consulting, “You need talent to be a consultant!”. I completely dismiss this notion and would like to replace it with another idea, “You need no special talent, you only need to be passionately curious!”. Curiosity drives intuition and that’s exactly what consultants thrive on – Business Intuition.
Not too long ago, I ditched the daily milkshake that I used to grab on my way to work from a little corner shop near my office. For 3 long years, milkshakes were my daily drug, but all of a sudden I stopped buying them, and so did others. Do you want to know why? Keep reading along.
What a consumer perceives about a product, a company must foresee in advance. A consumer does not necessarily know what they need, and so a company has a unique opportunity to create a need for its consumers. As a result, it is the responsibility of the company to understand the consumer more than the consumer understands themselves.
Going back to my milkshake story, can you guess why customers stopped buying milkshakes and why the company’s sales hit rock bottom?
Was there a new milk bar in town?
Or had there been an unfortunate change to the milkshake’s recipe?
Neither of these were the case.
So, what had changed?
As it turned out, the only change that had been introduced was a change in the design of the milkshake glass. To make it more attractive, the company had created a new plastic glass that was a treat for the eyes but not for hands. It was much heavier than the previous one.
Now, you might be wondering, why is it important to understand the design of the milkshake glass? As long as it looks beautiful, why worry about the weight?
Well, let me introduce you to the world of numbers.
About 67.8% of the total milkshake sales were between 7 am to 10 am on weekdays. Of those who bought the shakes, 92% of the customers were working professionals who took the shake on-the-go, and 73% of those morning milkshake lovers travelled by public transport while sipping their shake. The new heavy milkshake glass made it too inconvenient for people to carry while hopping on and off of trains. As a result, the change in glass design directly affected the customers who bought more than 60% of the shop’s milkshakes.
The company could not figure out the cause of its declining sales until it consulted a leading management consulting firm that performed a customer analysis and identified the needs of the milk bar’s largest revenue generating customer segment.
Was this rocket science? Or was an advanced degree required to fix this problem? I can’t see anything here but simple business intuition and an ability to understand the customer.
Voila! Consulting comes easy. Doesn’t it?
Well, not really! Simple business intuition is something that takes time to develop as you learn about your clients’ vision, their positioning in the market, and the needs of their customers.
So why choose a career in consulting?
Well, if you found yourself curious to know why the milkshakes weren’t selling, then you really might be suited to consulting. A career where you seek solutions to seemingly complex problems which often have common sense solutions; where you have the opportunity to fine-tune or transform a client’s business; and where you are constantly challenged to go beyond your intellectual limits to provide advice on entirely new businesses, products and markets.
If you are attracted to a dynamic yet demanding work environment, then consulting might be the field for you.
Bhavya Gandhi is passionate about solving business problems and creating an impact in the lives of people for both economic as well as human good.