The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Consulting

Today, in this article, you’ll get to know about one of the most secretive industries in the world. 

You’ll first get familiar with what you do on the job then go over the lifestyle and hours, hierarchy, and lastly, the pros and cons to help you figure out if Consulting is right for you. 

What You Do in Consulting:

All right, let's discuss what you do in Consulting. In Consulting you're typically working on one project for one client at a time, and your work can vary widely, depending on the type of project size of the client and the industry. 

There are an endless number of types of projects which can also depend on the type of consulting firm you are at. But digging into some of the common types of consulting projects. Here are some of the main ones under strategy we have entering a new market category of products or customer segments developing a plan for chain production, sourcing or sales, or transforming a company's business model. 

Then there are performance Improvement projects which can include operations, Improvement, cost reduction, pricing strategy, and value chain projects. Then there are M&A projects which can involve M&A strategy due diligence or post-merger integration projects. 

Consulting projects can range anywhere from a few weeks to even a year or longer. But on average, they last a few months each. So as you can imagine, you'll just have a hugely broad range of exposures to different projects Industries, clients.

So that's one of the great things about Consulting is you just get so much exposure to a lot of different types of businesses as a consultant. Your work varies widely day-to-day. But generally, you're digging deep into company-specific data and financials in Excel or gathering information through qualitative interviews in the forms of surveys calls or focus groups. And after analyzing large sets of information and data, consultants extract the key takeaways and create presentations that provide strategic recommendations that can help improve a company's business. 

Lifestyle and Hours for Consultants:

Now, let’s talk about the lifestyle and hours for consultants in terms of your lifestyle, you're generally working from Monday to Thursday at the client site, and often are being flown business class to your client site. And you also get to stay at nice hotels that are fully paid for. You fly back home on Thursday evenings, which usually means a slightly shorter workday. 

On Fridays, Most consultants after a while don't even go into the office and have shorter workdays that end between 1 to 5 pm on how busy your project is as a note on travel because of covid-19 over the past one to two years or so. 

Most Consulting projects have all really just been done remotely, and there's been no travel, but over the next few months to a year or so travel will likely come back regarding your hours. consultants will work anywhere from 50 to 75 hours a week. And so really busy days will end somewhere around midnight to 1:00 am, but you'll never have to work weekends, which is a huge plus in comparison to something like investment banking. 

What's also great about the Consulting lifestyle is that when you're in between projects, meaning when you have just finished a project and you're waiting for your next one usually won't have that much to do. 

You’ll work, maybe on a firm initiative, or do something like plan a social event, or you may fill in for another consultant who's sick. But in general, you don't have that much work to do. Not intense when you're in between projects, and if there's nothing to do, then you just get the day, or even a few days of the week off.


Hierarchy in Consulting:

Next up, let's talk about the hierarchy and compensation in Consulting, starting with the hierarchy, consulting firms use different titles. But there are generally six levels from business analyst to partner. 

The number of years you stay at each position also varies depending on performance. But you usually get promoted every two to three years on average. One thing to note is that after the business analyst level, it's usually tough to get promoted to a consultant. So most either Exit consulting or go get an MBA and if they're lucky, The Firm will pay for the MBA as long as they come back and work there for two years. 

Pros and Cons of Consulting:

Let's next help figure out if consulting is for you by going into the top three pros and cons, starting with the pros. The first is that you become a pretty Savvy business thinker because you're helping companies formulate their strategy and you also get a lot of exposure to different Industries and top-level management. As a result, you also have great exit opportunities as a consultant, because you have a stamp of approval that you're able to handle a job like Consulting.

You also just developed so many great personal and professional skills and so whether you want to become a product manager, focus on strategy at an industry firm, or if you want to go into venture capital or private Equity, the world is pretty much your oyster after Consulting.

The second important Pro of Consulting is just a huge amount of diversity and exposure, you'll be working on a variety of different types of projects with clients ranging from small ones to Fortune 500 companies. And you'll also be working on various types of industries, whether it's health care or Tech. 

So getting this huge amount of exposure is especially great. If you're someone who gets easily only bored and wants to experiment and try out a lot of different types of things in business. Last but not least, the perks in consulting are absolutely amazing. 

So while perks are a bit superficial to have, pro consulting firms do their best to keep their employees happy.

Next, moving on to the cons. The first is that there is a lack of implementation and so while you do work on a lot of projects with businesses and it can get you do get your hands a little bit dirty in terms of working with management, you're not thereafter the recommendation to see it and make sure that your entire strategy, that your proposed gets done. 

As a result, a lot of consultants kind of get the feeling that working on a lot of PowerPoint presentations and telling a management team to do something, but not seeing all of that come to fruition can get a little bit tiring over time. So that's a huge con for consulting. 

Second, in normal times, when consultants are traveling, traveling does get pretty lonely and tiring and most consultants prefer not to travel and want to kind of stay in their home City. Because if you think about it, traveling from Monday to Thursday to somewhere else also means that you're paying for rent at your home City, where you're not really there most of the time, and always catching flights and going back to a nice hotel. But just being by you can get pretty lonely. 

The third con is that there can be a lack of predictability from working with different clients and bosses and cities and different Industries, like all the time, moving from one project to another. It can mean that your life, or what you can expect to do at work, will be constantly changing. And so this can be a pro like discussed earlier, but can also be a con depending on your personality.

Saksham Gupta CTO, Director

An engineering graduate from Germany, specializations include Artificial Intelligence, Augmented/Virtual/Mixed Reality and Digital Transformation. Have experience working with Mercedes in the field of digital transformation and data analytics. Currently heading the European branch office of Kamtech, responsible for digital transformation, VR/AR/MR projects, AI/ML projects, technology transfer between EU and India and International Partnerships.

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/saksham-gupta-de/