Top Management Consulting Firms in Asia-Pacific in 2014

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Business people in a meeting

In order to effectively meet the demands of rapidly growing businesses, management consulting firms have begun to specialize their services.

Consulting practices are becoming more varied due to demand in specialization. These practices are composed of knowledge in staple industries such as health care and finance, as well as major departments found within a company including human resources and operations.

The Asia-Pacific region has played a key role in the global market. Large companies in this area have been supporting leading businesses in the fields of manufacturing, outsourcing and technology (just to name a few).

Economic Consulting

Economic consulting uses advanced data in the various fields of economics (applied, mathematical and analytical) to determine solutions for company performance. Advice rendered from top consulting firms can be applied in a number of sectors and business-related concerns.

Top 10 Firms for Economic Consulting (Asia-Pacific)

  1. McKinsey & Company Asia
  2. The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Asia
  3. Bain & Company Asia, NERA Economic Consulting Asia
  4. KPMG (Asia Consulting Practice)
  5. EY (Ernst & Young) Consulting Practice Asia, PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) Asia (Consulting)
  6. Booz & Company Asia
  7. Deloitte (Asia Consulting Practice)
  8. Nomura Research Institute Ltd. Asia
  9. Mercer Limited Asia
  10. A.T. Kearney Asia-Pacific, Oliver Wyman Asia

Energy Consulting

Competitive firms that specialize in energy consulting deal with information related to electrical and natural power. Such firms provide guidance in making energy more affordable, efficient and sustainable. This may also be related to technological and environmental advancements.

Top 10 Firms for Energy Consulting (Asia-Pacific)

  1. McKinsey & Company Asia
  2. The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Asia
  3. Bain & Company Asia
  4. Accenture Asia
  5. Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Asia
  6. Deloitte (Asia Consulting Practice)
  7. Booz & Company Asia
  8. A.T. Kearney Asia-Pacific
  9. KPMG (Asia Consulting Practice)
  10. Arthur D. Little Asia, EY (Ernst & Young) Consulting Practice Asia

Financial Consulting

One of the most sought after services of today’s leading firms is in the financial field. This practice is very broad, which ranges from cost reduction to risk assessment. It is common for financial-related advice to go hand in hand with the other branches of consulting practices. Insurance and banking sectors are areas where majority of a consulting firm’s clients come from (financial consulting).

Top 10 Firms for Financial Consulting (Asia-Pacific)

  1. McKinsey & Company Asia
  2. The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Asia
  3. Bain & Company Asia
  4. Oliver Wyman Asia
  5. KPMG (Asia Consulting Practice)
  6. Deloitte (Asia Consulting Practice)
  7. PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) Asia (Consulting)
  8. EY (Ernst & Young) Consulting Practice Asia
  9. Booz & Company Asia, Nomura Research Institute Ltd. Asia
  10. Accenture Asia, Mercer Limited Asia

Health Care Consulting

The unpredictable market that healthcare companies face requires the services of high-level consulting firms in order to stay sustainable in the industry. Unlike financial consulting, healthcare practice primarily revolves around medical technology, pharmaceuticals and health services. A complex and somewhat controversial aspect of healthcare consulting deals with changing government policies and consumer demand.

Top 10 Firms for Health Care Consulting (Asia-Pacific)

  1. McKinsey & Company Asia
  2. The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Asia
  3. Bain & Company Asia
  4. IMS Consulting Group Asia
  5. Booz & Company Asia
  6. Accenture Asia
  7. L.E.K. Consulting Asia
  8. Deloitte (Asia Consulting Practice)
  9. Oliver Wyman Asia
  10. PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) Asia (Consulting)

Human Resources Consulting

Firms who are leading the $18.4 billion human resources consulting industry provide services in the scope of human resources strategies, operations, implementation of processes and client relations. The fields usually associated with human resources consulting are communication, recruitment process outsourcing, and human capital.

Top 10 Firms for Human Resources Consulting (Asia-Pacific)

  1. Mercer Limited Asia
  2. Hay Group Asia
  3. Aon Hewitt Asia
  4. Towers Watson Asia
  5. McKinsey & Company Asia
  6. The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Asia
  7. Deloitte (Asia Consulting Practice)
  8. Bain & Company Asia
  9. Accenture Asia
  10. EY (Ernst & Young) Consulting Practice Asia

IT Operations Consulting

IT operations consulting deals with providing strategies for IT companies who are looking for innovative ways to project their services to their clients. An essential aspect, which major consulting firms that devote their practice in this field, is the repackaging of each process as it is distributed to various vendors. As a result, IT operations consultants take important factors into consideration such as planning, verification, design and policies during such projects.

Top 10 Firms for IT Operations Consulting (Asia-Pacific)

  1. Accenture Asia
  2. IBM Global Services Asia
  3. Infosys Consulting Inc. Asia
  4. Deloitte (Asia Consulting Practice)
  5. Tata Consultancy Services Asia
  6. Capgemini Asia
  7. HP Services Asia
  8. Oracle Consulting Asia, Wipro Consulting Services Asia
  9. McKinsey & Company Asia
  10. A.T. Kearney Asia-Pacific, KPMG (Asia Consulting Practice)

IT Strategy Consulting

The IT industry has been experiencing exponential growth in the past decade due to recent advancements in cloud storage and affordable consumer products. Consulting firms that provide advice related to IT strategy addresses the key concerns in the IT sector, including cost reduction, cloud integration, IT assessment, pricing models and portfolio management. The main objective of consultants who practice in this field is for companies to standout in the highly competitive and crowded market.

Top 10 Firms for IT Strategy Consulting (Asia-Pacific)

  1. Accenture Asia
  2. IBM Global Services Asia
  3. Deloitte (Asia Consulting Practice)
  4. Capgemini Asia
  5. Infosys Consulting Inc. Asia
  6. McKinsey & Company Asia
  7. Oracle Consulting Asia
  8. Tata Consultancy Services Asia, The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Asia
  9. A.T. Kearney Asia-Pacific
  10. PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) Asia (Consulting)

Management Consulting

For top level firms, management consulting is composed of the practice of rendering advice for companies along the lines of organization, improvement and development. This involves the analysis of compiled data in order to arrive at a low-risk solution for managerial concerns. From this field, it is common for the advice rendered to be applicable to other consulting practices.

Top 10 Firms for Management Consulting (Asia-Pacific)

  1. McKinsey & Company Asia
  2. The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Asia
  3. Bain & Company Asia
  4. Booz & Company Asia
  5. A.T. Kearney Asia-Pacific
  6. Accenture Asia
  7. Deloitte (Asia Consulting Practice)
  8. Oliver Wyman Asia
  9. KPMG (Asia Consulting Practice)
  10. EY (Ernst & Young) Consulting Practice Asia

Operations Consulting

Firms that equip companies with advice on best practices related to operations acknowledge its links to the overall functionality of the business. Because of this, operation consulting practices deal with the design of new processes, supply chains and service, as well as product development. Consultants, who provide new flows or processes, more often than not also oversee the implementation for sustainability purposes.

Top 10 Firms for Operations Consulting (Asia-Pacific)

  1. McKinsey & Company Asia
  2. Accenture Asia
  3. A.T. Kearney Asia-Pacific
  4. The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Asia
  5. Deloitte (Asia Consulting Practice)
  6. Bain & Company Asia
  7. Booz & Company Asia
  8. IBM Global Services Asia
  9. PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) Asia (Consulting)
  10. KPMG (Asia Consulting Practice)

Retail Consulting

The retail industry is an unpredictable market with high risks due to shifting overnight trends and platforms. Consulting experts who monitor this field analyze consumer behavior, product repackaging and marketing. Over the years, online strategies have been a major concern of today’s leading retailers. As a result, consulting firms extend their knowledge in the growing online market as a potential hub for sales for competitive companies.

Top 10 Firms for Retail Consulting (Asia-Pacific)

  1. McKinsey & Company Asia
  2. The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Asia
  3. Bain & Company Asia
  4. A.T. Kearney Asia-Pacific
  5. OC&C Strategy Consultants Asia
  6. Booz & Company Asia
  7. Accenture Asia
  8. Deloitte (Asia Consulting Practice)
  9. Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Asia
  10. PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) Asia (Consulting)

Strategy Consulting

Behind every successful business is an effective strategy. In today’s market, firms have their hands full when it comes to strategy consulting. This consulting specialization provides businesses with risk assessments, in depth data analysis presentations, cost reduction advice and assistance in making key choices. Similar to operations consulting, this type of practice also comes with the implementing the chosen strategy for positive results.

Top 10 Firms for Strategy Consulting (Asia-Pacific)

  1. McKinsey & Company Asia
  2. The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Asia
  3. Bain & Company Asia
  4. Booz & Company Asia
  5. A.T. Kearney Asia-Pacific
  6. Oliver Wyman Asia, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Asia
  7. Deloitte (Asia Consulting Practice)
  8. Accenture Asia
  9. KPMG (Asia Consulting Practice), L.E.K. Consulting Asia
  10. EY (Ernst & Young) Consulting Practice Asia

Consulting Firms in the Asia-Pacific Region

The emerging Asia-Pacific economy has brought more and more consulting firms into the region, as leading businesses actively expand their services. Companies who rely on the expertise of consultants can benefit from competitive strategies and consistent growth. Because of this, we may continue to see the relationship between both parties (Asia-Pacific companies and consulting firms) flourish in the years to come.

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Required Soft Skills for Management Consulting Jobs

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leadership

Soft skills are very important when evaluating likability or fit for a certain job. Unlike hard skills, which are about relevant skill set or particular abilities to carry out certain type of tasks, soft skills relate to one’s ability to interact effectively with people.

In consulting, it is extremely important to develop the following soft skills:

Charismatic and Sociable

Consultants need to interact with different types of people on a regular basis. That’s why being charming and likable will definitely do wonders for your career as a consultant. How people perceive you will have a direct effect on your consulting career. Apparently, if your clients perceive you as personable it will be easier for them to trust you. Also, if your team members find you approachable, it will be much easier to collaborate and achieve your goals. However, being highly sociable must not be confused with cockiness.

Strong Work Ethic

This skill is a major requirement perhaps for any kind of job. In consulting, it is imperative that you display this characteristic every single time. As you will be working with big, reputable companies as well as influential and intelligent people, it is only fit that you show professionalism. Also, strong work ethic means being willing to go the extra mile to help a client achieve its goals. Good consultants are ready to go beyond the call of duty just to get the job done.

Positive Attitude

Having a positive attitude towards work, and perhaps towards everything, would be beneficial to your career as a consultant. Go-getters are very much attractive to top firms. As a consultant you should be able to help improve employee morale or motivate team members. And you can only achieve this if you display a positive attitude. Even if you are not naturally bubbly and tend to be more low-key, there are many ways to exhibit positive energy, like always smiling or perhaps simply saying a few encouraging lines or giving compliments.

Oral and Written Communication Skills

The ability to communicate your ideas clearly is perhaps one of the most important skills you need as a consultant. You see, the main product that you are selling is your ideas or insights. And in order for your client to buy this idea from you, you need to let them know exactly what it is. You need to be able to express your thoughts in the simplest and clearest manner. Most tension and stressed are due to inability to communicate clearly. So it is extremely helpful if you have a way with words. That’s why excellent communicators generally do well in consulting.

Ability to Listen

Good consultants are good listeners. Why? Because listening takes more than hearing what the other person is saying, it requires understanding. You won’t be able to help any organization deal with their problem if you don’t fully understand what their needs and goals are. Many people tend to listen passively. If you want to succeed in consulting, effectively listening skill is a must have. This means being able to know what and when to ask questions and when to be quiet and simply listen to every word. Good communication is not just about expressing yourself, it is also about engaging and understanding the other party.

Leadership

Consultants are expected to have strong leadership skills. They are generally achievers and socially involved. While many say that some are born leaders, this skill can be developed. As a consultant you will manage different types of people so you need to possess the ability to lead and manage effectively. Remember, the mark of a true leader is not about the position held, it’s about taking responsibility and influencing your team towards achieving a common goal. Lead by example – motivate and show initiative.

Teamwork / Team Building

Consulting is not a job for someone who doesn’t want to collaborate with people on a daily basis. Yes, you need to have strong leadership skills to be a good consultant, but you also need to have a teamwork mindset. It’s not just about you making the big decisions. You must learn to acknowledge other people’s expertise and make time to help those people who are working with you on your project.

Conflict Resolution

As client and team interaction would be an integral part of your life as a consultant, it is important that you know how to resolve conflicts within the team and even more prevent them from happening. In fact, it is a vital trait for any leadership role. This skill is key to the longevity of any relationship. Conflicts generally arise from differing needs, ideas, values or opinions. When handled in a respectful manner, conflict may provide an opportunity to strengthen the bond between parties. Be patient and recognize the ways to come to a compromise.

Time Management

Many people tend to struggle in terms of managing their time, tasks and responsibilities effectively. As a consultant, you may need to juggle around multiple clients at certain times. With that, it is really important that you have efficient time management skill. Learn how to set priorities and stick to your schedule.

Self-confidence

As a consultant, you would be making big decisions and you should not be afraid to make them. You must then have confidence in your knowledge and skills. If you don’t seem look pretty confident, you won’t earn the trust of your clients, colleagues and team members. Speak, dress and act with confidence.

Work under Pressure

Every work has a deadline to meet. And you need to be pretty good at working under pressure in order to hit challenging deadlines in consulting. You must learn the art of achieving maximum results in a short amount of time. In order to do this you need to stay focused.

Persuading, Influencing and Negotiating Skills

Consultants also need to master the art of persuasion. It will be part of your daily consulting life to influence and negotiate with other people, particularly with your clients and team members. This is actually a primary skill for anyone in the business field. Influencing people in a positive way will greatly help an organization achieve its goals. However, this must not involve coercion in any form. Rather, it’s about acknowledging other opinions but being able to change their minds.

Adaptability

To succeed in the consulting world, you need to have a passion for constant learning. You should also have the ability to stretch your skills in order to adapt to the ever changing needs of your clients.

References

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Top 10 Consulting Firms in Asia Pacific in 2014

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Two businesswomen and office building

Vault.com, the career website, has released a list of top 10 consulting firms to work for in Asia Pacific. The ranking was based from a survey to consultants who are currently employed at different firms in the industry.

In choosing an employer, there are many factors that come into play. To properly reflect a firm’s status as an employer, Vault’s list is based on the following weighted formula: 30% prestige, 15% satisfaction, 15% firm culture, 15% compensation, 10% work-life balance, 10% overall business outlook, and 5% promotion policies.

Also, the survey participants were only allowed to rate their own firm when it comes to rating quality of life issues. But for prestige and practice area categories, consultants were only allowed to rate their competitors.

And the results are in. The top 10 consulting firms to work for in 2014, particularly in Asia Pacific are:

#1: McKinsey & Company Asia

Claiming the number one spot is McKinsey & Company Asia. This reputable company was in second place last year. And while they don’t name names of their clients, the firm claims to serve more than 80% of Fortune’s Most Admired Companies list. In terms of specialties, the firm serves a wide range of industrial sectors, from commodities and natural resources to entertainment and high technology.

Being deemed as the number one consulting firm to work for, they are known to set the toughest selection criteria. In fact as of September 2013, they receive around 225,000 job applications annually, but only one percent of these are lucky enough to make it.

#2: Bain & Company Asia

Sliding down to the second spot is last year’s top pick, Bain & Company Asia. The world-renowned firm has 50 offices across 32 different countries. And since the firm was founded in 1973, it remains to be one of the leading consultancies in the world. The firm claims that their sales and marketing cases deliver on average more than 25% revenue growth.

In a Financial Times interview, Bain partner Bill Neuenfeldt, talked about the qualities they want for their next consultants to have, which are “intelligence, integrity, passion and the ambition to make a difference.”

#3: Crescendo Partners

Getting the third spot is Crescendo Partners, a Sydney-based boutique consulting. The firm’s clients are mostly located in Australia and South East Asia, but they operate worldwide, performing assignments in over 40 countries across continents such as Russia, South America, Africa, mainland Europe and the US. They offer services to large and mid-size corporations, and private equity firms.

#4: Booz & Company Asia

Also going down a notch is Booz & Company Asia. The company was founded in 1914 by Edwin Booz, and is known to be one of the oldest consultancies in the world. In 1950s, Time Magazine dubbed this reputable firm as “the world’s largest, most prestigious management consulting firm”. This consultancy holds expertise in many different industries including automotive, chemicals, consumer, energy and utilities, financial services, health, media and entertainment, oil and gas, transportation and others.

#5: Oliver Wyman Asia

Oliver Wyman Asia grabbed the fifth spot as the best consultancies to work for in Asia Pacific. It offers services to numerous Global 1000 companies, and also to more than 80% of the world’s largest 100 financial institutions of Fortune 1000 companies. The renowned firm advises a vast range of sectors including automotive, aviation, aerospace and defense, communications, financial services, industrial products and services, health and life sciences, retail and consumer products, and transportation.

#6: A.T. Kearney Asia-Pacific

A.T. Kearney Asia-Pacific is another well-established firm that has a proven global reach. It now operates offices in 40 countries across continents. Aside from providing advice and assistance to implementation, A.T. Kearney uses its expertise to produce plenty of varied studies each year.

#7: Alvarez & Marsal Asia

Alvarez & Marsal was founded in 1983, and is known as a global professional services provider. Its client list includes AmLaw 100 and Fortune Global 500, and largest U.S. banks. The firm operates 41 offices in 17 different countries in Asia, North America, Europe, and Latin America.

#8: L.E.K. Consulting Asia

This strategy consulting firm was founded in 1983. Today it operates 22 offices around the globe. They cater global companies from Fortune 500 members, as well as small businesses. In the Asia-Pacific region, L.E.K. first opened in Australia in 1987. Their newest office was opened in 2013 in Seoul.

#9: OC&C Strategy Consultants Asia

OC&C takes pride in one business area, which their expertise in consumer goods. The reputable firm has also recently made studies on retail brand development, strategic implementation and internalization strategies.

#10: Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Asia

This world-renowned firm is the largest consulting firm to have emerged from Europe. Out of their 51 offices worldwide, 26 are located in Europe. Within Asia, they maintain 11 offices, including the ones in Greater China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea. Since the company’s first project in China in the early 1980s, the firm continues to grow in the Asia Pacific.

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How to Turn Procrastination into Productivity

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Check list with red mark

We were all groomed to associate procrastination with negative, unproductive habits that are linked to failure. But what if I told you this idea that you’ve held on to since you were born was inaccurate?

Procrastination isn’t something new. Everyone does it, and tries to avoid it all the time. Teachers, business owners and managers have a good eye for catching such habits. In time, procrastination has been linked to lack of motivation and laziness. However, a closer look will tell you that procrastination is essential when it comes to setting goals and priorities.

Procrastination in Management Consulting

From a general standpoint, most consultants can’t afford to procrastinate while sitting at their desks. Their days and weeks are usually filled with meetings, presentations, research and networking. The time they do have, which is very little, is usually spent on catching up on their personal life (doing groceries, talking to family and friends, and sleeping).

The problem with procrastination is that it doesn’t just happen during the pockets of free time that you have. It can strike anywhere, anytime. Procrastination is extremely persistent when one feels overloaded with work or overwhelmed with a pile of tasks. This is why consultants are always keen on staying focused. Most professionals know how quickly procrastination can take over, preventing them from doing essential tasks and meeting deadlines.

Furthermore, the pressure that a consultant faces can prolong the rate at which one procrastinates. Lack of presence of mind during client presentations and team reports can negatively impact a consultant’s job, making him or her seem unenthusiastic. Due to the competitive nature of the industry, being associated with such traits is not healthy for a consultant’s career.

Unfortunately, pressure associated with procrastination cannot only prolong procrastination, but also affect the current task being done. Since procrastination is classified as a distraction, it can cause a consultant to make errors in computation and analysis. Transitioning from a procrastinating idea to the present takes time, especially if one is stuck deep in his or her thoughts. As a result, this could lead to wasted time, preventing a consultant from being fully engaged in his or her work.

Doing Something We Don’t Want To Do

General human behavior dictates that if one does not want to do something, he or she won’t do it. If this is the case, why do we procrastinate? We all acknowledge and avoid focusing on things that are unimportant, but why can’t we stop doing it?

According to science, procrastination comes down to the way our brains are programmed. While concentration is required to complete tasks, it is nearly impossible to maintain for long periods of time. Even with the help of coffee and sleep from the night before, it’s only a matter of time when one gets distracted by external or internal factors.

Internal factors include thoughts, feelings and ideas. These variables are triggered by the unconscious part of our brain that is devoted to things we want in the present called the limbic system. Most of the things that we as humans procrastinate about are not things we dread doing. Instead, they are things we would rather be doing or places where we would rather be.

When the limbic system catches the mind off guard or unfocused, even for a split second, it goes into action. When this happens, we start loathing in those thoughts, putting priority on things that we think we are more important. There is no need to put yourself down if you catch yourself procrastinating; everyone is prone to doing this action, regardless of age or gender.

The Benefits of Procrastination

blank form for the pros and cons, black and white image

Since procrastination is unavoidable, it is recommended to change the way we perceive and think about it. If we constantly bog ourselves with pressure to concentrate, it can trigger deeper sets or procrastination, which turns into a never-ending cycle.

To avoid this, one should first understand the benefits of procrastination. Firstly, procrastination acts as a filtering system for unimportant tasks. Just like emails, not all tasks are important. As professionals, we have the habit of making everything top priority. An example is bills that aren’t due until a week from the time they were received. Most people are persistent on filling up their day with errands that can actually be completed slowly throughout the week.

Procrastination, or the art of putting things off for a later time, can actually help you reorganize your priority list. Basically, if a task was really that important, you’d be doing it immediately instead of just thinking about it. In this case, thinking about less essential things on the to-do list is merely a reminder of tasks that are yet to be completed.

Secondly, the phrase “save the best for last” is also applicable when it comes to tasks that we put off for later in the day or week. In this case, a different type of procrastination is at play; the type that causes individuals to think about more important things. When you’re thinking about the feeling of completing a project, it can actually cause you to do a better job when performing the action. This kind of procrastination can be channeled into motivation.

By procrastinating, you are indirectly streamlining your work, with minimal effort. This is only works if what you’re thinking about is something within your priority list or something that you feel is attainable. If you’re thinking about a vacation that you haven’t planned, chances are it will work against you and make you question what you’re currently doing. On the contrary, if you’re faced with a pile of papers to look over and lunch break is just 2 hours away; the fleeting thought of getting fresh air and biting into a tasty sandwich might be just what you need to get through a long list of tasks.

The Good Kind of Procrastination

Motivation can only get you so far. Like concentration levels, motivating thoughts and feelings can be easily depleted. Moreover, one can’t constantly be thinking about motivating ideas or memories as this takes time and attention away from the current task at hand. A solution for this is to apply a strategy that turns procrastination into something positive.

Priority lists are designed to have the most important things to do at the top, while the less essential things sit at the bottom. Those who are a fan of procrastinating will usually avoid tasks located at the top of the to-do list, as they are more difficult and time consuming. Because of this, the smaller menial tasks are done quickly, which somewhat defeats the purpose of a priority list, but unfortunately this is how most people go about their day or workload.

If you’re one of the majorities who does this, all you have to do is add tasks to your priority list that seem urgent. This technique is similar to setting your watch or alarm clock 10 minutes advanced, with hopes to boost punctuality levels.

Positive Procrastination Tips for Management Consultants

Now that we have established how procrastination can be used to one’s advantage, here are some methods that both candidates and consultants can use to increase productivity.

The first tip is to add more commitments or tasks to maintain a constant flow of things to do. Procrastination kicks in when we either have nothing to do, or when we have so much to do that we buy ourselves time due to being overwhelmed. There is a middle ground that you want to stay in, the point where you acknowledge that there are things to do and you feel confident about doing them. This is a healthy balance that can easily be maintained by quickly moving from on task to another, or by adding new tasks throughout the day.

Be Firm

Sometimes we allow ourselves to procrastinate or entertain fleeting thoughts while sitting through a boring presentation or conference. You also know yourself well enough to know what times of the day you are productive, and what times of the day idleness takes over.

Plan ahead and capitalize on the times of the day wherein your productivity levels are high. This could be in the morning after stepping into the office or even at night, after dinner while looking over trails of emails that your team sent earlier in the day. During these times, set boundaries by forcing yourself to be productive. At first it may seem impossible, but after a few days of consistently allotting the same period of time on a daily basis, your mind will be accustomed to focus and avoid stray thoughts and ideas.

Taking On Big Tasks through Small Steps

To conclude, converting procrastination into productivity starts small. For consultants, learning how to do this can make you more reliable and help you get more things done. Breaking down a big project into smaller tasks can lessen the feeling of being overwhelmed (which results in procrastination); and instead encourage you to complete the assignment one step at a time.

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Life Outside of the Consulting Industry: Taking Breaks

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Taking Breaks

Prestigious career lines such as management consulting and investment banking are considered to be some of the busiest professions. 70-80 hour work weeks, no weekends and lacking personal life are all the negative aspects of highly competitive occupations.

We all know that there comes a point where too much work becomes counter productive. When coffee stops working and when it’s taking you twice as long to review memos and graphs, it’s probably a sign that you need to take a break. Not listening to these warnings can result in errors, stress or in the long run maybe even your job.

For consultants who have gotten used to the busy lifestyle, taking breaks simply isn’t an option. But what if I told you that taking a break isn’t limited to blocking an entire day or weekend? Yes, taking breaks can also be done right in the office. 5-10 minutes of time away from the computer screen to recompose and refocus may be all that you need to reset your productivity levels.

What to Do With So Little Time

When we have 5-10 minutes of free time (waiting for a client to start a meeting, getting signatures for a document, or just when you need a breather) it’s common to go for the phone and check emails. Even if you have nothing to check, you may catch yourself rereading emails. If you do this often, this is a sign that you really don’t know what else to do with the little time that you have.

These days, you can accomplish more than you think in 5-10 minutes. For example, you don’t need to enroll in a class to learn a new language. Apps such as Duolingo, provides individuals with the ability to pick up French, Portuguese, Spanish and English through a series of very effective learning methods. Learning something new isn’t limited to languages. Khan Academy and Instructables are online platforms for people who want to learn new things in small doses.

If your idea of a short break doesn’t involve a gadget, you can start a journal and write down your thoughts. They don’t have to be structured and complete. The whole point of the activity is to keep your mind going in a different direction other than your current professional task.

Healthy Distractions

From the beginning, we were all taught that distractions (all types) are counter productive. New studies show that this may not be all true. There are certain types of distractions that can help individuals perform better at work.

“Brent Coker, who studies online behavior at the University of Melbourne in Australia, found that people who engage in “workplace Internet leisure browsing” are about 9 percent more productive than those who don’t.”

A similar study done by Jonathan Schooler, a psychology professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, came up with a similar conclusion. What type of distraction is considered to be healthy?

When you’re performing a task for a long period of time, such as preparing for a presentation or typing an important document, your mind has the tendency to get burned out. To prevent this, you need to stop what you’re doing for a short period of time and find a distraction.

The studies mentioned above tested for a number of different types of distractions, from online videos to more demanding memory tasks. The results showed that non-demanding tasks can boost productivity and concentration levels, once the individual returns to what he or she was doing prior to the short break. To elaborate further, such non-demanding activities must be something that is the exact opposite of your current task.

This means that if you were computing numbers for the past couple of hours, it wouldn’t make sense to indulge in more math problems while you’re on a break. Instead, you may opt to review a few sports highlights on the computer. Moreover, if you were busy putting together a soft skills training module for entry level associates, it would be wise to immerse yourself in light technical activities.

Why do these small distractions raise productivity? The whole point of these small breaks is to keep the mind running, without letting one’s thoughts wander too far. In other words, you need to keep the momentum of your thoughts consistent, using other types of non-demanding activities. This prevents you from being burned out, as you are not fully immersed in your current work task. Additionally, your mind stays warmed up and doesn’t run cold or stale because you’re focused on something else.

The final tip when applying this method at work is to avoid turning a non-demanding activity into something completely engaging. This means you should avoid social media. Why? Because personal connections can cause deeper thoughts to surface, making your train of thoughts incredibly difficult to get out of. It is best to keep distractions light and upbeat.

Reorganization and Productivity

One of the best activities to take part when taking a break is reorganization. Just how a clean room will eventually become disorganized and messy, your desk, car, phone and computer also require regular upkeep. Failing to keep things that you frequently used organized can result in taking more time to complete tasks.

With your short break, it doesn’t hurt to erase apps that you don’t use in your phone, or place your computer files in newly created folders. This can make your work more productive, and also making you feel lighter, refreshed and less prone to error.

What about Longer Breaks?

Short breaks will get you through the arduous work week; but what about months of consistently burning the midnight oil? For these one needs longer breaks. For consultants, not all weekends will be filled with work. There will be occasions in the year when you will get to take a weekend off like everyone else. During these times, it’s best to make the most out of the hiatus by planning something fun and adventurous.

Your first instinct will be to sleep in and stay in bed all day. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, studies show that weekends filled with activities can significantly lower stress in the long run compared to sitting on the couch and watching television all day. This is because home is still a big part of one’s daily activities. It’s not anything new.

Our minds have become accustomed to the personal environment. Individuals who stay in all weekend may find themselves more prone to stress earlier in the work week, compared to people who went for a hike or ran a marathon. These new experiences have a more profound effect on perception and character, which can help professionals cope with stress.

Family and Personal Priorities

Many consultants feel that a large sacrifice in choosing a highly competitive career is balancing time with family and personal priorities. In fact, one of the main reasons why capable female consultants are not as frequently seen in higher positions or making partner is due to their choices in taking time off to take on a motherly role at home. Because of this, top consulting firms such as Accenture have started programs that boost female roles in the consulting industry.

From another perspective, if individuals are able to stay balanced and keep their personal priorities in check early in their career, then the need to step away from the industry completely in the future is less likely to happen. Messaging your significant other or children during your 5-10 minute break can help keep the communication flow running smoothly. These days, sending over flowers or a small gift can all be done in less than 5 minutes using a smartphone or computer.

For those without families, maintaining a social life can be tricky with a demanding consulting position. Instead of flipping through the newsfeed, reach out to one of your friends personally. Closely knit connections can be more beneficial over a long period of time than leaving generic comments on random online posts.

Quality Breaks

If you find yourself always feeling the need to take breaks, there may be something wrong with the quality of your allotted time alone. One quality break in the day is better than 2 or 3 breaks where you catch yourself flipping through documents while talking to your friend on the phone. A great way to ensure that you are having a quality break is by stepping away from your workstation. Don’t take a break inside your work area or conference room. Instead, go to a different part of the office such as the rooftop, break room or lobby.

To conclude, in the consulting industry, where professionals are filled with demanding schedules, it is essential to take short (and some long) breaks. In fact, the busier you are, the more it is important to incorporate some form of breaks to avoid getting burned out. Don’t forget to monitor the quality of your break in order to get the most out of this precious time.

The Key Attributes of a Good Consultant

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experienced consultant

Before we see what the key attributes of a good consultant are, it is important to know what is involved in a consulting job.

First and foremost, the consultant has to interact with the individuals or a group of individuals representing the customer. This interaction will result in the consultant understanding the nuances of the customer’s business. Often, these are either the business owners or the key decision makers.

What role does the consultant play here? The consultant’s role is to give the persons involved, guidance on business strategy, or new ways of doing the same tasks; which leads to some improvement in either one or more business parameters for the company. It could be the company’s operations, company’s image in the market, its product quality or its service quality.

In order to be highly effective in this role, consultant must possess following attributes:

  1. Ability to strike a rapport with the customer
  2. Relationship building and people skills
  3. Being a good listener
  4. Being truthful
  5. Projecting a winning image
  6. Building customer trust
  7. Projecting an image that matches the company’s image
  8. Business etiquette and social etiquette
  9. Developing a unique personal style
  10. Being knowledgeable

Let us closely elaborate these attributes and understand finer nuances of each.

Ability to Strike a Rapport with the Customer

The most important quality a consultant must have is the ability to strike a rapport. Consulting engagement involves an interaction between two individuals who are mature, professional, and accomplished.

The basic premise of this interaction is that each individual is different. Everybody comes with an ego. They have past credibility, track record, self-respect and self-confidence. Hence, the consultant’s role is very challenging. He is required to establish an engagement model or a relationship wherein, he is looked at as an expert and the customer takes his suggestions and guidelines, seriously.

Relationship Building and People Skills

It is essential for the consultant to build a relationship with the customer, and hence his soft skills are of prime importance. How he connects with people from different backgrounds is very important. As the consultant progresses in the consulting assignment, he needs to subtly highlight his knowledge, expertise and past experience in the similar field. This will ensure that the engagement proceeds in a smooth manner.

Being a Good Listener

Consulting is a two-way process where the consultant has to learn about the business and the business issues of the customer. Only then he will be able to suggest changes or improvements in the business parameters. Hence, it is important that the consultant is patient, and listens to the customer’s issues, his point of view and business need. Only if the consultant appears to be in the know-how of the customer’s business, is sensitive towards their business parameters and the current scenarios; he will be able to impress upon them that he can make a difference!

“Unless you know where you are, you will not be able to tell them where to go and how to go there”.

A good consultant is always willing to learn, do the thorough research, fact-finding, gather knowledge and always be well-prepared.

Having an inquisitive nature, asking questions politely so that you don’t offend the customer becomes a very critical aspect. Another aspect which is very important in the consulting assignment is the ability to do a very good documentation and establishing written communications. Either through emails or any other means of written communication, the consultant must be able to establish the overall tempo of the project.

The communication skills of the consultant are important. Email etiquette should be followed by the consultant while sending information over the email, sending request, or setting up meetings over the email. There must be a clear undertone of being polite. At the same time, he has to be very assertive and affirmative so that the project moves fast.

Being Truthful

Another critical aspect of being a good consultant is being truthful. Unless and until he makes the customer aware of what the realities are by telling the truth, he will not be able to give the kind of consulting that entices the customers to make the necessary changes in the business process, business parameters and their business environment. Hence, it is very important to be truthful.

Projecting a Winning Image

The consultant must project an image that is professional, appropriate and authentic. The consultant needs to come across as a person who is polished, polite, confident and assertive at the same time. He needs to project a certain authority as it is an important quality for a consultant to be successful in his job.

Most of the consulting engagements involve influencing some change in the organization. There is always resistance to change. Hence, it is imperative that the consultant is authoritative, influential and assertive.

The consultant will look influential by dressing appropriately, by displaying strong communication skills, a pleasant appearance, and at the same time he needs to project a strong body language. Apart from this, a very thorough knowledge of the subject in which he is providing consulting is crucial.

Building Customer Trust

The consultant needs to create a winning impression through his personality, behavior so that the customers start believing in him and start trusting him. So building customer trust is another extremely important parameter. His personality plays a big role in creating the first impression in the mind of the customer and building mutual trust and confidence.

The consulting engagement or assignment may not be too long. So in a very short span of time, in the early few communications itself the consultant has to create the first impression in such a way that the customer starts believing in him as an expert. This builds trust and the customer understands the consultant’s way of working, his discipline, professionalism, and then automatically starts cooperating with him towards the change.

Projecting an Image That Matches with the Company’s Image

Depending on the level of seniority, the consulting role may involve business development as well as some pre-sales activities.  In this case, the consultant ends up interacting with very senior people in the industry, the decision makers, owners, or the promoters of different businesses to whom his organization is offering consulting. The consultant must know how to represent his organization at the highest level. He should project an image that matches with the company’s image.

Business and Social Etiquette

As a part of the job, the consultant may have to entertain some of these customers or potential customers off-site in fine dining scenarios. The social engagements and meetings with the customer could be in five star hotels, or they could end up meeting in conferences.

Hence, the consultant must be well versed in the concept of power dressing and must be comfortable in entertaining the guests in a very boutique restaurant. This is where his dining and drinking etiquette plays an important role in creating the perfect impression. Apart from this, skills like how to order food, how to order wine, how to taste wine are very critical and help build the consultant’s image.

Developing a Unique Personal Style

At the social scenarios where the consultant meets the customer or interacts with him, he needs to be extremely comfortable in introducing himself, or establishing a rapport.  He may not necessarily give his business card in a very office style old fashioned manner. The consultant needs to develop his own style of introducing himself and using that as a mechanism to break the ice.

If the consultant is entertaining a very senior lady, who belongs to the top management of the customer, how the consultant entertains her in outside scenarios is also going to be very critical. These are certain attributes which will make a very good and successful consultant.

Being Knowledgeable

At the end of the day, there is no substitute for the genuine knowledge in the field in which the consultant is consulting. There is no substitute for keeping up-to-date with the latest happenings in his field; whether it is reading news, new management books, technology updates or whatever is happening in the market. Understanding market trends is another very important aspect.

Finally, the consultant must make sure that he closes the loop on all communications. It is a good practice that after attending the meetings, he sends a courtesy email thanking the customer for the meeting. He can send short text messages if the customer prefers it. So the consultant must follow the etiquette of closing loop on all the interactions so that the record of every transactions and interactions in maintained. By doing so, his business will get more and more opportunities to get a repeat customer.

These are some of the key attributes which will help you succeed as a consultant!

Top 25 Management Consulting Firms in Europe 2014

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Interview

In the past decade, Europe’s economy has hit notable high points, as well as several low points. Because of this, companies have been on the lookout for new and fresh insights from consulting firms worldwide.

Under these circumstances, consultants have their hands full in providing long-term advice to encourage businesses and consumers to stay active in the market.

25 Most Prestigious Consulting Firms in Europe

#1: McKinsey & Company Europe

McKinsey & Company consistently ranks as the top consulting firm in various regions worldwide. The company’s professional practice covers key concerns of today’s leading businesses in Europe. These fields include risk management, strategy, restructuring and corporate finance. Their services can be applied in major industries such as aviation, transportation, IT and retail.

#2: The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Europe

With an extensive company profile, The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. Europe consists of high level consultants who are experts in the fields of Biopharmaceuticals, Financial Institutions and Telecommunications. The company hit several milestones in 2013, with the launch of the “Game Changing” program, which aims to align large businesses with current global trends.

#3: Bain & Company Europe

Bain & Company Europe has a reputation for providing quality consulting services due to leaders, such as Keith Bevans, Jenny Davis-Peccoud, Phyllis Yale and Orit Gadiesh, who run the successful firm. The results-driven company easily thrives in the Euro market due to their unwavering practice in the fields of Private Equity, Performance Improvement and IT.

#4: Booz & Company Europe

Booz & Company Europe is a well-established consulting firm that has experienced consistent growth since it started in 1914. The future of the flourishing company is currently under scrutiny as talks about the merger with PwC started in late 2013.

#5: Oliver Wyman Europe

Oliver Wyman has positioned themselves as experts when it comes to the European market. The company currently has a staff composed of mostly European consultants, which enable the firm to effectively handle the thriving businesses in the region. Oliver Wyman Europe covers consulting practices related to Corporate Finance and Restructuring, Health and Life Sciences, Surface Transportation and Value Sourcing.

#6: Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Europe

Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Europe has a number of impressive achievements, one being their entry in the U.S. Association of Management Consulting Firms as the first European-based company in 1980. Since then, the consulting firm is recognized for their practice in the following sectors: environmental technology, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods and public services.

#7: A.T. Kearney Europe

A.T. Kearney Europe’s status in the consulting industry is well-known due to forums such as the Global Business Policy Council. In addition to regularly holding meetings with top CEOs and leaders, the firm provides exemplary consulting advice to a range of businesses in the manufacturing, financial and IT industry.

#8: Mercer Limited Europe

Mercer Limited Europe’s core consulting practices lie in the areas of retirement, health and benefits, and talent. Through these departments, the company is able to address concerns pertaining to workforce communication and human capital. Apart from these fields, the consulting firm provides advice related to pension funds and strategy.

#9: OC&C Strategy Consultants Europe

OC&C Strategy Consultants Europe has numerous high profile clients, as well as small businesses in their portfolio. This allows the influential consulting firm to monitor various industries from key perspectives. The company’s practice primarily revolves around strategy and operations, as they concentrate closely on businesses located around Europe.

#10: PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) International Ltd.

With deep roots in accounting, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ consulting branch offers superior financial and risk management services. The company currently has over 41% of their employees based in Europe. 3M, Sony, Ford and IBM are some of the big name clients PwC has handled.

#11: L.E.K. Consulting Europe

L.E.K. Consulting Europe extends their services to government departments and leading businesses. The company’s practice revolves around marketing and sales, mergers and acquisitions, organizational development and share value management. The firm continuously rolls out new programs to keep their consultants plugged into their respective industries.

#12: Deloitte (European Consulting Practice)

Deloitte reaches out to their European clients through a series of 35 branches in the region. The firm has a reputation for providing top-notch human capital services. This specific type of practice deals with addressing talent concerns using effective business strategies. As a result, company performance and growth are achieved.

#13: EY (Ernst & Young) Consulting Practice Europe

EY (Ernst & Young) Consulting Practice Europe has a long history of success in the consulting industry. The company takes pride in providing advisory services, in the areas of financial, risk, dispute and security. Global companies such as Amazon, Intel and Citigroup have worked with the firm in repositioning themselves as leaders in their respective fields.

#14: Arthur D. Little Europe

With more than 40 years of experience in business related strategies, Arthur D. Little has risen as one of the most reliable firms to date. The company focuses on the following major industries: energy and utilities, manufacturing, consumer goods and private equity.

#14: KPMG (Europe Consulting Practice)

KPMG has numerous offices spread across Europe, over 143 stations in 18 countries. Because of this, the firm is able to focus solely on the European market, with access to first-hand information and accounts. KMPG consulting services are primarily found in the areas of risk management, restructuring and transactions.

#15: Accenture Europe

When it comes to IT-related practices, Accenture has proven to be one of the most versatile in the field. The consulting firm offers a variety of solutions, ranging from cloud integration to sustainability, which can boost the productivity levels of a struggling company. Additionally, the company is easily accessible worldwide with over 200 global offices.

#16: IBM Global Services Europe

Over the years, IBM has made a name for themselves in the IT and electronics industry. Since their notable purchase of PwC’s consulting arm, the company has been in the business of combining their first-hand experience in the industry with effective advisory services.

#17: NERA Economic Consulting Europe

NERA Economic Consulting Europe has some of the top analysts in the world leading the company, including Dr. Lawrence Wu, Dr. Sanghvi and Dr. Frank Maier-Rigaud. The firm makes it a habit to publish the results of their studies in magazines and journals. Public policy, regulation and competition are areas that NERA consultants are experts in.

#18: Capgemini Europe

With experience in working closely with the European Commission, Capgemini Consulting has a unique perspective on the economic state of the European market. The firm applies their practice in the following sectors: Business Process Outsourcing, Procurement, Supply Chain Management and Green IT.

#18: Simon-Kucher & Partners Europe

Simon-Kucher & Partners Europe’s consulting practices deal with setting prices for goods and services. This is done by implementing key business strategies and analyzing relevant industry trends. Adidas, Porsche, LinkedIn, PayPal and BMW are just a few big brand companies that the firm takes pride in serving.

#19: Porsche Consulting GmbH

Porsche’s consulting branch consists of rendering services linked to transformation, reorganization, process optimization and training. The company brings their success from the automotive industry with the same drive in providing top-notch consulting services to growing companies.

#20: BearingPoint

BearingPoint provides consulting services to businesses in the commercial, government and financial sectors. The company specializes in creating personalized solutions through IT services, outsourcing and strategic advisory.

#21: AlixPartners, LLP Europe

AlixPartners built their reputation in the consulting field by rendering corporate turnaround and restructuring services. These days, the company has branched out to offer financial advice and enterprise improvement.

#22: Mars & Co Europe

Troubled businesses in Europe can benefit from Mars & Co’s strategic services. The company’s practice lies in drawing support from all offices worldwide. This means that a client in Los Angeles can easily get additional help from the firm’s branch in Paris. This “one-office” concept has revolutionized the way the company lays out options for their clients.

#23: Gartner, Inc. Europe

Garner, Inc. Europe is a firm that provides IT-related consulting services. The company renders IT strategies to help businesses manage their operations and increase overall performance. Additionally, the firm engages in projects related to cost reduction and risk management.

#24: Marakon Europe

After being acquired by Charles River Associates (CRA) in 2009, Marakon Europe focused on increasing company value. As a result, the firm grew in the following practices: Organic Growth, Risk Management, Execution and Managing for Value.

#25: PA Consulting Group Europe

The London-based consulting firm has plenty to offer to the European market. With extensive experience in security systems, strategy and defense projects, the company continuously works with businesses in highly competitive industries. The firm is currently developing their IT development services, as they look for new ways to serve the needs of their clients.

Creating Opportunities in the Euro Market

Consulting firms have their work cut out for them when it comes to providing advice for businesses that want to stay sustainable in the unpredictable market. The current conditions are ideal for firms to stand out and create new strategies that will be able to address the key concerns of big brands, small businesses and government departments.

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When Should You Quit Management Consulting?

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I quit post it in business man hand

Many professionals flirt with the idea of being consultant. They are ready to step out of their full time employment just to successfully break into the lucrative world of consulting. However, being a guru for hire seems to be a temporary gig, as consultants tend to quit consulting at some point. When and why?

Reasons Why Consultants Leave

There are many valid reasons why consultants want to leave a prestigious industry. Let’s dig into these reasons.

Better Hours

While consulting firms say they are pro work-life balance, the truth is consultants tend to be workaholic, especially the senior leaders. Yes, consultants can enjoy flexibility of the work, however, many may find it very hard to find the “off” switch for work. Most professionals in this field find it hard to have work-life balance even if their schedule is flexible as they tend to work far longer hours than regular employees.

No matter how many vacation days or flexible work schedules are offered, consultants are going to work as much as possible. That’s the nature of the job – it’s inevitable.

Less Pressure in Work Environment

As a consultant you’ll work in a challenging and very stressful environment. For some people, they find it really rewarding – that affecting positive change is worth the high level of stress. But for others, particularly who have been in the industry for a while, working longer hours and enduring more stressful deadlines than most of their peers can be really draining.

That’s why many consultants welcome the relief of quitting consulting for a regular job that really values a sustainable pace.

Short-term Work Engagements

You’ll most likely not to get bored as a consultant as there’s always variety in terms of work engagements. Constant change is part of a consulting career. However, this aspect may be considered unfavorable for others.

If you’re the type of person who value long-term relationships, then this aspect could be unfavorable for you as consultants jump from one job to another. But if you’re the kind of person who thrives with constant challenges and change, you will be much happier as consultant. As a consultant, you’ll be constantly exposed to different people and cultures. This can be either exciting or wearisome depending on your personality.

Too Much Travel

Consultants tend to spend so much time traveling, while this may sound exciting your work-life balance may be greatly compromised. When you travel a lot you’ll find it harder to maintain a healthy relationship with your family and friends. Consulting is a life full of travel and cocktails as well as and hard work and independence – a life that is most ideal for young, single individuals who are extremely focused on career. That’s why those who don’t fall into those categories often opted to leave consulting.

Entrepreneurial Bug

After spending some time around entrepreneurs, many consultants begin to realize that they definitely don’t want to work at a big company as a long-term career. In fact, there are plenty of entrepreneurial executives with time in consulting

Many who feel that they’re stuck in the consulting rut, opted to join a startup. Through this, you’ll have considerably more ownership of the business as well as your day-to-day activities and career path. You’ll have the chance not only to build a great product, but a great company.

Many consultants who quit and started their own companies felt the need to create their own brand as well as increase the created value going into their pockets.

The Non-tangibles

There are many non-tangible benefits to working as an average employee that you don’t usually get as a consultant. For instance, you may work on a consulting project for six months, collaborating with team members around the globe in four languages. And when the project becomes a success, the team of people you’ve been working with had a big party, and your manager got a promotion. However because you’re a consultant, you simply have to move on to the next project – without getting an invite, kudos, pats on the back or high fives. A simple “thank you” is all there is and you are off to the next client.

Now, many clients will make you feel like you’re a real part of their team, but that’s not the point. The point is sometimes, a big paycheck doesn’t feel like an enough reward when you’ve dedicated a great deal of effort. But as a consultant, the only thing you’re really entitled to is a paycheck. This is another reason why many consultants quit after a certain amount of time.

Things to Watch out for Before Leaving Consulting

Although there are plenty of valid reasons why a consultant would leave the industry, it is important to be careful in making such decision as well. You see, many people fall into the “grass is greener” fallacy. Remember, it’s easier to focus on the negative side of your current experience. When you are comparing consulting to a path that eliminates those pain points, make sure you don’t ignore the different issues you might face in the near future.

For instance, ask yourself if you are ready to surrender autonomy? If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like anyone else exercising control over what you do, then being a regular employee may not be the best option after consulting. You may just opt to join a startup instead.

Another thing to carefully analyze is the difference between your proposed compensation and what you’re currently making. You just can’t simply take your annual consulting revenue as a benchmark for your regular employee salary.

Moreover, even though a consultant is much easier to fire, that hardly happens with all of your clients all together. And realize that as an employee you’re committing more of your future success to the fortunes of just one company.

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8.7% of Booth Class Gets an Offer from McKinsey

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Group of happy young graduates

McKinsey hired 41 students from the 2013 MBA class of the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. This number is a source of pride for the school whose employment report reveals 86.3% of its MBAs receive employment offers by graduation. Many of the job contracts came from companies in which they have proven their worth during their summer internship program.

Major Employers

Four of Booth’s top five employers in 2012 and 2013 are management consulting firms. Aside from McKinsey, Bain hired 21, BCG hired 18, and A.T. Kearney hired 12 graduates from the said business school this year. The other non-consulting firm that belongs to the top five list is the Switzerland-based finance company, Credit Suisse. Other organizations that have also hired many Booth graduates for two consecutive years are Amazon, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, JP Morgan, and Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Median Salary

The consulting industry pays the highest median salary to Booth graduates: $135,000. However, some of the biggest individual paychecks went to graduates who landed a job in the financial sector. The biggest salary, $250,000, went to a Boothie who ventured into private equity followed by the graduate who signed an investment management contract at $200,000. In many cases, those huge incomes are granted to MBAs who have valuable work experience before taking up the MBA program.

Comparison with 2013 MBA Wharton Class

In the field of consulting, 30.7% of Booth MBAs went to this sector, a figure slightly higher in comparison to the 29.3% of Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. However, the median consulting salary of both schools is $135,000.

In the finance industry, a slightly bigger percentage of Booth graduates land a job in investment banking, investment management, and diversified financial services. However, Wharton graduates are paid a bit higher than the other group. Poets and Quants explained that one possible reason is that only 23% of Booth graduates went to work in the northeastern part of the country where employees receive higher salaries.

For additional details, please read Poets and Quants’ article.

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Management Consulting Glossary

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Consulting concept on Dry Erase Board

If you’re planning to pursue a career in consulting, start learning the terms used in the industry as early as now. Professional consultants use expressions that might confuse you. If you want to blend in smoothly, you have to understand what they truly mean.

A

Added value – The value added to the production cost of a product in terms of either price or worth. For example, a one-year warranty on an electronic device is a value-added feature that conveys the quality of the product.

AOB – Acronym for Any Other Business, a phrase referring to topics not listed in the meeting agenda but that attendees would like to discuss after the main concerns have been covered.

Assignment – A project a consultant undertakes for a professional fee, which usually consists of analyzing a business situation and coming up with recommendations for a solution.

At the end of the day – A phrase used to introduce a summary or an important point of concern  after everything else has been discussed and considered.

B

Bandwidth – The resources required to finish a task or project including the amount of energy and level of skill needed to do things efficiently.

Benchmarking – A method of comparing a company’s set of policies, strategies, or systems in relation to the best practices within or outside the industry. This allows the company to develop plans for improving the business.

Best of breed – The top product in a given industry. It receives the most investment because of its superior quality as evaluated against competitors’ offerings.

Best practice – An organizational technique, method, or procedure that consistently produces the most effective or superior results. It is used as a benchmark by companies that want to improve their systems and processes.

Big Four – Refers to Deloitte, PwC, Ernst & Young, and KPMG, the four largest international companies offering accounting and professional services.

Big Three – Refer to MBB

Bird’s eye view – Looking at a situation from a wider perspective.

Blue-sky thinking – A business phrase for thinking outside the box. It means being open-minded, ingenious, and innovative during meetings, brainstorming sessions, or problem analyses.

Boilerplate – A standard text or graphic that can be easily modified for future use. For instance, an employment contract may serve as a boilerplate if it is used every time a new consultant is hired. The recruiter can simply edit the personal information of the new hire and retain the terms of the contract.

Boil the ocean – Jargon that describes efforts to resolve a task that is too complicated to complete regardless of the person or group’s time and resources.

Bottoms-up – A problem solving approach that begins with an analysis of the details (or with low-level employees) and ends with an examination of the highest conceptual value (or top management). Compare to top-down.

Boutique firm – A consulting firm that offers a limited number of specialized consulting services to specific types of businesses. Examples of boutique firms include LEK and Marakon.

Bring to the table – To provide something (e.g., ideas, plans, skills, knowledge, etc.) that will create value or benefit a company.

Business model  – Description of how a business creates and delivers value to its target market. It includes strategies, organizational structure, processes, and policies.

Business-to-business – See B2B

Business-to-consumer – See B2C

Buttoned-down – See Buttoned-up

Buttoned-up – Thoroughly planned, accurate, and supervised. Also called Buttoned-down.

B2B – Abbreviation for business-to-business, an online transaction between two organizations or businesses.

B2C – Abbreviation for business-to-consumer, an online transaction between a company and consumers or end users.

C

CAGR – Acronym for Compound Annual Growth Rate, the number used to calculate the average return per year.

Campus hire – A candidate who is hired directly out of a university or business school. Compare to experienced hire.

Charge code – A project code to which consultants charge work-related costs.

Circle back – Discuss, follow up, or review the progress of an issue at a later time.

Close the loop – Jargon used by consultants during meetings to close a thoroughly discussed topic or issue that has been resolved.

Core client – A client who has established a time-honored relationship with a consulting firm.

Core competency – A key strength that adds value to a company. It can consist of knowledge, technical capabilities, commitment, skill sets, or production techniques that enable an organization to introduce unique products and services to the market that will give their business a competitive advantage.

D

Deep dive – An in-depth analysis or discussion of a particular topic.

Deliverable – A task, usually part of a larger project, that has been promised to a client. It can be tangible, such as progress reports or a market study summary, or intangible such as a presentation.

Due diligence – A comprehensive organizational research and analysis conducted prior to a business transaction or agreement with another party.

E

EBITDA – Abbreviation for Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization, an indicator of a company’s operational profitability.

Elevator pitch – A brief yet encompassing speech which is delivered to introduce one’s background and qualifications for a consulting job during a networking event or job interview. It refers to an imaginary situation in which one finds him or herself in an elevator with a key person in the consulting industry.

Elevator test – A challenge of one’s capability to explain a concept within 60 seconds or less. It originated from the hypothetical situation explained in elevator pitch.

Entrepreneurship – The pursuit of starting and managing one’s own business. It is one of the most popular exit options of management consultants as their consulting experience and exposure have prepared them for the challenges of running a business.

Experienced hire – A candidate with previous consulting experience who is hired to fill a high ranking position. Compare to campus hire.

F

Fact pack – A set of information that includes the necessary details of an assignment.

Frame – To discuss the project and define its scope with a client.

G

Gantt Chart – A horizontal bar chart that displays the project’s work breakdown structure and  start and finish dates of each category. It was named after Henry Gantt, the consultant who introduced it in the early 1900s.

Granular – Detailed or exhaustive; often used when referring to project studies and analyses.

Going forward – A phrase synonymous with “in the future.”

H

High-level – Viewing a project or situation from a wider perspective or involving the participation of company executives and managers.

Hit the ground running – To start something enthusiastically and at a fast pace.

I

Internal assignment – Specific company projects that are not paid for by the clients.

K

KPI – Acronym for Key Performance Indicators, a set of measurable goals or objectives that signify satisfactory performance if achieved.

L

Leverage – To use any resource to improve or enhance a product or service.

Low-hanging fruit – The low-hanging fruit is the easiest to pick from a tree. When this phrase is applied to business, it refers to the goal that can be achieved without difficulty, the task that can be finished readily, or the opportunity that can be grabbed quickly.

M

MBB – An acronym that stands for McKinsey, Bain, and BCG, the three most renowned international consulting firms. The MBB firms are also referred to as the “Big 3.”

MECE – An abbreviation for Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive, a McKinsey principle that refers to creating subcategories to ensure that all relevant facts and details are considered. These subcategories must be mutually exclusive (they cannot occur at the same time) and collectively exhaustive (at least one of the events must occur). MECE is often used when performing market researches.

O

On board – Currently working on a case or project.

Off the bench – Description for a consultant who is working on a billable project. Similar to On the clock.

Off the clock – See On the bench

On the beach – A term that describes consultants who do not get billable projects from clients and therefore have sufficient time for recreation.

On the bench – Description for a consultant who is not working on a billable project. Similar to Off the clock.

On the clock – See Off the bench

On the same page – Having the same information or thinking in a similar manner.

Opportunity cost – The cost of an alternative product or service a company chooses to forgo in order to pursue another. For instance, if a retailer decides to sell bags, the opportunity cost refers to alternative products (e.g., school supplies, clothes, etc.) that could have been sold.

P

Paradigm shift – A change of intellectual viewpoints or perceptions that create a huge impact on a business. An example would be a shift from manual to digital documentation within an organization.

Ping – To contact someone about a particular issue or matter. The word is generally used in reference to emails, but it can also be applied to mobile phones, instant messengers, and other electronic forms of communication.

POA – Acronym for Plan Of Action.

POOMA – An acronym for Pulled Out Of My Ass. See SWAG.

Progress review – A meeting conducted on a regular basis to review the progress, concerns, and accomplishments of the preceding period.

Pushback – Any real or anticipated concern brought up by company executives regarding the analysis or recommendations of a consultant.

Q

QC – Acronym for Quality Control, a method that ensures the accuracy of documents and calculations.

R

Re-frame – To re-discuss the purpose and scope of a project with the client.

Run the numbers – To make calculations in order to determine if the quantitative data supports a given business endeavor, investment, or transaction.

S

Sandwich method – A three-step feedback method that starts by reviewing sound points of the project or idea presented, followed by corrective comments, and ends with praise. This approach serves to soften the impact of the criticism.

Scope – The area covered by a consulting project, including its purpose and limits.

Scope creep – When uncontrolled changes in the project requirements lead to longer project duration. It often occurs when the scope and definition of the project are unclear.

Slopey shoulders – A term used to describe someone who passes on responsibility to another to avoid blame or boredom.

Sniff test – A term that refers to evaluating the feasibility or rationality of an analysis.

Stand up call – A brief meeting in which team members provide general updates of their work progress.

Strategy consulting – See Management consulting

SWAG – An acronym for Some Wild-Ass Guess, an idea, answer, or opinion without supporting facts or valid basis. It’s synonymous with POOMA (Pulled Out Of My Ass).

T

Takeaway – Refers to key points, conclusions, insights, or lessons learned from a presentation or during a meeting. If a consultant effectively delivers his or her message, the recommendations are usually implemented.

Time poor – A term used to describe people with busy schedules.

Think out of the box – To think creatively, freely, or unconventionally in order to come up with innovative ideas that are not confined by structures, practices, or rules.

TOIL – Acronym for Time Off In Lieu, the hours or days one may take in exchange for working overtime on a certain project.

Top-down – A problem solving method that begins with an analysis of the highest conceptual level (or with the top management) and ends with an examination of the details (or low-level employees). Compare to bottom-up.

Touch base – To get in touch with someone in the consulting industry.

Transparency – The dissemination of company information such as market studies and financial reports. It can also mean being open to team members when it comes to work-related activities.

U

Up or out – A policy in which an employee is either promoted (usually within a period of time) or discharged.

Upward feedback – Feedback given by lower level employees to higher ranking  employees.

Upward management – Communicating your needs to your supervisor to establish a strong relationship of cooperation and understanding in the workplace.

Utilization – The number of hours billed to clients, usually expressed in percentages.

Utilization target – The number of yearly target billable hours a firm sets for each of its clients, usually expressed in percentages.

V

View from 30,000 feet – Seeing a situation from a wider perspective after considering all relevant factors and thinking strategically.

W

Work-life balance – Working without sacrificing one’s relationships, interests, spirituality, growth, and other personal needs. Achieving this balance is a common problem for most if not all consultants due to the long work hours required in the industry.

Workstream – A set of tasks that comprise a project.

Miscellaneous

80/20 rule – The Pareto principle that states that 80% of the results come from 20% of the causes. In business, it implies that managers need to determine the critical factors that require  more attention. In terms of time management, it implies that fundamental issues should be addressed before less vital tasks and concerns.

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