Posted by: LYF | October 21, 2009

1YP – Business consulting

I always thought consulting was something I’d like to try.  I just wasn’t sure how close my idea of consulting was to reality.  With that in mind, I met with a manager at Deloitte last week, to learn as much as I could about the nature of the work.

The manager I met with was very smart, possessing twenty five plus years of experience.  Thankfully, he was gracious enough to meet with me for an hour after work.  I went into the meeting a little bit unprepared, since I forgot to bring all the notes I wrote the night before.   We were about 15min in when I realized our talk was sounding a lot like a recruiting pitch – the same type of schtick you hear from most big 4 firms in September.   I began to worry.  I wanted to get something tangible out of our talk, an insider’s perspective on what it’s actually like to work in consulting.  Not a prescripted pep-rally.  Then we slowly slipped from a question-answer period to a more fluid conversation.  This still wasn’t helping so I asked for some real-life examples.  Maybe something would fall out of that.

He barraged me with anecdotes.  Each one was an example of getting things done versus hard work.  The last story involved a team of 20 people working three, eight hour shifts for 2 weeks straight to finish a project.  That is literally 2 weeks of around the clock work.  The significance of the story wasn’t the length or intensity of the job.  It was the drive to finish.  The manager repeatedly emphasized this.  Consulting is results driven, which is a lot different than most jobs.  At his office, hard work isn’t valued unless it produces a finished product.

That’s pretty rough.  Some people are cut out for this type of thing.  The person I spoke to definitely was.  I could see the rising tension in his hands as he reminisced about the war stories he was sharing.  He was getting fired up all over again just thinking about this stuff.

If I switch into consulting – which I have no idea if I ever will – I’ll be starting at the bottom.  I don’t even know if I want that.  Anyway, it’s still a long ways away before I have to make any decision.  Still, the meeting was rewarding.  I managed to close the gap between what I thought consulting was versus what it actually is.

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