Saturday, October 6, 2007

What Management Consulting is, if you're not one

Friends say I'm a high-powered consultant, that I con people and then insult them, that my firm will "sell our souls to make up some numbers to get the next contract."

What Management Consulting Is:

Long hours. Try leaving your family Monday morning and coming back Thursday night. It ain't easy.

Long hours (2). My work is probably 60 hours/week, but varies by firm, by project, and by time on the project.

Becoming an expert on miles and loyalty programs. Having 500,000 marriott points and being platinum sounds really cool, and that's why as a consultant you get excited about it. Unfortunately it's just a rationalization for how much it sucks to be on the road 50 weeks a year.

Not knowing for sure, but having to take a stand anyways: As a consultant, you never have enough time to "boil the ocean," or in other words, to figure out every possible contingency and be exhaustive. (Neither does the client for that matter, and that's why they've hired you) Nevertheless, they have hired you to come out with a specific recommendation. So you have to be able to create an opinion, take a stand, put a stake in the ground, and back it up with evidence, though it's possible that there's data out there that might contradict your thesis. This is hard for the engineers and scientists in consulting, who are used to figuring out everything about a system before delivering an answer.

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Saturday, October 6, 2007