Saturday, November 17, 2007

Key Success Factors for an Analyst at a Strategy Consulting Firm

All strategy consulting firms have the same 6-level structure even though the titles may change, as the above table shows. There’s really only 4 when you’re talking about day-to-day work actions, and how to succeed. I’ll tackle these one at a time in separate articles.

Level A – Business Analyst / Senior Business Analyst (McKinsey-Equivalent)

Ok, we get it. You’re smart, you double majored in math and literature at Harvard. You’ve been to India, and you went to the coolest homecoming party ever last week. You read GettingDrunkInFirstClass and consider yourself a TD.

The trouble is, you can’t analyze your way out of a paper bag. Associates spoon-feed you slides to make and excel models to build, only to have to step in to constantly correct your slides so you don’t embarrass the team with fuckups. You can’t present to the client because they don’t trust a 22-year old (rightfully so).

We don’t hate you. We just know that you’re pretty worthless, and that you have an inflated ego that needs to be beat down. So, let me give you the key success factors you need to follow:

KSF 1) It’s better to be right than to be fast.
Don’t fuck up your analysis. If you can’t build the model right, say so. Otherwise you’re going to embarrass the team. To try mightily and fail is a good personal ethic, but don’t sign up your team to fail right alongside you.

KSF 2) Know Excel and PowerPoint better than you know your own mother.
Make these programs your bitches. Stop using the mouse, and look down with disdain on your peers who don’t know as many keyboard shortcuts as you. Crush your excel models, have them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of your workbooks. To paraphrase the Marines, “Every consultant is an excel jockey.”

KSF 3) Make your Associate’s Life Easier.
Can you get his coffee in the morning when you get yours? Are you doing the collating, the printing, the sorting, the stapling? Can you proofread? Yes, these are shit jobs, but it’s better that you do them than the Associate.

KSF 4) Make your Associate’s Life Easier (2).
Watch your Associate and see what he does with your work. What’s the next step in the “value chain” of the analysis, and can you do it? Look to see how you can move forward in the analysis. What is the Associate going to ask, once he sees your analysis? What will your answer be?

If you adhere to these 4 Key Success Factors, you will rapidly be promoted in the organization. If you don’t, you’ll be fired.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007