DISCLAIMER: I work in the Business Advisory division in a Big4. I completed my MBA from a great B-school in the Philippines. These are my thoughts about consulting. The are not positive
. I probably wont have the time to come back and defend what I have to say - but I think all of the following stuff really needs to be said.
The following are my opinions only:
- I believe that in the eyes of todays MBA grads, the consulting world is super glamorous. I wear a tie to work. I had a company laptop before any one of my friends. I took company sponsored flights before any of my friends. All of this contributes.
- Our reports look absolutely fantastic. The reason is that we have a dedicated team that only does formatting. This is critical from the point of furthering the brand. A sharp looking report immediately triggers off a neuron that tells the reader that the work is authentic and good.
- However, its important to look beyond that. Most of the work being done by us is stuff the management doesn't want to waste its time on OR cannot do themselves because of independence issues.
- Sure there may be some good assignments, but most are not. They are studies, research, creating standard operating procedures, cost reduction and stuff like that. Earlier I had always wanted to move to a McK or a BCG. But then I found that we (Big4) and they pretty much bid for the same projects. (Except that their quotes are 10 times as much).
- The other day I was introduced to a client as an auto-sector expert. I am not. I can barely understand my own car. But then, consulting involves a lot of shadow play. And this happens across all generalist consulting companies.
So my problems basically are:
- I'm too young to be advising people who have 10-20+ years of exp. in their sectors
- The work is almost always boring and very standard.
- I spend 35-40% of my time on documentation and formatting
Therefore, I'm an advocate of specialist consulting firms. For example: pure aviation consulting, or pure retail consulting with experts with actual domain knowledge. I'd actually like to move to line management and someday (when I'm 35+) join a specialist consulting company. Also, very important:Fresh college grads:
Be skeptical of joining the "risk advisory practices". This is internal audit. I've found in my experience that CA's prefer this line. If you are a B.Com then its probably (based on generalizations of course) fine for you.
If you are a Eco grad with MBA plans, then try getting into line management (I wish I had done that). There is sales, marketing, advertising, product development...loads of stuff to sample.
Its really really really important to understand what you want to do. Dont be wow'd by the glamour of the consulting world. Figure out if its really what you want. Talk to people (consultants) who will be candid with you. If you like the detailed description of the work we do.. then by all means. Jump in. Dont go by what the websites / your batchmates say - cos we really know how to sell