Invaluable skills that you learn as a consultant

Invaluable skills that you learn as a consultant

Movemeon: jobs, insight, events and career tips for (ex-)consultants and freelancers. Click here to create a free account and access all our opportunities.

Summary

After spending 5 years working at Deloitte, Al Dea made the move from management consulting to become a Product Marketer at a tech company. In addition to working as a PMM, Al also is a career coach, he runs CareerSchooled, a career advice blog, and advises professionals including many consultants on career changes of their own. Al took the time to chat with us about his decision to move from consulting to marketing and shared his process for how he made the transition, as well as some lessons he learned that all consultants can use if they wish to make a career change.

After spending 5 years working at Deloitte, Al Dea made the move from management consulting to become a Product Marketer at a tech company. In addition to working as a Product Marketing Manager, Al also is a career coach, he runs CareerSchooled, a career advice blog, and advises professionals including many consultants on career changes of their own. This fourth article in his series is based on the invaluable skills that he learned whilst in consulting. 

Learning how to learn fast

In consulting, I was often placed on projects where I didn’t necessarily have subject matter expertise initially but was expected to ramp and learn quickly to do the role effectively. As a result, I got very good at “learning how to learn” and the skills and tricks to ramping fast and demonstrating competence and value quickly. This has been valuable in my new role at Salesforce – it’s allowed me to add value and contribute right away but also has enabled me to take on more responsibility and new projects because of my ability to learn fast.

Problem Solving

Consulting is about problem-solving, and everything you worked on was more or less some form of a problem that you had to find a solution for. This problem-solving mindset and the tools, frameworks, and skills you learn from solving lots of problems has helped immensely in my new role at Salesforce. Often times, I get projects or assignments where I don’t know the answers or don’t have the deepest expertise initially, but using the skills I learned as a consultant has helped me to tackle these challenges. Additionally, through my own initiative, I’ve found a few solutions to problems that I’ve raised to my own leadership and went out of my way to tackle them. This mindset which I developed while a consultant is something that’s definitely helped me gain credibility and respect amongst my peers.

Outcomes, Impact, and Value

As a consultant, you’re being paid lots by a client to help them solve a problem, so you’re constantly thinking about what makes an impact, adds value, or ties to some sort of outcome. This mindset and approach have been helpful for me in my new role because it has helped me prioritize what to focus my efforts and time on. Constantly aligning around the things that will add the most value has helped me deliver impact through my work.

Owning Your Career

At Deloitte, we often heard the term “own your career,” which really meant that it was on you to A) decide for yourself how you wanted to chart your course at the firm and B) that you were responsible for being your own brand advocate. It also meant that when it was time for the yearly performance management process and compensation process if you wanted something, you had to take it upon yourself to make sure you were fighting for what you wanted. Learning how to do this successfully at Deloitte was critically important, as it’s not something you really think about or can learn from a textbook.

Mentorship

Deloitte was huge on the mentorship and apprenticeship model, where you were either being coached and mentored by more senior and experienced teammates, or mentoring and coaching younger analysts and consultants to help them do their jobs effectively. This sense of apprenticeship was critical to ensuring successful project engagements. I’ve taken this approach to my new role and it’s certainly something that my teammates and colleagues appreciate. Whether it’s taking the time to work with some of the newer team members on my team or coaching some of my peers, this mindset that I learned in consulting has helped me gain the respect and support of my team because they appreciate my willingness to invest and help others.

 

If you’re interested in hearing more from Al, please check out his website, connect with him on social media, learn more about his career coaching services.

 

Follow us on Linkedin