AFTER MOVING TO THE CLIENT SIDE, FORMER CONSULTANTS FIND SKILLS LACKING

AFTER MOVING TO THE CLIENT SIDE, FORMER CONSULTANTS FIND SKILLS LACKING

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If you are thinking about making a transition into corporate strategy, Robert’s observation might be of interest. He found there are four core skills teams and individuals are missing on the client side. You can click here to have a look at his experiences.


What do ex-consultants miss the most about consulting? Okay, that is after the travel and fine dining, the free snacks, and the 80-hour work week?

It’s strong analytical and consultative problem-solving skills in their corporate work teams.

For the past five years, we’ve surveyed former consultants from BCG, Bain, McKinsey and several regional firms, seeking to better understand how their new corporate employer focuses on and builds competencies that are otherwise essential tools in the consulting kitbag.

Ex-consultants — and more than 400 have been surveyed —  consistently say four core skills are missing in the teams and individuals they encounter once they move to the client side:

  • Adopting a “hypothesis-driven” approach (i.e. developing a position on the likely answer early and designing work plan to prove or disprove week 1 answer)
  • Prioritizing (i.e. making appropriate “80-20” judgments to avoid boiling the ocean)
  • Defining strategic problems up front (e.g. identifying scope criteria for success implementation barriers, etc.)
  • Structuring analysis (i.e. identifying key issues and drivers)

These skill gaps, in fact, often impede the performance of direct reports and teams.

However, the biggest surprise is not that skill gaps exist, but in how they are addressed. The short answer is: They are not.

When we ask “How does your organization currently support development of these skills?”, the majority of ex-consultants tell us that it falls to them to teach and coach the skills.

So, despite the increase in support for corporate universities and external training, the ex-consultant faces a significant demand on their time to build and mentor skills that they took for granted among their consulting teammates.
As a consultant making the move onto the client side and seeking to build a top-performing team, recognize that critical skills that you’ve been used to having may be lacking in your new colleagues. Understand that part of your new role will be getting your teams up to your speed.

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