Have you seen people get promoted to Principal / Partner who were not good at actual project work / management but were great at selling?

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Lol, that is the majority lot.

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No. I’ve seen people who weren’t absolutely brilliant at it, but no one who was actively “not good”. Everyone who makes partner at minimum clears the bar on that dimension. Beyond that, what MD2 above said.

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No, you're wrong. I know a dozen at KPMG who made it partner but have zero ability to pefrom skilled delivery. They progressed because they rode the coattails of a partner who sold X millions. I can wager that there are many such clueless bros who made it into the partnership because they know how to suck up, and sell (talk, blabber and promise the moon)

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Yes, and vice versa. Top tier firms recognize that different people have different strengths

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Subject matter expert

Concur with the above. It is easy to judge when you only see someone in that role, but we all started as associates and had to clear every single level before we became a Partner. Can’t do that if all you can do is sell.

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Don’t disagree that they came form somewhere, but that somewhere is not always a consulting associate. For example, the last partner I worked was a director at a bank for 20 years before moving over as a managing director and promoted to partner. They literally have 0 experience in delivering consulting work.

Quite a few. At firms that have a terminal non-equity partner role and an equity partner role, you often see that split. Plenty of MDs at Deloitte, for example, are in that role because they're very skilled at client delivery but not great at sales, so MD (non-equity partner) is a terminal role for them vice getting the Principal (equity partner) promo.

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Yup. They just sell and others implement. Anecdotally they were also the first to get canned when it was time to clean house. Big 4.

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