{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "👶🏻 🐠 here, \nWhat mistakes/pitfalls have you made in your career that you wish had been avoided? \nWhat should a new generation of consultants look out for?", "post_id": "5f87703360d09d00208e5965", "reply_count": 205, "vote_count": 57, "bowl_id": "552d1d24dc1c586b09d2d051", "bowl_name": "Consulting", "feed_type": "crowd" }
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👶🏻 🐠 here,
What mistakes/pitfalls have you made in your career that you wish had been avoided?
What should a new generation of consultants look out for?

likehelpful
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I am currently exiting a Manager role at Big4 and start working as a Product manager in a TECH company. There are key lessons I learnt in a hard way. There are few suggestions below.

1. Decide what you want:
a) career in consulting and grow till you become a Partner in Big 4 or Big 3, as your next step, b) get some experience and exit to a new industry. Your decision will define your strategy while you are at any consulting firm. If you are not sure what you'll do next, you might lose time. Then, when you finally decide to exit, you will have to hunt offers, not vs. Thus, the most attractive offers might not be available to you.

2. Define what your strategy will be.
- If you choose "a" from the previous point, then, you strengthen your technical and soft skills, provide high quality deliverables on time, manage junior consultants, further assist in preparation of proposals and sell with partners. Understand early on the rules of the game.
- If you choose "b" option, then you might use your firm's brand to build your own brand. It is a win-win situation.
1) You start getting certifications required by your future non-consulting role.
2) Use Consulting firm's name to publish articles (jointly with your leadership. make sure your name is on the release.). Participate in your firm's projects in addition to your engagements.
3) Be active on the social media and publish some insightful reviews / comments on some business matters related to your future role/industry. Be careful though as a Consulting firm's logo and name must not be mentioned. Also, be always aware what you say and how you say it because your actions reflect the consulting firm's name.
4) Tty to get into projects that will give you credentials for your future role when there is an option to pick a project, of course.
5) Use your position (consultant) to join professional and industry clubs/groups. Network to build connections from your target industry. Networking is a key because it defines what exit opportunities you will have available to you. The best ones are always "hidden". Try to become "Cheese" that a "Mouse" wants to find and eat instead of a "Cat", which is getting exhausted from trying to catch a "Mouse". Make the best offers come to you.
5) Do sports to stay physically and mentally healthy. It will prevent you from a burnout. Do not underestimate the power of physical exercise.
6) Set your priorities right. Always remember to do at least 3 things per week that will put you closer your desired position / industry outside of consulting.
7) Try to have your now projects outside of consulting that you can contribute to on a weekend. For example, develop an app with friends for a non-profit or anything else that is relevant to your goal.

When you know your goal, your motivation is always up. Your firm and you benefit from it. If you chose option "b", you still have to perform at your best ability.

WORK SMART, NOT ONLY HARD! Good luck!

likehelpfulsmartuplifting

I used to live in Chicago, but now relocated to Kazakhstan. Please contact me on LinkedIn Mikhail Kovalenko

like

1. Earn people not just money (the relationships both internally and externally) will help you rise in value
2. Have a beginners mindset in everything you approach
3. A wise person said it earlier (in this post) and I concur - elevate others as your life becomes significant when you make others lives significant.
4. Build something instead of selling or doing something that other have created: when you build - you bring value creation vs value distribution and value creation makes you valuable.
5. Find authentic people and don't expect people to change - they don't :catch a behaviour pattern in your constituency and then work with it instead trying to change them.
6. Clients and colleagues are human beings with complex challenges as you - be a human first
7. Sounds clichéd but Listen better - can't highlight this point more - take up listening classes if you have to - it is the most important skill you need for life and relationship success
8. Do something that lies in the intersection of what you do best and what you enjoy doing
9. Biggest one of them all - Stop trying to treat people how you would like to be treated. Rather treat them how they would like to be treated, for that don't assume just ask - how do you like to be recognized/appreciated, given feedback, communicated with (verbally, email, short, long, data, presentations, examples..)
10. Find a mentor and a coach - you don't know what you don't know - everyone needs to have these 2 people (or combined into one) in their life.
11. Stop worrying about what others think about you - they only think about you for 5 mins and they get warped into their own psychological drama of their own life in their own minds - so stopwasting your 5 hours thinking about what someone will think about you for 5 mins.
12. Find what brings you joy and do more of that.

All the best!

likehelpful
Recent IconRecent

Most of these came from my time in the military but I apply them almost everywhere.

1. You’re a man before your rank.
2. Know the job of the person above you. Not because you’re trying to snake that position, but because you need to be ready if that person moves out or up.
3. Be the hardest working person in the room. Period.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask a question just know when and where.
5. Show initiative. Even if it turns out to be the wrong thing, at least you stood up and tried.
6. Don’t dress like a slob. Dress for the position you want not the one you have. People will notice.
7. Be polite. Open doors. Say thank you. Ask people how their weekend went. Compliment when appropriate.
8. Money will come and go but you will never get your time back.
9. If you get knocked down, get back up, dust your shoulders off and learn from your mistake and grow.

Just a few pointers there. They might not be specific to an industry but they work for me and I’m doing damn fine.

likehelpfulsmartuplifting

EY4, thanks for such great advice!
I’m sad to see how many people needed to literally have this be translated to consulting/business terms to understand. Questioning the supposed high IQ.
Also, wow, good advice suddenly becomes a boomer thing? Scared for the GenZ’s if you don’t know how to leverage knowledge that was learned from experience before you. Arrogance ain’t cute.

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When you start an affair on the road never give your real name

likefunnysmarthelpfuluplifting

Y’all he’s not telling you to have an affair. Just giving some advice in case you do

like

Do quantitative work early on. The qual stuff is easier to learn and bullshit.

likesmartfunnyhelpful

And if we’re being honest, the “Qual” stuff is built on top of “Quant” stuff. The best and most confident version of me is when I’ve produced solid Quant work, and know my stuff inside and out. The Qual skills I have to draw on are my crutch when I haven’t done my best work and need one hand to wash the other, so to speak.

likefunny

The only person that owns your life is you so never let yourself become second priority to anyone - a firm, a manager, a significant other, etc. Always keep evaluating what you're doing and don't kill yourself in your present for a supposed better future. Living right now is also living and are the best years of your life.

I know it sounds super preachy but once you get the hang of it, it keeps you very centered in all the decisions that you have to take.

likehelpfulsmartfunny

Solid...I’ve worked in some toxic environments when I was younger. Let it get to me. My biggest regret is I cannot go back and get the time back with my family. Those miserable people at work are no longer in my life, but the memories I missed because of them will always be there.

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Enjoy your life.

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Just learnt this and working on it.

likesmartfunny

Culture eat strategy for breakfast. Focus on the people willing to mentor and coach and sponsor you, not the next cool project or that extra 5k in TC.

likesmart

This is true. I have been to so many lake houses and vacation homes that I also see it as a aspiration for me!

Assuming that others at higher levels in the firm have your best interests at heart. They sell you on growth and learning. And there is some support for that. But by and large it’s pretty sharky waters out there. Tread carefully with whom you place trust in.

likesmarthelpful

I’d say all higher level personnel unless proven otherwise

Exercise. Watch the beers at dinner, eat a healthy breakfast and lunch on the road. A workout in a hotel gym will not counteract 4 days of beer and 3 fatty meals out a day.

At the start of each project tell your EM what your development points were from your last project, work on them get it in your feedback you’re good at them now. Essentially show growth to the reviewers each cycle.

If you want to get promoted make it known talk to the people in charge get a list of things you have to have shown to have done and do them, get it in writing you’ve done them.

Don’t be afraid to kick up a fuss if your bonus / rating / raise wasn’t what you deserve (key word deserve not want. Make sure you come to that conversation with evidence for why you deserve it, you’ll atleast force an explanation)

Finally don’t take this job or yourself too seriously 😊 enjoy your life, take your holiday, don’t work till 1am to show commitment. Have friends outside of consulting (and the corporate world in general)

likehelpfulsmart

Also to clarify when I complained I didn’t ask for them to change my rating I just wanted them to know that I was upset with my rating because my feedback showed me performing above it was more about showing I wasn’t gonna take what they gave me when I deserve better (for me)

helpful

Nothing. You’re gonna make mistakes and you’ll learn from them, that’s the whole point.
- Sincerely, a wise old 2nd year analyst

likefunnysmarthelpful

Joining consulting

likefunnyhelpful

I spent 15 years in industry with slow growth. Whereas few friends became partners. Regret not choosing the fast growth career when I didn’t have kids. Truth is I just didn’t know much about consulting

likehelpful

You are more than your job title. Wish I had known I don’t have to be the “yes (wo)man” all the time to make it in consulting. At the end of the day the time spent with family and friends went further than the extra work.

likeuplifting

IBM 1- Deloitte reply hit the nail on the head and was well said. I’ll give you an little extra perspective. I basically volunteered or said yes to every extra (non-bill) task or learning opportunity. I was sure it would help land better projects or faster promotions. Instead I ended up getting burnt out and most of the extra work went unnoticed or unrecognized by leadership. In the long run it was not worth burning the candle at both ends to make work my first priority being the go-to “yes” person. I had many colleagues that did not take those extra tasks and are in the same position or title. I can’t get back those weekends, holiday, or vacations I decided work rather than be with friends and family. It’s healthier and more realistic to set boundaries for yourself and the company. You can be a fantastic asset to the company and still have limits. To note, that doesn’t mean give the bare minimum at work it means don’t volunteer for the all the extra tasks to keep up with the Joneses.

like

Not going to grad school right after undergrad..

likefunny

What?

Success is built on making others look good, focusing on how the client defines value (not the clients company, but the individual - could be promotion, work/life balance, impressing the boss, etc), positioning the firm for success and building a strong team around you. As opposed to - you know - presenting everything in terms of what’s best for me (my chargeability, my career goals, my contractural deliverables are due). It’s not prioritizing yourself last - but being able to frame what you need to include how you are benefiting the rest. And being self-aware enough to know when it’s truly just a selfish ask, and be up front about it.

Anyways. It took me until Mgr to figure it out, that “manage your own career” doesn’t mean “be really clear on what I need to be successful at all times as a first priority”. wish I learned sooner.

likehelpfulsmart

There is life beyond ppt

likefunny

Yeah, Google Slides 😂

like

1 // focus drives impact (80/20)
2 // learn to say no
3 // prioritize people over work
4 // be known for something

likesmart

I’m know for being a joke

like

If you ever receive a personalized email from Corporate HR or Legal about a project you were on last year, ignore it.

likefunnyhelpful

@EY 16 Sounds like a joke to me. They're saying it was an email they legally had to respond to, but would have preferred not to since it opened a whole can of worms.

Invest in people. Networking is the word people use who aren’t good at making friends.

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Thanks 🙏

1. Learning to say no sometimes is important.
2. Don’t be afraid to leave consulting sooner than later if you’re unhappy or doesn’t align with what you’re looking for. You can always decide to come back if industry doesn’t work out.

likefunny

Look for the people you want to work with, not the company you want to work for. The culture of a company is something that we broadly talk about but in any firm or company there’s a group of people that are doing work that engages you. I worked for “bad” companies with great people I’ve enjoyed and some companies that were supposed to be wonderful but the people around me were hard for me to work with. I will take the former over the latter any day

like

This so much. You’ll be miserable if you don’t share values with the people you work with/don’t like them.

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