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How common is it for people managing 7+ people at the Senior Associate / Senior Consultant level? I see it on resumes all the time and I am surprised — I wasn’t managing this size of a team until I was a Manager.

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Super common on big accounts which most big firms have


I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those have taken upon PMO roles on larger transformations/implementations and perhaps are slightly twisting the work by using the work “managing”. As a senior consultant I would expect most of the time is spent on deliverables, stakeholder management, driving progress etc. - I do not see that is possible if you have excess amount of colleagues to manage and I would be worried how well developed your consulting tool box actually is.


Yea that’s what I’m thinking. I’m sifting through resumes and am trying to figure out what many of these people actually do.

I’ve always defined “manage” as “doing performance review”. Is that what others are saying too?


Yeah, then super common. Even experienced staffs do it.

I’ve done it before at consultant levels. Feedback given through the senior manager since i was not allowed to give feedback in the system.


This was at S&?

Depends on the work type and industry. Example, testing manager on a large System implementation project at a large Government agency will have lot of people reporting to her, the manager just coordinates the work and approves the timesheet. But the same manager will have very few folks reporting if she works for a midsize manufacturer on a large project.


I always read those as “the team has 8 seniors and associates on it and I’ve been there the longest so they ask me client/firm questions”. Which then is word smithed into a resume bullet point.


Agreed. Quite straight forward answer to that question and no way to get around it. You either do performance reviews for your staff or you don’t. Support, inform, influence doesn’t cut it.

I was careful to differentiate between managing project teams and managing direct reports. I've had to manage projects with 10+ people, meaning I had to manage their work, assess quality, and provide feedback, but as a senior consultant, I never had more than one direct report at a time.


How do you manage those people? I’m from a smaller org and 9 feels like a lot - but my direct reports need a lot of coaching

I managed teams in the fed space at the C and SC levels, one team as a C and two as a SC. Both teams were 5-7 people and I managed their day to day work. I didn't manage the admin side, just the work itself.

Short answer is not often especially if it is strategy related. The biggest team I ran was about 10 strategy folks and I have been a head of department in 2 F500 companies. Strategy teams in general are small... if you count in cross functional resources on the project then people I "manage" could expand to 30. However, they all have their own reporting lines and don't report into me. Op / transformation / PMO teams on the other hand are bigger.

I think it comes down to what you are looking for - consulting toolkit or leadership skillset. It is unlikely for someone at that level to manage a large team. The biggest strategy consulting team I have seen in my career is a multi-million consulting project that Mckinsey did for my previous company. The team was led by an Associate Partner and the team had 2 EMs, 6-7 Associates and BAs. When these folks say they are managing 7 people, they are likely to be managing the outcome / progress of the work. Hence, by association "managing" the people on those workstreams. That's similar to my experience of managing 30 people on a big project. I am pretty certain that they won't have the leadership experience and having more than 1 to 3 people directly reporting into them. That's where the leadership part comes in. It takes quite a bit of experience and different skillset to have a big team reporting directly someone. Managing a few people day to day on a project is very different to leading and running a team for a prolong period where you have to deal with all the admin including hiring, negotiating salaries, approving leave, coaching, handing out promotion, setting bonus, firing people, managing the budget etc. Usually that's principal / AP / Partner roles in consulting or Head of department in industry.

All project dependent. I’ve worked on mostly small projects and generally only manage 1-3 people. Once I managed 7, tho.

I manage three people as an SA, which already leaves me no time to do my own work 🥸

Not impossible if they a rockstar being staffed in step-up genuine manager roles. If so, id expect them also to note on their resume that they are consistently rated in the top bucket of performance

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