Partners, how can you tell whether an analyst has a good potential to become Partner later? What traits do they possess in their 20s: nice OR aggressive, do-as-told OR inquisitive and ask questions?

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I can’t and don’t. That would be like evaluating what major my 8 year will pick when she hopefully goes to college.

Focus on getting to the next level and building skills that are needed to be successful at that level. Always good to have a long term goal and ambition but you have a long way to go.

Doing the right thing. Being a team player. Working hard and smart. Always learning. Taking feedback and self-improving. These are all great qualities that will position you for success at any level and in any career.


I used to think I can pick the stars accurately early on . But I don’t think that is possible . Let me tell you two short stories to make my point

There was a young guy I hired out of college when I was a Sr Manager . Every partner above me liked him , clients liked him and HR told me he probably will make the youngest partner in IBM . And three years later - he told me he is leaving to do non profit work in Arkansas . There is an associate partner I met recently for the first time and over the conversation I learned she was also recruited by me at the same time as the guy mentioned above . I have no recollection unfortunately but she is going to make Partner this fall without having made an enormous impact in her analyst days .


I am male and have probably sponsored more women to partnership than most of my peers as far as I can tell . But that said - I am sure bias must have played a role and also totally agree that it is harder for women in this industry even today .

Just about this woman AP I mentioned above - all I said is that her talents were not visible in her first few years as an analyst . After that she must have made a big impact as a manager , sr manager etc to get fast tracked . That aspect is not unusual for men either - people progress at different paces


So, I disagree with some of the above perspective. There are, in my experience, absolutely certain traits that stand out and suggest future partner potential. This doesn’t mean that all folks who exhibit such traits will likely become partners; many great people choose to do others things with their career, after all. But nearly every junior person I’ve seen who has made it to the top had these:

- An innate motivation to do more than just what’s asked of you

- Independent thinking about the problem at hand. This is a big one - many junior people are very good at taking instruction, but they don’t come up with their own perspectives. And that limits your ability to learn. Even coming with bad / mistaken ideas is useful. It shows that you’re grappling with the question and have a desire to learn.

- Curiosity / inquisitiveness. The best people will do independent reading about their clients and industry; they’ll ask about why analytical models are designed in a certain way; maybe they’ll tinker and build their own models. They’ll get excited about the things that deviate from the norm on an engagement, rather than getting annoyed that those things create more work.

- Ability to take coaching. Some people need to get the same feedback a bunch of times. Others incorporate good ideas and suggestions into their toolkit rapidly. I think this ties to the curiosity bit - if you think / listen deeply enough, you won’t need to get the same suggestion over and over again.

With some other traits, it’s a crapshoot. I don’t think, for example, that early client engagement demeanor / “smoothness” is predictive. Raw intelligence is only predictive to an extent too


What do y'all mean by EQ skills?

Just realized: emotional intelligence?


I think drive and motivation is the biggest predictor. I would say most that we hire could do the job if they put in the work to cultivate the right skills.


I agree with P1 in the comments above - but in raw talent here are a few -

a gift of the gab, meaning they can approach and speak to anyone at any level and have a conversation and not be afraid of starting or carrying on that conversation. If you can do that, welcome to sales, the bread and butter of all partners.

Leadership with humility. It’s great to lead, but it’s also great to know when to follow. A great leader leads through growth and coaching of others, not simply getting things across a finish line. Understanding this will go a long way.

A desire to continuously learn - whether about life, technology, consulting or anything. Those with an inquisitive drive to grow will continuously succeed.

Generally, presence and the way you carry yourself will also lead to great things. You don’t have to be best dressed or smartest, but when you walk in a room and make an impact or when you speak in a meeting you bring depth and knowledge - do that and you will have a career of success.


Thanks P2


It's important to have a strong and successful personal brand. I also believe that's it's highly dependent on service line - successful strat consultants act differently to successful ERP implementrs.


I understand it should be a balance but where in the spectrum do Partner-material analysts tend to fall on that spectrum?


I think I will get burnt for saying this - but here goes nothing.

Grades in the early part of the career and project ratings as one gains more experience in my mind are the best predictor. Nothing wrong with any of the qualities cited above, but whether a consultant posses those qualities is often extremely hard to judge. When someone says this person is inquisitive what they are essentially saying is - based on my ‘limited’ experience and ‘ my biases’, 'I think’ this person is inquisitive.

Now project ratings are also not perfectly objective - but an average of dozens of ratings will hopefully give a better directional answer.


Why would you get burned for saying this? It makes sense.

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