Why Management Consulting?
Management consulting at a top-tier firm offers both high quality (difficult problems with top company executives and industry leaders) and high quantity experiences (work on a plethora of projects and industries). At the end of the day, the best way to learn and grow is to get as many data points as possible on how to lead and solve problems. The more quality data points you can get, the more you will learn which will pay dividends throughout your career.
Management consulting is the best first job out of college. Why? because you (1) build a core foundational toolkit, (2) learn from exceptionally smart people, and (3) discover what you want to do.
(1) Core foundational toolkit
The Core foundational toolkit is the basics to be a highly functional contributor or leader for any organization
- Break a seemingly impossible, ambiguous problem into manageable component parts
- Acquire knowledge across multiple industries
- Improve your presentation and presence skills by structuring and leading meetings
- Build fact-based analysis in Excel and story-lining in PowerPoint
- Hone time management and prioritization skills
- Learn how large companies actually make decisions
(2) Exceptionally smart people
There is a high bar to break into management consulting at top-tier consulting firms, you are almost guaranteed to work with some of the brightest minds to learn how to achieve high output in a short period of time.
- There is a reason why companies hire consulting companies, you will often help solve a really difficult problem. You get a first-row seat on how some of the smartest people solve these problems and systematically get to an answer.
- Note: not always; sometimes companies don’t have the expertise or manpower so they hire a consultancy
- You will never be the smartest person in the room
- Work with many different effective Partners and c-suite level executives to learn from their leadership and working style to help build your own
(3) What you want to do
On average, you will likely work on ~8 projects each year. With more tenure, you get more ownership to craft the type of projects you work on.
- Imagine choosing the industry (e.g., technology, finance, healthcare, private sector, etc.) and function (e.g., strategy, marketing & sales, organization, etc.) for 8 projects each year that you want to learn about? That is basically what your first 2 years look like as an entry-level consultant.
- Goes without saying, but you can quickly begin to focus on what you enjoy doing while avoiding areas you dislike
In my roles after McKinsey, I often find myself solving difficult problem with little information where my McKinsey toolkit has been extremely helpful.