Charles River interview secrets from an ex-consultant turned CPG analyst


Happy (almost) Thanksgiving everyone! Have a special treat for you guys – a 36 minute podcast interview with Shreenath Regunathan.

Shreenath has a very interesting background – he graduated from a huge public school (UT-Austin), spent several years at Charles River Associates doing a lot of oil/energy/gas work, then migrated over to Coca-Cola where he is today.

In this podcast, here are just some of the things we cover:

  • How to stand out in the recruiting process from a big public school
  • How to build networking skills and the right relationships to dominate
  • The secrets to a good resume and why most people are doing it wrong
  • The purpose of case studies and how interviews at CRA and Deloitte work
  • Why less is more in tackling case studies and the art of asking the right question(s)
  • Background on Charles River Associates
  • Pros and cons of boutique consulting
  • Why Shreenath made the transition from consulting to a Fortune 500 company (start here for exit opportunities from consulting)

For people who prefer text, here’s the 11 page PDF with key points bolded:

*Update: click here to see Shreenath’s personal blog and his LinkedIn profile, and reach out! He’s very open to helping others, as you can hear in the interview :)

Follow the link below to see the full transcript embedded…it’s long!

Kevin: So hello everybody. This is actually the first podcast that we’re doing together here at Management Consulted. On the other line we’ve got Shreenath Regunathan. I’ll let Shreenath kind of introduce himself, but before we get started, I just want to let everybody know that what we’re doing here is really trying to kind of cover his experiences and his sort exposure to consulting and really try to help you guys better understand how you can prepare for recruiting and landing consulting jobs. So just to get started we’ll give a quick overview of his background where he is today and all of that good stuff.

Shreenath: Great. Thanks Kevin. Welcome everyone and just wanted to tell everyone that, you know, I’ve been through where you are now in terms of looking at consulting and trying to understand how apply and, you know, I want to share what I’ve got to try and help everyone out and see if you can learn from what I’ve got and feel free to reach out to me if there is no questions in the end if you feel like you have any other questions. Just to start off ….

Kevin: Awesome and we’ll make sure that we put your contact information out there as well.

Shreenath: Sounds good. So just to get started guys, I started in the US actually with an engineering degree, mechanical engineering at Texas, Austin and I came from Singapore Red high school and sort of been all over the place before that in Bombay and traveling. So I ended up in the US on a whim, wanted to come to college and interned in engineering was pretty much heading down the path of growing into like an engineering job until probably the summer of my junior year. When I was interning, I realized that I really was not liking getting siloed and decided I want to do consulting. So then I reach out and reached out across the board for family, friends, people I met on flights and anyone who I had ever heard of or done consulting or banking to understand what all those categories is where because in Texas, you know, 95% of the students would going to do engineering jobs.

So once I dug into that, I realized I wanted to do consulting, there was not much recruiting per se except for, you know, McKinsey Bain would come on campus once in a while in engineering to solicit resumes. And so that sort of opened my doors to what options there are and I said, okay let me go find myself a job and I found, I recruited into a firm called Charles River Associates, which is based out of Boston and they had an energy office in Houston. And so there was actually a small strategy consulting group within the firm and that’s where I ended up finding a job and working with them. And so that’s how I got into consulting I spend a good couple of years there before I got into a start up that’s part of a Coca Cola for a year in Houston and then I move to the headquarters in Atlanta and that’s where I am now.

Kevin: Really interesting. So, you know, just going back to that education piece first here because I know a lot of readers go to big public schools and, you know, being from Boston, I know UT is as big as they come. How did you really try to stand out during that recruiting process given that I’m sure that there are, you know, a lot of people that were interested and a lot of, you know, things are basically going on, on campus.

Shreenath: No, absolutely that’s a very good point. I mean that over 50,000 students, when I was there, I think it’s, it’s pretty difficult to almost keep track of what’s going on and if you want to start following the herd. It’s really hard to keep track of what’s going on. So the big thing that really helped for me personally was I understood and joined a lot of organizations and not a lot in terms, a lot in terms of participation and identified the couple that I felt added value for me personally in terms of finding opportunities to lead, opportunities to be corporations so I Actually it was the vice president of Tau Beta Pi, which is an engineering honors society and one of the key roles for vice president is outreach to companies and invite them to come on campus. So by definition, I got to meet with middle management in engineering companies, banking companies, consulting companies, or just inviting engineers and want to come to talk to them. So that’s sort of a role gave me, sort of a sit by and watch other people in what they do role in conversations. And so that sort of kicked off my ability to choose between multiple career paths.

Kevin: That’s a very, very interesting point. I want to make sure that readers really, really hear what you just said, which is, you know, your role at Tau Beta Pi and enabling you to really meet all these people with very valuable. I’m sure and something that I always recommend is like if you aren’t, if your school has a consulting club, join it. If it has an ability to meet people at the companies that you want to work at, you want to join those clubs and if they don’t exist, try to start one and that’s also to me the beauty of a big public school often times just that there are lots of opportunities to do stuff like that and it seems like Shreenath, you know, you were very good about sort of finding, finding those opportunities. So, you know, just kind of build on this. A lot of people I know, it seems to me like the networking and relationship building kind of came naturally to you, but for people who don’t have as much experience or a natural skill in doing that, how would you recommend that they really build this relationships? Let’s say they’re meeting these people in information sessions or at panels. How do you really feel like they should go and build that connection?

Shreenath: No, that’s really, that’s a tough thing Kevin. I mean I’m fairly introverted before I came to college here and then I set a change and understood how to talk to be, but it wasn’t something that came naturally. It took a while to understand how to interact with people and one of the things that really helps is aid and realize that companies or job opportunities need you to just and much as you need them. So you’ve got to realize that it’s, it’s in a level playing field for talent and if you’re smart and talented, which you are, if you are looking at opportunities like this, you’re just as much as in demand as the employer. So don’t let that bother you. Secondly, when you’re talking to someone, your key idea in terms of any interaction, in terms of networking be at for a job or be just for business contact or someone that you might talk to later is to understand people’s motivations. It’s not about convincing them that you’re really good, it’s about understanding why do they do what they do? Do they enjoy what they do? What part of their job really interests them? And then if you find something that they say that interest you, point it out to them. Don’t let them that something in your job that I like and I want to find it. And I think that starts moving to a conversation about what you’re passionate about, what you’re interested about versus what do you do? How do I get a job there? Because that’s not necessarily conversation people enjoy as much.

Kevin: That’s invaluable advice because, you know, it’s one of things I always tell people, which is when you talk to consultants, you want to have a natural conversation and part of having a natural conversation is trying to understand the other person and that’s exactly what I hear you saying as well and it’s something that I think people often get way too concerned about asking the right questions and less about really trying to just have a normal conversation.

Shreenath: No, absolutely and I think people get stuck up and get worried that there are, like my God, here’s a recruiter from McKinsey. Got to talk to them nicely or, you know, it could, here’s a recruiter from Exxon because that like Exxon and that’s an issue that comes up a lot and I think the biggest I can tell anyone is it’s more important to understand why they like where they work even if, you know, you want to work there and then take that upon yourself to say okay now when I go talk to them recruiter, the second time I was staying there and means over the company or maybe I’m making a cover letter or an application. You’ve got genuine material about what you liked and really understood about the company, which is not on their website it is not on their brochure. It gives you, genuine content and for how people will actually like what they do and that what you can share saying this is what I want as well. So I think it helps you a lot when it comes to recruiting process.

Kevin: And, you know, let’s some, I’ve talk really briefly about the resume like how important do you think that is? What did you feel like you did with your resume that made it work because obviously it worked really well?

Shreenath: Thanks Kevin. I guess the big thing that I can tell everyone is anyone who tells you, you have a standard resume is not right honestly because every job requires a different resume and that’s not to say you and Bella, should say something different, but you’ve done, you know, by the time you’re graduating college, you apply for internships. You probably the 20, 30 different things that are really interesting that could be relevant for your job, but you want to pick the key six or seven messages and share them with the recruiter or the company you’re applying for. So the big thing for me, in terms of resumes was I literally had 30 different resumes by the time it came around to recruiting for full time drops because by that time, I’d realized that, you know, strategy consulting had a certain type of resume, my role, which I’m applying for Charles River Associates was energy strategy consulting and that was the group I was applying for and I know that. So I had to talk about my experiences differently and, you know, my internships at energy in engineering suddenly became very useful and relevant. And, you know when I’m applying for a banking job, it was more about the size of the deals I worked on or how my project experiences were end up for the project management. So I think understanding from your previous conversations with the people of the company what the job entails helps you tailor your resume for the job when you apply to it eventually.

We’ve got another piece with an overview of consulting resumes

Kevin: That’s a great point. I mean really what it comes down to is, understanding your target audience and being able to customize your experiences to be a good sales man, right? And that’s fundamentally what I think people need to think about. So excellent, so maybe I want to hear a little bit just to talk more about your recruiting experience, can you tell me a little bit about what the sort of the consulting interview was like because Charles River’s is somewhat unique consulting firm and a lot of people I’m sure are interested in it, but I’d love to hear kind of what you saw and what you did well?

Shreenath: Sure and, you know, it doesn’t recruiting, I mean I decided that consulting was sort of one of these key areas that I wanted to get into and so Charles River Associates as well as Deloitte BCG were some of the firms that I interviewed with and went through multiple rounds with them and so that was something that was interesting because their Interview style was very different from traditional engineering recruiting, which is all behavioral interviews. So suddenly this I had whole monster of the thing called case interviews and people told me about it, so I found a group of friends interested in consulting and we started researching and practicing what the interview should be like and we found some books and found Case In Point, which I’m sure you’ve heard about, its great book highly recommend it, but when it came down to the actual interview and you go sit in there, what genuinely happens is for the first five to ten minutes no matter what the firm in consulting, they talk about your resume they tell you to walk them through your resume and a quick sentence or a sound bite about why you’re applying to this job.

And then right after that, starts the case and in terms of the case, what it is a very simple sense, it’s a mini project where they’re trying to evaluate your structure, logic and ability to think on your feet and those are probably the three key things that a case interview tests and, you know, the process is they might say okay, there’s a steel company in India that’s trying to decide where to build a new plant in the US and they’re trying to decide where to source their materials. That might be your case and your job is to figure out what location in the US they should build a plant in and that’s very open-ended and that’s all they give you. You as the consultant has to figure out what are the elements you need, ask the right questions, frame up your thoughts of what are the pieces of data you might need to get to an answer and demonstrate to them how you would come up with the analysis as well as the result and then they would actually feed you the data and see how you did it. So, you know, the end goal of a case interview for them is to see your structure and logical thinking as well as your ability to summarize succinctly what you’ve done and lay it out to them. So that’s probably what the case interview really is.

See here for more on case interview prep

Kevin: And so I’m kind of curious. You know I get this question a lot and I’m very interested to hearing your perspective, which is some people think that you don’t really need to know frameworks and you don’t really need to memorize them because it’s not good to bring them up in interviews. And other people believe that, you know you should memorize every single framework possible and really stick to those while you’re solving the cases, kind of what’s your perspective on that sort of divide?

Shreenath: It’s a good question, Kevin. I’ve swung both ways on it. So I used to have, you know all the frameworks sort not memorize per se, but I knew the key elements enough to be able to use them, but in some cases it worked in my aid and in some cases, I’ve had interviewers just call me out and say, all right. We know, you know, the framework, but how would you actually do this? So I’ll tell you that, you know, personally I think it’s important to understand the framework, but never even call out when you’re applying it. So for example when I was interviewing for Oliver Wyman and I had a case on something to do with the retail, it was retail music CD sales and why the sales were down? And you know, you I had seen a framework for how to do a profit analysis and figure out what to do and, you know, so had six key elements in it, but I didn’t want to call it out to him and, you know, when I went through it without showing him the framework, he was pretty impressed that I wasn’t able to get all the elements in it pretty well and then after the interview, he even told me he said I’m sure you used a framework, did you? But that sort of work in my favor, but you know I think it’s a tough one. I think it depends on whether you’re able to think on your feet and keep the framework in your head and not call it out.

Kevin: Yeah. No, it’s a, it’s a great point. I mean just thinking about it, if someone were to just think what are the bare minimum frameworks that they need to know, what are the ones that you found that had been pretty useful?

Shreenath: I’d say personally, there’s I think probably three or four key frameworks. I think one sort of any profitability analysis, which is sort of the framework of, you know, breaking down your cost, revenue sales and number of units so that approach then you’ve got your traditional marketing Five P’s and then you’ve got to start, start thinking beyond those three you got new market entry and what are the elements you need to think about, but I think if I recall my case in point sort of summarizes the eight, eight types of cases I think. And it’s, it’s really I think that’s the way I would approach it as that understand what those cases entail, but more importantly you need to understand when someone presents a case to you, which of the eight or nine types of cases is it? Because sometimes I think it’s more important to understand how juggle from what case you’re on to exactly what framework to apply and that transition is harder than memorizing the framework in itself.

Kevin: I totally agree with you. I totally agree with you. Yeah, one of my friends always said that he had sort of 14 precise types of cases and a specific framework for each and I always thought he was, you know, sort of full of crap, but he had did end up working at Bain and clearly he knew what he was talking about. So everyone has a different approach because I was very much in the camp of, well I’m just going to roughly know some of the frameworks and I’ll try to be as it as well as I can as I go through this.

Shreenath: Yeah, I’m with you Kevin. That’s my approach too and at the end of the day, I think they’re not evaluating your ability to memorize frameworks. They are evaluating your ability to think on your feet and being able to look at all the parts of the problem in a good way and then that’s the discipline is more important than your frameworks.

Kevin: And, you know, as you’re thinking about the interview, what do you feel like really makes an interviewee stand out? What really kind of catches the eye of consultants and makes them think, this person is going to be a rock star?

Shreenath: No, I think, good question because, funny I, it was probably a chance to get on that side when I was at Charles Rivers Associates because I went to Austin to go to a recruiter about a year and a half after I’ve been with the company and I was in the other side sitting and there with two on one interviews and the thing that really struck out for me, which really makes someone different than the others is a real good understanding of time. To me, that’s a very crucial thing. A lot of people end up rambling when you ask them to describe their own resume or in a case you ask them, you know, frame up the case and then let’s dive into the problem and people end up the simplest things even the smartest people seem to not be able to gauge how well they’re describing something and how long they spend on a topic. And to me that was the one, very simple and silly element that sort of struck out when someone is really clear and precise and he will answer something in 50 seconds and say, yep that’s it and being able to have that confidence to say that is something very unique.

And I mean the second thing as soon as you end up, the second thing that really stands out in terms of the case scenario specifically is that when you throw a case at someone that’s fairly ambiguous and open-ended, to have someone ask maybe just two or three very insightful precise questions versus coming up with 17 questions to ask is actually a really big skill because anyone can come up with a long list of questions, but being able to identify the few key questions is something not many people can do and I think that would really differentiate someone because every case, you know, you have the traditional model of just the one use your case, you say can I get a minute to think about it and then you come back with a set of questions, but that set of questions and how you define it in some way sets the tone in terms of whether you’re set up high expectations, medium or low expectations.

Click here for more on consulting interviews

Kevin: I couldn’t agree more. I mean I always tell people less is more and it’s much easier said though than done.

Shreenath: Absolutely. It’s tough. It’s tough and the pressure is the pressure is severe.

Kevin: Yeah all right well then, you know, let’s move on here a little bit. I’d love to hear kind of about your current experience as well as your experience at Charles River just in terms of, you know, your favorite project maybe, maybe we can start with that.

Shreenath: Sure, sure. So just to, for people who don’t know Charles River and just to give you a little background I think it’s about, what I love to it was about 50 consultants in the energy sectors part across Houston, London, Boston and Bahrain. Four offices and that was crux of the team. I think now they have reduced it a bit in terms of and it’s about 40 consultants in London, Boston and Bahrain and those three offices still doing very well. The focus of this mini group with Charles River Associates is on energy strategy consulting Chemicals, petroleum, metals and mining. That’s the sectors they focus on and my role specifically is that everyone comes in at Charles River as an analyst out of undergrad and then in a year, year and a half to two years depending on how they think you are, you get to associate. And so, that’s when I, I mean I got to associate in my second year and I’d left at the end of my second year to go find new ventures, but basically in terms of projects I think because it’s a very small boutique firm, I’ve been in everything from, you know, 16 person teams on a single client to me and a partner or me and a vice president since CRA’s a public company going on to a client site and managing an entire relationship. So it’s unique in the depth and the breath of opportunities you have.

One of the most interesting and sort of memorable projects I would say was, there’s one client, a Canadian client who was in Oil and Gas and mainly in exploration basically only producing oil and gas and they wanted to get into refining and producing petroleum and gasoline and petroleum products, but they didn’t know how to and they were thinking about how to do it and so I was lucky enough to see this client through the phases from right from deciding on what to do next to identifying a refinery for them to buy. Helping build this crazy valuation model to figure out how to value a refinery and pick, which one to buy then they went in and bid for it and they won it and following that, you know, now in between all of these I’ve had other projects, but the same clients developed and I worked with them for over a year and half, two years when I was there and in the end, they bought the refinery and they wanted someone to come in and help them out with understanding how to run a refinery and be profitable because they’d never done it before.

So to be able to see a client through sort of five, six layers of work starting with strategic decision making to investment decision to finding investment opportunities to identifying the one to evaluating it to actually closing it and seeing how to actually make it work was very unique and in terms of I think going back to your question about a specific project I think specifically being able to be a part of, you know, and here, you know, it was me and my boss and that’s it. Two people running the project, working with the client and, you know, quite often, my boss would just call me and I was in Austin for a week and he said hey, I need you to travel on Monday morning and meet the client in San Antonio and I’m like, okay. So hop on, go to an outlet mall and buy a bunch of clothes and I’m going for the whole week to work. And, you know, and the client loved the work we did. They really, just felt that, you know, we were adding enough value that they pretty much kept bringing us back to do more work for them because they realized that the knowledge and wisdom we brought was going to be significantly more than, finding someone and hiring them in the short term at least. And so that was something very interesting because to see a relationship and personally develop one as an analyst is something unique.

Kevin: Yeah I mean I think to me when I think back on my years in consulting like, one of the most powerful and valuable things personally was the ability to build those client relationships and be able to like really understand someone who’s spent 10, 20 years working in this field and learn from them and contribute and kind of make their lives better. It’s just an awesome feeling.

Shreenath: Absolutely and I’m sure, I’m sure you can add some ideas to this about what your favorite project too.

Kevin: Yeah I mean, you know, that well the interesting thing to me is hearing your experience over at Charles Rivers in terms of being able to work with a small client and really have end to end impact, that was one of my bigger frustrations with working at a much bigger management consultancy was that often times, the scope of what you do is very narrow and you’re much more focused on pure strategy. So really it’s very highly recommendations and less on implementation, but I remember sort of towards the latter part of my tenure, what I really enjoy where the operations projects or the ones where you’d kind of go in and really be able to dig your, dig yourself into serious day to day problems, working directly with the people kind of on the line of fire, make specific recommendations and then within a matter of days to weeks, actually see them implement it and see whether they work or not and I thought that was something that I really love and part of the reason why I ended up thinking that start ups would be such a good fit for me.

Shreenath: No, I think just to add to that I think some of the once memorable projects and, you know, even right now as I think by active like, you know, what made me want to go into operations and I want to go into managing my own P&L and, you know, I wanted to get the recommendation and implementation side of it from being the one making the recommendation is that one of my clients, he’d pretty much, you know, you heard the CEO, he’ll come and say this consulting team has saved my company’s business unit from bankruptcy and to hear him say that, you think it’s great, but at the same time you step back and say wait I just made a list of recommendations on a Power Point and I’m glad he did it and it saved this company, but let me go and see how hard it is to actually do it myself. And so, you know, it’s great to get the validation, great to get projects where, you know, the client leaves delighted and, you know, thinking that their money is well spent, but it also leaves you like you said with like that feeling of I want to go and do more implementation.

Kevin: And as much as anything, it really built the confidence in your business, confidence at a young age that enables you to kind of accelerate your growth, I feel.

Shreenath: Absolutely, absolutely.

Kevin: So, you know, it’s a perfect transition for me because you were kind of mentioning this desire to go and own P&L (profit and loss) and work in operations and you made the transition to corporate and I know a lot of people in consulting that’s interested and now a lot of people who want to get to consulting ultimately are interested in working in a big corporation a fortune 500 being a senior management and having a very important role. How did you make that transition and what did you think of it kind of before and now that you’re there?

Shreenath: Absolutely. Mine was a bit of a unique case in terms of how I switched from consulting to Coca Cola of all places. You know from energy strategy consulting, I went into beverage finance and then now I’m in beverage marketing. So it’s, it’s a very odd switch and the way it work out was rather random. On the one end, you know, my consulting projects were towards the end of ‘08, the recession was hitting pretty hard and it was, it was looking a bit slow in consulting and you know, we’re doing a lot of proposal work, you know, probably from having, you know, 100% projects where, you know, in 12 months stretch and not having a break for a minute. Suddenly I found myself with a bit more free time, a lot more internal projects and you felt like the amount of projects coming up was getting weaker. And so you see the writing and the rise a little bit and is, okay let’s not wait for this recession to hit and I started looking to go find an operations role I’ve been thinking about it for a while it reached out, you know, sort of mid of my second year saying I want to go find a operations role because I can’t be doing consulting for a while.

I want to do some operations roles so I can actually go manage my own business. So I reached out to one of my colleagues who, current colleagues who had actually switched from BCG to like a small beverage startup and I’d never heard about this company and just reached out to her from a mutual friend and said hey, I don’t know you, you don’t know me, but can I talk you about how you got out of consulting? And so, you know, I’m sure, you know, how that works, but that’s basically how it started and I talked to her and she had said, you know, she quit BCG, she wanted to go into consumer goods and so she had taken a good four month break trying to find consumer goods company in Houston and she had found one. That was actually a subsidiary of Coca Cola doing international importation of brands and I never thought I could transition to that. I was talking to her more for her energy contacts because, you know, what that’s my background and, you know, I reached out to PE for some local energy companies.

And started recruiting a little bit of that space when someone randomly ask me, hey what’s that person who you got the referral from doing? I said Wendy is actually a Coca Cola startup. He is like, what do they do? And I Google it and of course the job that pops up on Google is finance analyst. And, you know, I read the job description and I said all right, I can do this. And so I reached out to her, reached to the team and the first thing they say an HR person calls me and says what the hell are you doing? Applying for this job you’ve got consulting, strategy consulting, energy, engineering and you want to come do beverage finance? You know your role said three to five years experience economics degree and, you know, here I am with two years consulting and engineering like nothing qualifies. And so, you know, it’s, hard sale. I mean what I ended up talking about was that, you know, I’ve helped companies go to profitability. Small companies, startup sized companies, find a strategy, figure out how to grow, help them manage their business understand what’s profitable and what’s not and a lot of the skills that I gained in my operational strategy consulting projects became crucial in terms of communicating why I wanted to come to this job at next step.

And, you know, it was a tough sell, but once I got in to the interview room, it’s a lot easier because by then, I’d spoken to my colleague Wendy, you know, who had introduced me to the job and I said hey, tell me exactly everything, you know, about this job. What’s the biggest challenge is? What’s the challenge in finance? You know what’s this finance director facing? That’s why he’s trying to hire a new person. And, you know, with all this ammunition, I could really understand where they needed help. So, you know, for example I understood really quickly that their biggest challenge was communicating information to Atlanta about how well their business is doing because they didn’t know how to do it. They had, you know, 1980’s DOS based computer systems that were doing accounting and payroll and, you know, the entire team was 95% Hispanic in this company in Houston and everyone there had never worked in a company that had its own PNL because they all had worked in a subsidiary, which is, were just a part of a Mexican company. So it was a very odd relationship. So when I went in to the interview, I was able to talk about my consulting experiences where I had to take ownership in a situation where those and the one taking ownership of, were communicating something.

I was able to communicate the fact that I had done analysis and profitability and understood another company’s data systems in a short period of time to be able to tell them how to rationalize their product supply, how to make sure they have fewer products on sale and make sure their sale prices are accurate and help turn a business they’re on in terms of sales force. So when it comes to a small beverage startup, with a sales forces, I can management that because I’ve done that before. So a lot of that ended up being transitioning work elements that I worked on in consulting while not in beverage space into the beverage land and finding that link whether it was function, type of role, influence or individual contribution and bringing that into this job and saying hey, I understand this is what you need and here is how I fill that role and it goes back to what I was talking about at the start. It doesn’t matter what I know because they don’t care about my energy knowledge. They care about the fact that I’ve done, you know, sort of Ad-hoc business work and business analysis and can jump in and hit the ground running.

Kevin: I think the most sort of valuable thing that you, an invaluable point that you kind of mentioned there is being able to find that link and I think that’s the beauty of consulting is that you end up doing so many things that if you can think sort of hard and deep about what you want to do next, you can always find a link in some way to what you did in consulting that will help you do a great job and sell yourself for the next role and you’re kind of a shining example of that, but to me that was one of the beauties of consulting is that you’re able to find that link, you know.

Shreenath: Oh, absolutely. I mean everyone I’ve seen get out of consulting and the big go into so many different things. I mean you’re about people going into private venture capital you hear about be willing to cooperate. You do have people doing it on profits. The people that go back to business school of course. I mean there’s a whole swath of opportunities and I think it’s, the challenge in terms of when you’re applying to get into consulting is twofold is when you’re trying to get into consulting, you’re trying to understand how you can replicate the skills of being quick on your feet and being able to be logical and clean in front of a client. When you’re trying to get out of consulting, you’ve got to position yourself where you need job differently and you’ve done that multiple times in your projects. So it’s about doing that once more, but externally.

Kevin: Yep, yep. Well awesome, you know, in the interested time here why don’t I kind of, throw out one more question for you and then, you know, feel free anything you’d like at the end and maybe we can wrap it up with that, but, you know, I always ask this to people that I interview. I’m just always curious, what do you want to do next? I mean it seems like you’ve had a very, very diverse background and you have a lot of different experiences now. I mean it also seems like you really enjoy your job over at Coke. Where do you see yourself kind of in the future? Where is this all going towards?

Shreenath: That’s a good questions and I ask myself that every day because I, I’m still trying to figure that one out exactly. So then right now I’m doing Hispanic marketing and helping Coke implement marketing strategies in multi-cultural markets. And so it’s a very unique role. It’s like an internal marketing consultant to sort of what my new role is and, you know, my finance role was a good bridge because they saw, okay, now you can understand Hispanic, you can understand finance, you can understand Coke. So that has taken this consulting knowledge back and then do something with it. And so this role was unique and we just created my own group and its like, and one thing at all that really is unique and what makes me want to do my next role is I’ve made my own role in two jobs in a row where no one’s been there before me. I can set their and basically write my own job description.

Go do it and then change it on the fliers that go along based on how I think my job is evolving and take on more, more and more responsibility as if you’re ready for it. Going forward, I like that and I kind of want to figure out how to do that. So part of what my future plans in terms of short term, it’s probably work for a startup or a medium, to small sized growing company probably in consumer marketing, maybe in technology marketing as well, but any consumer focused product slash, you know, either CPG traditional or maybe more of a high tech consumer role web startup. Go there and then eventually, you know, I think it’s going to be doing my own thing, but the short term, I’ve got to get some work. I feel like there’s still, still a lot out there that I need to learn before I can go do can go do it.

Kevin: Now, makes a lot of sense. It’s a lot of sense.

Shreenath: And I guess one last thing at that for just any, anyone who is tuned in and who is listening is that the big thing about consulting and why it really is unique is people seriously appreciate your years experience for a lot more than those years are. Like my two years at consulting, I’ve done and learned so much about different industries and also different functions and the biggest things about learning how to contribute individually, but more importantly how to influence others and that’s a skill that, you know, you go to a corporation and you realize a lot of people do not have that ability to influence and convince a group of people to change until five, seven years of experience. So I think the one thing that I’ll tell you and I’m sure you can resonate this is that consulting will teach you how to influence people and work in an organization in a way that, you know, working a line job in a corporation two years would not do.

Kevin: I totally agree. I mean I think that the right word for me there is that really just accelerates. I mean you touched upon this, which is it’s two years, but it feels like from an education perspective as well as what the outside world sees of your perspective that it’s almost like five years. You’ve learned so much more in that, two years than most people with anywhere else.

Shreenath: Absolutely and, you know, and for anyone who is wary that you know, can be called a bull-shitter, its okay. Don’t worry about it.

Kevin: Yeah I mean, you know, so much in this world right? It’s all about communication so why not be good at it?

Shreenath: Absolutely. Thanks Kevin.

Kevin: On that note, let’s wrap up this interview here and, you know, thanks, thanks everyone for tuning in and thanks Shreenath for doing this. It’s immensely valuable and for all the readers and listeners out there, I sincerely hope Shreenath will continue to be involved and I’ll make sure I include his contact information as well when we post this. So thank you everybody.

Shreenath: Thanks a lot guys.

  • Thanks for a tremendous interview and hope your readers and listeners can benefit from our conversations.