What Do Consultants Actually Do?

What do consultants actually do? It might seem odd, but it’s one of the most common questions we receive. Listen to Jenny Rae as she sheds light on what you should expect in life as a management consultant.

Youtube Audio Transcription:

I am Jenny Rae from Management Consulted. You know – we get a lot of questions, and one of the most common ones, which just blows my mind is, “What the heck do consultants do all day exactly?” And I think it’s amazing because consulting firms have managed to become some of the most prized roles in the world for new graduates from their undergrad and master’s programs, but nobody has any idea what they will spend their time on all day.

Consultants are rumored to…

One of the things that you’ll commonly hear that you’ll do in consulting is that you’ll go to off sites and happy hours. You’ll be drinking margaritas on a rooftop. And other things – that you’ll be traveling first class, usually sitting back in some luxurious loungewear, and drinking a glass of champagne. Another thing that you’ll be doing is making an impact on clients – shaking hands with CEOs and hobnobbing with the power players. And then, finally, you’re gonna be doing brainstorming sessions, usually in some beautiful office with a view of a glorious city. Now – all of these things you’ll do in consulting.

Bursting the rumor bubble:

But…you won’t be relaxing in first class. You’ll be at off sites and happy hours for 10 minutes right before a late-night call that you have. You’ll be meeting with the CEO, but there will be six layers of people in between you and the CEO. And you’ll be doing brainstorming sessions, but usually only on marketing day.

What consultants actually do:

What you’re really doing all day boils down to four main things and then a couple of bonus activities. First, you’ll spend your time doing research. 10% of your time is spent gathering information, from market research, reports, from interviews, from primary research that you create. And also from 10Ks, public documents, anything that you can get your hands on about companies and their competitors, and other peers that they should be looking into. A second thing that you do is pull all that information into Excel, and you create an opportunity in Excel to layer on a human touch. All of the big data and all the analytics in the world can’t do what a human can, which is tell what information is the most important.

So you rank the information and you create scenarios and opportunities and 60% of your time is spent on that. But another 20% of your time you take to put those insights into PowerPoint. You distill them down to their lightweight version so that an executive can digest them and take action on them. And you refine those PowerPoint slides over and over and over again, until they’re perfect and they’re just what the executives want. And then finally you spend another ten percent of your time in meetings. Those ten percent can be spent on internal meetings, external meetings with clients, and calls out.

Bonus activities:

Finally you have some bonus activities. You’ll be recruiting, especially in the Fall. You’ll be traveling, which usually needs to happen outside of business hours, and you’ll be maintaining your personal health which is kind of an extra bonus- you’ll be sleeping and eating and doing all the other things that it takes to remain human and alive. All those things put together definitely add up to more than eight hours a day.

Consulting is a full-on career, but if you get focused on using all of these skills and especially using them all together, you get great business decision-making skills.

Contact us with any questions:

If you’ve got any questions about what it’s really like to work in consulting, our team who are ex-MBB consultants are really happy to answer your questions. Please reach out to us at managementconsulted.com. Subscribe to our YouTube channel, say hello on social, and we’re happy to answer any other questions you might have.

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Filed Under: life as a consultant, Where do I Start?