Q&A: Consulting as a Career Path
This week, we are featuring a casual chat with Lisen, a graduate of the University of Melbourne who now works at a management consulting firm after graduating with Master’s in Information Systems.
1. What did you study and where?
I studied Computer Science in Binus University (Indonesia) and then took Master’s degree in Information Systems at University of Melbourne (Australia).
2. Describe what you are doing now.
I am working at a Management Consulting company as a Consultant. The role mainly involves analyzing and understanding an organization business or processes or systems, finding the pain points and then propose solutions through integration with technology.
3. Why did you decide to choose a management consulting career after graduation?
I chose technology consulting to be more specific. It is rewarding in terms of learning and career prospect, and it offers transferrable skills. The job requires people to work smart and hard at the same time. It is project based and every project will have its own business problems and challenges that you need to solve so you keep on learning. You will also get to really understand the domain/business process instead of deep technical skills, So, as long as you move to the same domain in other companies, all skills that you have picked up will still be relevant. Even if it isn’t the case, your client facing and problem solving skills would give you huge benefits.
4. Have you always wanted to become a management consultant since your university days?
Not really, I wanted to become software engineers before.
5. What are some of the most valuable things you have learnt at university?
Persistence, goal settings, and time management. In university, you are often given lots of complex problems that seems impossible to solve but with persistence you will somehow get it done. You want to score well, so you will define the goals and work towards achieving it. And since you massive number of assignments with unreasonable due date, time management is important.
6. Which ones have best prepared you to be a management consultant?
Persistence. Being consultant is challenging as you need to manage both clients and the implementation team. In addition, you need to be creative to solve complex business problems within scope, timeline and resources.
7. What are the best things about being a management consultant?
Your team. Long hours, challenging clients, complex business problems. But all team members will stay positive and push through.
8. What are the worst things about being a management consultant?
Health. Long hours and lack of sleep is not always the case but you need to be prepared. And you know what the consequences are if you didn’t get enough sleep.
9. If you were to redo uni once again, what would you do differently?
More active in university extracurricular or clubs and travel more.
10. What are your advice for university and pre-university students who wish to become a management consultant?
Read more about management consultant, study hard, join several uni clubs, make more friends and enjoy life as well such as play games or traveling (experience other stuff other than you every day textbooks). Consultant role needs a very dynamic person who can adapt well in any situation.
Important to find out what you really like and want to do in the future. If you like client facing work that involves lots of talking and arguing, solving business problems, then management consulting job might be good for you.
You might want to take one or two business or consulting related subjects if you are not majoring in business.
11. How can students who want to become a management consultant make use of their university days?
Study hard, you need to score high to make your resume look good.
Network more, you need to start learning how to communicate and make the connection with others.
Internship in your dream company, will help you get the experience and boost your resume quality. If you are good and lucky, you might get hired immediately after graduation
Photo Credits: “Businessmen” courtesy of geralt
Lisen graduated with Master of Information Systems from University of Melbourne. He now works at a management consulting firm.