Whether you’re a student reviewing your career options or an experienced professional looking to change careers, it’s not hard to see why consulting could be at the top of your list.
After all, consulting involves partnering with the world’s biggest corporations, governments and developmental organizations to solve their most complex, demanding business challenges. It’s an opportunity to make your impact on how goods and services are provided in the world.
Do you have what it takes?
The privilege to improve the way the world works and lives comes with high expectations. You’ll need to be highly skilled at data gathering and analysis and establish yourself as an expert in your field—the kind of expert companies and governments need on board to establish strategy, innovate with leading-edge technologies and transform ideas into reality.
Take a moment to think about this: How many different skills are needed—soft as well as technical—at each stage of a successful consulting career? What levels of knowledge, creativity and vision are expected—and do you have what it takes?
Points to consider when considering a consulting role:
Your qualifications. Think about your work experience as well as what you studied (or are studying) in college. As a student, strong grades are just one part of it; a keen awareness of your field of interest, extracurricular activities, academic projects and internships would arguably make your case better than just your grades. There are some roles for which only top-flight academics are sought because of their highly specialized expertise. If you’re a professional coming from a non-consulting background, you may need to have specific experience, such as working with a core corporate team that implemented strategic national or global initiatives.
The various roles you’ll play. You can generally expect at least two types of consulting roles: an engagement track or a specialist track. In the former, you’ll need strong client-facing, sales and delivery skills as you manage consulting engagements. Specialists, meanwhile, typically have considerable experience in their chosen field. Top firms like Accenture also have a large research team, comprised of academics from prestigious universities.
Your day in the life. Be ready to bring your very best to work every day. The recommendations you make to clients have a significant and lasting impact on the future of their business. Whatever your role in consulting, you can expect it to be exciting, challenging, rewarding and demanding. Hard work, a desire to travel and a readiness to tackle the unexpected are some well-known attributes of consulting life.
Do you want a lifetime of careers or the career of a lifetime?
Finding your fit within an organization is just as important as fulfilling the expectations for the role.
Here’s a checklist of core company characteristics to consider:
Wide set of industries and functions. Besides building scale and pedigree, a broad spectrum of consulting services will offer a variety of growth paths for consultants. Accenture realizes the full end-to-end project spectrum, with expertise in more than 40 industries across more than 120 countries. From advising the C-Suite and business leaders about the big picture to delivering real impact and large-scale change, you’ll be a trusted consulting, innovation, technology and operations partner. And you’ll partner with more than three-quarters of the Fortune Global 500 to apply innovation and intelligence at the heart of their organizations.
Focus on technology and innovation. In a constantly disrupted world, clients need solutions across technologies such as cloud, digital, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics just as much as they need to manage their finances, assets, processes and people. Accenture’s Innovation Architecture combines our capabilities to invent, develop, and deliver disruptive innovations for clients, and we scale them faster. In fact, we have more than 6,000 patents and patents pending in 44 countries.
Agility, co-creation and delivery. Being in a constant state of flux is the norm today, which means the top priority for the best consulting firms is staying relevant by delivering transformative solutions. The best firms don’t only help clients make a “wise pivot” to become intelligent enterprises, they deliver future-ready (agility) solutions; they partner with clients rather than have a “I know better” attitude (co-creation); and they have skin in the game by delivering what they’re recommending on a global scale (delivery).
Diversity and inclusivity. In an increasingly connected, digital world, diversity is vital to the successful business decisions of global corporations—but simply embracing diversity as a best practice won’t do. The best companies know that diversity makes them stronger, smarter and more innovative.
Continuous mentoring. Intensive training and insightful knowledge management are the bedrock of the best firms. By combining continuous learning with a mentoring culture that focuses on performance achievement (vs. performance management), consultants thrive, grow and advance. Accenture provides deep learning opportunities at a massive scale—investing US$935 million in fiscal 2017.
This is consulting at the top end of the spectrum today.
There may be different perspectives on the best ways to help a client, but what’s most important is finding the best fit for you—both the work you’ll do and the culture
you’ll work in.
If consulting is the right path for you, prepare to work hard, learn constantly and challenge your mind. You’ll get an insider’s view into how the global economy works, and you’ll get to put your stamp on it. It doesn’t get more rewarding than that.
Ready to transform the world with the work you do every day? Kick off your consulting career with Accenture, today.
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