It’s been nearly twenty years since I started management consulting. I tried to quickly reflect on lifehacks that really helped me in my first year so that other, new consultants might benefit from my learnings.
Here are a few to make your personal life better:
- Never check baggage on flights.
- Get airline status so that you can board planes as soon as possible (e.g., purchase airline credit card if necessary).
- Plan your weekends at least one week in advance.
- Spend some money to make your personal life more comfortable (e.g., dry cleaning, house cleaning).
Here are some random tips on the professional side:
- Find mentors and develop advocates for you within the firm as soon as possible.
- Get very familiar with the engagement kickoff deck if possible for your first assignment (it often outlines the problem statement, engagement workstreams, and roles in organization).
- Get briefed on the industry of your client as fast as possible; ask others what they did to come up to speed.
- Be nice to and get to know the secretaries and receptionists; they can help you navigate staff in the client company.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel if possible. Leverage templates and/or Powerpoint plug-ins like ThinkCell or other; the goal is to use your brain more and offload mechanical tasks.
- Try to avoid taking any crazy medicines that the client might offer you (lol – this is personal one for me that I regretted for my first client).
To clarify the last bullet point, the client offered me some homeopathic medicine with goose liver in it or something when I was ill. Pretty certain after that I developed an year-long allergy to my own blood serum where I had to take Actifed for a full year while at work because I would get welts all over me every four hours or so.
As a final thought, I wanted to point out my book, The Consulting Apprenticeship. While the book provides insights regarding management consulting, I feel its strength is really in highlighting some of the previously unwritten, nuances of the trade which can help new consultants navigate their way.