This Saturday, I had the privilege of attending Paul Okundaye’s Think Tank on “Management Consulting” as a part of the Associate National Lead program. Paul Okundaye graduated with his MBA from Harvard business school, was a senior associate consultant at Bain and Company and was a Growth Strategy Manager at Microsoft. During this think tank, I got an insight on what management consulting is and what a typical day for a consultant looks like.
There are different types of consulting firms that specialize in specific topics. For example, there is McKinsey who specializes in strategic consulting; functional specialists such as Monitor; IT/BPO specialists such as IBM; accounting firms like Deloitte and KPMG.
Looking into the general business career paths which are strategic consulting and investment banking, they are quite different from each other. Investment banking is more finance/transaction -orientated, and it is generally more focused on one capability area. As for strategic consulting, it includes a more broad range of work to help companies solve any problems that usually relate to any future expansion. Investment banking generally requires very long hours of work with little control, however, strategic consulting has a cross focus of strategy and marketing. Nonetheless, they both require lots of experience, collaboration, and time to be successful.
All consulting cases are different, but through today’s think tank, Paul introduced us with a general process most consultants follow.
Plan the work and to figure out why the problem is occurring.
Do the work: analysis, research, interviews; to test out the hypothesis
Assess all implications
Communicate with the clients and constantly checking in and measure the results
Not only that, consultants usually help CEOs address some of their most important questions such as “How should a business position itself to win against other competitors?” “How can we grow our business in uncertain international conditions?” As a consultant, it is a huge stake because firms work with one of the biggest companies in the world. With such a huge responsibility, comes a very packed and busy schedule. Paul gave us an agenda of what a consultant has to do in a week. It is full of meetings with their clients and meetings with the team; this actually shocked me because I never knew how busy a typical consultant’s week is. Even though consulting is quite a difficult and busy career, Paul did mention it is a fun career since he had lots of chances to collaborate with his colleagues and build many relationships. From that, it makes me even more interested in consulting because I love to work with people and in groups and I think it is very fun to help big companies solve problems.
After introducing what consulting is, he talked about how to calculate different market sizes to help solve particular cases. There are three different sectors:
TAM (total addressable market)
This is all the potential customers who will be interested in the category of our product in general.
SAM (serviceable addressable market)
This is everyone who likes a more specific focused product, more theoretically, looking at all the potential customers who will be interested in our specific product.
SOM (serviceable obtainable market)
This is more of the thinking of how many people we can actually sell to realistically.
Paul also came up with a scenario for us to have a chance to discuss with my peers and figure out ways to calculate the total market size for a specific product. Through that, I learned the process on how to calculate the total addressable market for one product. It started from a very broad number and then to a more specific number regarding one specific product, to estimating the product’s market in numbers. Through this, I was able to experience a simplified process of what it looks like to solve a market size.
To conclude my reflection for today, I got a very detailed insight on what consulting is and what a typical day looks like for consultants. He also introduced me with a few ways to solve any business problems. Understanding what consulting is helps me to think about whether consulting will be a good choice for me in the future. After today, I learned that I have more choices in the business industry instead of just marketing because I truly enjoy the things a consultant does on a weekly basis. From today’s think tank and listening to Paul’s journey inspired me to discover career choices for myself. I am starting to understand why I should give myself a chance to try more different things in business.