Friday, July 4, 2008

Consulting for the non-consultants in the goals essay--Primer

I dont know if I would ultimately want to do consulting, but being one of the most sought after post-mba professions it would be good to spend some time analyzing the whole nine-yards of the consulting buzz from an applicant's point of view, applicant being some-one (like me ) who wasnt working for even an unknown consulting firm, let alone the biggies, when the mba bug bit him square on his/her's ass-cheeks.

Premise: Say you do want to project consulting as at-least a short term career goal in the "goals/career path" essays.

With this premise we will try and build up the bullets/pointers/core to the goals essay.

There are really two issues that you have to address, once you have actually decided to put on the I-want-to-be-in-consulting arm-badge:
(1) Past work-ex and its relevance to consulting
(2) Long term career goal statement with consulting as your near/short term goal.

To answer (1), what you basically need to do is somehow relate your current work to some critical functioning of a major sector (a sector that consultants work on/with in a pretty regular manner). Now this so called "relating" is obviously key and not very trivial. Say you are an IT professional (and no I am not that), then the obvious way to tackle this problem would be to say that you want to do consulting in the high-tech sector. You can then bring in you current work expertise and things such as you have worked on such and such high-tech projects before for so-and-so client ( but you must remember here that providing IT consultancy is not very high-tech, most IT projects tend to be back-end "needed" support at best, the adcoms by now know this, so you need to be careful about your frame-work and your verbosity here, you do not want to come up against that Google engineer who actually has been working in cutting-edge tech, but now wants a mba, with a consulting focus).

You therefore need to do a bit of digging. You know what your current job is (IT-consulting), but you would want to get involved in more/all of the consulting opportunities in the high-tech sector, not just limit yourself to providing IT solutions (why now mba part comes in, standard I guess). And in comes your research/material digging up skills. You need to find out what high-tech consulting is all about, find close to everything they do which would be a comprehensive list and then choose/select functions to highlight in the essay that ties in a direct/obtuse way to your current work. Some pointers for this year's IT-to-consulting applicants as to things you might want to highlight/think about depending on your background:
(1) Changing macro-economy under which hi-tech companies must learn to operate-- shrinking margins, emergence of newer and newer competitors.
(2) Need to say technologically competitive to stay ahead of the competition. This is probably something that all in IT-to-consultant-applicant should highlight as they have direct experience in developing competitive solutions in short times for their clients. (translation: you have been in the shoes of your future customers, you know the environment, culture, work ethics and would be ideally suited for lending consultancy advise).
(3) Retainment, hiring, responsibility allocation to top employees.
(4) Consulting on new products/technology/innovation and everything involved with it.

The list could be huge and some research would help you find things that consultants do that it almost a perfect fit for your background, and that is what you need to highlight. Everything is available on the net and would take less than a day's research to pick things up.

About the long term goal, well there are two ways to go about it and thats about it:
(a) Stay in consulting and rise to partner, MD level and so known. Again research on what these big dogs do and you can pretty much copy-paste that stuff onto your essays.
(b) Move into an executive/top dog kind of position in the high-tech industries, preferably one amongst the many you have been consulting for. But remember here, that you have to then explicitly state why the heck you dont to join a general management position in the first place.
(c) Some even try and bring out an entrepreneur spin, but remember for that you have to have some semblance of relevancy with your background to make it sound convincing enough.

If anyone trolls into this blog, would like to know whether this approcah is all encompassing and or self sufficient or not, if not would love to hear your feedback o-dear-troll.

Disclaimer: I am debating between consultancy and general management in the essays


trystwithmba said...

Great post.

theincarnated said...

thanks for the link......
Nice to meet another fall-009 applicant..... Welcome to blogommunity-09

OMGparishilton said...

@tryst: ty
@theinc: i guess i am not 09 :))

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