I applied for the role of a junior consultant in a consulting society (they are clubs, but at the University of Delhi, we call them societies) last year during their recruitment drive. And back then, I had little understanding of the subtleties of the consulting profession. Driven as a fresher by my curiosity, flexibility and desire to explore new, major problems, I jumped right in.
As a starting point for understanding this article, I’ll describe what Google defines as “consulting“: The activity of imparting knowledge on a subject to a third party is known as consulting. Advisory or implementation services may be provided as part of the said service. Taking an objective and unbiased view of a problem is essential to the consultant’s role. Since the consultant is working on another person’s problem, their focus must be on providing an optimal solution to their client, one that is tailored to the client’s requirements and preferences rather than the consultant’s.
However, I am convinced that consulting is a great approach to learning about life. You’ll discover new and effective methods for organization and management. Its methods and verticals include several lessons. The following are some of the key insights drawn from my personal consulting journey while working in my college society:
Begin with a beginner’s mindset
My first assignment required us to research the online therapy sector. A beginner’s perspective aided in developing a better grasp of the market, which was then applied in market research. I discovered the benefits of this mindset during the project.
A beginner’s mindset helped me formulate the information available and also motivated me to do better. As a novice, one tries to hone their skills and polish them. Therefore, I believe this value is an important lesson for anyone who has just begun exploring a new field or vocation.
Striking a balance is crucial
As Penelope Fitzgerald said, “no two people see the external world in exactly the same way“. In the consulting industry, everyone, in my opinion, is a designer of their unique journey. There can’t be two people with the same job. New chances present themselves regularly, but acting on them necessitates a high level of proactiveness and drive.
It is not an acceptable situation for people who are not at ease in the driver’s seat—getting inactive and indecisive in consulting leads to being left behind by more determined peers.
Too much proactiveness, however, may have a negative influence on your career as well as your mental health, as I discovered and have seen others fall prey to. The reason is over-commitment. Saying yes to too many requests or projects can result in inferior work quality, delays that hurt your credibility, and in the worst-case situation, exhaustion. As a result, carefully selecting the possibilities to which you say yes is critical. Striking a balance between taking practical initiatives and properly executing those initiatives is a crucial lesson that one should learn.
The ultimate metric is consistency
I had to learn the hard way that consistency is the ultimate metric, far more important than intensity, which was previously the case for me. Consistently providing outstanding work on time is a sign of absolute professionalism and it helps you to stand out even in a firm full of superstars.
Looking back, this was perhaps the most thrilling aspect of the entire endeavour. Combining networking with consistency in producing high-quality work might lead to unexpected opportunities.
The Importance of a SWOT analysis
Recently, we did a company SWOT analysis. The goal of a SWOT analysis is to objectively review important factors relevant to your company’s key direction. A SWOT analysis can provide you and your team with a solid framework for making better decisions about how to prepare for potential problems while still driving the organization forward. It took us one and a half hours to create the entire analysis. The process was fun and interactive. There’s always something exciting about brainstorming with a team. It allows you to expand your understanding of the situation. It was after a long time that I engaged in this type of activity. Having performed the analysis, we could finally gain a clear picture of the business.
This motivated me to form a personal SWOT matrix. It was a great way to self-analyze. It gave me insights based on my personality strengths, anticipated problems, and current opportunities that I could leverage in the pursuit of professional goals. Knowing my strengths, limitations, opportunities and threats was a huge help. I now know where to step with confidence and security because I can recognize and grasp my strengths and opportunities. Since I’m aware of my weaknesses and dangers, I concentrate on improving and/or minimizing the potential harm if left untreated. As a result, I’m able to navigate through life efficiently.
Being part of a consulting society has not only helped me understand the corporate world, but it has also helped me become a better version of myself. My society has added to my self-confidence. It has been my constant motivator to go out of my comfort zone. I enjoy and love my contributions, which have added to my confidence and understanding of myself.
If you ask me to sum up my experience in one word, then I would say, “Gratitude.” I choose gratitude because this society allowed me to learn so much in such a short period. It helped me realize the importance of authenticity. It provided me with an atmosphere where I could develop worldwide connections that I would not have made otherwise.
Lastly, I’d like to shed light on the fact that consulting as a domain involves researching and then manipulating the findings into solutions. For me, it is a constant chase for knowledge. But the said knowledge isn’t restricted to any single source. You can find it in an unknown city gleaming with light, an art that makes your heart flutter, a poetry that’s stuck in your mind, a Wikipedia page or just a casual conversation that was long overdue. Consulting is basically absorbing life and implementing the learnings into a project. At least that’s how I see it. And that is my reasoning for consulting being worthwhile for getting out of your comfort zone.