A Day in the Life of a Consultant
Featuring: Justin Teo
Associate Consultant at Bain & Company
DGO - Sydney Region at 180DC Consulting
Graduating from UNSW in 2017 with a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting and Finance)/Bachelor of Law, Justin helps shed the light on students can expect from a career in management consulting.
Q: How would you describe management consulting?
A: The analogy I love using to describe management consulting is comparing what we do to that of a personal trainer.
If you’re unfit, getting a personal trainer to help you develop a roadmap towards achieving your goals and turning your health around is a sound, sensible and effective approach to improving your health. Equally, if you are already quite fit but looking to exceed your limits and train competitively, a personal trainer will be there to give you expert advice on advanced nutrition and training techniques - and most importantly, keep you accountable.
In consulting, we help businesses with pretty much anything - all with the objective of making their business better. We bring decades of business expertise, and talented, driven individuals to help push our client organisations to their full potential. Consulting in the 21st century is very different from what you might expect. Whilst consultants are typically known for outsourced CEO type work such as “developing strategies” and “market analysis”, we deliver a much wider range of capabilities and alot more of our revenue base these days comes from what is described as “results delivery” which you can think of as more outsourced COO or outsourced CTO/CIO in the case of digital transformation.
Q: What does a typical week look like?
A: Great question! There’s unfortunately no such thing as a typical week at Bain, but it is much of what you would expect.
We build models and presentations - can’t really escape that. But how we do this is fundamentally changing. For example, I probably spend less than 10% of my time using Excel or Powerpoint, and do most of my analysis in tools that handle bigger data sets much more comfortably such as Alteryx or Tableau.
We invest heavily in our consultants, and expect them to do so in return - I’ll often have several “professional development” or PD catchups a week, where I have the opportunity to spend time with a more senior member of the business getting adaptive personalised career advice. In return, at Bain in particular we are encouraged to invest back into the business and our firm culture through active participation in extra-curricular activities. My top picks are: Bain Band, Bain Social Impact and Campus Recruiting!
Q: What are some initial challenges that you experienced as a graduate in management consulting?
A: Being 80/20 and hypothesis driven in problem solving is very hard, but crucial to success.
As a student, your biggest challenge is to find data to fill your essays and assignments. In industry, there is no shortage of data. In fact, there’s probably too much, and most of the time part of the problem is your clients will not have had a good idea of how to effectively leverage their data. Most of the time the data is entered inconsistently, and therefore needs to be cleaned thoroughly before you can perform analysis.
Therefore, in order to bring effective insights to the table, you need to be selective about what data you actually want to deep dive on, and in what situations you can substitute quick assumptions instead.
Getting involved in societies such as 180DC or the UNSW Consulting Club are great ways to start developing and training your hypothesis driven approach to problem solving.
A special thank you to Justin Teo for sharing his insights. Please feel free to reach out to Justin at firstname.lastname@example.org and feel free to connect on LinkedIn (with an introductory message of course!)
Applications for Bain’s True North Scholarship for female students interested in management consulting close on 5 July 2019. Click here to find out more if you’re interested!