Updated: Jul 7, 2021
Zain Roohi had seen a lot in his four years at Schulich. The current Monitor Deloitte consultant had once been an SCC Co-President and was renowned for his supportive Facebook posts and Frosh dance performances. Last Wednesday, however, Zain was treated to a new experience - he sat on a panel that featured Brandon Sun from Oliver Wyman, Ruhama Quadir from BCG and Muhammad Soomro from Accenture as they prepared to detail their experiences in the consulting industry at SCC’s annual Premiere.
There was a nervous tension in the air as the auditorium full of students stared down at them, so Zain did what he does best. He flipped on his microphone and cracked a bad joke, and then he and his fellow panelists proceeded to deliver some hard-hitting advice on both consulting and life in general.
Here are the 5 most impactful lessons we learned from Premiere:
1) Consulting invests in you.
Providing value to unfamiliar industries can be a daunting task for new consultants. Luckily, consulting firms make sure to set them up with the resources they need to succeed on every job. BCG estimates they spend more than $200,000 per employee on development, and Accenture invested a total of $840 million in training in 2015 alone. It all starts with the initial training process, which can sometimes be held in university-like training centres across the globe. Muhammad explained that consultants can access industry-specific online courses and an archive of the firm’s past cases at any time. Most importantly, the culture at most firms is encouraging and supportive, meaning you’re never truly alone with any problem.
2) Consulting allows you to pursue your passions.
First of all, if you don’t know what you’re passionate about, switching between industries as a consultant is a great way to try out different things. Once you do find a passion, consulting can help you build upon it. All firms want their consultants to work on projects they’ll be successful on, meaning you’ll often be assigned to industries that align with your interests. Better yet, some firms will even let you take a leave of absence for some time to pursue your personal goals. Ruhama had a coworker at BCG who left the firm for a year to start up a family taco restaurant. Similarly, Bain has developed an externship program that lets their consultants spend time at start-ups, nonprofits and government organizations.
3) Consulting is a global profession.
Most clients serviced by consulting firms operate in different cities, meaning consultants are always travelling to new locations. Some of our panelists’ most meaningful experiences happened while they were working internationally. Also, when working with multinational corporations, consulting teams usually consist of staff from different countries. Ruhama mentioned that she once worked on a team of over 50 consultants from around the world.
4) Don’t get intimidated.
As we progress through life, there’s always tiers of people we feel intimidated by. In first year, we feel dwarfed by upper years. At work, we feel inferior to senior executives. As Brandon put it, “at some point, this cycle has to be broken. You have to build self-esteem and realize that people are just people.” Basically, never lose sight of your worth in any situation. Confidence is key to pushing forward, and a little self-esteem can go a long way in helping you progress both your personal and professional lives.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the constant stream of assignments, conferences, business card exchanges and LinkedIn requests. It can sometimes feel like we need a concrete long-term plan that we stick to in every aspect. With that being said, it’s important to leave room for new opportunities and risks. As Zain outlined, these four years at university probably won’t define our entire career path. We don’t know how our interests will change or what new opportunities will become available. The best thing we can do right now is put ourselves in situations to grow and gain new experiences.
There was definitely a lot of information to take in during Premiere, but #TheSCCExperience is just getting started. If you’re interested in diving deeper into consulting, make sure to join us for our flagship Undergraduate Consulting Conference on November 9th and 10th. For more information on the event and application process, check out our event page on Facebook: http://bit.ly/2yWvoFA.