If executives believed the negative stereotypes about consultants, the whole industry would have died out years ago. Yet here it is, thriving as always. Could there be a spot for you in it? Sheila Shah explains how consulting really is in an article for the Muse to help you decide.
For starters, travel is a major part of the game, and it is not always glamorous. Your Mondays through Thursdays will likely be a smorgasbord of work obligations, meaning having a personal life may not happen on those days. On the plus side, all that travel is likely to amount in special rewards and savings with airlines and hotels, which actually is kind of glamorous.
Mental flexibility is another big aspect of consulting. You will be dealing with problems from every side instead of from one set perspective as you would in a normal industry:
I can barely plan my schedule for the next week, I have yet to see again people I worked with during my first few months, and the work I’m doing includes everything from financial analysis projects to IT assessments. Recently, I found myself ending a week discussing the Affordable Care Act and it’s stipulation around Health Insurance Exchanges, then beginning the next talking about metadata and its proposed structure within a technology.
Consulting further demands strong communication skills, or at least a willingness to continuously improve those skills. In addition to leveraging networking to get ahead in your career, you will also be expected to succinctly convey information to clients. The fewer words it takes to tell the story, the better.
Lastly, succeeding in consulting (and any other industry) will demand being a self-starter. You need to be actively seeking out opportunities to produce good work, grow, and get rewarded for it. You can view Shah’s entertaining article here: https://www.themuse.com/advice/is-consulting-right-for-you