Prashant Srivastava, CEO – TheOther 2 Thirds Consulting. Former President – Group HR, Reliance Group IIM Ahmedabad.
On Friday, Nov 13th, 2020, MYRA students were treated to an open and honest discussion around the consulting industry, and the opportunities that might be available to them in a post-pandemic world.
The fun and interactive session was held by Prashant Srivastava (CEO – TheOther 2 Thirds Consulting).
Questions that were answered in the webinar included:
- What does the consulting industry look like? Who were the big players of yesterday? What does the landscape look like today? How will it look in the future?
- Why do companies need consultants? Why do consultants get hired?
- What does a high-level management consultant do on a day-to-day basis?
- How are large firms organized? How are smaller “boutique” firms organized?
- When should one ideally enter and exit the consulting industry?
- How do you get business as an independent consultant? What frameworks should one use to tackle a client’s problems?
- What specific things can MYRA students do to get placements at top consulting firms?
Prashant Srivastava took an instructor’s approach to answer all these questions asked and went on to keep the webinar an interactive discussion. Some of the key insights from the webinar were as below:
- There has been a serious restructuring in the consulting industry for the last 15 years. The clients are a bit fed up with expensive consulting that doesn’t yield results. Therefore, the field has been moving from ADVISORY to EXECUTION.
- If you look at the top end consulting firms, there are only three left in the world. MCKINSEY, BAIN, and BOSTON CONSULTING GROUP.
- PWC Strategy Consulting was acquired by IBM and then shut down
- Deloitte, KPMG, and the other parts of the BIG Four are trying to do some strategy consulting.
- Finance consulting is a popular field.
- Marketing consulting is largely offered by boutique consulting firms.
- IT Consulting – technically is done by the IT implementers.
Why do companies need consultants? Why do consultants get hired?
- To get another perspective.
- When you want to get some fresh thinking when you have a problem to solve.
- The branding need – if a firm is going for an IPO and they want to professionalize and they get the advertising benefit of hiring McKinsey even though nothing happens. (but big fours don’t bring the same aura).
- Political reasons. CEO knows exactly what he wants to do – and the consultant basically packages the CEO’s strategy and refines it and does the research and due diligence and calling it their strategy and convince the board members.
- People WANT to work with McKinsey consultants, so it is a good HR practice that motivates people’s teams.
- Companies have lean and mean teams – and they need extra hands and legs
- Difficult to start something of your own – it will take donkey’s years before you are able to do that.
Life of a consultant – myths vs realities:
- First three years you’ll be sitting with an excel sheet and google and tapping into internal databases and past projects – the larger the firm, the less likely you will see the client.
- The Indian market does not offer enough depth so far.
- People think that you’re constantly developing new models, but that’s only the core team – for most people it doesn’t happen. But don’t be disheartened because ANY job is like this whether it be sales or whatever. These 5 years of brunt work are the real foundation. It takes 15 years before your client CEOs start listening to you.
- Consulting is like a malicious life that every two years you need to try some new tactic or gimmick > EVERY TWO YEARS OR EVEN EVERY ONE YEAR OR EVEN EVERY THREE TO SIX MONTHS > THE PLANNING HORIZON HAS SHORTENED.
How do you get business as a consultant?
- Don’t try to sell your nonsense!
- Just try and listen to the symptoms that the CEO says and try to DEFINE their problems and help them see clearly
- Consulting is about passion. If you are not passionate, you cannot be a consultant.
- The best way to manage a core team of consultants is NOT to manage them.
- Having said that, micromanaging is not a bad word at all so the client needs to see very steady work.
- A lot of consulting is getting productized and being sold as a product.
- A lot of these consulting firms are focused on the top 250 companies in India
- Financial capital vs human capital. Financial capital is a bit complicated by not that tough. But human capital is very tough. Smaller and medium companies are less savvy in human capital.
What to learn?
- The biggest learning that a consulting need is the problem definition.
- YOU cannot expect the student to take things seriously – if the faculty don’t take things very seriously.
Steps to tackle a client’s problems (as a consultant)
- Analyze the situation
- Define the problem
- Figure out what are the alternatives available to hand the problem
- What are the criteria to evaluate?
- Evaluate the options?
- What should be the action plan?
- If that fails what is your backup plan?
7 step plans are engrained into muscle memory. You put them into any situation and their brain starts working like that. This is a very basic consulting framework that many people use.
This webinar was part of an ongoing speaker series, organized by the MYRA Career Services Office. The goal is to regularly provide expert industry insights to MYRA students, and connect them with industry mentors.
To register for the next webinar, please visit myra.ac.in/webinar.
The session is open to current students, prospective students, and the general public.