Mr. Venkatraman, senior advisor, A.T.Kearney, on Consulting as a career


Mr. Venkatraman, our honorary guest speaker, started his lecture with a puzzling “Even a matcher fixer is a consultant“, that got everyone excited about what was to follow.

Mr. Venkatraman making a point during his lecture

In his opinion, most of the questions that consultants address are like icebergs; they see only the tip at the start. The questions are seemingly easy until a consultant gets down to answering them.

As an example, a simple question from a biscuit production company like how can it decrease the direct costs by 8%, can bring night mares to a team of analysts, because in most consulting problems, the solution comprises 30% of qualitative analysis and 70% of quantitative analysis. Not just that , a consultant needs to keep his eyes wide open so that he doesn’t miss any changes in the macroeconomic environment, be it political, social or economical. He should have contingency plans to deal with such unforeseen issues. Problem modeling is a handy weapon in this context.

At the core of consulting is your professional integrity and credibility, in whatever you recommend, in front of key decisions makers. This credibility is based on your stringent data analysis and insight “– said Mr. Venkatraman on the demands of the industry.

“What is the methodology adopted in consulting?” He answered his own question – breakdown analysis. Every consulting problem is broken down into pieces and then the epicenter of the issue is analyzed from different angles and perspectives.

Why do MBAs aspire to become consultants?

  • Among the highest paid professions
  • Lot of travel
  • Attraction of a 5 star culture
  • A high degree of variety in work. No two projects are same

What is not so good about this otherwise lucrative profession?

  • High work pressures due to demanding deadlines
  • Work life balance issues

A career in consulting, as in all careers that we see, has its own well drawn out phases. The first 2-4 years is a period of meticulous data gathering and data analysis. The next 3-6 years entail guiding teams and giving directions to young aspirants. Six years further down the line, a person becomes eligible to decide on the profit and revenue models of projects.

“You won’t learn management but you would be called a manager “, if it sounds paradoxical to you, yes, it did, when we heard it too! A lot of factors come into the picture to shape how the intellectual growth pans out during a consulting career. It can be a factor of concern if one does projects in different industries in a short span of time, but of course, beyond a certain point in time, the age old proverb rules- where is will, there is a way. If one really wants to enhance his knowledge in some specific sphere, he can! So is it a win-win situation for a jack of all trades or a specialist? Well, the answer is, it is a win-win situation for both. Both of them have more or less, the same bundle of opportunities.

“Yes, a lot of times, data does not exist. so in those cases, we propose companies with a proxy situation and draw analysis based on it ‘– answer to a question by a gladiator as to what stand a consultant takes, when there is no adequate data available for a problem and how often consultants confront such a situation.

In the area of management consulting, the US market is very mature, while in India, we are just seeing the dawn.  A lot of growth is expected and the industry is on the verge of a boom.

When the lecture came to an end, the gladiators were left with a very clear picture about a career in consulting, what it entails, what is motivating about it and how one goes about preparing for it!

-Deepesh Dang

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One Response to Mr. Venkatraman, senior advisor, A.T.Kearney, on Consulting as a career

  1. Never got such clarity on consulting career before. I can imagine what a pleasure it would have been to listen to Mr. Venkatraman.

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