Coming back from liquid lunch -- McKinsey style

Remembering my old days in strategy consulting with my bros in Quebec. What’s the point of coming back to the office anyway?



What’s the point of strategy consulting anyway? I say this as an alumnus


Is this you!?

NSFW ^^^

Fair question. I think the whole point for the C level is to be able to say: We brought in (McKinsey/BCG), they sent people from all over the world and spent months here helping us with this idea, and if they’re wrong and it tanks badly, what else could have we done then?

Besides spreading the blame, these firms are helpful to do difficult things when a BSD is convinced a specific strategy is necessary, but it needs further validation because some decisions are politically challenging when there is a conflict of interests with other BSDs within the firm. Then they are willing to pay absurd amounts of money, and the firm’s partners dine and wine them like there’s no tomorrow in return. For instance in one small project, at some point I was the only guy assigned to this client, and our client paid to my firm $150K a month, just for me. I was just 25 or 26, and was there like 10 months or so. I mean, what could I have possibly done to justify a $1.5M bill? Not that much really, just chasing the local girls and drinking with the clients, like always. It was funny because even in one occasion one of the senior partners in my firm called me to basically ask what exactly I was doing because they kept paying that money just for me. I answered with consulting jargon saying almost nothing. He just said okay then, keep doing …. whatever you’re doing. A few weeks later he went to visit my client and talked to me. Months later he signed one of my recommendation letters for business school.

Strategy consulting does create lots of value and in many cases is worth every penny clients pay for it, but yeah it has a huge overhead.

Re: CvM. I’m not, but I wish I run that Kansas thing. In the US nothing beats Midwest chicks.


I’m a consultant at the moment focusing within treasury departments of large organizations. The job is starting to wear on me. What is your take on exit opportunities?

I miss college…

I suspect IEV will say that there are three main exit opportunities: blondes, brunettes, and redheads.

It depends on the firm, what kind of projects you’ve worked on, and your career progression. I’d roughly divide the types of project in these three categories.

True strategy consulting -– the CEO or someone in his direct team hires your firm to determine whether a major business concept is feasible or not, fine-tune and deploy it, normally in a nationwide or global scale. Some of these projects even define the long-term identity of the company. This type of projects is reserved to a handful of consulting firms only, and gives you the best exit opportunities. The reason is that at a very young age you have direct access to people and decision-making processes that you wouldn’t normally see until well in your 30s or beyond, if ever. It is common to see someone in their mid-20s working in the “C-floor” for months, developing and presenting a good portion of the analysis which eventually will go for approval at the highest levels. Most companies outside consulting love that mix of youth and unusual exposure to truly calling the shots. If as a consultant you’re assigned to different industries and countries during your first couple of years, the effect is magnified. That makes you a very desirable employee outside consulting to fill roles it would normally take maybe 10 more years of experience in some cases. Obviously getting into an MBA that will let you keep your sack is another good exit opportunity. Many consultants in this level go that route. However, even if you worked at one of these firms, admission is obviously not guaranteed as most senior partners often cap the number of recommendations they’ll sign every year.

Business process improvement –- in this category your firm is not really helping to define a new strategy, but saves a sh!tton of money. Exit opportunities are decent here too if you become a specialist in a particular functional area where you’ve demonstrated that as a consultant you substantially decreased operational costs. Barriers of entry for this kind of deals are not as stringent as those in the first category. Benefit of this kind of experience is obviously that you bring an attractive advantage to the table when looking for a job outside consulting.

Glorified outsourcing –- Exit opportunities are no different from those of any other industry. It depends on whether you’re a good fit or not.

But yeah, the important thing about consulting is if you can leverage your job to get the giiiiirls.