On October 20th 2016, the BMMSA held our very first event of the year. This was the initial event in a series called “Industry Outlook”. This particular Industry Outlook Event was focused on the consulting industry. Four professionals from the consulting industry were brought in for a discussion panel focused on answering major questions related to consulting. The night ended with a networking session among students and consulting industry professionals.
Consultants from Deloitte, McKinsey & Company, AllGo, and Newton & Co joined us as the panellists for the evening. They discussed the challenges of the industry as well as some common misconceptions from questions directed from our moderator Erica Commons. One panellist noted that the hardest part about their jobs isn't in fact the problems they are hired to solve but the clients they are hired by. Often clients disagree with each other, which makes the task of getting them to get along a significant part of their job.
One panellist noted that an extremely important, yet unexpected part of the consulting industry is, networking. Instead of eating lunch in the office, he was encouraged by his superiors to have lunch out every day with potential clients or colleagues because the making of those connections is such a crucial part of his job.
Another panellist noted that his lifestyle changed because of how much he needed to travel. In fact, on the day of the event he woke up in a small town in the interior of BC, travelled to a mine for a meeting, travelled to another town for another meeting, and then finally travelled to UBC to speak at the event. All of the panellists emphasized the importance of sleep in their routines, stating that they never get less than 6 hours, where earlier in their careers they suffered from getting 3 to 4 hours each night.
Panellists highlighted that a main aspect of the consulting industry is that professionals have to sell themselves all the time. Because the "product" that the consulting industry sells is the consultants’ own brainpower and problem-solving skills, it is important to advertise one's individual skills and competence in order to secure clients and contracts.
Students had the opportunity to ask questions to the panellists at the end of the event for a networking session where many important insights were shared. All four of the panellists, as well as some additional consulting industry professionals were busy talking to students throughout the networking session. By the end, students walked away with a much stronger understanding of the consulting industry and added some new connections to their network!