By Huang Yung Hsiang, Eric
Joining a consulting company after graduating from universities are many students’ dreams. However, even though I have read some articles and go to several recruitment talks held by consulting firms, it seem to me that consultants are just a group of very smart people trying to help a business using their professional knowledge. It was not until Iast week when I really have a chance to experience what it is like to work as a consultant.
I was faced with a lot of problems and I learned a lot even though it has only been less than two weeks. After my first meeting with my client, whose business is a travel agency, I felt kind of frustrated. The reason I felt so is because his business seems to be working fine and I could not immediately find a big problem and give suggestions that seems a help his business right away. Then I realized that it is not that easy working as a consultant, many problems are actually hidden under the surface so you need to try your best to understand your client’s business in order to dig them out and it takes a lot of time and effort. Not only do you need to know your client’s company well, you also need to know its competitors, stakeholders and even to whole industry in order to give them advices that are the most accurate and effective. To sum up, it helped me understand that it is harder than it seems to be a consultant.
Another problem I was faced with was about the responsibility of a consultant. I was confused about to what extent should we actually do for our client or we should simply give them some recommendations and let them do so. Fortunately, our TA Joshua was here at Guimaras and I asked him about it. He told me that sometimes we need to take initiative and really put our recommendations into actions and show our client that our recommendations are in fact helpful for the business. That way, they might be more willing to execute according to our recommendations and we could also build more trust between us and our client.
Inevitably, being a consultant involves working with your own colleagues. As far as I know, in consulting firm employees are from different countries around the world. Luckily, I am also able to experience what it’s like working with a partner from different cultural background. My partner is from Hong Kong but she grew up in UK. Initially, I thought our communication was not that good, sometimes I felt like we were not on the same page and were just working individually. However, after spending longer time together and understanding each other, we are now more and more like a team. I started to know that she needs rest every once in a while and she started to know when I am being serious and when I am joking. Therefore, after overcoming some initial problems, I think we will be able to work more efficiently as a unit.
To conclude, although I encountered several problems working as a consultant for the first time, it has been a fruitful experience for me. I gained a lot of invaluable insights of the consulting industry and I genuinely look forward to the challenges that I am about to face in the next few weeks!