Thursday, May 13, 2010

"I'm interested in consulting and was looking for some advice."

I occasionally have folks reach out to me asking for advice about a career in consulting, and I'm happy to answer their questions. In some cases, the inquiry I receive is very specific and shows that the person has already done the research that can be done online. Those are the cases where I can be most helpful.

In other cases, the inquiry is more generic: "I'm interested in consulting and would like to get your advice." I'll make time for a call, but I'm not going to be as helpful if the person hasn't done some research first.

A starting point for this research would include:

+ Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms

+ WetFeet guides on management consulting industry

+ Websites and wikipedia entries of the consulting firms they are interested in

+ Consulting Magazine

A good first step would be to figure out what type of consulting is of interest. Management consulting? Technology consulting? Supply chain management consulting? If you've done the research and you are trying to decide, that's fine. But you don't want to ask, "What are the different types of consulting?" If you aren't the type of person who will research that online first, you probably aren't the type of person who will enjoy consulting.

The same goes for any kind of "informational interview." It isn't helpful to ask questions during an informational interview that could be answered by Wikipedia or the annual report. Do the homework first. And then demonstrate that you've done your homework when you reach out.

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