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Strategy & Transformation Consulting Career Path: Is It Right for You?

Highly-paid with lots of growth opportunities, a strategy & transformation consulting career path sounds exciting. But is it the right one for you? From its pros and cons to life as a Strategy & Transformation Consultant, here’s all you need to know before you decide to take up this career.

strategy & transformation consulting career

1. Career in Strategy & Transformation Consulting

A business is like a complex machine that generates value for people. But sometimes a machine needs improvement and on some other occasions, it also needs repair. That is what I do. My job is to make a business better at generating value. It can be either by growth or increasing earnings or by reducing costs. As a business grows, it helps not only the owners but also the employees, suppliers and other businesses who work with a business.

Contents: Jump to Section

1.1 What Does a Strategy & Transformation Consultant Do
1.2 Industry/Sector
1.3 Social Image
1.4 Reasons to Become a Strategy & Transformation Consultant
2.1 Personality Traits Required
2.2 Physical Demands
2.3 Psychological Demands
3.1 Extra Curricular Activities Recommended
3.2 Related Hobbies to Take Up
3.3 Related Movies/ TV Shows
3.4 Related Fiction to Read/ Novels
4.1 Part-Time Options
4.2 Traveling Required
4.3 Average Workday/What to Expect
5.1 Retirement Prospects
5.2 Threats from Automation
5.3 Common Reasons for People to Quit

1.1 What Does a Strategy & Transformation Consultant Do

Typically someone in my field picks up a problem (for example, costs are high, you need to reduce them) or an aspiration (need to grow earnings by n times within x years) and then tries to solve the problem or achieve the objective. This requires analyzing what might be causing the problem and coming up with recommendations and solutions.

For example, the company’s costs are high and need reduction. In this case, a strategy & transformation consultant will try to work out things like:

  • What are the areas where costs are high
  • Why they are high
  • Can we change suppliers of materials
  • Can we get better contracts
  • Can we automate processes.

Similarly, let’s say the objective or an aspiration of a company is to grow earnings. So one would need to understand:

  • The market
  • The customers
  • The competitors
  • Identify what are the important areas in the market where to focus,
  • What choices to make
  • How to support the choices by having the necessary capabilities in the organization
  • How to measure progress.

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To be able to do this, one needs to understand different aspects of a business. These include:

  • The product/service
  • Customers
  • Competitors
  • Industry trends
  • Marketing
  • Finances
  • Processes
  • Human behaviour and so on.

In the strategy & transformation consulting career path, it really helps to be curious enough to quickly learn new things and act on those learnings. More often than not you need to also follow through on your recommendations and execute the solution. That means watching over every small step on a daily basis until the time the solution is complete. This also requires learning from the field, and adjusting your methods as necessary.

Broadly speaking, succeeding in this area requires different factors like:

  • Analytical and critical thinking (ability to break down a problem and thinking through all its parts, asking relevant questions and not accepting any information without testing/evaluating it)
  • Communication skills (clearly writing and telling people about the problem, solution and the steps towards implementing the solution)
  • People skills (to work with others in a team, to manage them and also to handle the senior business leaders).

life as a Strategy & Transformation Consultantconsulting career

1.2 Industry/Sector

Many different sectors like Retail, Government, etc.

Many industries employ consultants to solve various problems. Some of them are retail, e-commerce, government, manufacturing, Oil & Gas, Telecommunications, Media and Entertainment, to name a few.

1.3 Social Image

Generally respected but not well understood.

The social image of the strategy & transformation consulting career path is quite positive. However, many people do not understand clearly what consultants or strategy & transformation professionals do.

1.4 Reasons to Become a Strategy & Transformation Consultant

High salary, new learning opportunities, travel opportunities.

This profession continuously provides new learning opportunities and problems to solve. It is also quite high paying. One possible negative can be that it might require extensive travel. However, it may not be a bad thing if you like visiting different places, meeting new people and learning about their work and problems so that you can help them.

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2. What It Takes to Be a Strategy & Transformation Consultant

2.1 Personality Traits Required/ Preferred

Meticulous, hard work, willingness to learn about new types of businesses, communication skills.

One needs to be curious and willing to get exposed to new areas and industries. One has to be skilled at logical and statistical analysis and clear communication. Being extrovert can be helpful, however even introverts can really shine here if they bring in good ideas and hard work. Being meticulous is very important, not only for this profession, but anywhere in the industry or even in academics.

2.2 Physical Demands

Long hours and a lot of travel are a part of a consultant’s career.

2.3 Psychological Demands

Finding work-life balance becomes tough.

3. How to Build Interest in the Strategy & Transformation Consulting Career

3.1 Extra-Curricular Activities Recommended

Reading, math clubs or puzzles, debates.

One needs to build curiosity and the habit to make sense of large volumes of data and information. This means having a healthy reading habit really helps. One needs to also develop a feel for numbers and analysis. Moreover, communication skills and logical thinking are a must, hence activities like debating can help on that front.

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3.2 Related Hobbies to Take Up

Reading non-fiction, building a decent level of general knowledge (quizzes can help here), and solving puzzles would be good ideas to take up for anyone who is aspiring to enter this field.

3.3 Related Movies/ TV Shows

  • The Founder (2016) [PG-13]
  • Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)
  • The Social Network (2010) [PG-13]
  • Moneyball (2011) [PG-13]

3.4 Related Books to Read

There are some non-academic but non-fiction books that are good to build awareness about various areas that help in developing oneself for a career in strategy/transformation consulting. Some of them are mentioned here:

  • Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011) by Daniel Kahneman
  • How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking by Jordan Ellenberg
  • McKinsey Mind (2001) by Ethan Rasiel
  • Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works by A.G. Lafley and Roger L. Martin

4. Life as a Strategy & Transformation Consultant

4.1 Part-Time Options

Possible.

There are freelancing and part time opportunities in the strategy & transformation consulting career path, once a person has built a reputation and a network of people who are aware of the person’s skills.

4.2 Traveling Required

Yes.

The only physical demand in a career in strategy & transformation consulting is that we have to travel a lot.  In this profession, one has to travel to various business locations/client sites.

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4.3 Average Workday/ What to Expect in Strategy & Transformation Consulting Career

The typical day starts with a briefing with the team on the day’s deliverables and work and a discussion on whether anyone needs any help or wants to share any information. Then one would have a few meetings with business leaders or clients regarding the project (discussions could be on progress, feedback or a new problem statement).

One would then find some time to work on either doing some analysis or preparing a presentation, document on findings or progress. There would be some time off during lunch and the second half would be more of work on analysis, reviewing work by team mates and giving them feedback, and having a few more discussions with the business stakeholders.

Occasionally you would also interview new joinees for your company. You would also take a few small breaks throughout the day where you take a walk or chat with your colleagues on work or other interests. Work hours are often long and meetings usually fill up the day.

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5. Future of Your Career in Strategy & Transformation Consulting

5.1 Retirement Prospects

Typically post retirement there are consulting roles on individual capacity. Experienced professionals can also serve on Board of Directors of large companies as independent directors after their retirement.

5.2 Threats from Automation

No threats from automation have been seen yet. In fact, working with technology is becoming a key area of growth for strategy consulting. Be it automation or AI/ML, there is increasing demand for people who understand both the business and technology to find and implement the best fit solution for any given problem.

5.3 Common Reasons for People to Quit Strategy & Transformation Consulting Career

Travel and long hours can typically cause problems for an individual, especially for people who have a family or are thinking about starting a family. However, despite these challenges, there are many people who stay on.

Read next:

How to Become a Strategy & Transformation Consultant

From academic qualifications to best colleges to costs, we have created a full guide on how to take up the Strategy & Transformation Consulting career.

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