College Junior: Mum, you’ll be proud; I’m interviewing for an internship this summer at one of the big management consulting firms.
Mum: That sounds interesting. What happened to going to New York and working at one of the investment banks?
College Junior: Well, I decided you make lots of money but I’m not sure the work’s very exciting. I think I’d like to do strategy work instead.
Mum: OK. What is it about management consulting that will be more exciting?
College Junior: Well, so many things; you’re out at clients, meeting lots of people, working with successful leaders, doing important work, collaborating in teams with smart colleagues.
Mum: And what kind of strategy work would you want to be doing?
College Junior: Uh? Well, strategy work. You know – important work, big stuff, working with executives, helping drive how businesses win, global competition – strategy stuff!
Mum: No, I meant what type of strategy?
College Junior: Sorry, mum, I’m not sure what you mean? Strategy is what management consultants do for businesses, what products to sell, into which markets, to win against their competition. Benchmarking, competitive analysis, market penetration matrices, etc.
Mum: Oh, ok, you mean business strategy.
College Junior: Sorry, yes. I should have said business strategy. I mean, everyone just shortens it to strategy. I want to be a strategy consultant.
Mum: OK, I see the confusion.
College Junior: What confusion? I’m not confused. I no longer want to do investment banking, I want to be a management consultant, specifically a strategy consultant.
Mum: No, what I meant is that I was asking which type of strategy you want to consult on?
College Junior: Mum, you are not making sense, there’s only one. Business strategy, strategy consulting.
Mum: Well, no, honey, that’s not quite true. There are over 60 ‘business’ strategies.
College Junior: Mum, what are you talking about? Now you’re getting me confused. What others can there possibly be!?
Mum: Well, in addition to the overall business strategy, there’s the go-to-market strategy, the digital strategy, the talent strategy, the supply chain strategy if the company makes things, the customer service strategy, the marketing strategy, the procurement strategy, the diversity strategy, the sustainability strategy, the globalization strategy, the IT strategy, the channel strategy, the innovation strategy, the…
College Junior: Ok, ok, ok. I get it. No need to list all 60, for goodness sake!
Mum: This is why I was asking. A business doesn’t have just one strategy, but over 60 that all need to hang together and get implemented or the business strategy is just a piece of paper.
College Junior: Hmm. I didn’t think about that. But anyway, I still want to be a ‘business strategy’ management consultant.
Mum: That’s fine, but why?
College Junior: Well that’s the most important strategy and after this degree I want the best job doing the best work.
Mum: So you’re saying that at a consulting company the colleagues working to design and implement a client’s supply chain strategy are inferior to those that helped assemble the business strategy?
College Junior: No, mum! Now you’re taking it all the wrong way.
Mum: No, honey, I just think it’s better you know now that there are over 60 types of strategy that a business needs and management consultants help clients with them all. You might develop different industry knowledge over time, and you might have different discipline skills; market positioning versus supply chain versus digital, but all are strategy consultants. Think of the type of strategy as being separate from the profession of strategy consulting.
College Junior: Hmm. Thanks, mum. That was really useful; they don’t teach us that stuff at college, we just all talk about being consultants and doing free projects for companies so we can get good internships.
Mum: It’s ok, I’m glad we brought it up now rather than later. In fact, I have an idea.
College Junior: What’s that?
Mum: Why don’t you take SchellingPoint’s Advanced Management Consulting Core Skills eLearning course? You’ll learn the core management consulting process and methods at the heart of every consulting project, regardless of the specific strategy type. That will impress the consulting firms, and, you’ll be better able to assess them rather than just hoping for a job offer.
College Junior: Wow. That’s a great idea, mum.
Mum: Sure, honey, let’s get you registered.
College Junior: OK, enough shop talk, mum. What was in your red cup? I’ll go get the refills!
Mum: Would love to honey, but I need to get back onto this board call. Talk later. xxx