I’ve been doing this work thing for a little over a month now, and it is safe to say that I’ve already learned a lot. I was lucky enough to know some of what to expect after doing consulting internships for two summers, but I thought it would be helpful to share some overall tips to incoming consultants out there (these tips just so happen to apply to yopros in general so that’s an added bonus).
1. Be prepared for anything. As a consultant, you’re essentially there to achieve a goal for the client, and even if you were brought on as say a strategy consultant, be prepared to get your hands dirty with operations, marketing, finance, and really anything the project goal needs you to do.
2. Do your due diligence before you get to the client site. This is specifically regarding the project that you’re entering into but also relates to the industry in which you’re going to be working in. Nobody on the team is going to expect you to be a subject matter expert but a little bit of knowledge will go a long way!
3. Plan your outfits for work in advance and prep them. This might just be an idiosyncrasy of mine but it’s a huge time saver and reduces some stress. Let me explain. I typically will plan what I’m going to wear for the week on that Sunday and will then iron and pack everything for the week, usually after I get home from brunch. This is so helpful because it will reduce the time you’ll need to get ready in the morning when heading to the client site (I.E. you can sleep longer) and you won’t have to debate over what you’ll be wearing that day since you’ve already decided.
4. GET TSA PRE CHECK! If your company will pay for it that’s great, but even if they won’t get it anyways. It is only $85 ($100 for Global Entry) for five years and since you practically live in an airport make the investment and never have to take your shoes off in line again.
5. Sticking to the more logistical side, decide which airline, hotel, rental car, etc. company you want to create loyalty with and start maximizing your points! You here the most ridiculous stories about consultants paying for entire vacations to the Maldives (and other crazy places) using only miles and hotel points, and how is this possible? By sticking with your preferred programs and maximizing the benefits!
6. Related to the previous item is what credit card with travel benefits you might want to get. Popular ones include the Chase and Capital One travel cards, as well as the Barclays card that I opted for. Barclays made the most sense for me personally, but do your research to see what gives you the best offer and benefits in the long run.
7. Ask something if you don’t understand. This is advice that really applies to anyone at any stage in their career. Everyone understands that you’re new and in a completely unfamiliar environment so there is a learning curve. However, make sure that the questions you ask actually need to be asked. Don’t ask something that is in an easily accessed document or you could use Google for.
8. Be your own champion. This is a large task that can be quite daunting, but one thing you need to understand is that if you want to succeed and achieve your goals you have to take action. There isn’t going to be someone to hold your hand and guide you down the right path. Being proactive and determined are two extremely important attributes that you need to bring to the table to differentiate yourself.
9. Get involved in something within your company. Yes, it is overwhelming to enter into a new job and learn the ropes and it takes time. However, it is equally as important to be involved in your company in a capacity that doesn’t totally revolve around work. Join the intramural sports team if there is one. If there isn’t make your own. Look for volunteer opportunities to give back to the community and meet other people that you work with.
10. Start to craft your reputation and credibility. No matter what anyone says, you only get one chance at a first impression, whether it be with your team or with the client, so try your hardest to put your best foot forward.