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Consulting… You may be wondering what this role actually involves. Well, what if we told you that not only is it one of the most varied jobs out there, but that you learn a whole bunch of skills from it? And if that wasn’t enough, anyone from any degree background can get involved. Provided you’re curious, willing to learn and able to balance different projects, of course.
We chatted to two employees from the company Kantar Consulting – Hjalti Rognvaldsson, Consultant and Claudia Bhugra-Schmid, Senior Consultant – all about their roles and the opportunities they’ve been presented with during their careers. If you’re interested in several roles or industries and are having a hard time deciding where to specialise, then consultancy may be the right path for you, as you’ll be able to explore multiple areas at once!
What exactly is consulting?
In short, consultancy firms work with other companies to help them solve problems, drive business and come up with new and innovative strategies designed to help them grow. These implemented strategies are often designed to help businesses reach long-term goals and targets. As Kantar Consulting is a global business – with offices in London, New York, Amsterdam, Singapore and more – the client list is extremely varied.
One day you might be coming up with innovation strategies for a major toy company, and the next you may be examining how customers engage with fashion. Others industries that they serve in include Professional Services, Food & Drink, Finance, Health & Wellness and Automotive. You’ll have the chance to work in a sector that interests you, but you’ll also have the opportunity to experience something new. As Hjalti puts it; “No day is ever the same and no project is ever the same. We work hard and we have a lot of fun!”
To be clear, businesses don’t hire consultancy firms because they already know all the answers. They want to find out why and how to get to the bottom of any problems that arise. They’re in need of qualified advisors who will not only help them through difficult challenges, but learn what works for them to use in the future. These advisors need to be curious about more than just the clients; they need to be curious about the sector in which they operate, their customers and the commercial environment at the time. All these factors combined is what makes a consultant a valued expert to clients.
Collaboration is also key in a business like this – both internally and externally. Consultants need to work together to produce results and find out exactly what specifications their clients are looking for. Claudia elaborates on the impact of this; “This is a business that’s entirely based on people. We’re selling our thinking, so you learn how to best manage people, how to take care of one another, how to motivate a team and how to get the best work from them.”
Why should I consider a role in consulting?
If you’re curious to try out a variety of skills in your day-to-day work, then consultancy should be high on your list. Although the job is known for logical elements like researching and analysis, it may come as a surprise to know that such a role is also extremely creative, with lots of projects revolving around strategising, writing and presenting compelling stories and coming up with innovative ways for businesses to win in the future.
Claudia explains how her preconceived idea of consultants were people who wear grey suits and only do boring work. But her role has proved to be the exact opposite:
“I work in the Human & Cultural Insight team, exploring trends in culture and people’s lives. I also work on ‘Futures’ projects, building a view of what a client’s business might look like in 5 or 10 years. And I love brand work, figuring out what a brand should stand for, how it should express itself. None of that involves wearing a boring grey suit!”
Consultancy also involves a lot of communicating with clients; from educating them on new business trends, to building relationships on an ongoing basis. Even better, many clients are based internationally, so you may have the opportunity to travel on the job – an extremely sought-after perk!
Hjalti has been working on creating a Marketing Programme for one of the world’s largest Food & Drink companies, designing the content and syllabus. He says: “We work with them to decide what is absolutely crucial for their people to learn, then we develop the learning material both for eLearning as well as classroom teaching. In a couple of months, we will be going to their offices around Europe to deliver the training to over 1500 of their brand managers.”
How can consultancy develop my career?
Kantar Consulting are extremely committed to the progression of their employees. Graduates start on a competitive salary and are often promoted within a couple of years. With the nature of the role, consultancy attracts people from all walks of life, and Kantar Consulting is no different. The London office is incredibly multicultural, with employees from UK, India, France, Spain, and Iceland – just to name a few. Consultancy roles offer a great learning opportunity to collaborate with people who have a different perspective, both professionally and personally.
Working in consultancy also means being able to take away transferable skills that will continue to be of value throughout your professional career. From public speaking to a room full of clients, to being spontaneous and coming up with innovative ideas to help change a business. The vast range of abilities that you learn can be applied anywhere and everywhere.
No matter your degree or sector preference, this role will bring a whole variety of work that will not only be of interest to you, but provide you with tangible skills that will allow you to take on any challenge that arises in the future. If you’re still on the fence about the world of consulting, here’s some words of advice from Claudia:
“Jump in and have a go. Don’t let any preconceptions you might have hold you back. Every consultancy will have a different USP, so there’s no knowing whether it might be the right fit for you unless you have a look and see what they’re all about.”
We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves!