I just finished writing my monthly newsletter for my Inner Circle mentorship members. This month's focus was on identifying and developing the skills that ex-consultants possess that industry professionals often lack.
One of the recurring themes is that ex-consultants think and make decisions in a logical and quantitative way.
Most industry professionals make decisions based on intuition.
The problem with relying solely on intuition is that sometimes intuition is flat out wrong.
THE definition of an insight in McKinsey is when you as a consultant make a logical conclusion that’s counter-intuitive. The recommendation causes the client to do the exact opposite of what his or her instinctive decision would have been otherwise.
It is THE reason that senior clients like hiring consulting firms. They constantly refer to MBB consultants as giving them “perspective,” seeing their problems and opportunities in a different way than they do. Much of that comes from doing quantitative analysis and deriving logical conclusions from the data.
Ex-consultants do this kind of work effortlessly. Professionals that spent their entire careers in industry don’t engage in these skills nearly as often or as well.
If you’re an industry professional, there is a significant arbitrage opportunity to develop these skills valued in industry without ever having to work in consulting. The most common of these skills is learning to do financial and data analysis.
When you ask the typical manager in any department in industry what they think, they give you their opinion.
If you ask a former consultant what they think, they give you a conclusion backed by a set of facts (usually outlined in a spreadsheet or some charts created from a spreadsheet).
The key isn’t to learn how to use Excel (you can buy a manual on how to click the right buttons in Excel).
The key is to learn to think quantitatively and logically. Excel is merely the canvas by which to express and explore such quantitative thoughts.
I've had so many questions about these financial and data analysis skills that I created a Financial & Data Analysis Toolkit for my members. Click here to learn more about it.