Introduction to Consulting
- 4 hours on-demand video
- Full lifetime access
- Access on mobile and TV
- Certificate of Completion
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- You will understand what consulting is, how consulting firms make money, how you are evaluated at a consulting firm, how to write powerful proposals, how to properly budget consulting engagements, and how to run highly effective consulting meetings
- All you need is an interest in business and helping other businesses succeed
This course is based on Dr. Firth's personal experience teaching new consultants for KPMG's national consulting practice for over six years, in addition to over ten years teaching the University of Montana's College of Business undergraduates and graduate students all about consulting. Hundreds of Dr Firth's consulting class students have found very well paid positions with consulting firms locally and nationally. Dr. Firth is recognized nationally by several very well known consulting firms for his role in preparing students for great careers in consulting.
The course is primarily aimed at those wanting to join a consulting firm, rather than start their own consulting firm. This can be college undergraduates, college graduates, or experienced practitioners out in the workforce. That said, all the topics are 100% practically applicable and would help tremendously those starting their own firms.
The course covers critical, practical issues including:
First impressions, and how to make them better both during the hiring process, and as a consultant
How a consulting firm makes money. Knowing this helps you play your role and be more valued as a result if you work for a firm, or are wanting to work for a consulting firm
Why chargeability is the #1 metric for a consultant, how it gets calculated, and how you can change it
Why realization is the #1 metric for a consulting firm, how it gets calculated, and your role in it
The immutable consulting triangle of scope-cost-schedule
All aspects of a real consulting proposal. We work through a detailed example and explain all the parts
A real budget for a consulting project. We work through every piece of a real budget for a consulting project, explaining why each part is there and how the parts interact
All aspects of a consulting meeting from planning, to where to sit in the meeting room, to how to take notes and ask great questions
What to avoid when running a consulting meeting, including poor types of questions and issues such as avoiding social desirability
- Anyone who as an interest in helping companies and organizations succeed
- This course is more focused on joining an existing consulting company rather than setting up your own consulting company, but most of the principals covered can be applied if your are starting your own consulting business
Other courses on consulting are nearly always about starting your own consulting firm. For many of us, that is either not possible due to our limited skill or knowledge base, or not something we want to do just yet - we'd rather get some experience with an established consulting firm before striking out on our own.
Instead, this course is about how to join a consulting firm, and be effective and successful with that firm. Knowing how to be effective and successful with a consulting firm will help you tremendously in your quest to join a firm as you can more effectively position your skills, education and personality to match what the consulting firm is looking for.
All that said, if you want to start your own consulting firm this course will still help you a lot! Almost everything we cover can be used as you start your firm. The big difference is that the way I present the material is from the angle of joining a consulting firm rather than starting your own, but that does not change the underlying basis, such as how firms make money, what a proposal looks like, or how to handle a meeting, for instance.
In this lecture we talk about what consulting is, and why companies would hire a consultant. Understanding this better places you to provide the right sorts of consulting services, as well as help you understand what a consulting firm is looking for when they want to hire a new consultant.
In this lecture we talk about the four main things consulting firms provide to their clients: objectivity, broad experience from dealing with a variety of clients, analytical skills as a result on a focus on delivering solutions, and the time to actually work on things.
In this lecture we discuss what it takes to be a successful consultant. A good deal of what it takes is being a visible professional, and having what is called "conversational competence". One good part of working for a consulting firm (rather than starting your own firm) is that you will pick up a great deal of conversational competence from being around your consulting colleagues and being with clients.
Up to 70% of clients leave their consulting firm as a result of the actions of one consultant on the team. Usually this has nothing to do with the work being performed and everything to do with the person performing the work. The impression you make on others is important, and making a good first impression is critical.
In this lecture we talk about handling what is often the first question from a consulting firm looking to hire you, or a client looking to find out more about you as a consultant: "Tell me about yourself...?"
LinkedIn the professional version of Facebook. With over 500 million subscribers, LinkedIn is a global force. I have consulting firms tell me that they won't even hire someone unless they have a LinkedIn profile, and I have had former students tell me that their consulting firm recruiters just use a person's resume for the name to look them up on LinkedIn.
In this lecture we talk about getting yourself set up on LinkedIn correctly.
Crafting a good resume is critical to getting hired by a consulting firm. It is also a critical piece of documentation when a consulting firm is pitching to be hired by a client for a project.
In this lecture we talk about crafting a skills-based resume that focuses not on a chronology of what you have done (which is a traditional resume) but on the skills you bring to the table right now for the consulting firm or client.
Clients of consulting firms are not going to need a cover letter from you. This is only for when you are applying for a consulting position at a consulting firm. The cover letter is a critical component of the application process as it shows how you engage in communication professionally. This lecture shows you what goes in a great cover letter to a consulting firm.
If you understand how money is made by a consulting firm, then you can make sure you play your part in the process as well as possible.
In this lecture we talk about the different levels within a consulting firm, which I call finder, minder and grinder.
We then discuss the #1 metric in consulting, which is chargeability - what it is, how it is calculated, and why it matters to the consulting firm and to you.
For a consulting firm, the way they know the firm is successful (not necessarily the consultants themselves, but the firm itself) is how much profit each consulting engagement makes. In the consulting world this is called realization.
In this lecture we discuss what realization is, how it is calculated, and what can impact it.
We worked an example of a consulting firm to show how all the pieces fit together: people, rates, chargeability, and overhead.
In this lecture we show how all these pieces interact. If you make a change in one place, there are consequences in other places. If the partners want to make more money, we show how they could get this done, and the consequences of each change they make.
In this section of the course we are walking through an actual consulting proposal.
In this lecture we cover the fees for the proposal how to present them. We will cover exactly how to come up with a budget for a consulting engagement in a different section of this course.
In this section of the course we are walking through an actual consulting proposal.
In this lecture we cover adding terms and conditions to the proposal. These are standard and largely legal parts of the proposal and whilst important don't change much at all from engagement to engagement.
We have worked our way down from a firm-level of understanding how money is made and now we are at the individual engagement level. Key concepts such as realization come in to play here. Understanding how a budget is made up, and where you fit in to that budget is very important to your success, as you will be measured very closely against the budget.
The timeline is a critical component of every budget. As we discussed in the immutable triangle of consulting, scope-cost-schedule are all inter-related so you need to make sure that the timeline for the project is reasonable and achievable.
The actions of just one consultant on the team can cause a client to leave their consulting firm. Since meetings are the primary mechanism for getting work done as a consultant, we talk in this lecture about why handling meetings well is so important.
Your clients often have 101 other things going on, not just the consulting project that for you is 100% of what you are currently doing. It is easy to make the mistake that your client knows exactly what is going on with your consulting project, and why you are doing it. This lecture is about confirming the purpose of your consulting meeting so you don't make this mistake.
One of the best words to use in a consulting meeting is "clarify". "Could you please clarify that?" The word shows that you don't fully understand what the client is saying without placing a positive or negative judgment on the client. This lecture talks about using the word "clarify" in consulting meetings.
It is easy in any environment to ask questions to which, given social norms, almost everyone will answer only one way because they know that they are expected to. In this lecture we discuss these issues of avoiding questions that come loaded with social desirability.