Introduction to Consulting
3.9 (81 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
265 students enrolled

Introduction to Consulting

Want to become a consultant? Designed by an experienced industry professional who is also an award winning professor
3.9 (81 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
265 students enrolled
Created by David Firth
Last updated 7/2018
English
English [Auto]
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This course includes
  • 4 hours on-demand video
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • 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
Requirements
  • All you need is an interest in business and helping other businesses succeed
Description

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

Who this course is for:
  • 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
Course content
Expand all 83 lectures 04:12:37
+ Introduction
1 lecture 02:11

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.

Preview 02:11
+ What is consulting?
4 lectures 17:47

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.

Preview 06:50

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.

Preview 02:41

In this lecture we talk about what being a consultant means for you when it comes to salary. We also talk about how higher than average salaries as a consultant means that the work you do is not simple but full of ambiguity.

What does being a consultant mean for your salary?
03:57

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.

What does it take to be a successful consultant?
04:19
+ First Impressions
4 lectures 17:21

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...?"

Tell me about yourself
01:58

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.

Setting yourself up on, and using, LinkedIn
09:47

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.

A consulting resume
03:28

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.

The cover letter
02:08
+ How Money Is Made By A Consulting Firm and the role you can play
8 lectures 39:24

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.

Finders, Minders & Grinders, and the #1 metric for new consultants: Chargeabilty
04:02

The #1 metric as a consultant is chargeability. In this lecture we discuss how you can impact your own chargeability.

Chargeability - how you can impact the #1 metric for a consultant
05:46

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.

Realization - the #1 metric for managers and partners in a consulting firm
05:55

We work an example of a consulting firm to show how all the pieces fit together: people, rates, chargeability, and overhead.

This section deals with people. How many managers and staff consultants are needed based on how many partners there are.

A case example to show how the pieces fit together
07:18

We work an example of a consulting firm to show how all the pieces fit together: people, rates, chargeability, and overhead.

This section walks through a template to help you solve the case.

A case example - all the pieces put together
03:20

We work an example of a consulting firm to show how all the pieces fit together: people, rates, chargeability, and overhead.

This section walks through the solution from start to end.

A case example - the solution
02:35

Partners in a consulting firm don't get paid a regular salary. They take "a draw" from the consulting firm's earnings.

In this lecture we discuss how partners in a consulting firm get paid.

Partners Salaries
03:39

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.

Making more
06:49
+ The Proposal: An actual example of a consulting proposal
14 lectures 36:41

In this section of the course we are walking through an actual consulting proposal.

In this lecture we cover the cover sheet, or front page of the proposal.

The consulting proposal: the cover sheet
03:16

In this section of the course we are walking through an actual consulting proposal.

In this lecture we cover the table of contents for the proposal.

The consulting proposal: the table of contents
01:34

In this section of the course we are walking through an actual consulting proposal.

In this lecture we cover the problem statement, which is the problem that the consulting project that this consulting proposal is about is hoping to solve.

The consulting proposal: the problem statement
03:58
The consulting proposal: Objectives and scope
03:25

In this section of the course we are walking through an actual consulting proposal.

In this lecture we cover the statement of work, or the approach that will be used to do the work that this consulting proposal is proposing.

The consulting proposal: Statement of Work or Approach
02:55
The consulting proposal: Statement of Work or Approach (part 2)
01:00
The consulting proposal: Project timeline
03:45

In this section of the course we are walking through an actual consulting proposal.

In this lecture we cover the major assumptions that are critical in writing the proposal.

The consulting proposal: Major assumptions
04:11

In this section of the course we are walking through an actual consulting proposal.

In this lecture we cover project staffing and how to present that in the proposal.

The consulting proposal: Project staffing
02:51

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.

The consulting proposal: Fees
03:26

In this section of the course we are walking through an actual consulting proposal.

In this lecture we cover expenses, and how you present them in a consulting proposal.

The consulting proposal: Expenses
01:19

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.

The consulting proposal: Terms and Conditions
01:55

In this section of the course we are walking through an actual consulting proposal.

In this lecture we cover how you add references from other work you've done and your resumes to the consulting proposal.

The consulting proposal: References and resumes
01:06

In this section of the course we are walking through an actual consulting proposal.

In this lecture we cover what it takes to convert a consulting proposal to a consulting engagement.

The consulting proposal: From a proposal to an engagement
02:00
+ Budgeting a Consulting Engagement
19 lectures 50:39

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.

Budgeting a consulting engagement - introduction
01:26

We look again at how money gets made at the firm-level and bring the important parts of that, which includes realization, to budgeting the engagement.

Budgeting a consulting engagement - what goes in a budget
02:26

Immutable means that you can't change it. In this lecture we look at how the ways scope, cost and schedule of a consulting project interact with each other are immutable (unchangeable).

Budgeting a consulting engagement - the immutable triangle
00:53

A continued discussion of the immutable consulting triangle of cost-scope-schedule with examples of how it works.

Budgeting a consulting engagement - the immutable triangle continued
03:38

As we continue our important discussion of the immutable consulting triangle of cost-scope-schedule we now apply to clients.

Budgeting a consulting engagement - the immutable triangle and clients
01:39

The immutable triangle of consulting, scope-schedule-cost, is indeed unchangeable, as is the dimension of quality, which we talk about in this lecture.

Budgeting a consulting engagement - the immutable triangle and quality
01:58

In this lecture I talk about how the immutable triangle of cost-schedule-scope applies to healthcare

Budgeting a consulting engagement - the immutable triangle and healthcare
04:22

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.

Budgeting a consulting engagement - the timeline for the project
01:14

If you are budgeting an engagement, knowing how big a task is is an important part of the process. We discuss how to work with this in this lecture.

Budgeting a consulting engagement - estimating the size of tasks
01:44

In this lecture we give you advice, tips, for budgeting well.

Budgeting a consulting engagement - tips for budgeting well
01:44
Budgeting a consulting engagement - can you charge for learning?
01:57
Budgeting a consulting engagement - charging for administrative expenses
02:41
Budgeting a consulting engagement - the critical path of a project
03:21

What did you promise you would do in your consulting proposal? In this lecture we discuss making sure that what you said you would do for your consulting client is what you are actually budgeting to do in your consulting budget.

Budgeting a consulting engagement - doing what you promised
01:20

In this lecture we start the process of walking through an actual Excel spreadsheet of a real consulting engagement so you can see how all the pieces fit together.

Budgeting a consulting engagement - walkthrough of an actual budget spreadsheet
06:11

As we walk through the Excel spreadsheet for this real consulting engagement we take a look at how administrative expenses are factored in.

Budgeting a consulting engagement - admin expenses on the spreadsheet
02:17

As we continue our walk through of a real Excel spreadsheet for a consulting engagement we are now in to the heart of the spreadsheet where we have people and the hours they spend on various parts of the project.

Budgeting a consulting engagement - the project itself on the spreadsheet
05:56

The first output from a consulting budget spreadsheet is called Fees at Standard. This is the fees that a client would pay for the work to be done at standard rates.

Budgeting a consulting engagement - Fees at standard on the spreadsheet
03:25

Consulting work is rarely done at standard rates. In this lecture we discuss how we use a real consulting Excel spreadsheet to figure out what the fees would be for the client at various estimated realization percentages.

Budgeting a consulting engagement - Fees at ERP on the spreadsheet
02:27
+ Handling a consulting meeting
33 lectures 01:28:34

Meetings are a critical and common part of the consulting day. This section of the course is all about preparing for and running a consulting meeting. This lecture introduces this section.

An introduction to handling a consulting meeting
00:46

Collecting information is how work gets done in consulting. In this lecture we introduce the different types of information that can be collected.

Handling a consulting meeting - collecting information
01:44

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.

Handling a consulting meeting - why is it important?
01:49

Meetings or interviews are full of questions.  In this lecture we talk about the different types of questions you can ask as a consultant.

Handling a consulting meeting - structured and unstructured meetings
01:20

In this lecture we talk about asking the right sorts of questions in your consulting meeting to get answers that will be useful to you.

Handling a consulting meeting - what types of questions to ask
02:38

In this lecture we give you some prescriptions for success in your questioning techniques.

Handling a consulting meeting - prescriptions for success
04:03

Knowing what is wrong is almost more important than knowing what is correct.   In this lecture we discuss incorrect ways to ask questions.

Handling a consulting meeting - asking the wrong questions
02:00

There are three steps to running an effective consulting meeting: planning, execution and follow-up, which we discuss in this lecture.

Handling a consulting meeting - three steps to a successful meeting
00:57

Planning for a consulting meeting is absolutely critical. This lecture is the first step in an extensive and detailed discussion of how to properly plan for a consulting meeting.

Handling a consulting meeting - planning the meeting - part 1
03:15

We are now in to the heart of planning for your consulting meeting. In this lecture we walk through some critical steps.

Handling a consulting meeting - planning the meeting - part 2
03:20

We are now in to the heart of planning for your consulting meeting. In this lecture we walk through some more critical steps to ensure your success.

Handling a consulting meeting - planning the meeting - part 3
03:09

We have planned well for our consulting meeting to give us the highest probability of success. It is now right before the meeting and there are several things we can do to prepare ourselves for the upcoming meeting.

Handling a consulting meeting - right before the meeting - part 1
04:16

We continue our lecture on how to prepare yourself for the forthcoming meeting.

Handling a consulting meeting - right before the meeting - part 2
02:14

It is 15-20 minutes before your consulting meeting. This lecture is about preparing yourself to ask good questions during the meeting, and how to document those questions and prepare for the answers.

Handling a consulting meeting - right before the meeting - part 3
02:04

Dressing the part is an important part of making your clients feel comfortable. This lecture is about how to know what to wear to your consulting meeting.

Handling a consulting meeting - right before the meeting - part 4
03:21

1-2 minutes before the consulting meeting starts. It is time to mentally prepare yourself for the meeting now that all your preparations are complete. This lecture is about getting your head in the right place.

Handling a consulting meeting - right before the meeting actually starts
03:43

What does a meeting space look like, and where should you sit?  This lecture shows you a typical meeting room setup and shows you where people typically sit during a consulting meeting.

Handling a consulting meeting - the meeting space
03:28

This lecture shows you a technique I use with business cards to allow you to know who you are talking to during your consulting meeting.

Handling a consulting meeting - Business cards
01:49

We are in the first 1-2 minutes of the meeting. Establishing rapport with your client is important, which we discuss in this lecture.

Handling a consulting meeting - In the meeting - Establishing rapport
03:21

As a consultant, your client deserves 100% of your attention. This lecture discusses how to turn your cellphone off in a way that shows your client you are given them your undivided attention.

Handling a consulting meeting - In the meeting - Cellphone off
01:38

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.

Handling a consulting meeting - Confirming the purpose of the meeting
01:47

The best place to start your meeting is confirming current information with your client. This lecture is about doing this.

Handling a consulting meeting - gathering current information
01:32

This lecture is about the specifics of how to conduct a consulting meeting well.

Handling a consulting meeting - conducting the meeting
03:00

Many clients find it hard to talk to consultants. This lecture is about how to draw out information from your consulting clients.

Handling a consulting meeting - drawing out information
02:12

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.

Handling a consulting meeting - clarifying
01:15

In many consulting meetings you will need to show your client a document. This lecture talks about how to do that properly.

Handling a consulting meeting - working with documents
01:25
Handling a consulting meeting - recording client responses
08:11

There is a standard, efficient and highly effective way to end every meeting. In this lecture we show you exactly what that is.

Handling a consulting meeting - ending the meeting properly
03:45

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.

Handling a consulting meeting - social desirability
02:14

Listening to understand rather than listening to respond is a critical skill for consultants. In this lecture we discuss how to do this.

Handling a consulting meeting - listening and understanding
02:02

There will come a point, if not several, where you will lose control of a consulting meeting due to mistakes you make or just because today is that day. In this lecture we discuss how to handle this.

Handling a consulting meeting - losing control of the meeting
04:22

Documents are a critical resource for any consulting engagement. In this lecture we tell you about the documents you can and should ask for, as well as how to ask for those documents.

Handling a consulting meeting - asking for documents
02:57

Filing your consulting documents and meeting notes is a menial task which if done poorly can have a huge impact on your consulting project. In this lecture we discuss how to do filing well.

Handling a consulting meeting - filing
02:57