The daily work of a business consultant includes gathering insights and data through research, interviews and surveys. And the rest in analysing the gathered information and making presentations, and pitching the final solutions to the clients. The job of a business consultant has evolved over the time and now it is more than business consulting services. Today they also work as startup specialist and provide plethora of diverse business solutions such as business outsourcing, startup advisory services and much more and quite often involves countless hours of traveling, and long working hours even during the weekend are the norm.
Contrary to popular belief, there’s s more to a business consultant’s work than just attending business meetings and making Powerpoint presentations. Behind the scenes, the role of a business consultant is very competitive. A business consultant’s typical day is quite demanding and draining both physically and mentally. In most of the cases, a business consultant’s day doesn’t ends when most professionals clock out from work. Furthermore, most of the business consultants working in a consulting agency sacrifice their sleep as well as weekends to support their clients and their requirements.
Early Morning Hustle 6 am
On a Monday morning, chances are I get up early to catch a flight to the client location. It could be a half hour flight or halfway around the globe, I have to get used to it. If it’s not a Monday or if the client is within the city limits, I sleep a little bit more and wake up and finish up with my basic morning routine. I try multitasking by checking emails and running up other morning chores. On my way to the office, I try responding to the important unread emails and update my to-do list.
If I still have time, I go through client documents or just go through the day’s calendar to plan my day. Breakfast is generally a hit or miss. If I find extra time, I grab some grub on the go. Whatever be the case, a cup of coffee is a must. What would be a consultant without a large-sized cup of coffee?
Meeting the Client at 9am
On arriving at the client’s office, the first thing is to greet the Client’s Project Manager, then head straight to the project room. The Project Manager is usually the most important point of contact throughout any project and it’s really important to a have a good repo with the PM. Once you’re in the project room, it could be an office or a cubicle or a boardroom reserved for you and your team. While waiting for the team members to arrive you check your emails and respond to them—answering questions from your client, or manager or sending out details people to potential clients and at times enjoying the occasional funny cat GIF.
Project Check-In 9.30 am
Once the whole project team has arrived, it’s time for a quick discussion to take inventory of things such as project status, client feedback, tasks to be completed today, progress report of the main deliverable, etc. These meetings are relatively short, usually no more than 30 minutes. Once the day’s agenda is clear to everyone, the day officially starts! This meeting is just a catch-up call for the entire project team to be aware of each other’s deliverables and their current status so that everyone is clear about their deliverables for the day.
Client Check-In 10 am
After finishing checking in with the project team, you stop by your client’s lead client to say “ Hello ” and let them know you’ve arrived. This person will typically either be a C-Level Executive or VP or someone you will be working with directly maybe a director or a manager. You’ll usually discuss any joint meetings you might require in preparation for or any deliverables which are expected for the upcoming week.
Starting the Grind 10.30 pm
Around this time you would get the first opportunity to sit and start working. Since your day will be jam-packed, you would like to get the most out of these in between periods and complete as much work as possible. It is now when you gear up with some headphones and zone out into the land of Excel data and PowerPoint presentations.
Client Meetings 12.30 pm
Client meetings make up a crucial part of everyday routine. During these calls, you would generally review the deliverables you made or gather further inputs helping you to create future materials. Typically, as a mid-level or senior level consultant, your job may be to share your screen and help the client understand your deliberations.
While your client might get an hour-long lunch break, you would probably wish for more time to work, so look forward to hopping on to the nearest food court, grabbing some quick lunch, or bringing it to your desk while you crank away.
Debrief and Plan 2 pm
After concluding your client meetings, you would meet with the project team and debrief them on your learning and delegate further work. You’ll also discuss action plans for the rest of the week.
The Deliverables 4 pm
Once the client has left the office, you could get some real work done. You would work in the designated project room discussing with the project team your findings and creating your final deliverables. It’s not atypical for business consultants to work past when their client counterparts leave for the day, but after-hours are generally the most productive time of the day.
Client or Project Dinner 7 pm
After you have created all the Excel files and PowerPoint presentations, you would join either your client or your project team for dinner. It’s a great opportunity to bust some of your stress and get to know the folks you are working with at a personal level!
Head Home 9 pm
“Home” could be a loose term in business consulting—more often than not, you would head to a hotel at this point. If you happen to have some energy left, you could go for a brief walk or do some workout or decompress while streaming some Netflix.
On days like these, it’s important to find some balance, whether, treating yourself to a glass of wine at the airport lounge, squeezing in a workout or zoning out for a few minutes of meditation before sleep.
Is it worth it?
I feel it does, at least for me. Life of a business consultant may not be for everyone. It would worth it for someone who doesn’t have a security net and someone who enjoys challenges and not a monotonous 9 to 5 job. Offering business consultant services can be a tough task with a busy life, but if you thrive on working hard, and enjoy the company of a variety of people in your professional life, then this is certainly the life you would enjoy.
I think money and knowledge you get from working as a business consultant would get you closer to discovering what you should focus on to realise your potential and will allow you to have the resources to do it.