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Management Consultant, especially Strategy Consultant, has been very appealing to MBA graduates. In fact, Strategy Consultant is also an Analytic Professional, except the fact that they also have to jot the dots and build up communication bridges within the organization.
What they are good at: Asking for cold facts, collecting it, giving relatively objective recommendations to firms and present their findings well. :-) Being an in-house analyst working with these consultants, I find that their work only allows them to learn as a parrot- pollinating knowledge across organizations and institutions, which is exactly what moves the frontiers of the industry.
What they are bad at: Having their own thought. When you ask about what they think, due to their co-ordination works in their work, they do not develop the depth in their knowledge. And very often these in-depth knowledge is accumulated via repetitive and mostly boring tasks. For example, for you to observe the product trends of the investment banking, you need to do a monthly report on the same client groups, same format...As time passes, provided that you really work hard each monthly on the same dataset, digging here and there for new insight, after half a year or longer, you will then become an expert in the area. From my conversation with other anlaytic professionals, you will reach the first plateau after the first year, next in two years. Whenever facing this plateau, the real challenge is to bring new perspectives and enhance your skills in analysis. This is exactly what I was facing after working in my current job for two years.
I believe that's the reason why Consulting firms are setting up their own research institutes. In fact, the research works done by in-house analytics are the Predictive Models and sometimes the Bar charts / tables showing the distribution of data. Guys, you have what the "elite" doesn't have. You still keep your own "brain", just that the consultants helps you to connect it.
To Strategy Consultants: Please try to keep your own thinking by consolidating the industry's data;
To In-house Analytic Professionals: Do not forget that every little work you are doing would enrich the organization's knowledge about the clients/ markets.