This is a sensationalist piece written by an ex-BCG employee in their Dubai office. It is one of 4 articles and you can find the rest here. We have only reproduced one article since the others are not worth reading. After a post from a reader yesterday, more than a few readers wrote in to say McKinsey, Bain and BCG were not all they were supposedly cracked up to be. Almost all the letters were written by readers who were not successful landing an offer at these firms. I do not mind Read more
Posts from the ‘consulting alumni’ Category
From HA, a consultant in Saudi Arabia
“My experience with Firmsconsulting.com started when I discovered Lillilooloo.com. What triggered my interest first was their book “succeeding as a management consultant”. I skimmed its content and realized quickly that this is something different from the other books on management consulting. I decided then without any hesitation to buy it. I have been in consulting for the last 10 years and I can say this new book, after I read it, is really unique and valuable. However, like anything new, I found many areas for improvement inside the book and couldn’t resist forwarding a summary of comments and improvement ideas to the author. What I really liked in them is that they appreciated my comments a lot, took them seriously and developed immediately an action plan to address them. They published even a very detailed post of comments along with a roadmap for addressing them one by one. I think this is one of the key things behind the success of their services till now. They really care about their customers (i.e. readers) and response quickly to their needs.
During this period I became also a fan of their blog Firmsconsulting.com. Most of the posts especially in the last period are really good and provide some good insights about the industry of management consulting in general. The associated website for the templates Lillilooloo.com is a great asset for any consultant. The Firmsconsulting TV can become one day a virtual university for management consultants. I hope Firmsconsulting invest more in its content and continuously produce new quality clips.
The only concern I have is that Firmsconsulting focus a lot on helping people how to join the top consulting firms. While I understand that this is the demand of a specific segment in the market, I think they should not limit themselves to this objective only. This segment of customers is small compared to the huge demand for quality resources in management consulting in the market. On the other hand, joining the top firms is good only for the sake of putting their names on our resumes but people forget the fact that the room inside these companies for career growth is very bad. The leverage ratio, which is the number of juniors to seniors inside these companies is very high, which means they are not a good environment for career growth in general. These companies designed their business model this way to avail from the good junior people joining them at the expense of their career growth. Unfortunately, this is the reality. I always advise consultants to join the other consulting firms and avoid the top ones for this specific reason. If you see my advice strange, you can read David Maister book “Managing the Professional Service Firm” to explore this issue further and to understand more what I’m talking about. David if the founder of the science of managing consulting firms and its secret. I hope Firmsconsulting also address this concern as quick as they addressed my comments on their great book!.
[Response from Firmsconsulting: Lets get the easy questions out-of-the-way. We will continue developing the Lillilooloo.com template site and Firmsconsulting TV. We see them as major avenues for growth and are in the process of rolling out new software and equipment to improve the quality of videos/tutorials. We also want to build this into a virtual university for management consultants.
Your final paragraph/comment is really interesting and I am going to explore it here. I hope you read this and, along with other readers, send us their perspective. Lillilooloo.com, the parent site, was actually founded not to target the McKinsey, Bain and BCG markets or even help candidates get jobs at these firms. If you read the "About Us" on Lillilooloo.com we say:
Have you ever been an independent consultant, or a part of a small consulting firm? You need to simultaneously meet clients, sell work, deliver sold projects, train new people to deliver the work, generate intellectual property, write reports, write proposals, find contractors, find toolkits...and the this list goes on. This is a very difficult task which is all but impossible to do for seasoned consultants with years of experience. Younger or less experienced consultants will fair even worse.
Nowhere in the entire world has there been a place to help consultants. Until Now!
Lillilooloo.com is a one stop portal to help consultants with many of their problems. We specifically cater to management consultants who do not have access to necessary and sophisticated research and support teams. Our site is essentially a shared back-office which you can tap into for sample work, toolkits, methodologies, share ideas, access world-class research; outsource proposals, letters, transcription of notes/concepts, administration....and much more.
So we started out wanting to serve consultants of small firms or independent consultants. Existing consultants who were working alone, starting out or a part of a smaller company with limited resources. We were actually targeting firms with 100 or fewer employees. That focus for Lillilooloo.com has not changed. We still aim to provide tools needed by these types of consultants. Basically, if you use Lillilooloo.com and the Template Store you would have all the tools the big firms provide. That is also why we wrote the book. Up until 15 September 2010, we were serving management consultants. Whether they were independent or part of smaller or less know firms.
A couple of things happened after we started Lillilooloo.com. Our blog on the Lillilooloo.com site was not working very well (actually it was a disaster for technical reasons) so we started Firmsconsulting.com. The early posts on the blog where only focused on helping independent consultants or consultants from smaller established firms. In other words, it had the same focus as Lillilooloo.com
In fact, our first 80 posts where technical articles teaching consultants how to do things like a DILO, focus interviews, business cases and so on. Advice independent consultants would not be able to find. They were, for lack of a better word, DIY articles. However, they were not popular. Our traffic in those early days was very, very low. Today, traffic for these types of articles remains low. See below.
So in late August we extended this DIY focus to learn lessons from the top firms. It was not about recruitment, but about extracting their skills for other consultants. For example, we wrote about the method McKinsey used to generate storyboards and so on. Until 15 September 2010, Lillilooloo.com and Firmsconsulting.com never targeted the recruitment market. We just did not want to play in this space. We never focused on people trying to join consulting firms; we only focused on consultants. In fact all through 2010 we tried partnering with recruitment websites. We spoke to everyone but nothing worked. We were unwilling to pay for partnerships. On September 20 something pivotal happened. I became ill and the other partner in Lillilooloo.com was called into action to keep the blog going. He started a series about a Bain partner. It was very different since it was showing people how to enter Bain. It was hugely popular. Our traffic went through the roof. The series continued and is now in its 8th post.
Lets move forward and look at our traffic for just today. The first screenshot shows you our least popular articles. All of them are guides; the DIY articles. The second screenshot shows you our most popular articles for the day. Clearly articles about the top firms and recruitment are dominating the rankings.
That is how we arrived at helping candidates join consulting firms. The founders of Lillilooloo.com and Firmsconsulting.com have partner level experience at the élite firms and we focused on these firms. Based on the articles we posted we received lots of requests for help with resumes and we built the résumé/coaching service. We help with cover letters, speaking, dressing and general etiquette. As the successful resumes were sent off, candidates needed help with case interviews and we ran a small session via video-conference in Toronto and London. That was very popular and spawned Case-Athon. Some candidates could not attend the workshops due to work commitments so we started posting videos on YouTube for them. This spawned Firmsconsulting TV.
The same pattern applies to Firmsconsulting TV. We started out with DIY videos to do technical things as a consultants. Our YouTube stats clearly show that advice on joining élite management consulting firms is hugely popular. Advice for consultants on how to do storyboards, analyses and so on is less popular. And the latter clearly focuses on the independent markets and smaller-firm markets.
Now to come back to your comments about David Maister and the top firms. There is no ideal firm for a person. We personally feel if you want to learn business and be trained as a CEO, then you should consider McKinsey, Bain or BCG. We have had no negative experiences with them and think highly of them. They are phenomenal training grounds for the right types of people. Yet, we acknowledge there are other reasons to join consulting firms. Such as learning specific skills like operations consulting, working in certain sectors like government and other more. Depending on your reason, any number of the firms will work for you. It really comes down to your personal needs.
What this means is that we will extend our coverage to include E&Y, PWC, Booz and many other of the firms. They are all good since different people require different firms. At the moment we are working on several big articles extending coverage of these firms. As always the rule is simple, we only write about things we know and we will only extend coverage when an ex-partner of these firms can vet our work and we have a network of consultants in these firms to test our findings. That is how we have chosen the firms we will cover.
About smaller firms with 200 or fewer people. It is difficult to cover them all. There are so many of them it is difficult to know them all well. It is like an equity analyst. In our opinion an equity analyst should only cover a handful of stocks so he can dedicate quality time to understanding them. If he covers too many, the recommendations are wrong or unsubstantiated. In our case, getting real information about the smaller firms is difficult and we do not want to write generic pieces. In other words, we do not want to write about what we do not know. On the other hand, if one of these smaller firms contacted us and was willing to be featured in a piece, we would entertain the idea. Remember, what makes us popular is our independence. We do not write puff pieces. We write insightful pieces based on lots of research. If we say something is good then it is because we really believe so.
Our ability to get Monitor Company to respond and make meaningful changes to its website tells us that we are read by the leaders of management consulting and our insightful research is bringing about positive change in the sector. That is good and we do not want to change this. After the Monitor story, one of the top three firms (you can guess which one it is) invited us to spend a week with them and do a critique of their engagement with students. That is positive feedback.
So HA, we will extend our coverage. Just give us time. What we would like to know is the type of articles and stories you want to see: