Vice President - New Business Initiatives (Proj...
What are some of the lessons you’ve learned over the course of your consulting career?
Certain important lessons that I have learnt ever since I got into consulting are - be patient, listen attentively, try and get into the mind of the person whose challenges you have to resolve, be thorough in your analysis and give a solution which can be easily understood.
What role did your educational background play in your career?
Educational background played a very critical role in my career. Since I got into Construction Project Management after my first job in the Armed Forces, the technical knowledge that I acquired was very useful in understanding project requirement and working out a solution. As I moved on in my career, I did an MBA which added another dimension by helping me understand the business side of the role that I was doing and also helped me actually apply that knowlwge and grow business for the organisation.
What inspired you to pursue consulting as a career?
Prior to starting my career in Consulting, I was with the Armed Forces where I spent 13 year's in diverse roles and levels of challenges. Consulting happened by chance as that was the first job I had after leaving Army. While in my first job I realised that I was able to utilize my people management skills and ability to handle pressure situation (that gets created a lot of times in consulting) much better than some of my colleagues. What I needed then was to acquire certain technical skills to go along with the other expertise that I had. That's when I decided to spend one year at a construction site to understand the nuances of a project. Once done, I could see the ease with which I could work out solutions for my clients with support from my team. Some of the initial success that I got was the inspiration behind my pursuing consulting as a career.
What kinds of clients do you deal with?
Kind of client would get defined by what kind of challenge, which sector, which business subunit you are going to deal with. During my tenure with different consulting organisations, I have handled clients from almost the entire spectrum of industry and at different levels within there organisations.
How do you see your job evolving in the future?
I can see real challenging times ahead. With likelihood of uncertainty or uncertain situations increasing, a lot of organisations will look for Consultants or Consulting Organisations to come up with solutions to wade through challenges. Which means that a consultant should be in a position to anticipate and at the same time should be capable enough to work out a solution in quick time and this by no means is going to be an easy task. The entire Consulting practice will need to evolve and be ready for such a scenario.
What motivated you to choose this career?
My first corporate job after leaving the Armed Forces was with a Consulting organisation. Till then I had no idea how a consultant works and what is his exact role. As I spent time more time in this role, I realised that this is something I want to pursue as a career and the biggest motivation was that this role makes you think and consider all possible scenarios before you can propose a solution which means you have to constantly learn and be ready to help. Empathy and Steep Learning Curve are the key drivers that till date motivate me to continue working as a consultant.
How has your job evolved over the years?
When I started working as a consultant, it was a learning experience for me and I was part of a larger team. As I grew in my role, I moved up from a team member to team leader and now I take up assignments as an individual, as well as a team and also as a subject matter expert.
What are the 3 things every successful consultants must-have?
Patience, Ability to Learn and Ability to Solve Problems.
How did you rise in your role as a consultants, what career hacks can you share?
A few carreer hacks I can mention are - keep learning, keep yourself updated with what's happening around in the industry you are in and also the factors impacting your industry, learn different ways to approach a challenge and be empathetic so that you get into the position of the person whose challenges you are trying to handle.
Describe a typical day at work for you?
My day starts early and o generally reach my workplace at least half an hour before anyone else comes. This helps me in completing priority tasks for the day and also plan the day. Once all the deliverables have been completed, a quick talk with the team members who are at different locations, review of there tasks and any support they want. This is followed by a call with existing, old and prospective clients to ensure that connect remains. I also try to attend some session or webinar onntopics related to my work / industry. Wrap up the day by checking that nothing is pending for the day and complete any preparation that needs to be done for priority tasks of the next day.
What is your biggest concern at your job? How do you manage it?
I will not call this a concern but the biggest challenge is to keep yourself updated with the latest scenario, its impact and what could be the possible solution to the challenges for the industry or sector you are associated with. A client can come up with any kind of challenge and would look for a way out and that can be addressed only once you are aware about the scenario holistically and you have thought about multiple ways to approach any problem. The scenarios change very fast and so has to be our thinking process as well.
What is your educational background?
I have done B.Sc from Delhi University, B.Tech (Civil) from College of Military Engineering and MBA (one year full time) from IIM Bangalore
How do you handle difficult clients?
For me clients are not difficult. Its how you judge him relatively when compared to other clients. No two clients can ever be same so they have to be managed differently and specific to their requirements. instead of calling a client tough I would rather call him demanding and that's absolutely ok for any client to be demanding.
What do you enjoy the most about being a consultant?
Two of the most enjoyable things for me are interacting with different people and solving different challenges or I may say tough challenges as that helps you to grow and gives you a very high degree of satisfaction
How do you keep yourself updated?
By following what's happening in the industry for which I do consulting, reading relevant articles / posts, attending webinars / discussion forums and also reading books that gives different perspectives to approach a challenge
Is consulting a stressful job?
It depends how do you take up a particular challenge or a problem that you are addressing. It becomes stressful if you try to do everything by yourself. There are people in any organisation that are there to support you in any assignment and you should know whom to ask and above all ready to ask for help and there is no harm looking for help when required. Any challenge addressed as a team will never reach a level that it starts giving stress
What are the challenges you face in this career?
Two of the biggest challenges that I see are to keep yourself updated at all times (since you are a solution provider and you must know what's happening in the industry) and meeting clients expectations.
What do you feel is the most important quality a consultant should possess?
Patience, should be a good listener and empathy
What was the most challenging moment in your career?
I can divide my career into two distinct halves. First half is my tenure in the Armed Forces and second half is the consulting role after I left the Armed Forces. Most challenging moment for me while I was in Armed Forces was when I was posted in J&K for Counter Terrorist Operations and during one of the operations I along with my team got surrounded by terrorists from all side. It was difficult to come out alive from that situation but we all did without anyone getting injured / wounded. During consulting role, I once got an incorrect brief before a client meeting and the expectations were to come prepared with a solution. I could manage to give a temporary solution to atleast commence the process and requested time to work out a permanent solution, which I got.