As with all things, clichés and stereotypes apply to consultants. It is said that consultants spend vast amounts of time on Microsoft PowerPoint and Excel, and this is true. Rumour also has it that consultants love to use acronyms and management jargon. I can confirm that after a few weeks as a consultant you will have developed a whole new vocabulary and set of grammatical rules. However, there is one presumption that I would like to dispel.
Without having worked for or with Capgemini Consulting, one could presume that it is populated by certain kinds of people. One guess could be that consultants all have degrees in Business Management or Economics. Another theory may be that consultants tend to hire largely from the industries that they consult in. Both of these presumptions are, at best, only partially true.
There are, of course, many consultants who come to the profession from the points of origin I mention above. However, to hire solely from these areas would be counterproductive for any leading consulting firm: the policy would severely narrow the talent pool from which new consultants are found. And with a smaller talent pool, a consulting firm would be without a wide skill set. And a wide skills set is crucial to a consulting firm’s success.
My conviction in management consulting needing people from diverse backgrounds with varied skills is explained by my own. I have two degrees in English Literature and my professional experience prior to Capgemini is largely legal. With my experience, some may assume that I am not meant for management consulting. When applying to Capgemini, it may even have appeared that I did not have a deep knowledge of the management concepts which underpin the profession. However, along with some commercial awareness, Capgemini realised I could analyse a problem, think laterally, and produce my solution in a clear and persuasive argument. These skills, which can be used in any professional environment, are what Capgemini values over everything else.
Me at my Graduation
The colleagues I joined Capgemini with are testament to the policy of building consultants out of anything. Among our number are a chemistry graduate who worked in the film industry, a former medical student, an academic with a PHD in physics and, of course, graduates with degrees in economics and business management. And it isn’t just the content of our education that is diverse; 66 different higher educational institutions are represented in the CDC. The common denominator - Each one of us possesses the brain power needed to tackle the commercial problems we encounter each day of the job. The rich mix of experiences in our group means that a Capgemini team will always have various ways of producing and presenting a solution. In short, the plethora of talent and skills in any Capgemini team means that the work we do will always be innovative and multi-dimensional.
Members of my intake during our Induction
It is also worth noting that the wide skill set at Capgemini is an asset to both the firm and your own CV. Within my first three months as a management consultant, I have realised that this profession demands constant and intense learning. Through my peers, I have taken on both pragmatic skills and cutting edge knowledge; I can now manipulate a PowerPoint slide any way I want, as well as wax lyrical about the latest advances in financial technology. Your own skill set, however unique or broad, will be improved markedly by any time spent as a management consultant.
Capgemini and management consulting is made richer by the people who work in it. And the reason for this profession being filled with so much talent and ability is because it draws skills from anywhere it can find them. This is why I claim there is no stereotype one has to fill in order to become a management consultant. So, if you feel yourself to be intelligent, committed to developing skills, learning everyday and working alongside smart people who will improve your own ways of working, come join us; these are the only characteristics you need to begin.