Consulting buzz words | Becoming a consultant

If you want to become a consultant, you need to speak like one. Here are a list of the top seven buzz words you need to know.

Like the media or legal profession, many university graduates aspire to become management consultants. Whether it is the perceived prestige or the potential for a large pay cheque, consulting is a popular field for fresh grads.

If you intend to become a consultant, there are some key words and concepts that you'll need to know intimately and include in your application, cover letter and ultimately use in your interview. Buzz words are the core existence of a consultant, and you'll be ahead of the curve if you can sound and write like a consultant before you even become one.

Here are the top seven concepts you'll need to know to get your foot in the door.

1) Client

Remember, the people who pay your consultant fees are known as clients. We never refer to them as customers, as that raises images of people waiting in line at a supermarket. A client on the other hand, has a classier ring to it, invoking images of people in power suits having power meetings while eating a power lunch.

2) Adding value

The ultimate role of a consultant is to add value. Adding value is when you've helped to improve something in a client and give them something they didn't have before.

If this sounds vague and a bit difficult to visualize, you're probably right. Adding value is a very popular consultant phrase which sounds great, but can mean a wide range of things depending on the context. What is important is that you learn to use it, and use it often. Consultants do not hire other consultants who aren't adding value to the team.

3) Engagement

While in school you may have done project work, any work you do for a client is known as an engagement. You will often see the words "engagement" and "add value" put together as such. If you manage to reach the interview stage, remember that it is important to express how your skill sets can help to “add value” to any “client engagement”.

4) Scope

In every engagement, you need to have a scope. “Scope” is the work that the firm has agreed to do for the client. It’s important to remember that since everything is being done within a budget, consultants need to stick as closely to the agreed scope as possible.

5) Best practices

One of the main reasons companies hire consultants are to obtain best practices. One of the main differences between working in industry and as a consultant, is that the latter sees a whole range of companies and industries, and the way they do business and run their processes. That's valuable knowledge that companies want, in order to see how they themselves can improve, or sometimes to benchmark themselves against their competitors.

6) Deliverables

The stuff that you give to your clients, be it a presentation, sheet or report are known collectively as "deliverables", which makes sense since you are delivering things to them.

7) As-is and to-be

Some of the most important words you will come across are "as-is" and "to-be", which is basically a consultant's way of saying "the way you do things now", and "the way things will be done after we’ve completed our job" respectively. Basically, the "to-be" state of a client should be better once you've finished your work.

*   *   *

Buzz words are the first step in securing the interview. Learn to use them in everyday life, and soon you'll be rolling them out naturally like a consultant.



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K Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead: Consulting buzz words | Becoming a consultant
Consulting buzz words | Becoming a consultant
If you want to become a consultant, you need to speak like one. Here are a list of the top seven buzz words you need to know.
K Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead
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