‘Consulting Is A Very Demanding Profession As Far As Work Life Balance Is Concerned’ – Amit Saran – FMS, Delhi Alumnus, Consultant with Boston Consulting Group
Tell us about yourself, your educational and professional background.
I am currently working as a Consultant with Boston Consulting Group. Before joining BCG, I have worked with Accenture Strategy and EY in their consulting practices. During my ~ 4 years of consulting tenure, have worked in a variety of industries such as telecom/technology, maritime, automotive etc across different functional domains e.g. strategy, cost optimization, organizational delayering, large scale transformation etc. I completed my MBA from FMS in 2011.
Before joining FMS, I was working as a navigating officer in the merchant navy and worked for Chevron and NYK ship-management for ~ 3 years. I completed my undergrad from TS Chanakya, which is a merchant naval academy in Mumbai.
What attributes are essential for a candidate to thrive in a career in Consulting?
Consulting is a highly challenging environment given the complexity of the problems that one solves as well as extensive travelling involved in delivering these services. One needs to be really structured in his/her thinking while solving problems because more often than not, you are put in situations where you have no prior knowledge about client industry and internal dynamics in the client’s organization. One should be able to handle highly ambiguous situations effectively and not get bogged down by the enormity of the problem at hand. At times, you are working with clients or industry where there is no credible data available but a good consultant makes the best use of what is available and applies smart proxies to overcome the data scarcity problems.
Most importantly, given consulting is a very demanding profession as far as work life balance is concerned, one needs to be really innovative in terms of optimising his/her time so that they are able to spend time with their friends and families. This is one important element about the profession, to ensure it’s sustainable on a long term basis.
What are the best aspects of having a career in Consulting?
One gets exposure to a variety of problems in different industries very early in their career and chance to work with very senior personnel in the client organization. Your projects change every 4-5 months throwing very different challenges from various aspects ranging from different client problems, team dynamics, varying level of engagement with client teams, data issues , personal issues etc. Facing these challenges early in career makes one ready for future leadership roles in consulting or industry.
How is a typical day at work for you?
Normally I would be taking an early morning flight on Monday to reach client location by ~ 11 am. Mondays’ are normally difficult given I have woken up early and a lot of work is lined up, as it’s the start of the week. I try and wrap up at a sane hour on Monday ( ~ 8 pm ) and go off to sleep early to make sure I am all fresh for the next day. Tuesday onwards work starts to pick up and most of the days I may find myself in the office catching up with some colleague for a midnight coffee. Next interesting day is Friday when I try and wrap up work by 5 pm and head to the airport to get back to my family. Friday flights are lot better than Monday morning ones, for obvious reasons 🙂
What part of your experience at FMS has been most helpful in your career?
Great set of peer group and available free time from academics to pursue interest areas outside studies.