Be it aspirant, student or an experienced professional, consulting is a job of everyone's dream. People are attracted to this line of work because it is not your typical 9-to-5 job. In a consulting firm, you get to partner with companies, government and organisations of the world and solve their most complex business challenges. It is a unique career path filled with challenges and opportunities that you will not find in a regular corporate firm. And where can a professional embark on such an exciting journey? Out of all the top companies that have popped in your head, BCG is definitely one of them. But how do you get into a big-shot company like BCG? What your career trajectory be like? This article brings you - Shatakshi Sharma, currently working at BCG. She will answer all your questions and more.
This article is a part of SCMHRD initiative, brought to you by InsideIIM.
Shatakshi 's Background
- Studied at St. Stephen's College (scored rank 1 at Delhi University)
- Pursued her MBA from ISB (batch 2019)
- 5 years of work experience both in private strategy and government consulting prior to joining a b-school.
- Exchange semester at Harvard Business School and The Fletcher School, Boston, during her time in ISB.
Question: Where did you do your summer internship at? Did you convert a PPO/PPI?
Answer: Given ISB is for a year, we don't have a summer internship. However, I did an Experiential Learning Project (ELP) with Telangana Government- project out of interest in the sector.
*ELP isn't related to employment.
Question: Tell us about your internship experience.
Answer: ELP was one of the best decisions I took at ISB. It gave me an opportunity to have the best of both worlds. I was able to solve real-life problems and learn theoretical concepts inside the classroom. The ELP also exposed me to the challenges a state government faces. Having worked with the central government before, working with the state government was both a new exposure and challenging.
Question: What hard/ soft skills do you recommend students to learn during b-school, which might help them to bag a PPO?
- Soft skills- I would say learning to network is one of the best art that students should focus on mastering. While its highly talked jargon on b-school campus, I am still surprised how little people spend time doing it. With both student community and professors. One should focus on building all kind relationships, get to know people from diverse background and not just stick around with 2-3 folks with common interests. It is less common practice in India because Indian b-schools help students a lot when it comes to finding their first job. In my sense, it is your second or third job when you will need a network because the b-school will not hand-hold you anymore. And networking is not just about a job. It is as fundamental as our evolution. You cannot survive and solve alone, you need an extended network of friends to help you build your dream.
- Hard skill- One of the key hard skill that you must learn during your time in b-school is "how to apply the learnt concept to a real-life problem". You must have learned the concept of inter-connections in economics, but how do you use that to solve operations problem. In order to get a holistic perspective on a learnt concept, you must know how to implement those concepts.
Quesition: Tell us about your current role in detail.
Answer: My current role in Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a traditional consulting role where you help the client solve complex problems that they can't due to factors like - inability to handle complex data, inability to derive insights or make quality recommendations.
Question: Please describe your career trajectory (Designations and responsibilities).
Answer: Prior to business school, I had been promoted to Project Manager position, while working directly with the Government of India. It was definitely a challenging role as I had to step up and manage a few of the smartest brains selected who were approximately my age in the division.
Currently, at BCG I'm reinventing myself by getting my hands on the BCG way of problem-solving, how we arrive at almost perfect answers with imperfections and realities of data stored with client.
Question: Which decisions have shaped your career in this particular way?
Answer: I would say 3 decisions shaped my career trajectory in the way it is today:
- Taking a pay cut and applying for the job of consultant for the Government of India. It gave me the challenges and the privilege of working with Government and industry leaders which is very rare for a 26-year-old then.
- My decision to study exchange semester at The Fletcher School and Harvard Business, Boston. This wouldn't have been possible without the support and excellent network of ISB. The exchange semester allowed me one of its kind opportunities to interact and communicate with a successful and internationally diverse audience. It further strengthened my confidence in my skill sets in such a global ecosystem.
- Starting my own venture- Global Governance Initiative at ISB. Creating something of my own, which allowed me to give back to the society that has shaped me a certain way. It has made me more entrepreneurial and giving in life.
Question: If not this, what alternate career path you would have chosen after MBA?
Answer: This one is pretty straightforward. I would have worked full-time in the impact venture - Global Governance Initiative, I founded during my time at ISB.
Question: Which careers are most sought after in the market today by employers and why? What are their gestation period?
Answer: I would say consulting remains to be one of the most sought after by virtue because of its high selection basis and perfect branding. PE (Private Equity) and VC (Venture Capital) also remain sought after jobs however due to lack of seats in the sector, PE still makes it to No. 2 in India. I mean if you wish to be in PE, the US is the place to be.