Management Consulting – Diagnostic tools by Mr Suresh Mhatre at IIM Indore Mumbai

Mr. Suresh Mhatre, Vice President – Tata Consultancy Services, President – Institute of Management Consultants (IMCI), has 30+ years of experience in the corporate world. Mr. Mhatre did his Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from University Of Mumbai and pursued his Masters in Industrial and Systems Engineering from University of Florida. He recently received an award of excellence for best Government to Citizen Initiative, ELETS, E-Maharashtra. He is also a member of Board for various B-schools.

Mr Suresh Mhatre addressed the Participants at IIM Indore, PGP at Mumbai and gave them insights on Management Consulting – Diagnostic tools used, on 19th of November 2013. The session’s objective was for the participants to understand the tools available for analyzing issues and problem solving in an organization.

Mr Suresh Mhatre started the session by introducing some of the problems that different organizations face in their working domains, and explaining how all of these problems relate among themselves. The need for these diagnostic tools was emphasized by the fact that 80% of the time of a consultant is spent in determining what the actual problem is. These tools or frameworks help a consultant in various ways. For example, in understanding the management style of a client’s manager. If the manager involves lots of personalized interaction with the employees at shop-floor level – this might be effective in a company with single or near-by located plants. But the same might not be as effective when the company’s multiple plants are located far off from each other.

The diagnostic tools introduced comprised Cybernetics and Systems engineering, McKinsey’s MECE framework, McKinsey’s 7S framework, Ishikawa diagram and Porter’s 5 forces model. How these help in the diagnosis process were better understood by the participants with the help of real-life examples given by Mr Mhatre.

Moving forward with the lecture, the speaker introduced many tools for data collection as the next step. Some of the tools being people-oriented such as questionnaires, interviews, group discussions, while others being process-oriented such as analysis of annual reports, best practices etc. The speaker also gave some key points a consultant needs to keep in mind while going to interview a client/ customer. One of the most emphasized preparation tip for a consultant, according to Mr Mhatre, is to receive feedback from the customer intermittently while the interview goes on.

The last step for a client’s request to be serviced efficiently and effectively by any consultant is to analyse the data collected and give recommendations based on data-facts-opinions. Many tools for data analysis were also explained with examples cited from range of industries viz. movie industry to furniture making to fishing industry.

Mr Mhatre also addressed many queries raised by participants to help them understand all these tools and processes in great depths. The key learnings for the participants were that these diagnostic tools help to get to the real problems very quickly, and it is necessary to get lots (and lots) of data to support a consultant’s hypothesis. Analysing the data in multiple ways helps to reveal patterns which might help further.


Interview Excerpts: Mr Suresh Mhatre at IIM Indore, Mumbai campus


Q) Not questioning the quality of number of management graduates in the past years, which has been on the rise, and proliferation of B-schools across India, there has been an increase in supply of management graduates in India. How do you see the future of consultancy domain in this scenario?

A) Not many consultants are from MBA background these days. MBA education surely does help to empower a person to become a successful manager. However, it has not given any tremendous boost in the consultancy industry. Consultants come with a lot of work-experience and almost every time – a consultant joins a firm via laterals only.

One good thing MBA education has provided is the ease of acceptance and communication. Since a consultant communicates with an MBA graduate on the client side, the level of understanding, implementation and acceptance has become faster over the years. An MBA graduate working with a consultant also brings in lot of analytical skills which help in solving the problem in much less time these days when compared to past.

Q) How was your experience to have taken this session with participants at IIM Indore’s PGP at Mumbai course?

A) There were some good questions from their side. This session on diagnostic tools is not a fun class and needs lots of thinking while the fast-paced lecture goes on. There was no flagging, class was receptive of the concepts and the participants showed great interest. Generally, we get tired after such a session, but I feel more energetic after the lecture today.

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