Lessons Learned

7 Benefits of Working at a Boutique Management Consulting Firm

For those of you thinking about joining big consulting, I implore you to read this article. Although, my job at Root, Inc. isn’t standard by any means, there are some benefits I’ve come to appreciate by working at a smaller firm. (It should be noted, some of my benefits overlap with that of Big Consulting.)

In no particular order, here are 7 benefits of working at a boutique consulting firm:

You Get an to Eat a lot…for Free.

I’d like to preface by saying that at Root Inc., we believe in being a steward of both our own finances as well as that of our clients. That being said, as a consultant, you get to eat meals at just about any restaurant that is two dollar signs ($$) on Yelp. I know some individuals who have pricier meals, but my conscience can’t justify eating at restaurants that are far beyond what I would eat if I wasn’t eating on someone else’s dime.

You Get to Travel.

Pretty self-explanatory here. With consulting comes clients, and with clients come the possibility of that client being in a city that is not where you live. More often than not, you will be able to travel to visit the client. If that meeting happens to be on a Monday or a Friday, guess what, you can fly in a little early or leave a little late, drop a few of your own bucks or points (another perk) on a place to stay, and you’ve got a mini-vacation in-between working weeks. Even if you can’t connect the trip to a weekend, you can at least get a meal that is local and unique to the city you are in.

Points, Points, Points!

The great thing about the airline and hotel industry is points are given by the flyer and/or guest. As such, despite the fact that you are flying on a client’s dime, all of those Delta, American, Hilton, and Marriott points go to you! Just doing your job and visiting a client funds your vacation trips without dipping into your hard earned cash.

Exposure to C Level Executives as an Analyst/Associate.

Thus far, the benefits we’ve discussed apply to both Big and Boutique consulting. With Boutique consulting, the nature of being a smaller firm allows for more opportunities to take on bigger roles and responsibilities.

At a big consulting firm, roles and responsibilities are heavily tied to your title and pay-grade. Typically, the pecking order of responsibility is as follows:

  • Analysts crank numbers and make PowerPoints
  • Associates do some thinking and make PowerPoints
  • Managers/Managing Directors oversee a project and review PowerPoints
  • Partners wine and dine and manage client relationships. They don’t touch PowerPoint.

(For an article on why I hate PowerPoint, click here.)

What’s interesting is many newbie consultants go in wide-eyed thinking that they will get to do a lot of the responsibilities strictly reserved for managers and partners. The reality is, you have to put in the work to get to that level, regardless or despite your ability.

At smaller firms like Root, Inc., everyone gets to do everything, just at different levels. As a consultant, I probably wine and dine clients less than a managing director, but I still get to do it – and that is awesome. Your tenure does not dictate your ability or your job description.

Engaging and Different Work

Before management consulting, I was a banker. Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot and owe a lot of my technical skills to that gig. However, at a certain point, you can only do a certain number of tasks and things within Banking, or any normal job for that matter. Even in big management consulting, you are usually sent out on assignment to a client site for extended periods of time.

Being at a smaller consulting firm could allow you to have more variety in your work. At Root, Inc., I have the amazing opportunity to work on multiple projects across multiple industries on any given week. I fly to the client for a few days for key milestones, but most of my work is done back home in the main office.

Good Pay

You get paid well. You are way above the national average for your age-group. You have good benefits, as evidenced by the rest of this article. End of story.

Lots of Opportunity

I want to end with this one because I think it’s something that people take for granted. I have always believed that everyone gets at least an opportunity (if you grossly disagree with this general statement, I can only refer you to my 1st blog post which explains my reasoning).

Anyway, as a boutique consultant, you get to be in the privileged position of meeting hundreds of people across dozens of industries. You get to be in rooms with some of the smartest people you’ll ever meet. You get to travel the world on someone else’s dime and potentially sit next to the future founder of the next tech start-up.

Around every corner is a potential opportunity – and that is amazing.

 

Steven Choi works at Root, Inc. A Strategy Execution Firm. He thinks his job is pretty, freakin’ cool.

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