A month into new job and feeling overwhelmed and insecure...how do I get past this and perform to my full potential?

Advice newhire overwhelmed
New answer on Oct 23, 2020
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Oct 19, 2020

I started at the end of September at a large boutique and got staffed to a client project in the second week on the job - supposedly for 'shadowing' but in reality I was placed in charge of one of the most complex types of frameworks our firm specializes in and...I feel lost. I've definitely learned a great deal already but in week 4 I'm still feeling like I haven't gotten the hang of it and I don't want to disappoint my bosses, who have been very patient so far. Is it normal for new associates to feel totally overwhelmed this quickly and uncertain of their ability to do the job? Anyone have advice for picking things up more quickly or at least making a decent impression?

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Ken
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replied on Oct 20, 2020
Ex-McKinsey London final round interviewer

Sorry to hear that you're having a tough time! Good news is that its completely normal and the fact that you haven't been given negative feedback probably means you're already doing a great job.

Firm dependent but consulting is heavily an apprenticeship model where it's important that you are working in the right set up that will accelerate your learning and development. On my first study at McKinsey, my manager was non-existent/absent and so I asked the second year analyst, who also happened to be a super strong performer, to 'officially' coach me and give me frequent feedback. There's limited redudancy in consulting where teams are small and individual responsibilties are large; it's worth thinking about what your needs are and finding ways for your team to best support that. It's a team sport at the end of the day (or at least it should be!).

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Robert
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replied on Oct 20, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

Nothing unusual and better get used to that feeling.

Sometimes you are a bit more 'lucky' and have a more comfortable position, sometimes you are thrown into the cold water.

The positive aspects I can see in your brief summary:

  • They seem to trust your capabilities to put you into this position
  • You will develop yourself further quicker than many other people in the firm, based on your 'extreme' exposure

To avoid doing things wrong, I believe there should be some kind of project lead or higher whom you should be able to ask for feedback and advice, whenever in doubt at critical stages of your work.

Hope this helps - if so, please give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

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Anonymous replied on Oct 20, 2020

Hi Anonymous,

This is a classic feeling and is quite natural because all aspirants seeking for a career in consulting feel that case study preparation is enough and we get into the consulting firm. Getting into is the easy part and thriving is the difficult part.

When I was a practice lead in Accenture Strategy, I led a team of 45 consultants all from Ivy League business schools in India. All smart guys but fell flat when it comes to execution. They are thrown into a project in transformation or strategy or performance improvement and struggle because the initial training provided by the company is pathetic.

A new hire staffed on a complex multi year transformation program and this guy struggles to cope up. Quite natural.

To ensure that there is a smooth transition once a hire gets into the consulting firm and delivers at a very high level of consulting expertise, I designed a mentorship program called " Advanced Consulting Readiness". This is an intensive 400 hours of mentorship and spread over a year which will help you to understand, design, implement and at the same time lead the projects. All practical stuff and not just training. These 400 hours of mentorship will help you operte at a level of EM/Principal.

If you are interested you can check with me and understand in detail how this is going to help you. No where in the globe, would you find a mentorship program of 400 hours which says that it will prepare you to operate at an EM/Principal level.

Thanks

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Adi
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replied on Oct 20, 2020
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Hey, sorry to hear you are feeling this way. I can see other coaches have given plenty of tips already to your question. My biggest nugget to you will be - Meditation!

You are feeling this way as things are not going according to how you think they should go. Very often in life (personal and work) things will not go your way. The key thing is to remain calm, balanced and prepared to deal with the situation no matter what i.e you control how you feel, not the situation around you. There are plenty of meditation tools and I urge you to explore this dimension. It will empoer you to handle your thoughts and emotions better and deal with situations easily.

This has worked wonders for me and I wish I had done it 10 years earlier.

Feel better!

Adi

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Ian
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replied on Oct 20, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

100%. And I'll tell you something, as a Consultant who had finished their MBA I felt the exact same way! Honestly, most everyone does.

First, read this...25 tips to surviving (thriving) in consulting:

https://www.spencertom.com/2018/01/14/consulting-survival-guide/

Second, read these other Q&As on the topic of confidence

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/as-a-new-consultant-how-to-build-up-confidence-dealing-with-bossclient-7015

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-build-up-confidence-and-look-smart-and-sharp-in-a-consultant-role-6955

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-look-more-confident-4232

Third: In terms of doing well in your role when you're there:

1) Understand the context/prompt (what role are you in, what company, who's watching, etc.)

2) Understand the objective (what, specifically, is expected from you...both day to day, and in your overall career progression)

3) Quickly process information, and focus on what's important - Take a lot of information and the unknown, find the most logical path, and focus on that.

4) Be comfortable with the unknown, and learn to brainstorm - think/speak like an expert without being one

In summary, there will always be a flood of information, expectations, competition etc. and not enough time. Find out which ones matter when. (i.e. be visibile and focus efforts on the things that people care about)

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Gaurav
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replied on Oct 23, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

I'm sorry to hear that.

I have 2 things for you:

1. To look at it from the bright side, and be grateful that you are already in the process. It's normal to feel lost in the beginning. But, instead of going deeper into this mood, take a responsibility for yourself and be initiative, communicate with your colleagues, ask questions, have a talk with your supervisor (if you have such)

2. For a candidate like you, I have developed a special program in assisting their first 100 days in consulting career and long term. It touches not only hard skills but also soft skills - how to communicate with clients, colleagues, managers etc. It is designed to help when you start your career.

Does it make any sense to you?

If you have any further questions, feel free to contact DM.
GB

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Ken gave the best answer

Ken

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Ex-McKinsey London final round interviewer
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