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Data collection/Fieldwork

Someone asked on Aug 09, 2018 - 2 answers

Hello, I am currently interning in a consulting firm. They are making us call competitors and relevant people to get primary data (known apparently as fieldwork).

I feel like that should be outsourced as It is not the job of consultants (besides conducting interviews with experts)

Is it standard practice for consultants to do phone calls to collect data? (I know LEK apparently do this a lot)

Also many engagements tend to be market research. Is it common practice for strat. consulting firms to only conduct market research with little strategic advice ?

Thanks a lot,

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Sidi updated his answer on Aug 09, 2018
McKinsey Engagement Manager & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 60+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi Anonymous,

it depends on the scale! If you need representative survey data from a large sample of calls, then by all means this should be outsourced to either support areas within the firm (e.g., at McKinsey there is an entire department spread between India and Costa Rica who specialize on surveying) or external partners. If, however, all you need is some anecdotal evidence of a certain matter, then of course it might make sense to just let a team member spend an afternoon doing such calls. Rule of thumb: if it takes more than one or two work days to accomplish, it should be better outsourced.

Cheers, Sidi


Vlad replied on Aug 09, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School


It really depends on the check for the project. When I was working for Accenture, analysts were doing a lot of primary research while at McKinsey it was the job to be done by the temporary assistants.

But you should not think that consultants are only giving the strategic advice. You will be surprised how much bureaucratic and monotonous work you have to do for the client even at MBB projects.


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