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Raj

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7

is the corona crisis going to lead to less travel in the future for MBB consultants ?

"Expect your post-pandemic work calendar to contain fewer meetings overall", says Nadjia Yousif, managing director, and partner of Boston Consulting Group’s London office.

Do you think this crisis will affect the nature of work for consultants in the future?

Is this going to lead to a better work-life balance for MBB consultants?

To what extent is this going to change the business trips?

Is this going to lead a shift towards working from home some days of the week?

What are your thoughts on this, I am interested to hear from people who are working in the field, about their views of the future.

"Expect your post-pandemic work calendar to contain fewer meetings overall", says Nadjia Yousif, managing director, and partner of Boston Consulting Group’s London office.

Do you think this crisis will affect the nature of work for consultants in the future?

Is this going to lead to a better work-life balance for MBB consultants?

To what extent is this going to change the business trips?

Is this going to lead a shift towards working from home some days of the week?

What are your thoughts on this, I am interested to hear from people who are working in the field, about their views of the future.

(edited)

7 answers

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Book a coaching with Raj

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I imagine plenty of current consultants are crossing their fingers in hope!

As some of the other experts pointed out, this will fundamentally be driven by the client's needs.

Certainly, as clients adapt, so will MBBs. But what else is important to consider? As you pointed out, the question is how the nature of work will change.

I think whilst we might see less frequent travel and more video-conferencing, the question is whether the type of work occurring (that may have changed in the crisis), will impact these travel patterns more and be more permanent?

Certainly, one way is how many corporates have realised the need to accelerate their digital transformation. This can mean distributed working on the client's side, which will of course influence ways of working for consultants.

A second way though could be more tactical and that is firefighting occurring in response to the negative impacts of the crisis. I would expect cost-transformation, divestiture, and operational improvement work to accelerate in the wake of the crisis. This could mean MORE travel to various regional subsidiaries or shared services centres as these orgs undergo right-sizing

I imagine plenty of current consultants are crossing their fingers in hope!

As some of the other experts pointed out, this will fundamentally be driven by the client's needs.

Certainly, as clients adapt, so will MBBs. But what else is important to consider? As you pointed out, the question is how the nature of work will change.

I think whilst we might see less frequent travel and more video-conferencing, the question is whether the type of work occurring (that may have changed in the crisis), will impact these travel patterns more and be more permanent?

Certainly, one way is how many corporates have realised the need to accelerate their digital transformation. This can mean distributed working on the client's side, which will of course influence ways of working for consultants.

A second way though could be more tactical and that is firefighting occurring in response to the negative impacts of the crisis. I would expect cost-transformation, divestiture, and operational improvement work to accelerate in the wake of the crisis. This could mean MORE travel to various regional subsidiaries or shared services centres as these orgs undergo right-sizing

(edited)

Dear A,

Thank you very much for your brilliant question. People actually tend to overestimate the short term impact and to underestimate long term impact. So, indeed, I would say that at the short term the business activity will resume and consultancy will start travelling as soon as it becomes possible. However, in the long run, even more work will be done digitally, because even clients are now changing their mindset. So for these two months they were pushed to get used to the online remote working, and this will further develop in the long run. Because it's also very beneficial for the cost point. So, if you think that the travel costs will be evaporating, then consulting services could become even more affordable, because traveling costs might be reduced greatly, so that more services can be selled more for cheaper and still be very effective and with a high margin.

Hope it helps,

Best,

André

Dear A,

Thank you very much for your brilliant question. People actually tend to overestimate the short term impact and to underestimate long term impact. So, indeed, I would say that at the short term the business activity will resume and consultancy will start travelling as soon as it becomes possible. However, in the long run, even more work will be done digitally, because even clients are now changing their mindset. So for these two months they were pushed to get used to the online remote working, and this will further develop in the long run. Because it's also very beneficial for the cost point. So, if you think that the travel costs will be evaporating, then consulting services could become even more affordable, because traveling costs might be reduced greatly, so that more services can be selled more for cheaper and still be very effective and with a high margin.

Hope it helps,

Best,

André

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Hi,

Several things to keep in mind to be realistic:

  1. Under no circumstances, the lifestyle will get better. Even if you work remotely it'll be the same working hours, maybe even bigger
  2. It's a client-facing business - so the consultant will do whatever the client tells. It's really hard to justify million dollar contracts while working remotely, so I would not expect any changes here
  3. Don't expect to work from home. You'll still be working from the office, even in the case of less travel

Best

Hi,

Several things to keep in mind to be realistic:

  1. Under no circumstances, the lifestyle will get better. Even if you work remotely it'll be the same working hours, maybe even bigger
  2. It's a client-facing business - so the consultant will do whatever the client tells. It's really hard to justify million dollar contracts while working remotely, so I would not expect any changes here
  3. Don't expect to work from home. You'll still be working from the office, even in the case of less travel

Best

(edited)

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Hi!

It is hardly possible to make robust predictions here, but one thing that is relatively clear is the following:

MBB will always follow their clients.

So if the post-pandemic "next normal" gravitates towards a higher share of home-office work in large organizations, this would almost automatically lead to fewer physical presence of consultants. This will most probably not happen overnight, but I have indeed heard from a lot of firms that they are trying to distill the learnings from the current situation in order to translate them into institutionalized changes going forward. So to the same degree as clients reduce presence at the corporate office, MBB will almost certainly follow suit.

Cheers, Sidi

Hi!

It is hardly possible to make robust predictions here, but one thing that is relatively clear is the following:

MBB will always follow their clients.

So if the post-pandemic "next normal" gravitates towards a higher share of home-office work in large organizations, this would almost automatically lead to fewer physical presence of consultants. This will most probably not happen overnight, but I have indeed heard from a lot of firms that they are trying to distill the learnings from the current situation in order to translate them into institutionalized changes going forward. So to the same degree as clients reduce presence at the corporate office, MBB will almost certainly follow suit.

Cheers, Sidi

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Reminder that all answers here are conjecture - your question is being asking around the world by all experts across all industries...

I'll try to answer with only the givens:

1) Yes it will affect the nature of work

2) I can't see it improving work-life balance. The fundamentals of top-tier companies in any industry are: Get the best, get the brightest, get the hungriest, charge them out for a lot, and work them hard

3) It'll change business trips in much the same way business trips will be changed across the world. Summary: We don't know.

4) It's anyone's guess as to whether WFH will become more acceptable in consulting. Personally, I doubt it.

By the way, if you're iinterested in trying out cases that deal with the impact of the coronavirus, check out these two cases!

https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/brain-teaser/beginner/coronavirus-times-194

https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/candidate-led-usual-style/intermediate/chinese-chess-191

Reminder that all answers here are conjecture - your question is being asking around the world by all experts across all industries...

I'll try to answer with only the givens:

1) Yes it will affect the nature of work

2) I can't see it improving work-life balance. The fundamentals of top-tier companies in any industry are: Get the best, get the brightest, get the hungriest, charge them out for a lot, and work them hard

3) It'll change business trips in much the same way business trips will be changed across the world. Summary: We don't know.

4) It's anyone's guess as to whether WFH will become more acceptable in consulting. Personally, I doubt it.

By the way, if you're iinterested in trying out cases that deal with the impact of the coronavirus, check out these two cases!

https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/brain-teaser/beginner/coronavirus-times-194

https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/candidate-led-usual-style/intermediate/chinese-chess-191

(edited)

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Hopefully!

Clients are realizing that consultants can manage to deliver high-quality work while working remotely. Clients are becoming more comfortable having meetings via web-conferencing apps.

I think it will not be a surprise if we start seeing more projects that are "3 days on the ground per week" or even "one week on the ground, one week at home base".

With Corona's economic impact, clients wouldn't mind if consulting companies slightly lowered their rates by avoiding weekly traveling. (example: 1 night in Riyadh hotels is around 200-300 USD, and the Dubai-Riyadh roundtrip was around 700 USD...imagine the savings if the hundreds (if not thousands) of consultants reduce their travels)

I hope this helps.

Khaled

Hopefully!

Clients are realizing that consultants can manage to deliver high-quality work while working remotely. Clients are becoming more comfortable having meetings via web-conferencing apps.

I think it will not be a surprise if we start seeing more projects that are "3 days on the ground per week" or even "one week on the ground, one week at home base".

With Corona's economic impact, clients wouldn't mind if consulting companies slightly lowered their rates by avoiding weekly traveling. (example: 1 night in Riyadh hotels is around 200-300 USD, and the Dubai-Riyadh roundtrip was around 700 USD...imagine the savings if the hundreds (if not thousands) of consultants reduce their travels)

I hope this helps.

Khaled

Hi,

Do you think this crisis will affect the nature of work for consultants in the future?

Yes

Is this going to lead to a better work-life balance for MBB consultants?

I'm afraid not unfortunately. The remote experience has shown that there is no longer a real timetable and it is harder to manage how to cut. We have to find the right way of working and I think that is not yet the case.

To what extent is this going to change the business trips?

Sometimes, some people travel by plane in another country for a 1 hour meeting, which is no longer in line with what is expected of a consulting firm on its contribution to environmental probelamics. I hope that the Covid experience, will therefore make it possible to limit travel to what is essential only (we saw that physical presence it not always crucial!)

Is this going to lead a shift towards working from home some days of the week?

Of course, but I think it was already totally feasible (I did it tens of time :))

Best

Hi,

Do you think this crisis will affect the nature of work for consultants in the future?

Yes

Is this going to lead to a better work-life balance for MBB consultants?

I'm afraid not unfortunately. The remote experience has shown that there is no longer a real timetable and it is harder to manage how to cut. We have to find the right way of working and I think that is not yet the case.

To what extent is this going to change the business trips?

Sometimes, some people travel by plane in another country for a 1 hour meeting, which is no longer in line with what is expected of a consulting firm on its contribution to environmental probelamics. I hope that the Covid experience, will therefore make it possible to limit travel to what is essential only (we saw that physical presence it not always crucial!)

Is this going to lead a shift towards working from home some days of the week?

Of course, but I think it was already totally feasible (I did it tens of time :))

Best

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