MD to consulting shift

Bain BCG BCG Bain McKinsey Boston Consulting Group consulting McKinsey Medicine problems
New answer on May 25, 2022
4 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on May 24, 2022

Hello all

im a medical doctor with few years of clinical experience.

i recently joined a consulting firm (2mo ago) as a senior business analyst but i have no experience in consulting.

i am finding it difficult to perform as good as a senior ba but im progressing by the  day. 

there is an apparent difference between the junior ba( with 1yr experience) and myself within the team. 

question: what are usually expectations of the firm in such cases?

im I expected to fully function as a senior ba from the start?

how should i tackle my concerns for that matter?

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 25, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

MOST IMPORTANTLY: Know that no-one can perfectly prepare for the job and that's the point: You will mess up, you will learn, you will be trained and supported. That's OK!

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First: I have a consulting survival guide handbook with 25 key tips for surviving the consulting world. Feel free to message me for it!

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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 timeFind out which ones matter when. (i.e. be visibile and focus efforts on the things that people care about)

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Here are some great prior Q&As for you!

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/what-makes-a-good-consultant-how-to-get-a-good-review-6790

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-hard-is-it-to-excel-in-top-consulting-firms-6762

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-become-an-engagement-manager-and-partner-quickly-6722

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/need-to-learn-skills-in-the-ample-free-time-before-starting-at-an-mbb-what-should-i-do-6774

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Stanislav
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updated an answer on May 25, 2022
Ex-McKinsey AP | Interviewed 50+ candidates, gave 10+ offers | Own MBB-inspired cases | Oxford and Cambridge graduate

Hi there

Thanks for taking the time to share your difficulties. I will share some thoughts as someone who came into consulting without business background (I am a physicist by training) but also someone who grew to a McKinsey Associate Partner and has coached many junior colleagues on the way.

1. Remember that they hired you. It is not a trivial statement:  the firm believes you have what it takes to become a successful consultant, even if on Day 1 you might not have everything that it takes.

2. It is OK to find the job difficult in the first months. No-one expects you to be great at the job from Day 1. It will take time to become good at it. It took me maybe 1 year to get to a decent performance and 2.5-3 years to get the best rating possible at my Firm.

3. You are not alone within your project. Think of it this way: as much as you are your project manager's resource, they are also yours. Same with the partners. They need you and you need them to deliver the project's results. If you need more time with your project manager so that they help you structure your work and even figure out the right slides to create, you should be upfront about that. Or about having a slightly more senior consultant coach you. Or about shifting the workload. Don't think that you need to suffer in silence.

4. You are not alone within your firm. You should talk about this with you cohort with whom you started – you will see that many will be in the same shoes. You should also talk to your ‘evaluator’ and potentially your staffing team for advice. 

Hope these help! Trust me – it will get better with the flying hours and with the support of your team. 

Good luck!

(edited)

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Angelina
CoachingPlus Expert
replied on May 25, 2022
Digital Health start-up founder; ex-BCG; SDA Bocconi. Youtube: Angelina's Business World

Hi there,

I completely understand what you are going through, as I've seen some MDs and science PhDs having a hard time at the beginning in my healthcare team at BCG. I fully agree with Ian's and Stanislav's excellent tips, and my advice would be to leverage your strengths while aiming to mitigate your gaps asap. 

That means that, on the one hand: I would suggest volunteering for healthcare projects, where you would shine and showcase your expertise (here the keyword is shine: don't be shy to brag a little and be outspoken about the undeniably unique value you are bringing to the table). On the other hand, I would continuously ask for feedback form peers and project management to identify the possible areas of growth and address them right away, to demonstrate to the leadership that you are set on improving and performing to the best of your abilities. 

I've seen MDs that mastered the business side of the job do remarkably well, becoming the superstars of the firm and exiting to really, really senior positions while still very young. So you have everything going for you, just stay focused and don't doubt yourself!

Good luck!

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 25, 2022
Highest recommendation rate / Top McKinsey coach / 100% success rate at >4 sessions / Honest feedback: no sugar-coating

Hi there, 

Your concerns make a lot of sense. 

Many lateral hires struggle in the beginning. It's actually easier if you come straight from university because you don't have any expectations about the work culture nor any previous knowledge about how work looks like. It's also easier because there are virtually no expectations on you. 

Instead, for lateral hires, the expectations is that they at least provide some sort of content knowledge or some sort of skill (it could even be the maturity of your approach in interacting with clients) that justify their role. 

What is important to keep in mind is that within the first six months when you're hired, nobody expects much from you. The first review cycle gets a default grade - you don't actually risk losing your role or stand a chance at getting promoted. So the beginning is the ideal time to experiment and learn and the best way to achieve that is to lower the expectations you have from yourself. 

Best,

Cristian

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Ian gave the best answer

Ian

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