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Questions for all female consultants out here!

Anonymous A asked on Oct 15, 2019 - 2 answers

Hey to all of you female consultants out there!

I'm looking for tips you can give me on my journey as a women in consulting. There is no doubt that consulting is still a men dominated industry. I'm happy for any advice concerning characteristics/personality you should bring as a women in consulting to succeed; communication with colleagues, clients and partners; advantages of women, your opinions on working in a male dominated environment, work-life-balance and maybe also the importance of networking?

Thank you all in advance! I'm looking forward to your answers!

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replied on Oct 16, 2019
Ex-BCG Project Leader | 3+ years interview experience for BCG SEA recruiting |Fee for 2hrs
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Hi there, sharing some of my views from personal experience.

Mentally, don't overthink it about male vs female. For any consultant, your work speaks for you. Gender doesn't matter that much. I worked in Industry Goods practice mostly. A lot of times I found myself the only female in the room with another 10-15 males during the steering co meeting. It is sad to see that and I think the clients should do something about it. But at the same time, people focus on the content, the work we produce, not whether it is presented by a male or female.

Admittedly in some occasions in a male dominated space, there might be small things that could make a female uncomfortable, e.g. more F-words and cursing during work esp when things get touch. As long as it is not personal, don't take offend. Telling them directly in the face if the male colleagues are making you uncomfortable, is actually more acceptable than you might think. Just be "thick-skin" as they could be.

In action, if you are a small size lady like I am (5.2ft), you can consider using some simple tips to create more "presence" in the room. E.g. using wider hand gestures when speaking, standing up during presentation instead of sitting, etc.

Not big difference when it comes to networking etc.

Be proud as a female consultant!

replied on Oct 15, 2019
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Female consultants here.

First of all, I disagree that consulting is men-dominated environment. In McKinsey, we already reached +50% of BA women, and are getting encouraging results in senior roles as well.

The beautiful thing about consulting is diversity. Please don't try to become that kind of women consultant, that thinks that only being a hyena on work will grant you the promotion. You get promoted if you are a great consultant, thus please stay true to yourself. If you are kind and polite you'll have the same success as a hyena.

Communication can be tough sometimes: males tend to speak up more than women, in general, thus you'll have to make an effort to allow others to notice your unique strengths and spikes, either with clients and senior colleagues.

Work-life-balance: there are flexibility programmes (part-time, extra time-off, maternity/paternity leave (gender equality), pause on your evaluation to allow you to remain more in the same role, giving you the chance to slow down a bit). The effort is big in these years, around all offices in the world, but the path is far from being optimal, of course. Also because there were not so many women as far as 15 years ago.

Networking: it's important, but not only for women and it doesn't make any difference if you are a woman or a man.

Advantages of women: they are trying to decrease churn across all levels and in these last years the attention on women in particular increased a lot. I'll let you draw the conclusions yourself :)

Hope I helped to #rescueasister :)

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