One of the biggest things I’ve learnt in consulting is not to be afraid. Not to be afraid to give your opinion and to follow the course of action, which you believe is right, even if everybody else around you thinks differently. I.e. not to be afraid of taking responsibility for your actions and not to be afraid of failure.
What do I mean by that? At the start of my consulting times it was quite a shocking experience when my clients were more than twice my age, and were very knowledgeable people in their industry. What can I offer them, I thought? What can I even “consult” on, 25-years-old with very little previous work experience and a very vague understanding of how the world works? It was shocking when during my first project at a big international corporation, the CEO came into a team room and asked my opinion about something.
But then I told myself: look, dude, you are smart, and you know it. And everybody knows that. That’s why you work here in the first place. That’s why all these people have these high expectations of what you are going to deliver. Because it’s not about how well you know some particular details of some business, it’s about how well you can think.
The consulting experience essentially liberates you of your fear to act in the business, doesn’t matter which industry or function. Because business is all about brains and you will learn how to apply them to whatever business challenge. This learning from consulting helped me a lot after I quit the firm and started to build my own company.