Time to shift your career aspiration from Management Consulting to Analytics!

Image courtesy to Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy to Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Every now and then, the myth of “Management Consulting” is shattered by one disclosure after the other. Now, one can add drama, a la William Shakespeare and say “I come to bury Management Consultants, not to praise them” and hide an ulterior motive: “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones”. But, I am no Mark Antony and I have no hidden motives. So, I will simply say, that if you have high ambitions, you have really worked hard to earn your degree and you are hearing these rumors about “MC’s”, then you should safely look to a career in Analytics. The chances are that you will not be disappointed.

In the link to the article that I have shared below, a MIT grad had a grand notion about what his consulting work was supposed to be about, as he landed himself a job with a top consulting firm. To quote him: “In my mind, consulting was about answering business questions through analysis. It was supposed to be Excel sheets and models, sifting through data to discover profit and loss, and helping clients make decisions that would add the most value for themselves, and by extension, society”. Now, I would not like to comment on whether consulting provides one with such an opportunity or not, but Analytics surely encompasses all of it and even more. Analytics provides a fine blend of “hard” technical skills and as one’s career progresses further, it merges into that of a “Technology based Consultant” who uses statistical and analytical tools and techniques to uncover latent patterns from the data and convert them into insights for the clients. In more advanced Analytics firms, the Analytics consultants devise strategies for their clients and use the data to help their clients make more informed and correct decisions.

Now more and more organizations are embedding Analytics in their organizations and just like Finance, HR, Sales, Marketing etc. organizations are creating departments for Analytics! This presents an exciting prospect for all those who are at the vanguard of this revolution, to help create functional units in companies and create systems and processes that would cut across departments and enable companies to utilize the full power of data.

The best part of Analytics as a profession is that depending on your interests, you can chose to pursue a more Technical/SME (subject matter expert) based career path or a more consulting (converting data to Insights and Strategies) career path and each of them is equally rewarding. Analytics is a sublime intersection of Science and Art, and with each progressing day, as data processing continues to get faster and faster, it offers exciting challenges and ensures that the learning curve remains steeper than ever. Just when you think that you know all about Analytics, there is always something new which comes up to take your complacence away. Just when you thought that  SQL/Oracle was the way to go in data storage, newer, faster and mightier data bases like Netezza, Terra Data emerged. Parallel processing is soon going to replace conventional processing and “No SQL” looks to be better than SQL !   “Hadoop” is not a character out of Tintin, but a fast emerging technique in the world of Big Data and distributed computing. Knowing Logistic regression and CHAID is no longer enough as you have “Random Forests” to deal with. “Nearest Neighbor” is not the person in the cubicle next to you, but a fast emerging technique in the world of Machine Learning.

But, at the same time, there are people in Analytics, who do not manage their careers well and complain of boredom. It is important to remember that your work consists of two parts- the first part is your core job, where you are expected by the organization to deliver on certain tasks/projects etc. while the second part is where you as an individual needs to look for opportunities to add value to yourself and hence, to your organization by learning new things and then implementing those learnings  in the context of your organization. For example, if you are stuck in a reporting job, then automate the reporting and prepare insights for the client by looking at trends in the reports-no one is going to tell you to do that as it is not part of your prescribed tasks, but it is your own initiative that will need to drive this.

By now, I would have given you enough reasons to make Analytics your career choice, but you must go through this wonderful article on consulting and its myths to make the choice yourselves.


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