This interview is a part of our Experiential Interview series, where we try to gain an insider’s perspective into different careers by engaging in dialogues with professionals successfully working in the respective fields. This article gives you a closer look at a Consulting career.
Ketaki Gupta is a seasoned consulting professional with an MBA from Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. She had graduated in B.E. (Electronics and Communication) from Manipal University in 2009, following which she took up work as a Business Technological Analyst at Deloitte Consulting. After working for 2 years in that role, she went on to get an MBA in Marketing and Strategy & Leadership from ISB. She has been working with Deloitte as a consultant ever since.
1. How is a normal day in a consultant’s life like?
Ketaki: My day starts with discussions on the project we are handling. Once we (the team) have enough data to start with, we begin our analysis, find solutions to the problems, and finally come up with the inferences and observations. After in-depth analysis of the problem, a lot of research, preparations and discussions, we hand over the completed project to the client. Each project, on an average, lasts for a month and is different from the previous ones.
2. That’s quite a hectic schedule. Does your work involve travelling?
Ketaki: Hectic? Sometimes. Fun? Always. The company takes projects from global clients, where there is no 9-5 for us. The different time zones make us work in odd hours, but it isn’t tiring. New challenges, new possibilities and new projects make my work exciting and fun.
Tech Consultancy, in fact consultancy in general, involves a lot of travelling. I am currently based out of California, USA, taking a flight tomorrow for my new project and will be off the radar for the next few days. That’s how my work is, and travelling for projects makes it more pleasing.
3. Were you clear on becoming a consultant when you were a high school student?
Ketaki: No! I was aspirational and confident that I would make it big, however, I did not know the route. I wasn’t clear about my career, there was a lack of awareness on which stream should I choose. Basically, I did not have any guide from whom I can seek career guidance. My dad is an engineer, but he never forced me to follow a similar career path. It was my interest and aptitude in mathematics and science that non-medical became my choice. I had always made short term goals for myself which seemed practical and followed the same without any distractions. Consultancy happened with the flow.
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4. How has your career progression been like?
Ketaki: After schooling, I managed to secure a seat in the Electronics and Communications department, at Manipal. I worked hard during my under graduation and got placed in Deloitte Consultancy as a Business Consultant. Having worked there for more than a couple of years, I went ahead with my MBA. I scored a 730 in GMAT and did my MBA from ISB, Hyderabad. I have been a Consultant- Technology, Strategy and Architecture, post my MBA.
5. You took a B.E. + MBA route to reach here. What do you think are alternative ways to be a Consultant?
Ketaki: Consulting firms or consultancy as a career, especially in the tech, strategy and architecture sector, require a person to have strong problem-solving ability, and strong analytical skills. Also, the expertise in the domain comes with experience. Hence, companies mostly prefer candidates with a background in engineering, and who have experience in tech/software/telecom roles, pre MBA.
Listed below are the suggested routes, in descending order of preferences to the employers, to be a Consultant- Technology, Strategy and Architecture.
6. Why did you choose Tech Consultancy?
Ketaki: I was from a technical background, but tried to discover Sales and Marketing domain too. During my MBA, I enrolled for certification courses in the Marketing domain. However, I realized that it doesn’t interest me. I was driven towards technology from the beginning and focused on tech. related courses to gain expertise in the same.
Before my MBA, I got selected as a Business Technology Analyst in Deloitte and worked in the financial services sector initially. Soon after I realized that technology suits me best, and I chose to specialize in technology- across strategy and implementation during my MBA. I have been in the same domain for almost 5 years now, and am happy with my choices.
7. RAPID ROUND:
8. Any piece of career advice for those who wish to pursue a career similar to yours?
Ketaki: I’d suggest them to be persistent, and work on their problem-solving abilities by attempting case-studies involving logical reasoning, reading books and newspapers, and by understanding market trends at a global level. Strong analytical skills are a must, in order to work efficiently in a consulting firm or when one decides to be an independent consultant. One shouldn’t go to work as an analyst after the under graduation to follow the usual path; but align themselves with the technology and look for tech courses and certifications.
Such practices help the future consultants build stronger base in the domain. Besides, more the value we can add to our CV, better are our chances to get our dream job and perform to the potential.
Career as a Consultant is both exciting and challenging. It’s fun to work on the projects and take on the challenges that come our way. However, the foremost and the most important question to keep in mind before we head on is to ask yourself, “Is it the right career for me?”