Anish is a Yale MBA and McKinsey Consultant turned Corporate Comedian. He's performed in over 20 countries for 100+ colleges and corporations, including Microsoft, Harvard, and Wells Fargo. To have him perform at your office party, retreat, or offsite, click "BOOK ANISH" above.

 

In addition to performances, Anish has also worked with numerous companies on creating engaging and fun content. This article was written for the intranet of one of Big 3 Strategy Consulting Firms. To date, this article is still one of the most read articles in the history of the company's intranet.

6 Things That Will Help You Understand Management Consultants

Ah...the Management Consultant. What makes us tick? Throughout school we got excellent grades and made sure to never ditch school out of fear it would end up on our non-existent “permanent records.” While our friends spent their college summers hanging out at the beach, we were busy building a non-profit that helped people who were addicted to mortally dangerous things like drugs, alcohol, or Keeping up with the Kardashians. Our pre-Management-Consulting jobs were either truly amazing leadership roles, inspirational change initiatives, audacious entrepreneurial adventures, or investment banking. Our graduate studies required years of sacrificing our social lives (most graduate schools) or our livers (business schools). And now we find ourselves here as Management Consultants, study by study learning, problem solving, and pretending we’re not at all elitist while cringing every time someone compares our job to project managers, the consultants from “Office Space,” or, worst of all, people who work at Arthur Andersen.

Yes, the Management Consultant is quite the interesting individual and anyone who should be lucky enough to be around one is getting an excellent deal, except...

 

We have quirks. Things that make us excellent consultants but confusing humans. This article serves as a guide for the things our spouses, parents, significant others, family, friends, partners, dates, or stalkers should know about the species Homo Consultus.

1. The job is always on our minds.

We like you. We really really do. When you speak we do our best to listen attentively and engage fully, but as much as we try, the job is always on our minds. Here is a representation of the thoughts floating around our minds at any given moment: 

2. We are amazing and horrible to travel with.

Why we’re amazing:

We have points, lots and lots of points. We can take you anywhere in the world and we can do it pretty much for free. We always get upgraded to first class. (You may still sit in the coach though.) We know how to sweet talk hotel reception to get us upgraded. And most importantly, we can get you in the priority line at the airport.

 

Why we’re horrible:

We really don’t want to do any of that nonsense. The travel bug has been killed off by repeated, unceasing doses of an antibiotic called, “3 months traveling to Podunk, Idaho.”

 

But let’s say we agree to travel, that’s when it gets really bad. We are travel snobs in every sense. We have no patience for you sitting down after security to lace up your shoes; buy slip ons, rookie. You want to chat with us during the flight? Ha. I brought these noise canceling headphones for a reason. Wait. What are you doing? Are you seriously checking a bag? Seriously? Have you lost your mind? It’s just 10 days in Thailand!

 

Ok. We’ve arrived. Just you and me. And as I promised...no work! Well of course I brought my laptop...but just for emergencies. Hold on. This email’s from the client. I just need to connect them to the Manager. That’s it. I promise. Oh wait. This is from the partner. Just a sec. I’ll just meet you at the pool.

 

3. Tumi vs. Non-Tumi Consultants

Note to the non-US Consultants: The Tumi bag is a bit U.S. centric but given the increasing spread of US trends to other nations...

...we thought it useful to forewarn you that the Tumi bag exists and is coming to invade your fashionable international consulting world. It’s impact will be as follows:

 

There will be consultants who have Tumi bags and consultants that don’t. Know the difference between the two:

 

The Tumi Consultant: This is the consultant who has spent his entire career building a truly unique resume, only to land a job and buy the exact same bag as every other consultant. It’s not just about the status of the Tumi bag. It’s functional; did you know it’s made from bullet proof material so it’ll survive anything? (We’re pretty sure that’s true...someone Google that).

 

The Non-Tumi Consultant: This is a person who has a beautiful briefcase, rugged leather satchel, or (gasp) backpack. They are the “non-conformists” who chose to work in the most popular industry for business people. They think people look at them and think, “maybe he’s an artist or a surfer,” forgetting entirely that they are still wearing the consultant uniform of black pants and blue shirts. To that end...

 

4. Yes, there is a difference between each of our blue shirts

You look in our closet and see 18 blue shirts. “What kind of person owns 18 of the exact same thing?” Superheroes, that’s who. Plus, they are each unique. This one has little light blue pinstripes in it. This one is more of a baby blue. This one has checks for when we want to get crazy. How do you not see this?  

 5. You need to translate our work details 

Management consultants care about, think about, and talk about one thing above all else: client impact. To a lay person much of what we say other than “Client Impact” sounds like gibberish...sort of like the grumbles of Cookie Monster around the word “cookie.” But unlike Cookie Monster, our grumbles are not merely deranged rants induced by sugar highs and rampant diabetes. There are codes in there to pay attention to. Here are a few examples:

 

Consultant says: I just got staffed to a Private Equity study.

Consultant means: See you in 4 weeks.

 

Consultant says: Honey, I just made Junior Partner! Let’s take the whole family on a trip to celebrate!

Consultant means: Let’s take a family vacation because right after that I’m going to work an insane amount of hours to make Partner. But the upside is you get to see what it’s like to be a single parent!

 

Consultant says: 2 years and I’m out.

Consultant means: 2 years and then I’ll just want to see what Manager is like. I’ve been a manager for 18 months. I might as well take a shot at Junior Partner. I’ve worked so hard, it would be silly to not take a crack at Partner. Yay! Partner! Honey, how would you feel about moving to Iraq to open the Baghdad Office?

 6. We are embarrassed to admit it but your Mac confuses us.  

Some management consultants are rebels and have Macs for personal use. The rest of us are wizards on a PC and your Mac looks intimidating in it’s simplicity. We use it and can’t figure out how to scroll, right click, click in general, switch between windows. And...wait, where is Powerpoint? It’s called Keynote? What's a Keynote? I’m stuck. Alright CTRL+ALT+DELETE. Why isn’t that doing anything? What's this rainbow wheel do?

At the end of the day, if you remember nothing else from this article remember this: management consultants are just like everyone else...if everyone else stored receipts like precious treasures. 

Anish is a Yale MBA and McKinsey Consultant turned Corporate Comedian. He's performed in over 20 countries for 100+ colleges and corporations, including Microsoft, Harvard, and Wells Fargo. To have him perform at your office party, retreat, or offsite, click "BOOK ANISH" above.

Then again, no one every got beheaded for saying, "Let them eat French Fries,"

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