Women Mean Business Conference Recap: Consulting Panels

Written by: Morgan Cappetta

At herNetwork’s 2017 conference, we hosted a consulting panel, featuring three remarkable women in the consulting field who came back to speak with current students and share their experiences and advice pertaining to a career in consulting. The women were Erika Neilssen (Accenture, Isabela Haghighi (Accenture), and Ally McMann (Ernst & Young). They were able to represent a great cross-section of various consulting functions and roles, and described how varied their day-to-day responsibilities were, depending on the projects they were each working on. Moderated by Morgan (VP of Internal Affairs), they offered great advice, some of their most notable being:

  1. Confidence and flexibility are key if one hopes to succeed in consulting.
  2. Work life balance in this busy industry is truly your own responsibility. Speak up, and your managers and teammates will be accommodating. Stay quiet, and no one will know you need to decompress.
  3. Changing ones schedule from college to consulting is jarring at first – but completely doable!
  4. Networking never stops, especially in consulting. Don’t take it so seriously though – think of it as simply connecting with people over common interests. Make friends!
  5. At first, it helps to know a little bit about everything. No one expects you to be a specialist or expert upon entering the consulting industry.
  6. Sharpen your learning pattern. That is, deeply understand your own learning process, and optimize it. Learning on the job is huge.
  7. The panelists also recommended shelving the idea of an MBA until you’ve had 3-5 years of working experience, so you can return to school and get the most out of your time there – tying classroom lessons into your actual work experiences.
  8. Managers, and your relationship with them, really shape your job/internship experience. Consulting typically offers flexibility in regards to choosing your manager.
  9. Use clubs at school to explore and develop your interests. Test the waters!
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