Steve Shu's Blog

How Do Consultants Handle Situations With Clients Who May “Laugh” at Them Relative to Projections and Opportunity Outcomes?

Here are some thoughts on how consultants prepare for and handle these types of situations:

On Digital Tools, Behavioral Economics, and Retirement

Just wanted to share a Harvard Business Review post by my colleague, Shlomo Benartzi. In a nutshell, the digital world opens up many possibilities to apply behavioral economics to help people. Shlomo mentions some research that he, Hal Hershfield, and I recently did with Acorns, a robo-saving app. How Digital Tools and Behavioral Economics Will Save Retirement

Why Do Management Consulting Firms Hire MBAs?

Prior to my current role, I spent many years in the traditional management consulting space. As I see it, the traditional segment of the management consulting industry values MBAs primarily because it facilitates a plug-and-play kind of model where people are interchangeable and can start working on a broad swathe of business problems. Management consulting projects can span diverse areas from operational to finance to marketing to strategy to IT management, etc.

How Management Consultants Are Evaluated At Different Levels

I’ve been asked on a number of occasions to describe how consultants are evaluated in terms of performance, so I thought that I’d finally write these thoughts down publicly. Here’s a whirlwind overview of an illustrative consulting firm evaluation framework for single career tracks. In a nutshell:

Do Consulting Firms Rely On Hiring Salespeople to Sell Work?

Many consulting firms (especially management consulting firms) rely on prior consultants in terms of selling work. Why? Mostly it is because people are the product. In consulting sales, you are selling yourself and your team. More specifically, you are affirming the problem statement, the problem-solving approach, and your team’s experience with solving similar (or comparable) problems in comparable situations. It is hard for external, non-consultant salespeople to do this.

Tips on How Consultants Can Balance Working Long Hours and Managing a Healthy Life

Consultants do work long hours. Not as bad as investment bankers though. In my opinion, it takes a conscious effort to have a healthy lifestyle in consulting. Presuming that the focus on health is mostly on physical exercise and diet (versus mental health or social relationships), here are some things I’ve used to try to strike a balance:

What is the Best Organizational Model for Implementing Behavioral Science?

During a recent conversation about user interface design and the differences in approach compared to behavioral science, the topic quickly turned to a question about what is the best organizational model for implementing behavioral science?

Tips on How to Sell Consulting Services Without Giving Away Everything During Pre-Sales

A lot of consultants fear that they will give away too much in terms of advice during the pre-sales process. Here are some thoughts on how I’ve tried to keep sales processes on track:

The Pursuit of a PhD Resembles an Apprenticeship Model, So I’ll Share Some Thoughts Along the Way

I’ve started a journey to pursue a PhD in the area of behavioral finance. I am finding that the process of learning some of the ropes for a PhD resembles that many experience in consulting. Namely, a big component of the process is learning through apprenticeship. When pursuing a PhD, one has to synthesize a lot of tacit knowledge from many sources in order to develop facility and expertise. There’s a lot of explicit knowledge documented as well. Yet one trouble is how to sort through both tacit and explicit knowledge to find the relevant, quality stuff.