Home > Uncategorized > Taxonomy of professional services firm

Taxonomy of professional services firm

I know that at least some of our followers plan to apply to a professional services firm. What surprises me is that very few of them actually realize their function at an entry level position and subsequently what they will do on day to day basis. That being the case, I decided to share my view as to how professional services firms are structured. My view can be summarised in the diagram below, you can see position titles from the lowest (Consultant) to the highest (Senior Partner), with respective primary functions listed in the brackets.

Specialist

(Technical Advice)

Senior Partner

(Strategy)

Partner

(Sales)

Senior Director

(evaluation period for partner)

Director

(Supervision)

Manager

(Planning)

Senior Consultant

(Execution and Supervision)

Consultant

(Execution)

A couple of points I would like to note before discussing the consultant position that most of my friends apply for. First, note that post director level there is a split, this is my way of indicating that you can advance after director either by virtue of your technical knowledge or due to your salesman skills. Most directors wanting to become a partner have to demonstrate their ability to bring business to the firm before they are considered for the position, a few get promoted because of their ability to develop new products/technical knowledge (you just don’t need that many product creators). The split does not mean that you have sales partners and technical specialists exclusively, one person can potentially have both skills, but one of them is the reason they got promoted.

Now, the most interesting part is that Consultants are not there to create innovative ideas or to alter work processes. In most cases they simply do not have the knowledge to access organisational initiatives, thus their job is to execute and understand how professional services firms work. Yet, surprisingly many graduates actually want to portray themselves as innovative and filled with ideas, but if your employer needs you to execute on a timeline and budget, then he/she might be hesitant of candidates who may derail a well oiled process.

Alex

Categories: Uncategorized
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