W. P. Carey Alumni Share Pros and Cons of a Career in Consulting

We asked W. P. Carey Alumni: What are pros and cons of a career in consulting?

Here is what they shared:

  • Freedom to Choose and Create Your Niche & Difficulty in Acquiring the Right Experience
  • Experience & Expiration
  • Enjoy Variety in Your Work But it May Require Traveling Around

Pro: Freedom to Choose and Create Your Niche

Con: Difficulty in Acquiring the Right Experience

Incredible autonomy to create your niche is deliciously rewarding. But like making a chocolate telescope, it is intricately delicate. It requires experience to navigate blind spots, and the confidence to give clients a performance guarantee within scope, budget and timeline. So, unless your expertise is as concrete as coding, it’s critical to make soft skills tangible as well. Track to sell results. Have fun! and you’ll get more done!

Felicity Blackwater, BIS Business & Communications ‘09, Purpose Community Goal Network

Pro: Experience 

Con: Expiration

Distilling past experience into a few words of wisdom that can change a leader’s or organization’s outlook is awesome. In other professions, value comes in what will do for a customer, whereas consultings value often stems from past experience and expertise. The downside is my experience may expire, and what was helpful last year may not apply in the same way. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to have to work on staying relevant but it is humbling when what wow’d before is met with silence today. The good news: doing one serves the other, it is just a matter of prioritizing both.

Juan Kingsbury, BS Global Business ‘04, Career Blindspot

Pro: Enjoy Variety in Your Work 

Con: It May Require Traveling Around

One of the major advantages of a career in consulting is that you usually get to work on a variety of projects over the course of a year.  For example, as a strategist, I facilitated visioning and strategic planning sessions with executive teams and/or boards, completed an operational assessment with recommendations, facilitated a staffing analysis with financial modeling, and completed a feasibility analysis for a new service line. If I wasn’t a consultant, I might not get the variety of work, which I definitely enjoy. 

A disadvantage of consulting as a career can be the travel necessary to serve clients in different locations, although we are all more accustomed to virtual work these days so the travel commitment is much less than prior to the pandemic.

Jennifer Drago, BS Finance ‘89, MHSA ‘93, MBA ‘93, Peak to Profit, LLC

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By W. P. Carey Career Services Center
W. P. Carey Career Services Center