So you wanna be a consultant?

NUS Consulting Club invites guest speaker Prof. Jochen Wirtz to answer questions and share insights into the field of consulting.

Can an actuarial firm compete in the consulting space? Is it possible for a firm specializing in pension fund audits to extend its relationships with existing clients by offering consulting services?

NUS Consulting Club gathered to find answers to these questions two weeks back. The guest speaker was Associate Professor Jochen Wirtz (Academic Co-Director of UCLA-NUS Executive MBA Program).

Prof. Wirtz, in the classic case-method-teaching-style, asked us to come prepared with a case centered on ‘failed attempts of cross-selling”. The discussion began with “a-day-in-the-life-of-consultant” and then quickly moved to the case discussion in general.

Some of the points highlighted during the discussion were: (Actuarial Services vis-a-vis consulting services)

  • Difference in target customer segment
  • Both are at the extreme end of the consulting value chain ( management consulting is at the top end where each project is dynamic and can command a premium for their services while the Pension fund auditing is a repeat business and cookie cutter approach forming a lower end of the value chain)
  • Management consulting invests & relies heavily on the people while actuarial services relies heavily on the process and software developed and as a result, their strengths develop in their respective focus areas.
  • Difference in marketing approach

After the case discussion, consulting as a profession was touched upon. Briefly put, life of a consultant is not easy but at the same time, it is a good base to start your career with. The key skills required for a consultant are – no prizes for guessing – communication & analytical skills.

Prof Wirtz also shared his experiences as a consultant and shared various instances of his life as a consultant.

Some of the books which you’d find interesting if you have plans of taking up consulting as career:

  • CONSULTING DEMONS “Inside the Unscrupulous World of Global Corporate Consulting” By Lewis Pinault
  • Confessions of an Economic Hit Man By John Perkins
  • WOODEN: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections By John Wooden
  • The McKinsey Way by Ethan M Rasiel

Other recommended reading to help you be more prepared for the game:

  • Flying High in a Competitive Industry: Cost-Effective Service Excellence at Singapore Airlines by Loizos Heracleous, Jochen Wirtz, Nitin Pangarkar – This book provides insights into a simple but intriguing question: How has SIA managed to outperform other flag-carriers for decades, in an industry where it is notoriously difficult to succeed consistently?
  • Services Marketing by Christopher Lovelock and Jochen Wirtz – Textbook with a strong focus in managerial orientation and strategic focus, using conceptual frameworks that have been classroom tested for relevance, incorporating key academic research findings, and including selected readings and cases to accompany the text chapters

Anshuman and Vamsi Krishna Reddy