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Consulting Continuum

Post Event Highlights

The theme of today’s event was all encompassing and called for both widespread and specific treatment. Prof. Anand Patwardhan, esteemed faculty of SJMSOM inaugurated the event and addressed the audience highlighting the philosophy of SJMSOM and pedigree of Continuums at SJMSOM. The event started with an inspiring speech by Mr. Shishir Kapoor, Country head, Opera Solutions on “Role of Data Analytics in Facilitating Profitable Business Growth” followed by a talk on “A Consultant’s Perspective on new economic environment” by Mr. Sameer Bapat, Operations Strategy Leader, Global Delivery, IBM. The next event was a lively Panel Discussion on ‘Generalists or Specialists’.

We also had Mr. Vinod Kala, Founder, Emergent Ventures sharing his experiences on “Optimism about the future of Clean-tech and the caution that needs to be exercised” and also Mr. Tarun Mishra, Founder, Covacsis putting forth his thoughts on “Emerging trends in Consulting”. Later, all aspiring consultants in audience benefited immensely from talk on “Consulting As a Career” by Mr. Rakesh Barik, Director, Deloitte. It was followed by felicitation ceremony of CONVOLUTED – pre event of Consulting Continuum 2010. Mr. Rakesh Barik awarded prizes & certificates to the winning teams. Finally, the event concluded with a vote of thanks from Vishal Singh, Coordinator, ConSIG, the consulting club of SJMSOM that was chiefly instrumental in conducting Consulting Continuum 2010.

Panel Discussion:

Continuums 2010 featured a panel discussion on the theme:
“Rising from Ashes: Who would be more effective Specialists or Generalists”.

The panel comprised of:

· Mr. Ryan Lowe, Vice President, Avalon Consulting;
· Mr. Rajesh Iyer, Director, Cedar Management Consulting;
· Mr. Kedar Gadgil, Managing Consultant, PricewaterhouseCoopers and
· Mr. Sameer Bapat, IBM Strategy

Moderated by: Mr. Abhishek Thakore, ex-BCG consultant & a budding entrepreneur

The discussion kicked off with Mr. Rajesh Iyer sharing his thoughts about how the duration of the work experience is a major factor in branding oneself as a specialist or a generalist. He stressed upon the importance of working in industry before one jumps on the consultants bandwagon as the job of a consultant demands a tenacity to solve problems and look beyond the obvious – a trait that gets built over years of relevant experience in industry. On a critical note, he also questioned the contemporary approach followed by consultants to be at the centre stage of reacting after a crisis and their inability to keep a hawk eye on activities that can be improved on various parameters.

Moving the discussion further, Mr. Sameer Bapat threw some light on how a consultants’ life can be graphed as a curve which starts off from being a generalist and moves on to become a specialist after building on the pillars of knowledge, experience and skill sets gained thereby. He stressed upon the importance of traits like flexibility, eagerness to equip oneself equipped with new business models to be distinguished as an indispensable resource for the organization. He summed up his point by suggesting that ‘Context’ and not the role of being a generalist or a specialist matters in moving up the ladder.

Mr. Ryan Lowe mirrored Mr. Rajesh Iyer thoughts about the role of a relevant work experience as a vital parameter to chart out a successful career. He also laid to rest some of the myths about any bias against generalist or specialist during a downturn and emphasized on the relevance of the consultant in the existing business scenario as the only factor that makes him indispensable or vice versa.

On a similar note, Mr. Kedar Gadgil, on the basis of his personal experience and the numerous career progressions that he witnessed, suggested that it would be very helpful to have a considerable work experience in some industry vertical and working as a generalist, learning the business aspects in the given capability before donning the hats of a specialist.

Mr. Rajesh also chipped in some thoughts about how the final motive of a consulting assignment paved the way for a consultant to act as a generalist or a specialist. Throwing some light on the career graph of a consultant, he highlighted how sound technical skills are of paramount importance during the initial years of a consultant when he is new to various business models and hence it takes some time for him to be equipped with intellectual matter before he can contribute effectively in client meetings.

While discussing typical risks and numerous interactions with a diverse clientele, everyone concurred on sticking to personal and professional ethos to maintain the standards of consulting services.

The entire discussion was superbly moderated by Mr. Abhishek Thakore ensuring that all possible viewpoints being raised and thoroughly discussed among all panelists.

Finally the discussion concluded on an optimistic note with everyone concurring that it should solely be the decision and ‘Dream’ of an individual that should propel him to choose the relevant organization based on a holistic understanding of his strengths and his ambitions than merely the brand or the pay packet, and consequently work his way passionately up the way.

Navish Dogra
Member- ConSIG, the Consulting Club of SJMSOM