Career Advice Career Guidance and Counselling

Advice for advisers

With a view to expanding their reach in APAC and increasing the number of skilled staff in order to stimulate growth, global management consultancies are in hiring mode.

In Hong Kong, the financial services industry - banking, insurance, asset management - remains the dominant focus for consultancies in terms of client base. Furthermore, advising clients on issues related to strategic and operational business improvement forms the core of the work they are winning. From integrating processes, people and platforms after a merger, to aiding the integration of new technologies, there is demand for talent not only from consulting backgrounds, but also the financial services industry itself.

Let's say you've been working for a leading retail bank as they go through a major finance transformation. You will understand the processes internally in great depth, and may have even been working with Big Four consultants advising on the project. But is this enough? What really qualifies you in the eyes of the partners at a consultancy to make the transition?

The differentiator is not only soft skills - specifically an ability to engage with and influence stakeholders in complex projects - but also an ability to understand how individual processes fit into the bigger picture, and offer solutions making commercial sense.

The human factor and calibre of a firm's workforce is the crucial component that differentiates the leading consultancies. The move to consulting is certainly possible, but you must be willing to embrace the importance of softer skills if you really want to stand out from the crowd.

Katharine de Vaal, senior consultant for strategy and transformation – Hong Kong, ConnectedGroup