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Make sure you have the skills for consultancy

Published on Thursday, 09 Aug 2012
Rebecca Cheung

With three years of experience notched up in the HR field, I would like to explore changing my career to management consultancy as the next step. However, with only a lower second-class graduate arts degree from the University of Hong Kong, it seems that my analytical background is less than outstanding compared to other candidates. Right now I am trying to gain exposure to HR analytics in my current job and am also planning to take the CFA exam to strengthen my finance, business and analytical skills. Is my approach feasible? KW

With your three years’ experience in HR, and probably already some exposure to HR analytics work, it is possible to gradually transition to a management-consultancy role with a focus on organisational or HR consulting.

Although, broadly speaking, both are concerned with data analysis, the CFA qualification is for people who want to pursue careers in the finance and investment sector – particularly in financial-investment analysis and management – whereas HR analytics is essentially concerned with the analysis of human capital investment. Be clear that these are two distinct work domains requiring different qualifications, technical knowledge and professional experience.

Assuming you would consider the HR consulting route, further study focusing on HR-related courses or an MBA would be more practical in enhancing your understanding of theory and practice.

Management consulting is indeed a highly sought-after career by ambitious young graduates. It is therefore important to think about personal attributes that are needed to be successful in the role. Are you someone who is good at conceptual and creative thinking? Are you energised by working with clients and project teams? Do you see uncertainty as opportunity? I hope these thoughts and questions will make you think from a broader perspective.

Rebecca Cheung, managing director Greater China of the cut-e Group, is an expert in assessment and psychometric testing for talent selection, leadership development, succession planning and career guidance

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