May 02, 2023

Consulting as a Career

Often times when people think of careers, they consider fields and professions with stability, routine and regularity. The traditional sense of the word “job” conjures up visions of reliable and regular activities that fill your day, and that you learn to love. There’s a sense of comfort in knowing what every day will be like, and that repetition will lead to a strong sense of confidence.

Nowadays, consulting has risen to become a popular and growing field for young professionals starting their careers, as well as new MBAs pursuing fresh paths. Unlike the situation detailed above, consulting is not a traditional job. It varies on a regular basis, and you are posed problems that are unique, challenging and require critical thinking. You are pushed to apply new perspectives to age-old problems and generate novel solutions that reassess the status quo. The very attributes that make consulting difficult also make it attractive.

By developing skills through challenging assignments, consulting provides an accelerated path toward strong professional credentials, while gaining valuable insights into diverse industries as you perform multiple functions. However, this value proposition is not without its compromises. Traditional consulting also requires hefty travel and long hours. Often, a Monday through Thursday travel schedule is complemented with weekend work and periodic weekend trips in support of the engagement. This leaves little to no room for a personal life. As such, most individuals at the top of the traditional consulting pyramid struggle to juggle work and life.

Kenway was built on a different kind of consulting model: a form of the profession with all the strengths and few of the weaknesses. When Kenway was in its infancy and all consultants were local, we focused our work on the Chicagoland-area, allowing us to negate the travel component of consulting. An emphasis on services, respect for the individual, and balancing time to meet deadlines in the office as well as at home helped keep our workforce happy, productive and family-oriented. As Kenway expanded, a large and growing client base with varying engagements allowed us to ensure the career development trajectory that is a hallmark of consulting.

Kenway has evolved since our founding in 2004 and the pandemic has changed how we work. We now have clients across the country and colleagues on different continents. Through this, we have kept true to the strategy that has allowed us to retain a strong employee base. Our consultants are still not expected to travel. Work-from-home is an increasingly feasible option. Kenway employees are still given the same flexibility to manage their work in a way that aligns with their personal lives.

By practicing a different kind of consulting, we are able to balance work and life while also delivering excellent results. By taking care of the most important parts of a professional services firm (the people and the client), Kenway represents an attempt at disrupting the consulting industry by connecting the best of consulting with the best of more traditional jobs, combining challenging, valuable work with local locations and dependable schedules. The path has not been easy, but it has been quite rewarding for all those involved. As we continue our journey toward redefining such a promising field, it is critical that we keep an eye on all factors to make sure we all “walk the walk” the right way.

Learn more about Kevin’s thoughts on Kenway and why he’s choosing to stay.

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