August 26, 2014

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 visions of reliable and regular activities that fill your day 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, 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 towards strong professional credentials while gaining valuable insight into diverse industries and performing multiple functions.  However, this value proposition is not without its compromises.  Traditional consulting also requires hefty travel and long hours.  Often times, 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.

At Kenway, we have implemented a different kind of consulting model: a form of the profession with all the strengths and few of the weaknesses.  By focusing on the Chicagoland-area, we have negated 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 helps keep our workforce happy, productive, and family-oriented.  Furthermore, a large and growing client base with varying engagements maintains the career development trajectory that is a hallmark of consulting.  Finally, a strong foundation in our Guiding Principles keeps us sure-footed as we navigate growth and challenges with our model.

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 towards 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.

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