Ask any recruiter at any strategy consulting firm to summarise what they screen for in new hires, and you’ll most likely hear them talk about three things:
Analytics: can a candidate analyse and draw the right conclusions from convoluted data sets?
Structure: can they take a complex problem and map out an approach to solving it?
·EQ: can they empathise and connect with other people, getting the tone and clarity of their comms right every time?
But what if a technology was invented that could perform these tasks better than a human could, and do it all in less than a second…?
I'm sure you all know where I'm going with this: does AI present an existential threat to strategy consulting?
At General Purpose, we believe AI tools will enhance - not displace - human accomplishment.
AI has the potential to do the menial parts of your job - the 50% that you really don't want to do - freeing you to perform your consulting work more efficiently, with better output, and an improved work-life balance.
Through our workshops, we’ve observed how AI tools are boosting productivity and performance in almost all industries. Whether it's finance, retail, consulting, recruiting or marketing, we've seen AI leave an indelible footprint across the board.
Here are four ways in which AI will have a major impact on your career in strategy consulting by the end of this year.
1) Greater Efficiency
AI's most significant potential in strategy consulting lies in its ability to enhance efficiency. Consulting is traditionally known for its long hours, high stress, and complex problem-solving requirements. AI can take a bite out of these challenges by automating routine tasks, crunching large amounts of data quickly, and providing predictive analytics.
Consider the painstaking data gathering and analysis that is central to every consulting engagement. AI tools can scrape, clean, and process data from various sources, dramatically reducing the time required. It can go a step further by applying machine learning algorithms to this data, offering actionable insights without the manual labour that would typically be required.
AI can also automate various administrative tasks that eat up valuable consulting time, such as scheduling meetings, managing deadlines, and even drafting emails. This allows consultants to focus on the more strategic aspects of their work, thereby increasing overall efficiency.
But how do you actually put this into practice? Education and experimentation are key - working out what will work best for your role and tasks, and which elements of AI are likely to add the most value. It is worth the deep dive - General Purpose attendees tell us that our three-hour ‘Intro to AI’ workshop saves them at least an hour every working day.
"...We believe AI tools will enhance - not displace - human accomplishment.
AI has the potential to do the menial parts of your job - the 50% that you really don't want to do - freeing you to perform your consulting work more efficiently, with better output, and an improved work-life balance."
2) Enhanced Outputs
Next, let's talk about how AI can help produce better outputs and improve communication with clients. A number of AI-powered presentation and spreadsheet add-ins are now available, which can streamline the creation of reports and documents. We get hands-on with these in our workshops.
AI-powered presentation add-ins can offer suggestions for optimal slide layouts, automatically adjust fonts and colours for consistency, and even generate relevant visuals based on text content. They can also review your presentations, pointing out areas that could benefit from clarification or simplification.
Spreadsheet add-ins, on the other hand, can help with more complex data analysis, visualisation, and predictive modelling. They can automatically highlight key trends and outliers in the data, generate charts and tables for easy understanding, and even predict future trends based on existing data. Moreover, it can be as simple as writing "=GPT()" in a cell.
3) Improved Work-Life Balance
An often-overlooked potential of AI in consulting is its ability to improve work-life balance. By automating routine tasks and enhancing output efficiency, consultants can cut down on their working hours without sacrificing the quality of their work.
For example, AI tools can take over data analysis tasks overnight, allowing consultants to make better use of their working hours and clock off at a reasonable time. This can also reduce the likelihood of burnout, a common issue in the consulting industry, and improve overall job satisfaction.
4) New Service Offerings
Finally, AI offers an exciting new service offering for consultants: AI strategy. As businesses increasingly adopt AI, they often need help understanding the technology's potential and integrating it into their existing systems. This is where strategy consultants can add real value.
A notable example is the Bain x OpenAI joint venture. OpenAI, headed up by Sam Altman, is best known as the powerhouse behind ChatGPT. Bain has collaborated with OpenAI to roll out a range of consulting solutions to help clients embed AI tools in their workflow. Use cases range from improving efficiency at customer contact centres through using GPT to generate personalised communications, to building innovative marketing microsites for Coca-Cola using image generation.
If you are an independent consultant, you can also offer services in AI strategy, helping clients understand where and how AI can benefit their business.
This might involve identifying suitable use cases, developing an AI implementation roadmap, or even assisting with vendor selection and management. By leveraging your existing consulting skills and a deep understanding of AI, you can differentiate yourself in the market and offer high-value services to your clients.
"AI tools can take over data analysis tasks overnight, allowing consultants to make better use of their working hours and clock off at a reasonable time. This can also reduce the likelihood of burnout, a common issue in the consulting industry, and improve overall job satisfaction."
Want to learn more about AI?
Whether you are sceptical or enthused by the advances in AI, it’s here to stay. If you want to get ahead of the competition, learn how to use the available tools to your advantage as a strategy consultant and build a new skill set.
We’ve made this as easy as possible.
Freshminds has joined forces with General Purpose to offer access to a discounted workshops in 2023. If you are interested in using AI tools to improve your productivity and getting a head start in your knowledge of AI, sign up now and use code "FRESHMINDS" in checkout.
"This AI crash course is a quick but comprehensive dive into AI's backstory and what the future might hold. It's perfect for anyone keen to get their head around AI - and fast. I feel confident I can write better Chat GPT chat prompts that will help boost my efficiency at work."
-- Sylvie Francis