It's true that most management consultants spend a lot of time away from the office, at their clients' locations. It's an ongoing part of the job. Management consultants travel to meet with clients, gather information, and perform on-site analysis. This is going to be a long post because there are many types of consultancies with specific travel and work requirements.
Consulting can be a great way to gain experience in all kinds of areas, but it also means that you must constantly adapt and be as flexible as possible with your skills, time and work style. Consulting is really the art of establishing connections not just in terms of work, but, perhaps more importantly, with people. Consulting firms realize this and most are trying to achieve some kind of work-life balance. Before the pandemic, many consultants were expected to spend 60 to 80 percent of their time traveling for work.
When I worked in the industry (i.e., consulting, for jobs not related to consulting), I made a to-do list for the day, and most of the time, I did just that. Sheila is a senior consultant in Ernst & Young's Health Counseling Practice, where she works with healthcare organizations across the country focusing on operational efficiency issues. From Kalon, The Bachelorette's luxury brand consultant, who made his grand entrance to the show by helicopter (seriously, even I can't defend you, Kalon) to the popular phrase “consultants pick up your watch and tell you what time it is”, the image isn't always positive. Known as a highly paid and demanding profession for people who wanted to learn a lot about business, he said that management consultants were expected to always be present on site.
A typical consulting firm tells its consultants to expect to be out of the office several days a month for the first year and 2 to 3 days a week for the following years. It can be easy to get lost in the mass stampede of type A personalities often seen in consulting firms, especially large ones. What advantages in attracting and retaining talent could one of the big four management consulting firms have gained if only it had been willing to think and act differently with respect to travel “requirements” before the arrival of COVID? In my experience, during my stay at Deloitte, I traveled from Monday to Sunday while the projects lasted, with an occasional internal project, or on the beach for a few weeks. In addition, consulting imbues its employees with an extraordinary amount of discipline and technique that they could hardly acquire at such an intense and concentrated level elsewhere.
If investment banks are famous for their infinitely long working hours, consulting firms are known for their continuous travels.