Hello to all,

So, I am in need of some advice. In a few short months i'll be graduating from college and starting my career at a well-known boutique/mid-size management consulting firm. I really want to become a rock-star in the firm, and I know that competition is pretty stiff. My goal is to become a engagement manager in 2 years, and who knows after that. I know it may be a little ambitious, but I am up for the challenge. So, do any of you successful managers have any advice interms of the things I should do in the first 100 days to put me on the road to manager. Any feedback or advice is welcomed!! THANKS!!! :wink:

bffranklin's picture
Training Badge

Hi, future, and welcome to MT!

Mark has commonly stated that the goal for the first 90 days is to fit in, fit in, fit in. Resist the urge to rock the boat right away -- if you're going to rock it, rock it while you do it their way.

You may also want to read The First 90 Days, which is a fantastic book (recommended by MT and many forum members) that talks about speeding your transition into a new role. I just finished my first read of the book, and I'm finding it tremendously helpful as I transition into my first real managerial role.

Ultimately, I think the best goal for someone fresh out of college is to figure out a) who you need to have a relationship with in order to succeed, and b) who you need to have a relationship with in order to advance. Start building those relationships!

jhack's picture

And in management consulting firms, doing great client work is the key to success. It leads clients to buy more services, and that is the holy grail.

Good luck.


HMac's picture

And in management consulting firms, being "on the beach" is to be avoided (that is, in-between engagements and not producing billings). So learn to "look down the road" a bit; develop a sense for when your current project has passed it's peak and is beginning to throttle back. That's the time for you to expecially keep your eyes and ears open.

How do you stay off the beach?

1) Produce value for clients... AND 2) Be somebody who excellent leaders want on their team. You do those two things in a professional services firm, and you'll be fine.


tcomeau's picture
Training Badge

Mark's story of his job at Proctor and Gamble illustrates what I think is the main thing to keep in mind. Mark's job was to sell Crest toothpaste. He did a number of things to accomplish that, but the key to his success was... he sold toothpaste. My point is, do the work.

If you were coming to work for me to do systems engineering, the most important thing you could do is really understand how systems fit together, and capture that understanding in documents that describe functions and interfaces. Since you're going into consulting, as others have said, you need to do whatever it is your firm does to deliver value to clients. Fit in, do what your firm does, and do it as well as you can.

The second thing I suggest is that you look for opportunities to help other people solve their problems. I first got a leadership role on a project because when my boss's boss said "We need somebody to do this..." I didn't sit there and wait to be picked. I literally followed him out of the conference room and said "I want to do that, and here's why."

So first, do the work. Like most of us, you probably have a lot to learn, so do that work first. It will be easier to learn, and to get the work done, if you have relationships with people who can help you, and who you can help in return. So invest in building relationships, with your boss, with your colleagues, with your clients.

Second, when something needs to be done, step up.


terrih's picture

What Tom said. Brilliant.

BJ_Marshall's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

I offer you these two links to really get your footing in your new position:

1. [url=]The First Rule for New Managers[/url] This is where you get the "fit in, fit in, fit in" advice.
2a. [url= Starting Internal Customer Relationships, Part 1 of 2[/url]
2b. [url= Starting Internal Customer Relationships, Part 2 of 2[/url] Because external clients aren't your only customers; you need to foster great relationships with people you work with, too.

Armed with this information for your first 90 days, you'll be solid.


bflynn's picture

Be positive, smile, be the first to volunteer for the high profile job. Make sure you understand the results expected. Over deliver those results.

Accept that maybe you get dealt a bad hand, such as a damaged relationship. Or a really easy job where perfect delivery is the standard. Either way, you won't have the chance to stand out.


trandell's picture

You are getting great advice here, which I second and third. Ambition is a wonderful way to keep your fire stoked and performance up. Ambition is a killer if people perceive you are out for you and you alone. Be very careful of the perception you allow people to form by choosing your behavior wisely.

Focus on what you can do for the firm's clients and for your colleagues. Always look for ways you can help others solve their problems. If you are selfless and act for the good of the firm and the clients, the rewards will come to you.

Where I have worked for the past five years it is the people that put themselves after client, firm, then team that rise to the top and are thought the best of.

svgates's picture

So first, do the work. Second, when something needs to be done, step up.

Tom, I'm going to start keeping a list of the gems I find here and make myself a Horstman's Laws Appendix. This one's a keeper!


FutureMGR's picture

Thank you all for the great advice!!! :D

quentindaniels's picture
Training Badge

FutureMGR, you're exactly where I was 1 year ago (save that I do not work for a consulting company.)

You will find a lot of great advice from the podcasts and discussion forums. I hope that you will stay active after this thread. For me the discussion boards are one of my best resources.

You've already been given some great advice, none of which I will alter. My recommendation for you is to define (to yourself) 1.) Where you want to be 2.) What is going to get you there 3.) & the best resources to get you there


1.) To receive an offer to re-locate internationally
2.) Great Work Product, Strong Relationships with Current International Partners, Strong Relationships with All Past and Current Managers, Foreign Language Fluency, and a Pulse on World Events
3.) Manager-Tools podcasts X,Y, and Z, Never Eat Alone (the book), Rosetta Stone software, Subscription to the Economist

Lots of my peers know their number 1 e.g. to be a Marketing Manager or a Sales Consultant.

In my eyes they struggle in number 2 and especially 3. They say: “I’m going to get here early and leave late everyday, so everyone sees how hard I work” OR “I’m going to respond my emails immediately so people know I’m on top of my game”

That’s all great, and its not enough to get you ahead. I don’t wish diminish work product, but there are other factors that contribute to your success e.g. relationships. Define and then create the circumstances you need to get to where you want to be.

Lastly, put considerable thought into the resources you are going to trust to guide our actions. You are right out of school and you don’t know very much. I am right out of school and I don’t know very much. Frankly, I have a lot to learn. For either of us to be effective we need to learn quickly AND we need to learn the right things.

For example, you can let your uncle who’s a pilot guide your actions OR you can listen to Mike and Mark. You can do exactly what You would want in a given situation (assuming you were your boss) OR you can ask many other professionals what They might consider effective. Be smart about whom you let guide your actions.

In closing: Be Goal Oriented, Be Strategic, And be Mindful of what you ground yourself in. The MT community has not failed me yet.