The Career Farm podcast - How my MBA prepared me for a successful career in consulting - with Surbhi Dhir

How an MBA transformed Surbhi's consulting career

Surbhi completed an MBA 9 years ago and went into consulting, moving from Accenture to Ernst & Young in 2013.

She thought the MBA was an opportunity to open doors and found it to be life-changing. In fact, in her words, an MBA is not a degree, it’s a transformation. An experience beyond modules, methods and projects, it which will transform you if you allow yourself to be transformed.

From MBA to consultingTo get the most from her MBA, Surbhi started with self-examination, determining what motivated her and what she found important and interesting as well as her core values. Doing the groundwork paid off for her with great results.

Some of the most important elements she learned from the MBA were time management, strength management and emotional management, but perhaps most importantly, it contributed to her maturity and ability to understand, respect, and work with different cultures.  With 27 nationalities in her class, she developed the ability to work with people from all walks of life and get her message across, then to go back with her team and modify her points.

Consultancy is about working with others as a team (the clue is in the name) and without developing those abilities you will only go so far in the field.  Which brings us nicely to what Surbhi describes as, post MBA, her “calling”—consultancy, which has provided her with a very satisfying career.

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The pros and cons of a career in Consulting

If there is never an ideal day in consulting. What is it that makes a good consultant?  The ability to work with other people is a must.  Add to that:

Versatility -- Which Surbhi ties to elements of personality, for example, how you go about getting the same message across to different audiences. (a junior member of staff vs a senior client)

Adaptability – Which Surbhi associates with the career element. How well do you cope with the different situations you will be working in?

Communication skills, written and oral, are extremely important, as is enjoying your team, especially since you will spend so much time in their company. Also, it helps if you enjoy travelling!

In this episode, Surbhi shares more hints for consulting success and achieving the all-important work/life balance, the holy grail in this busy field. She’s honest about the downsides too.

Surbhi has a refreshing take on what to consider when going for promotion, how to build a specialism and the importance of using both experience and contacts. Perhaps more important than what you know about your speciality is who you know and how they can help you.

Surbhi's career

  • Analyst - Schlumberger
  • Consultant - Accenture
  • MBA - Leeds University Business School
  • Senior Consultant - Accenture
  • Engagement Manager - Ernst & Young

Surbhi's personal blog

World on Heels

Consulting Case Studies

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If you're interested in studying for an MBA to help you reach your career goals, come and join the group.

If you've got questions about how best to use your MBA to further your career, or even if you should be doing an MBA at all, this group's for you. I'll be in there regularly to answer your questions and share resources, and there will be a community of people who can offer you support, encouragement and the benefit of their collective experience. As Surbhi said, it's all about making connections, some come and join us and kick start your career plans.

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