An Interview with a Wall Street Strategy Consultant
Meet Sarah Abigail, the co-founder at Ironbound Consulting Group. Sarah works to generate value and world changing ideas for companies. She attributes her keen eye for improving corporations to her childhood globetrotting experiences, where she has seen undeveloped countries grow, and watched industries rise and fall. We talked to Sarah about the typical background of a strategy consultant and the future of the industry. Here’s what she had to say:
If a position like yours were to appear in the employment section of the classifieds, how might it read?
A group of creative business wizards are looking to partner with an ivy league graduate who is well traveled, an expert at something interesting, who is always positive and optimistic, with a penchant for solving challenging problems, and a willingness to master very complex systems in a very short amount of time.
What level of education is required to work in your field?
Generally a good strategy consultant has a graduate degree. Attending a university that has an exceptional reputation is an asset.
Do you have to be licensed or certified in your field?
Nope. You just need to be smart and creative.
What are some of your typical day-to-day activities?
My day is generally filled with reading, writing, meeting with clients, and going to dinner parties.
Could you describe the myths vs. realities in consulting?
There are many different types of consulting firms. Some are full of accountants who do regulatory work in back offices. Some are full of environmentalists who ride through storms on the ocean to collect data. Some consultants live modest lives in the suburbs, while others have run for President of the United States. For some firms, the myth is the reality.
How marketable is a career in this field? Do you feel that there is good job security in consulting?
You get out of consulting what you put in to it. The more you learn, the greater your marketability.
Do you feel that there is potential for growth in this field?
The world needs more strategy consultants who care about the planet. I expect more growth in consulting fields that help society, from sustainability to philanthropy.
What’s one of the most interesting or unusual situations that happened to you in work?
Every day is interesting and unusual. I meet a lot of exciting people. The most interesting time is when I meet someone who is really passionate about their start-up, especially when they work on it without a salary, and they are really happy to be pursuing their dream.
What do you like most about this career?
I like how narratives play such an important role in marketing a product, from consumable goods to investment banking products. Each narrative has it’s own distinct set of philosophies, and anthropological connotations. My favorite part about being a strategy consultant is to analyze those nuances, and help clients re-position them to create value for their customers, employees, and society.
What do you like least about this career?
There is nothing to dislike about being a strategy consultant.
What type of personality traits do you think are desirable for someone going into this career?
The best personality trait for a strategy consultant is someone who likes to read when they don’t have to. It is also essential to be smart, creative, and have a fun personality.