At Sapere, our consultants come from a wide variety of backgrounds. As they grow and develop in the consulting role, they can focus on and specialize in a variety of subjects. What does our career progression for consultants look like, and what type of growth and development should our newest hires expect after they become part of the team? Read on to find out more about the paths taken by some of our most important staff members.
Starting at the beginning
"We work to make sure that every consultant is exposed to each part of our business while they learn the key skills to being a consultant."
While education and experience can differ greatly between one freshly onboarded consultant and the next, our goal is the same for all new consultants – to expose them to different project types, styles, and subject matter while allowing for individual exploration and decision-making.
New staff gain experience in both our two major areas of expertise – energy and technology – and work on a variety of projects, alongside a number of more senior consultants, to gain a more thorough understanding of the work we do each and every day.
This broad-based cultivation of practical knowledge helps season our newest consultants and gives them a knowledge base that can inform future decisions. With exposure to all major aspects of our operations, consultants learn how we manage projects and how they react to working on them, two critical elements that aid them in developing further as professionals.
Our annual career-planning sessions with lead consultants in our offices are another critical element of building a career path. Balancing the flexibility needed in consulting careers with a structure that helps individual employees set goals for development means productive and meaningful development. Some areas beginning consultants may choose to focus on include project management certification, data analysis classes and exposure to certain clients and projects they haven't yet worked on. Such an approach ensures these less-senior consultants can experience all aspects of Sapere and find a path that best suits them.
The value of real-world, customer-facing experience
"Working directly with clients is an invaluable source of experience for our consultants."
One of the most important elements of gaining experience and defining a career path comes from interacting with clients and getting involved in a variety of projects. The knowledge that comes from working internally with Sapere's senior consultants and other knowledgeable staff members can give valuable context to a consultant's future options and upcoming decisions in terms of pursuing a specific concentration.
Similarly, working alongside clients and understanding their needs, goals and perspective is invaluable for understanding how many projects will develop and be executed in the future. This kind of education is hard – if not impossible – to provide in any setting except on the job. That in turn is a major reason why we believe in letting less-experienced consultants gain such experience and use it to help guide themselves on their career paths.
The 2 major concentrations
Although some exceptions exist, most of our consultants focus on one of two areas: energy and technology.
Consultants with a concentration in the energy sector work with senior consultants and leaders to develop a strong understanding of the energy industry. They also take classes, earn certifications and generally build their expertise. Another important element in their continuing development is expanding their portfolio of projects and taking on more responsibility as time goes on. Consultants tend to develop specializations along with this broad industry knowledge, a vital attribute that bolsters skill sets and gives us a diverse array of staff to take on a wide variety of projects.
Many of those same skills are critical for consultants pursuing work in the technology sector, although those choosing the field tend to have a further division: a focus on technical aptitude, coding and similar vital skills, or an emphasis on services and bridging the gap between the technical side of a project and the business or product side. Those on the services side also ensure smooth development and make a variety of suggestions to clients about the best choices for specific projects.
The diversity of experience
A diverse skill set is invaluable when it comes to securing future projects and building successful relationships with clients. We give our consultants the power to choose their own development structure and drive their careers in the direction they specifically want to go.
Both before and after choosing a concentration, consultants benefit from exposure to a wide variety of clients and projects, helping them choose the best possible method for professional growth. In return, we expect our consultants to be vocal about their interests and desires for their careers going forward, making sure everyone is on the same page about skill development and experience accrual. The end result is career flexibility and, frequently, the chance to develop specific skills in the manner an individual consultant thinks is best.