What can you bring to the table?


So what’s your background?

I used to work for Big Blue company… doing Network IT. I was basically in delivery and support

A puzzled look forms on his face as he tries to process what I just explained

Hmm… okay….

He’s trying to think something positive, something encouraging to say here

8 out of 10 people I have met have typically given me the look I described in the scenario above. And for some reason, I don’t blame them. I mean I too would find it odd if I met an experienced new hire who is currently doing management consulting but has had years of experience in IT support. It would make more sense if he joined as an IT System Intergrations Consultant or anything along the IT technical line.

So why do Management Consulting?

Well my background is in Business and Economics…


A small sight of relief… if anything

Seriously, apart from the words “Bacehlor in Business Administration and Economics” printed on a high quality foreign paper which has the emblem seal of a midsize Canadian university, what else can I bring into the world of management consulting?

RJ45? Firewall & Security? Routing and Switching?

I think sometimes people forget that professional experiences means more than just mere primary hot skills.  To me personally, I feel I have gained as much implicit skills as I have for my explicit skills during my tenure at Big Blue.  While my explicit skills may offer little help in my current role, I believe it’s my implicit skills that are proving to be advantageous to me in this new company.

For instance I am able to communicate well with my senior managers without feeling anxious or apprehensive.  I am able to quickly understand where my project manager is coming from when he is discussing with the team on a project. I am abit more experienced when it comes to handling clients and dealing with company politics, both internally and externally. My drive, and tenacity coupled with my do-it-till-it-gets-done attitude which I had learnt to hone during my days at Big Blue has proven to be a valuable intangible quality to my current organization.  I am able to be flexible to the needs of my project manager, and I can adapt fairly easy. Oh and lets not forget the leadership skills I have picked up during my years with Big Blue. Granted I may not be able to lead immediately in my new organization, but the seeds are there, the same seeds which sprouted and allowed me to lead at my network team in many ocassions, and they are planted in good fertile soil (i.e – good environment for demonstrating leadership attitrbutes).
To be frank, I don’t think these skills were in-born. I still remember when I started my career out as an network guy in Big Blue. For a real greenhorn who had absolutely ZERO IT skills, the only one valuable contribution I could offer to my fellow colleagues was my attitude; the attitude which calls for commitment, responsibility and reliability. I wanted my boss to know that even though I may lack technical knowledge, I was able still to use my intangible strengths to contribute to the department’s productivity.  Slowly these skills were seasoned and strengthened further with real life problems, occasional network crises and dealing with my upper management.

2 years down the road, with a little more experience under my belt, though I may not be able to offer pure technical skills anymore, au contraire I’m able to once again offer my intangible qualities to help contribute to the organization’s goals and objectives and it’s these skills which once helped get through my years with Big Blue will see me succeeding in this organization as well.

1 comment

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  • I completely hear you. The truth is, people switch career paths probably 6-7 times in their life on average (still have yet to find the credible source for that but I’m sure it’s true). It doesn’t mean that skills aren’t transferable if you simply have business sense and people skills – or as you describe them, professional skills. Dunno if you’ve read “Good to Great” or not, but the core of that book is it’s not about your company’s mgmt style or anything – it’s all about the “who” you hire. 🙂 Attitude really is everything.



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