Blue Chip Consulting Firms: A Malfunctioning System?

August 14, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_tNote: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

Blue chip consulting companies require engagements from organizations willing to pay for “expertise.” Generative software can provide an answer quickly. Instead of having many MBAs and people with “knowledge” of a technology provide senior partners with filtered information, software can do this work quickly and at lower cost.

8 12 broken machine

A senior consultant looks at a malfunctioning machine. The information he used to recommend the system resulted in the problem which has turned into an unanticipated problem. Instead of a team of young MBAs with engineering degrees, he has access to smart software. Obviously someone will notice this problem. “Now what?” he asks himself.

Consulting Firms Like Accenture Are Giving Recent Grads $25,000 Stipends to Push Back Their Start Dates” suggests that blue chip consulting firms are changing the approach to bringing new human resources on board. The write up reports:

Work has been slow at many top consulting firms over the past year. New hires straight out of business school are running errands and watching Netflix — to the tune of $175,000 a year — because there’s not enough work to go around. Others are being offered tens of thousands dollars to push their start dates back to next year.

Let’s assume that this report about “not enough work to go around” is accurate. What does this suggest to, a person who has worked at a blue chip consulting firm and provided services to blue chip consulting firms in my work career?

  1. The pipeline of work to be done is not filled or overflowing. Without engagements, billing is difficult. Without engagements, scope changes are impossible. Perhaps the costs of blue chip consultants is too high?
  2. Are clients turning to lower-cost options for traditional management consulting services? Outfits like Gerson Lehrman Group sells access to experts at a lower cost per contact than a blue chip firm? Has the gig economy crimped the sales pipeline?
  3. Is technology like ChatGPT-type services provide “good enough” information so companies can eliminate the cost and risk of hiring a blue chip consulting firm? (I think the outfits probably should be conservative in their use ChatGPT-type outputs, but today the “good enough” approach is the norm.)

Net net: Blue chip consulting firms are in the influence game. The delayed “start work” information indicates that changes are taking place in the market which supports these firms. The firms themselves are making changes. The signal summarized by the cited article may be a glitch. On the other hand, perhaps there is a malfunction in the machinery of what has been a smoothly-running machine for more than a century?

Stephen E Arnold, August 14, 2023


Comments are closed.

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta