About the OG #girlconsultant

Hey, future #girlconsultant,

How lovely to meet you. I am Tanja. I started my consulting career in my early 20s, in Germany, specializing in supply chain and engineering. Generally, there are not many women in engineering, let alone in consulting in engineering. Thus, I am not your average Josephine, and this is not your average book. I am guessing you are not average either, if you are considering consulting. 

Excellent. Looks like we are already two birds of a feather… I am your narrator, or tour guide, if you will, who will be ushering you through this book. I am your gal-pal, someone who has lived through a lot of situations–which I will be sharing with you, no matter how embarrassing they are. But don’t be fooled. We will talk about the lessons I have learned on the way and we will also dive into theory, concepts, definitions, and other unsexy things that I promise you are useful and equally important as an aspiring stellar #girlconsultant. 

I was a successful girl consultant, in the 6 years that I worked for a Big 4 earned a pretty decent salary for my early 20s. I worked in multiple countries all around Europe, I had gold statues at the major airlines and hotel chains. I went on to get my current employment as a result of the years that I spent in consulting. Not to mention while I was in consulting I started my own clothing and apparel line. The thing is that this book is not about how successful I was in consulting, this book is about me showing you how I learned all these things the hard way that you don’t have to: so there is not a lot of stories in here about me tooting my own horn, you will also read about the stops I made on the struggle bus. 

My intention with this book is to help you be successful. I want to tell you everything you need to know in order to excel in your first two years in consulting. However, this is not a phd thesis, so some topics are touched lightly. I am here to cheer you on, build up your confidence, and remind you what an amazing and capable person you are. Now, we may not be best friends yet, but we will be by the end of this book. Speaking of…let me give you a short tour of the book.

I have clustered this book into four parts, and depending on where you are in your consulting career (e.g. you may be looking to get into consulting; or you may have already secured a job, and are now wondering what your first project may look like), I have just the right material to help you make an informed decision on what your next step could look like. 

In the first part of this book, I focus on how to get into consulting, what consulting is, and the different types of consulting companies. I have written this part for anyone who is interested in giving consulting a go, but doesn't quite know how to tackle the process. Some of the things I will tell you cannot be found on any company's website, things you would only notice once you are working in consulting. Here are some examples of things that no one tells you; the pros and cons between the different consulting companies, what impact they may have on your career, and the different paths you can take within the industry. Basically I know the tea and I am serving it HOT. (And not just in this section of the book, but through every section…) 

The second part is about how to crack the interview. Consulting companies have their own format for interviews which I will deconstruct, explaining each piece so you can nail your interview I will go into the theory of the interview, and I will elaborate on my successful (and not so successful) interviews, aiming to provide a good picture of what an interview really looks like, and that is it okay if you bomb. Since my aim is also to help you get ahead, and statistics say, women in general don’t negotiate their salary, I will tell you about the contract, what to watch out for, what the standard models are (overtime, no overtime), and what a signing bonus is. 

In the third part of the book, I’ll address things that will be helpful to you once you have started in consulting, setting you up for success. A large chunk of this section dives really deeply into assertiveness. Understanding assertiveness will help you maneuver nearly everything at work, no matter where you are in the world. You’ll also come to understand you don't have to be outgoing to be assertive, nor super confident. Everyone can be assertive. Through being assertive and being able to spot assertiveness types in other people, you will realize that most people's behaviors are a reflection of them, and not of you. This will then give you more peace of mind and help you deal with stress so much better. In the latter half of this section, I review hard and soft skills–the ones I think are the most important to your consulting career and those that will serve you even if you decide to change career paths. 

The fourth part focuses on what it means to be a woman in consulting, because last time I checked, we did not have gender equality, YET, and there are ways to maneuver the terrain that the men in consulting don’t have to think about. In these chapters, I will help you navigate the world of consulting, from playing good company politics to staying authentic at the same time. Knowing what to consider when dressing for work, without falling into centuries old fashion do’s and don'ts. Plus, I will share my travel tips, because after so much time on the road, I have a few. And lastly, I will share how consulting empowered me to start my own fashion label, called Corner Office, because once you’ve got lots of mad skills you realize how much else you might be capable of. 

Before we are through, I assume you and I will be real friends. I will have told you some of my secrets, some of my most embarrassing stories, just like true-blue friends do. You will probably think: how could any of these be true? But it all happened. 

Now, as you read each chapter, be on the lookout for the ending pieces. Each chapter will end with tldr (too long didn’t read) part, where I summarize the chapters in true consulting manner via bullet points. Of course it will be so much more fun to read the chapter, but thats up to you! You may also come across some other fun and informative feature boxes throughout the chapters, such as: 

Tea time: the T in tea stands for truth; here I will share my real-life consulting stories

If you don’t know, now you know: These callouts are for terms or ideas that may be new for you. 

#girlconsultant life hacks: These are boxes that highlight one or two sentences, because we hope you’ll write that stuff down or commit it to memory. They are totally shareable, so if you post them to social media, too, I’d love that–just make sure you tag me so we can give you a virtual high-five for sharing the love (and the knowledge)!

Now, you may be wondering, how did it come about that I am sharing so much of my knowledge and so many of my own stories? Well, it all began in my first year in consulting. I always loved writing and I started an anonymous blog: #thegirlconsultant. Through that blog, I was sharing all I had learned with a community of young women. Over the years, I accumulated so many stories that it just made sense to cluster them all together, and create–a concise, witty and fantastic “how to be the woman in consulting, that you want to be” guide. 

Most consulting books are either truth tellers (uncovering the dirty laundry of a specific company that didn't make it into the papers) or a persiflage on consulting (the exaggeration of small things, such as a consultant's behavior traits and things that are typical to the lifestyle). I have not come across a book yet that is fun to read, yet informative, and also includes a bit of sass. So, I decided to write it. 

So, what’s the tea you ask? 

Well, let me tell you…sign up for the mailing list, and be the first to know when to pre-order!


Tanja, the original #girlconsultant