Strategy consultants help organizations analyze and solve some of their most challenging business problems. These problems are typically ill-defined and cross-functional, with several critical unknowns. There is either too little data or too much data. Client personnel frequently hold conflicting views on the situation. And there’s simply not enough time or resources to get to sculpt the perfect solution.
How do successful strategy consultants navigate this complex terrain, engagement after engagement? They deploy an established set of structured problem-solving, communication, and influencing skills that help them bring clarity and structure to the business problem, swiftly develop a relevant fact base, identify the appropriate solution and gain organizational buy-in.
This course exposes students to this suite of consulting skills. The emphasis in the course is on developing structured problem-solving skills, with additional focus given to communication and influencing skills. The learnings from the course are broadly applicable across business functions and across industries, and besides their relevance to consulting, will be valuable in corporate strategy assignments, business development and entrepreneurship.
The course is organized around the phases of a typical strategy engagement: problem definition, problem structuring, data gathering & analysis, recommendations development & presentation. Students will get to learn and practice specific consulting tools and principles associated with each of these five phases, such as issue trees, hypothesis-driven problem-solving, interview guides and the pyramid principle.
The course emphasizes hands-on practice and real-time feedback. Formal discussion of consulting tools and skills will be supplemented by mini-cases and strategy cases based on real-life engagements. Students will get a number of opportunities to exercise and hone the skills they are introduced to during the course. The course will meet on April 20 & 21 only.
Professor of Professional Practice
Hitendra Wadhwa is Professor of Practice at Columbia Business School and founder of the Institute for Personal Leadership (IPL). He teaches Columbia's most popular MBA leadership class on Personal Leadership & Success. He also teaches MBA and Executive Education programs on Driving Strategic Impact and Leading from the Inside Out, and has received the Executive-MBA Commitment to Excellence Award, the Dean's Award...