5 Lessons Learned Working for a Small Consulting Company: A Business Management Student’s Perspective

As a business management college student, landing a role at a small consulting company like 5P Consulting has been an enlightening journey. While a college education teaches you the theory behind business, being at 5P has actively shown me what it’s really like in the business world. I’ve had the privilege of immersing myself in the real-world intricacies of business operations, client management, and project coordination. As I reflect on my journey thus far, I’m compelled to share five profound lessons gathered during my time as an Operations Coordinator—lessons that have not only shaped my professional trajectory but have also enriched my personal growth.

1. Embracing a Supportive Company Culture:

One of the first things I noticed upon joining 5P was the emphasis placed on fostering a supportive company culture. Unlike larger corporations where mistakes can sometimes be frowned upon, 5P embraces a culture where errors are seen as opportunities for growth. Throughout my college educational journey, while professors often emphasize the importance of fitting into a perfect business mold and the repercussions of making mistakes in a competitive landscape, I have come to realize that mistakes are indispensable elements of the business world, as they provide invaluable opportunities for growth and learning. This company culture of learning and improvement creates an environment where I feel empowered to take risks and push boundaries. My mistakes are not met with criticism but rather with curiosity and encouragement. I am motivated to learn from my missteps and use them as stepping stones toward personal and professional development. Moreover, 5P prioritizes skill-building and training initiatives, providing me with ample opportunities to expand my knowledge and expertise. Whether it’s through work sessions, training, or hands-on projects, the company actively invests in my professional growth and development. Through this, I am able to stay ahead of the curve in an ever-evolving industry.

2. Opportunity for Hands-On Experience:

Working for a small consulting company has provided me with invaluable hands-on experience that simply cannot be replicated in a classroom setting. As an operations coordinator, my role has allowed me to gain a comprehensive understanding of the behind-the-scenes operations of how a business truly functions. On a daily basis, I’m involved in a wide array of administrative, operational, and marketing tasks that provide me with firsthand insights into the intricacies of running a successful business. From coordinating business-related events and managing client reports to overseeing data insights and executing marketing campaigns, my responsibilities span across various facets of the organization. This immersive experience has not only deepened my understanding of business operations but has also equipped me with practical skills and knowledge that complement my academic studies. By actively participating in the day-to-day operations of the company, I’ve gained a holistic perspective on the interplay between different departments and functions—a perspective that simply cannot be obtained from textbooks or lectures alone. Moreover, being actively involved in operational tasks has enabled me to streamline file organization, conduct timeline cleanups, and implement strategic marketing initiatives to optimize workflows and enhance productivity. This hands-on approach to problem-solving has been instrumental in my professional growth and has equipped me with the practical skills needed to thrive in the fast-paced world of business consulting.

3. Agility and Adaptability:

In the fast-paced world of consulting, agility and adaptability are essential traits for success. Through my job role, I’ve learned firsthand the importance of being flexible, nimble, and able to pivot quickly in response to changing business needs and marketing dynamics. Moreover, as a college student transitioning into the workforce, the ability to adapt to new environments, learn new skills, and pivot between tasks is essential for professional growth and success. My role as an operations coordinator has provided me with ample opportunities to hone these skills, whether it’s learning new software platforms, adapting to evolving project requirements, or collaborating with different individuals on my team. It’s taught me the importance of communication, teamwork, and embracing different perspectives—a lesson that’s just as important in the classroom as it is in the workplace environment.

4. Project Management Skills:

As a business management student, I have been eager to learn more about what the role of a project manager entails. While I have not been directly responsible for managing client projects, my experience of shadowing a project manager has provided me with invaluable insights into the intricacies of project management and its importance in ensuring successful outcomes. Coordinating various aspects of client projects and internal operations requires strong project management skills. Through this experience and being pulled in for client tasks, I’ve developed a solid foundation in several key project management skills like problem-solving, decision-making, task management and tracking, along with planning. Projects often encounter unexpected challenges and obstacles that require quick thinking and effective problem-solving. By observing how project managers make informed decisions under pressure and adapt their strategies to changing circumstances, I’ve developed the ability to identify issues, analyze root causes, and propose solutions to mitigate risks and overcome obstacles. Shadowing a project manager has also exposed me to the intricacies of task management and tracking. I’ve observed how project managers use management tools and software to assign tasks, track progress, and monitor project milestones. By participating in the tracking process and ensuring that tasks are completed on time, I’ve learned the importance of accountability and attention to detail in project execution. I’ve also gotten firsthand exposure to the process of project planning and organization. By observing how project managers break down complex projects into manageable tasks and establish timelines and milestones, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of the importance of thorough planning to ensure project success.

5. Being in a Steady State of Work:

Something that I don’t think is talked about enough is being in a steady state of work. In my journey through the business world, one of the most profound lessons I’ve learned is the significance of this. While the allure of tackling new projects and initiatives is undeniable, I’ve come to recognize that maintaining a consistent level of effort, even during periods of relative calm, is essential for the sustained success of any organization. Initially, like many entering the workforce, I harbored the expectation that work would always be filled with novel and exhilarating tasks, each day bringing fresh challenges to conquer. However, I soon came to realize that the day-to-day operations and ongoing marketing efforts, although less stimulating, form the backbone of a company’s operations. Embracing these periods of steady work, even when nothing seems particularly novel or urgent, is crucial for ensuring the stability and continuity of the business. It’s during these times that the wheels of the organization keep turning, allowing for the consistent delivery of products and services to clients and customers. Moreover, I’ve discovered that these quieter moments provide valuable opportunities to address tasks that may have been neglected during busier times, as well as to unleash creativity and delve into research or training initiatives that contribute to personal and professional growth. By embracing the ebb and flow of work, and recognizing the importance of maintaining a steady pace even amidst the excitement of new challenges, I’ve gained a deeper appreciation for the essential role that consistent effort plays in driving the long-term success and resilience of a business.

Overall, my time at 5P has been nothing short of enlightening. From embracing a supportive company culture to gaining hands-on experience in business operations, each lesson learned has contributed to my growth as a business management student. As I look ahead to the next chapter of my journey, I carry with me the invaluable insights, skills, and experiences that I’ve acquired. While the road ahead may be filled with new challenges and opportunities, I’m confident that the lessons learned and the connections that I’ve formed will serve as steadfast pillars of support, guiding me toward continued success in the dynamic and ever-evolving landscape of the business world. Hungry to learn more, I eagerly anticipate the adventures and growth that lie ahead.

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