How I developed skills that matter to clients?
Are you working hard to develop the skills of consulting partners but need some tips and motivation to help you make the most of FC programs? Do you struggle to relate to Kevin P. Coyne, Bill Matassoni, Michael etc. as their achievement level seems to be unreachable and wish you could also learn from role models who are your fellow FC Insiders? If yes, the Meet FC Insiders series was made for you.
You will find FC Insiders everywhere. From McKinsey partners to banks, governments, industry, non-profits, startups to accounting firms. Even executive committee members of the largest consulting firms.
We are thrilled to introduce more role models for the FC community who are fellow FC Insiders. Meet Nerses Nersisyan, one of our closest clients, a big 4 country head of tax and legal (previously PwC, currently KPMG), an amazing father and husband, and an FC Insider.
Nerses talks about how he used FC training over the last 4-5 years to develop skills that helped him raise the bar 10 times higher and significantly accelerate his career progression. You can watch the documentary or read the transcript, whichever you prefer. Let us know if you find the Meet FC Insiders series helpful and what questions we should cover in the upcoming documentaries.
Meet Nerses Nersisyan
I was born in Armenia, Yerevan in 1982. I had one brother and have one sister. Actually, my young years coincided with quite a difficult situation for Armenia. It was the collapse of the Soviet Union. The early 90s. Basically, we had a major earthquake in Armenia and the Soviet economy collapsed, and everything that seemed to work before, didn’t work at that time.
My parents were engineers in one of the biggest Research Institute teams in the Soviet Union. But then because the whole value chain collapsed they lost their jobs and it was quite difficult to find your way out.
I finished school when I was 15 years old. Normally you do that when you are 18 or 20. That was partly because I went to school when I was five. Again quite an unusual thing. So I finished the Yerevan State Economy Institute at the age of 20, with a summa cum laude diploma, and then went to serve military services, two years.
But before that, I want to talk about why I choose my major as economics because that was kind of a little bit unusual for me, and for my family as well. I grew up in a family of engineers and for them, and considering from the Soviet point of view, an economist did not sound like a profession at all.
So I overcame quite a few challenges selecting that as a profession. But I didn’t know at the end of the day what I’m was going do and where I was going to end up.
So when I was back from the Army I was 22 years old, having no idea what I’m gonna do and where I’m going to end up. I started working in a small boutique consulting firm offering accounting and tax services to various local companies.
It was owned by the brother of my good friend. Started to work there, basically from scratch. Taking a paper from the office to the tax authorities, bringing it back, sending letters, doing photocopying, etc.
After three years PwC has opened an office in Armenia and I decided to send my application.
Surprisingly, they called me.
I did pass the interview but the feedback was like, look we like you but we want to hold your CV because that was for the auditor position and you do not seem to be an auditor. I didn’t realize at that time that it was a compliment. So and I thought it’s a decline.
After six months I got a call saying, “Hey, do you mind still coming to us and work with us in a tax and legal department?” And I said, “Why not.” Eventually, that appeared to be a great decision. So I joined a team of one expert senior manager and another consultant.
And to cut a long story short worked my way to becoming head of tax and legal of PwC in Armenia. And by the way, recently I changed my job I now work with KPMG, again heading their tax and legal services.
Skills I don’t want my competitors to have
I would definitely suggest and advise anyone to use FIRMSconsulting materials. When I think to myself whether I would recommend it to someone I can take this question from two different angles.
Firstly, it’s a great resource and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to achieve success in their career to work through the materials that they have.
On another side, and take this as an anecdote, I would not recommend FIRMSconsulting to a competitor who competes with me because, I mean, it provides an enormous competitive advantage.
So to describe FIRMSconsulting it’s a good analogy is to use Fight Club. So the first rule of the Fight Club is not to tell anyone about Fight Club.
Four reasons FIRMSconsulting is different
In the middle of my career, I was seconded to Moscow to work in a bigger office in a different environment with larger and larger clients and I’m a kind of person that always worked on myself, trying to find things. So one day I was surfing the internet and came across the FC.
One thing that immediately catches my mind and my eye that the level the quality of the content is very, very different from what you normally have. It was deep, it was very structured.
So at least three important things drive the fact that I think FIRMSconsulting is different.
So firstly, all the content is prepared and delivered by former consulting partners. It’s hardly possible you find anywhere a partner teaching you the skills that could make someone become successful in their careers.
This is true regardless of whether you try to become a generalist partner as in I own the client relationship and I bring in specialists or a specialist partner in that I’m an expert on operations, on purchasing, on whatever and people bring me in and I do that work and then I move on.
So normally the level of exposure is quite low. I mean, that was different with FIRMSconsulting. Partners were delivering the materials.
Secondly, the huge difference is that FIRMSconsulting teaches you the core skills. So it’s not providing you ten tips on how to become successful or five ways of finding yourself somewhere or teaching you a couple of frameworks that you can take and apply somewhere. FIRMSconsulting is teaching you the core skills.
How to solve problems, how to think critically, how to communicate well.
And thirdly, it’s fun. Every podcast is delivered with anecdotes, with funny stories, so you really enjoy listening to those podcasts, watching videos.
And most importantly, they explain that in a logical manner. So it’s not that they use the partner authority to say, “hey this is the right thing to do.” They explain to you why this skill is important why this advice should be used in this way and I think that provides for exclusivity of the program.
How to use FIRMSconsulting resources to develop your skills
My personal experience with FIRMSconsulting, I think it did change my life, basically. I feel that in the last four or five years, from the moment I started to use the resources, my career progression accelerated enormously. You can use FIRMSconsulting in a couple of different ways.
You can use it as a general framework to develop yourself or you can use it to find specific answers to specific questions.
For example, if you want to provide feedback to an associate, you go to the LAB study and there you can find what framework to use, what are key criteria to assess someone, how to assess that and how to do that in a proper way.
One piece of advice I will give to someone who will be working himself through the FIRMSconsulting material is to be very methodical. Understand where to start, where to move next and what to do. Don’t think that you can watch a video one time and learn the skill. You have to be very methodical.
You have to do that two or three times. You need to understand where to start and where to move on.
For example, if you are working through TCO, be sure you first watch the preparatory videos, then you move to TCO I, then you move to TCO II and only then you work through the material to in TCO III.
Because the level of difficulty is building up and you need to be able to learn the ground skills. So put the basics in place, then move on.
There are fascinating shows out there, like The Bill Matassoni Show, where a guy who led the McKinsey’s and BCG’s marketing efforts teaches you in the first place what marketing is. But you have to be ready to grasp that material.
So you need to start from the basics. One may think why it’s important? If someone is talking about marketing why do you need to understand the problem solving and the critical thinking skills? I will say, no, that’s important.
You need to understand how consultants think, how consultants solve problems, how they approach the problem to be able to grasp the material provided by Bill Matassoni.
The decades of experience
For me, FIRMSconsulting could be described in one word and that word is trust. You may think why it’s important? I will say it’s very important. You have to be able to trust them that the skills they teach you are absolutely important and critical for you to become successful.
I trusted them four years ago when I started to watch the materials. And sometimes the advice they provide is controversial and you think, “Okay, maybe I shouldn’t apply it or I should apply it in a different way.”
No, believe me, and trust them. Whatever they teach is coming from decades of experience and it works.
Raising the bar 10x higher
Working with FIRMSconsulting has changed the way I’m setting goals for myself. I was always thinking of myself as being a very ambitious guy. Believe me, the FIRMSconsulting resources helped me to increase the bar ten times higher.
At the end of the day, one important thing they teach you is that there are no limits. You can achieve everything. If you learn the right skills if you apply them in the right manner and in the right place.
Communications skills development – Johnny Depp story
I want to bring an example of one of the memorable parts of working through the FC. I was trying to work on my communication skills and one advice I found there is go to YouTube and try to find a video of Johnny Depp and his wife making an apology.
That was fun. I mean, a likable person like Johnny and his wife they were looking so bad, so rude, so confused. So you understand why communication is that important.
Making time at night to develop skills with FC programs
My work is quite demanding and I am usually coming back home quite late. And one may think in a family why would you spend a couple of hours watching some videos?
My wife realized that those videos are changing the way, actually changing myself. She sees how energized I am. She sees how those videos changed me professionally and probably as a person as well.
Riveting the attention of senior clients
The biggest benefit of working through FC is that first, you change the skills that are for life. For example, if you understand how to solve problems you may be able to do that in any situation. I want to bring an example of how the skills taught by FIRMSconsulting online programs can benefit you and help you in any situation.
I had a client meeting a few weeks ago where the client asked me about something I had no clue about it. It was a question about the tourism industry etc. I started to use the brainstorming technique taught by FIRMSconsulting, broke the question down, explained the drivers, explained what you have to do to change the tourism industry of Armenia and that dialogue ended up being quite an interesting discussion.
And that person did not even understand that I have no idea about the sector.
Why should I choose FIRMSconsulting over other options?
If someone calls me and say why should I choose FIRMSconsulting training program and not the other one I will tell them two or three very important things.
Firstly, it’s consulting partners that teach you the skills and you won’t be able to find that exposure anywhere else.
Secondly, the quality and quantity of material is just unbeatable. You can find advice for a specific situation or you can find advice for a general situation. If you are in a tech sector you can go to the tech merger study and understand what are the drivers behind the tech company business.
If you are starting a startup you can go and watch a new program that is preparing right now about how to build a successful startup in a very short period of time. So to cut the long story short it’s a very useful resource.
Are you not concerned that it is an expensive service?
When you think about FIRMSconsulting one may be concerned as to whether it’s an expensive service or not. I would say I would take it in one way.
FIRMSconsulting is only about quality and price is not important there. If you want to become successful in your career you need to be ready to invest and at the end of the day that investment is worth it.
I’m sure it will come back multiplied by hundreds and thousands.
WHAT IS NEXT? Would like to watch another Meet FC Insiders episode? Meet Bill Graca, a management consultant at a boutique consulting firm, or continue developing you case interviews skills here or strategy skills here.