This slightly humorous podcast draws an analogy to Nigerian gangsters (or is it “gangstas”) in a famous sci-fi movie and software counterfeiters to explain the problems tier-2 firms create in their obsession to replicate BCG’s analytics tools, toolkits and templates.

Tier-2 firms soon learn that just because a study looks like it has the analytic quality of a McKinsey study, does not mean it does.

Tier-2 firms need to be smarter at the way they train their consultants.

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8 responses to Why tier-2 firms operate like Nigerian Gangsters

  1. Hi Nauruz,
    It is both. Most people lack the time and the competency to do it. That is why people ignore the facts when presented with compelling evidence. They just do not know now to interpret it.
    Yes, we have many more interesting things and podcast coming out very soon. We will roll them all out fairly soon.
    What does this mean Nauruz: “In addition, it’s possible to tell to a non subscriber about an interesting idea raised in the podcast and provide a link to that podcast to discuss it.”
    Thanks again for your ideas and contribution to the community.

  2. The premise is interesting, and once you raised the question of demonstrated competency, I realized that we tend to relate to people based on that competency: how reliable and trustworthy are friends and partners, how helpful and productive are colleagues. But we have a lot of time to make our mind by interacting with these people on a repetitive basis. So do you think we are judging someone by big names on their resume because of the lack of time to assess them or we ourselves lack the competency to assess based on people’s demonstrated competencies?

    The acting might be weak, at least in the first two seasons, I think though the movie raises many questions that are relevant to consultants (loyalty to the firm, clients’ interests, management of subordinates etc.) and I can’t think of any other movie about consulting (assuming, “house of lies” does more harm than good).

    I hope you’ll be posting more podcasts once you finish LAB project(s). They provide a value that is different from videos’ because you elaborate in more details, while in videos you have slides so you need to align closer to the content. E.g., it’s funny to imagine video slides about Nigerian gangsters and aliens.
    In addition, it’s possible to tell to a non subscriber about an interesting idea raised in the podcast and provide a link to that podcast to discuss it.

  3. Thanks Nauruz,

    I have watched 2 episodes of suites. I did not like it since, to me, the storyline and acting looked weak.

    It is also tough to keep thinking the show is based in the US when I walk past the set in downtown Toronto at least 30 time a year, and can recognize all the landmarks used in the show.

    The premise of the show does raise an interesting question: if the associate can do the work better than a real lawyer, and knows all the material, is that not an example of demonstrated competency which should be prized?


  4. Michael,

    Latest comparisons were very nice: China vs USA, Digital vs Electricity, and drawing the analogue of leadership in consulting and parents not telling their kids about problems. I’m pretty sure I’ll use them.

    Speaking of another movie, I’m curious if you watch “Suits” and, if you do, what’s your general impression about it?

  5. Tyler – I did not think you were being defensive. Your comments are very valid. Michael

  6. Hi Tyler,

    I like that phrased: “phoned-in summary of already well-known best practices to anyone already in the industry.”

    You are right. It is wrong for me to say that only tier-2 firms. MBB teams also do this since they feel their brand is so strong, the client will never know.

    In fact, every single aspiring consultant to whom I have ever spoken, focuses on the analytic tools. So, it is ridiculously widespread.


  7. I should add I’m not trying to be defensive, this podcast certainly covers a lot of components to what makes a firm great. The best partners I know of operate like this, and expect it from their consultants, but we need to do more to build this into our hiring and orientation of new consultants.

  8. When I joined consulting I had this same misconception – that if I just had the right frameworks I could handle anything. My first consulting manager gave me a great piece of advice which was “frameworks are only useful is giving us starting questions, but it is the conversations from those discussions that matter.” Her point being that you need to really listen to the client and guide the conversation for insight, not just fill in the blanks in your tool de jour.

    Sadly it took me months from when I received that advice to really understand what she meant by it.

    Additionally it isn’t just Tier-2 firms…I’m currently helping a client try to implement an MBB study…and having a general understanding of what was scoped it feels like the study was a “phoned in” summary of already well-known best practices to anyone already in the industry.

    No one is immune to relying too heavily on past intellectual property without adding insight.

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