The 20-something Consultant
While I can’t say that I am in the race to join Bain Consulting in my post grad life, I have seen my junior friends in action. They go to interviews, concentrate for hours on detailed case studies, and soul search for the one thing that will set them apart from the pack. But one doubtful question seems to plague both the actors and the observers, such as myself, in this whole ordeal: what kind of valuable insight does a twenty-something have to offer a company given little to no experience?
I’ll tell you one thing, it certainly had me stumped. And I am not even applying to Bain. I am providing readers with occasional wit, and casually starting a company on campus that, statistically, is doomed for failure. Hows that for investing in my future?
Furthermore, as someone who is trying to run a company, and certainly could use some consulting on a few areas with particularly steep learning curves, you think for one second that I would hire a twenty year old to fresh out of college?
College kids offer incredibly valuable insight on cutting edge trends in business.
1. Perhaps most importantly, is we understand social media. I got my first screenname through mac.com at age 11. Consequently, the name remains both permanent and unable to edit. Holla at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to facetime. My sister got a facebook against my mother’s wishes in the sixth grade. In case you missed it, she was a self proclaimed swimsuit model at stanford university. Not only were we early adopters, but my sister and I understand the value of viral marketing within social media. Bunnygirl1 was a name that was going to catch the eye, make my fifth grade crush think “hey this girl is pretty cool based on her screenname”. My sister knew the value in redefining a product to gain influence on a social media site. Braces or no braces, I’m sure caroline had some people that contacted her via private message that believed her hook, line, and sinker. Even without my anecdotes, plain and simple, college kids know how to improve the brand of a business using social media. P.S I am relatively certain my sister’s flirtation with a changed identity on the internet was a significant motivator for my father’s involvement in social media. He now has several thousand followers on twitter and a successful blog.
2. Blogging. We twenty somethings knew what worked on xanga (the blogging site from the early days) and what didn’t work. Things that worked: talking about the good, thought provoking things in your life. My mom finally let me listen to spice girls! Things that didn’t work: I was totally annoyed when my supposed best friend kissed my secret crush (that I have been writing about for the past week on xanga). Anecdotes aside, we understand that blogging (and twitter microblogging) is important. Developing a brand around a person is going to be more important in the coming years. Probably more influential than I can imagine right now.
3. We all have Ipads. You don’t need to pay my for this, but if you don’t have your company rocking the ipad, you are missing out on some serious productivity potential.
4. We are more critical of business than other generations. I am not going to get political and talk about the “bad guys” on wall street who extort money from the 99%. As far as I am concerned, they have the potential to get me a job after college. But I think we twenty somethings understand the importance of maintaining transparency when conducting business so everyone is on the same page. Maybe if a twenty something was advising Barack Obama, we could have convinced him that bailing out Solyndra was a dumb move. One concession I will make on behalf of my generation: our majority support for that guy. I guess being a minority doesn’t automatically make you the political second coming. Lesson learned.
5. And last but not least, perhaps our lack of experience, provides us with some of the most valuable insight because it allows us to understand a business from a fresh perspective. Our generation gets a lot of flack for being self absorbed, anti social, and entitled, but never have we been considered a generation lacking innovation.