Game-Changing Career Advice for Young Consultants with Joseph Miranda (Podcast)

Current or aspiring consultants, listen up. Today, Joseph Miranda is bringing the career advice you didn’t know you needed.

A former Accenture executive, Joseph is a senior career consultant and program manager for the Consulting360 program at George Washington University School of Business (GWSB).

The program focuses on preparing students for careers in consulting – listen to learn:

  • How GWSB prepares students for consulting (2:16)
  • The 1 thing students neglect in their consulting prep (9:47)
  • How to build executive presence (14:57)
  • Qualities that set market-ready professionals apart (22:15)
  • Business etiquette for young professionals can (30:15)
  • 1 underrated skill all great consultants possess (39:04)
  • What sets GWSB apart for prospective MBAs (40:42)
  • How to decide if an MBA is right for you (43:07)

Learn more about George Washington University.

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MC: Namaan Mian  00:05

On today’s episode of Strategy Simplified, I speak with Joseph Miranda, a former Accenture consultant and current career consultant at the George Washington School of Business. In this wide ranging conversation, Joseph shares critical career advice for young and incoming consultants. Plus, at the end, I asked him about his experience on the 1982 National Championship Winning University of Georgia football team. You don’t want to miss it.

Joseph, welcome to today’s episode of Strategy Simplified. I’m so excited to be having this conversation in public. We’ve known each other for what seems like years and years and I’m excited to bring some of our conversations out into the public forum for the benefit of hopefully the entire management consulted community. Where does this call find you today?

GWSB: Joseph Miranda  00:52

I’m here over in Falls Church, Virginia. That’s where I live, though I work in DC. So I’m able to work remotely today.

MC: Namaan Mian  01:01

Wonderful. Hey, Joseph, our team wrote a short bio for you that I wanted to read, for the audience and for you. So let me just introduce you to everybody and then we can dive right in. 

Joseph Miranda is the consulting 360 Program Manager at the George Washington School of Business. He comes to GWSB from an IT consulting career of 28 years with Accenture, where he held a number of executive leadership roles and retired as the director of operations for corporate development and global operations. Joseph has worked in the commercial and federal industries and has expertise in operations, finance, M&A, pricing, project management, corporate development, and career counseling. Now Joseph’s focus is on business school students targeting a career in the consulting industry. 

I can tell you firsthand that he has committed to preparing students with the skills and knowledge required to improve their market readiness and increase their success in this industry. Again, Joseph, welcome, really excited to have you today.

GWSB: Joseph Miranda  02:03

I’m really excited to be here today.

MC: Namaan Mian  02:05

You work with students, you’re around to prepare them for consulting, recruiting and case interviews. To that end, you spearhead what I would call an innovative program at the George Washington School of Business called consulting 360. Can you talk to us about what the program is and how it helps prepare students for consulting?

GWSB: Joseph Miranda  02:23

Sure, and the program is really geared toward any student, undergrad and graduate, though the program is pretty much 65% to 75% graduate students, but it does allow both to join. It’s focused on any student that has an interest in pursuing a career in consulting. The way we’ve structured it is there’s two levels to it. There’ll be one through the fall, and then one in the spring, and the program builds in each level. The students have to achieve certain requirements in order to progress and advance to the spring level, because the spring level is where it takes what they’ve learned, and actually hones it and puts it into practice, which drives the whole day-one market-ready aspect of our program, which I’m sure we’re gonna get to in a little while. So the two levels are really important. 

Let me step back a second, give you a little background. I retired about a year and a half ago from Accenture, came to George GW. This was an existing program, we’ve recently rebranded it consulting 360. It had some good bones, but it was really focused on introduction to consulting, building some of their industry knowledge and interviewing. That’s important, very important, especially for a career center. But one of the things I noticed that it didn’t really have a good future vision. And it’s very important to interview well and get a job, but from a company’s perspective, when that student crosses the threshold and becomes an employee, it’s a different world with a different set of expectations for the students. What we really did is try to build on that. 

The program is supported by four pillars. Just as four pillars support a building, the program is supported by four pillars. The first pillar is increasing industry knowledge. That continues throughout, but we really do a heavy lifting on introducing the students and building their industry knowledge in that first Fall semester.  We do that through a number of ways, through workshops. We have industry leaders, most of them are alumni that put on those workshops that get them understanding a little bit about the landscape of management consulting, what areas of management consulting they can get into. They can get into strategy, they might get into operations, maybe technology, maybe the federal side versus the commercial side. So really introducing them to a lot of management consulting, what it mean to be a management consultant. 

We also have workshops on building their analytical skills and how to look at a problem. How does a consultant really take that problem and figure out a solution. We’re very fortunate to have a former McKinsey partner to do that workshop. That’s pillar one – that’s increasing industry knowledge.  The second pillar that we have is navigating career paths. That’s where there’s a lot of one-on-one coaching I do with the students. The whole program is built, so they can even navigate through the program There’s about 40 workshops that comprise the first fall semester. So students that are really focused and know, I want this type of consulting role, or I want that type of consulting role and I need help in this area, they can even navigate through the program in a way that best suits them. So we try to meet the students where they’re at. 

If a student has no idea, they can avail themselves to a plethora of courses that we have, and workshops that we have available to them. So that’s navigating career paths. Also part of that one is really an important factor, but they have to advance in spring to get this. We have pro bono internships, we had 10 of them last year, and they get a chance to really put into practice a lot of what they’ve learned. The next pillar we have is networking. Now they’re networking throughout. They have industry leaders giving these workshops, they’re gonna get to interact with them, build a rapport with them, find out more about their companies and opportunities. 

We have a series I instituted for executive consulting speaker series. So we’ve brought in CFOs, vice presidents, entrepreneurs and others to come talk to the students and tell them about their career path, whether they were alumni are not, give them some stories about how they progressed up through their organizations. And also, what is most important in those organizations today, for students like them coming into the organization and what do they expect from them. 

The fourth pillar is the interviewing and career prep. So that’s all of the behavioral case interview, we do a lot of workshops, deep dives on that. We have former BCG alumni that do those as well as former McKinsey, I do it as well myself. So I can do one-on-one with student in addition to the workshops, so we really helped them on the interviewing. But then that’s the career prep as well. And that’s where we’ve built on to the program, that polishing the stone. When they work, walk through the door day one.  We have instituted workshops on executive presence. Executive presence can account for up to 20-25% of a promotion decision, it’s very important, effective presentation skills, that’s kind of lost today in the virtual world, since this most of work is being done virtually. But there are techniques to be able to present effectively, virtually and in person. We do teach them how to do that. 

Professional etiquette: this is one thing I saw a lot of students lacked when they came into Accenture where I worked. We have a workshop that gives them the tools they need and the awareness they need of how to behave in certain situations. What are ways to avoid those early stumbles in your career, that can stunt your career at a particular company, especially if you stumble in front of the wrong person, and be able to have a successful first 90, 180, and year at your company to get you off on the right foot. So we have these four pillars that really support it, and there’s a lot of detail underneath it. So I’m happy to get into any area you’d like to.

MC: Namaan Mian  09:40

That’s a really, really helpful overview. Joseph, I’ve got a couple follow ups to that. The first is there a pillar out of the four that you find students underestimate? Or that is most surprisingly helpful to their overall progress that maybe the broader consulting community should be aware of as they a plan their own recruiting prep.

GWSB: Joseph Miranda  10:02

Yeah, you know, the one I think that is very underestimated by students is the career prep, that’s different than the interviewing prep. They all come in, they’re all ready to try to learn how to interview well, they’re all ready to learn about the industry or already have some knowledge of the industry. They all understand the importance of networking. Now, they all may not be that good at it, right? Because it’s not an easy thing to do. Tt’s easy to talk, but hard to put into practice. They understand the importance of it. 

The things they don’t realize, are those areas that they need to polish, in order to be able to stand out when they get to the their employer. Let me give you an example. I had hired a young person, out of undergrad, I think it was the first person from this particular university. This individual just knocked everybody’s socks off. He came in and communicated very well, was always anxious to take on new work, suggested ways for innovation in what they were doing, not changing the company, but changing and improving what they were doing. 

They just stood out immediately, and they were very good at the blocking and tackling of their job as well. Now, that made a great impression on everybody, that young person was identified and is going to be a fast mover. But what it also put in the mind of myself was, wow, if I see another resume from someone from that university, I’m going to pay attention to it. If that’s an example of the type of professional they’re producing, then we want more of that.

That’s where I think the students underestimate the value of being able to be a good communicator, understanding executive presence, they don’t have to be experts in any of this stuff. Being able to understand how do you host, how do you attend, what’s expected for you, and in certain situations, business travel, client, client meals, etc.  We’re also adding entrepreneurial mindset, that’s important how to be an innovator and entrepreneur in what you do. Taking ownership of your of your job. Then negotiations and introduction to negotiations, these things are not really in the radar, necessarily of most of the students. It’s very undervalued by students, I believe, but has the most value after they get the offer.

MC: Namaan Mian  12:56

That really confirms what I’m hearing from our employer and our corporate partners. I spend a lot of my day to day working with our corporate partners, helping them put learning and development and training plans together for their teams. And the number one skill that they tell me their team’s lack is the ability to effectively communicate. So a lot of my days, and my weeks are spent training teams inside of consulting, and just in the Fortune 2000, on effective presentation and communication skills. And to your point, if you can walk in day one with those skills already, how much faster are you going to be promoted and stand out compared to your peers?

GWSB: Joseph Miranda  13:43

One of the things that I really tried to make sure gets across to our students, is the fact when you’re at university, there’s a lot of hand holding. Your advisors, your career centers, etc. I try to very much to impart to them that when you walk into the door of your new employer, there’s nobody waiting to put their arm around your neck saying, I got you covered, your promotion is going to be in this many months and here’s what you have to train ond here’s what you’ve gotten to do. No one’s waiting for you.  Just as much effort you put into finding a career and getting and securing that first job you’re going to be doing in a different way throughout your career, you’re going to be networking to get your next assignment, you’re going to be networking to build a stronger sense of mentors that help train you and teach you and advise you that will last you a lifetime. It doesn’t surprise me that you hear a lot of that.

MC: Namaan Mian  14:41

I was going to ask you the other two pillars that you mentioned outside of the presentation skills were executive presence. And then you also mentioned etiquette, and let’s start with executive presence. I think a lot of people have their own definition of what executive presence means, so how do you define it? And then how do you specifically help students build that?

GWSB: Joseph Miranda  15:15

What I tried to communicate to the students is there are different characteristics that communicate executive presence. The importance of that is, a company may have a company view, but within the company, you have leaders that have their own view of executive presence. We’ve all worked with different leaders, and they’re not the same, but they have executive presence. They have whole different styles. It’s not like a robot, that they all show the same characteristics as executive presence, they can maintain their true self, but they have a different way of approaching situations.

It has a lot to do with your demeanor.  Are you confident? Do you exude confidence? Can you influence? There’s lots of layers to this, we can’t train them to be perfect. Do you demonstrate that confidence? Are you a good listener? That’s a key and consulting. I’ve got a great story, I can tell you if you want to later. But are you a good listener? An active listener? What’s your brand? How do you come across? You’ve heard the old adage, right? Dress for the level you want to get to. And there’s lots of folks who dress for the level above the level you want to get to. But there’s something to that. You don’t have to go out and buy the most expensive wardrobe, but you do have to be professional. You do have to show up to meetings on time, you do have to have your video on when you’re at meetings, you can’t get flustered in stressful situations, you need to be able to respond in a positive way.

 You’re not faking it, we’re not telling you to lie. But you have to be able to deal with tough questions, stressful situations. You have to be able to lead a team during very difficult times whether there is a delay in the project, you have to be able to help determine what are the cause of issues in a calm manner without accusation, finger pointing, yelling, screaming all of those things. So if you have all of those features or characteristics, you’re going to demonstrate a strong executive presence. 

It looks different for everybody, because we all have a different way of approaching it. I always consider myself in leading teams as the chief obstacle remover. That was my role. If my team had an obstacle in their way, I needed to remove it so they could do their jobs. I gave them the the autonomy to do their job, and they knew what was expected of them. It comes with clarity of what their role is and making sure that you’re there to clearly define it, and be responsive to them.

MC: Namaan Mian  18:31

I think that’s one of my favorite definitions of leadership that I’ve heard chief obstacle remover, I might have to steal that. But I want to 100% agree with you that that good leaders have that in common. And the thread that I was following and picking up on as you were describing executive presence, is just a well rounded competence. And I think the confidence that you mentioned early on, and your description of executive presence comes from confidence in your competence, and that you’ve been trained to do the work that you’re doing. And it sounds like GW is doing a really good job of giving students that competence, which then leads to that confidence.

GWSB: Joseph Miranda  19:09

Yeah, and here’s another thing, you know, that leads to that, that contributes to that as they if they start off well remember what I talked about, right? It’s a GW right these programs consulting 360 being one of them, are industry focused programs to build well rounded day one professional so what is day one market ready professionals?  Well, part of contributing to that and part of contributing to building that competence is what I one of the things I tell the students I say, build a skyscraper. Now, this sounds a lot like be a goldfish from Ted lasso, but it came way before Ted lasso, so I didn’t steal that concept.

I tell them build a skyscraper and what do I mean by that? If you ever go if ever in New York, or San Francisco or Chicago any big city right with Big tall buildings. They dig really deep before they start building floors. Same thing, I tell them, you need to build, dig your foundations deep learn your trade, learn your company’s services offerings, build your mentor, your mentor group, right? Be the best you can be and learn. And when you’re new, you have a certain number of months, maybe three months where you can ask any question, don’t leave a question unanswered. And ask that you don’t know. You build that foundation deep and strong.  You can build floor after floor and go as high as you want in your career. Right? And that’s where that when you have that confidence and that knowledge, when you have that knowledge, that big, deep well of knowledge, yes, you’re going to be confident in what you know, and you’re going to be valuable and contribute to any discussion.

MC: Namaan Mian  21:02

I think that’s also motivating for folks, when they’re in the foundation laying phase of their career is that it’s not just laying a foundation for the sake of laying a foundation. It’s so that you can build on it for decades and decades to come. And the deeper the foundation goes like you said the taller the building rises. That’s right. We’ll be right back after this quick message.

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Is there another example Joseph of a day one market ready professional and some of the characteristics that they exhibit? Maybe some characteristics that we haven’t yet discussed.

GWSB: Joseph Miranda  22:27

Yes. So part of the program, especially for those that advanced to the second tier or the second level in the spring, there’s a number of things we do that gets to your exact question. One, we pair every one of them up individually with an industry mentor. Now this can be an alum, or it can be someone who wants to help students that’s in industry. So they have access to someone that they can reach out to get advice and build a network with throughout the spring. And hopefully that continues beyond. 

Secondly, that’s where we have that speaker series that the executive speaker series and they get to hear firsthand and they get to network with those individuals as well. You don’t very get often at that level to be able to have a conversation with someone in the C suite of a company, so that’s valuable. But the biggest thing is now they’ve had that Fall, they’ve had all those workshops. In the spring they get paired up with mentors, they’re going through all of that executive presence, effective presentations, professional etiquette, entrepreneurial mindset, etc. 

Then they also take part in pro bono internships, and that’s where they put it into practice and they run it there, there’ll be a student project manager. I’m always here as a sounding board as oversight if they need anything, Chief obstacle remover. But they’re the ones that set the cadence of calls with the client. They build the deliverables and presentations to the client, and they deliver the final deliverable to the client. And I’ve been real fortunate to sit in on those final deliverables. It takes a lot of time to match up the right people to the right project but assuming you do that well, it’s amazing how they put into practice. Those things we’ve talked about, are they perfect? No. But boy, do the clients find them remarkable.

MC: Namaan Mian  24:52

It’s one thing to go through a workshop series to meet with professionals. It’s another thing for the rubber to meet the road and to actually apply what you’ve learned. And I would assume, Joseph that beyond the hard skills and the and the analytical skills that almost every student these days possesses, I would think that the ability to manage a client relationship to be structured and prioritized in your analysis, to be clear and concise and persuasive in your communication are some of the professional outcomes that come from those projects, are there others that are missing, that students really take away from that experience?

GWSB: Joseph Miranda  25:30

They take away not only those things we just talked about, and that you just mentioned, and a lot of times that’s kind of the guidance I help them with. On my one on ones with the project manager with the team, and making sure that they’re working with the client effectively, and managing that relationship. And I check in with the clients periodically, just make sure they’re happy and how they feel with it.

I also like when the students find a difficult challenge in the project, because you’ll learn more from things that are the hardest than you do for those things that seem to be easier. And you learn also how to deal with juggling multiple balls. Because they’re students, they’ve got their full time academics, they’re also doing a pro bono project, they’re also attending workshops, and they may have extracurricular activities. Some of them are athletes, some of them are presidents of clubs. So they’re learning a lot about what it takes to be a consultant.

One of the things I always communicate to them, especially when they seem to be a little frustrated, or managing multiple competing events at the same time, is: look, you’re experiencing exactly what consultants experience, because not only are you going to have your project, but you may be assigned an internal project that you have to work on, you may be called in to advise a team on an another project. You’re gonna have to learn how to juggle and manage that, and how to help them develop those skills. So those are things that come out of these experiences that I think are more valuable than sometimes the credit hours they get on just taking a course.

MC: Namaan Mian  27:44

Is there an example you can share, or one that comes to mind of real world client impact that one of those projects as well?

GWSB: Joseph Miranda  27:52

Sure.I can’t go into extreme detail about the project. A year ago, I did a project for a well known company, it dealt with infrastructure, and I believe they were looking at a kind of mid Atlantic area, county in a state in the mid Atlantic, and looking at developing, Commuter Transportation, etc. They had come up with that approach and an analysis and a recommendation that the company actually took, and is building a business off of and it’s implementing that.

Another is we had this past spring, a group of students helping out on a social media strategy for a fairly new company. Fairly new companies run by entrepreneurs are run by them and their family members. So it’s really hard for them to do so. The students did an amazing job analyzing the data. So data mining,  that social media platform, what was resonating most with with subscribers, when was it resonating most, when did you post certain content and then strategies to improve and increase subscriptions. And the the client was floored and was definitely going to put a number of those things into into practice.

It’s also about unleashing the creativity of this younger generation. They get a lot of grief the younger generation of time but then there’s they’re definitely not sure and creativity, that’s for sure. And if you if you give them the confidence and the trust, I think they’re going to show you quite a bit and the tools, of course, I think they’re going to surprise you.

MC: Namaan Mian  30:11

From personal experience, I heartily agree. And speaking of the younger generation, and Gen Z, I recently saw an article in the Wall Street Journal that was talking about how young professionals often in their first roles, are struggling with business etiquette. And it’s just really interesting to me. That’s one of the pillars, your fourth pillar is understanding etiquette and business etiquette.

Can you talk to us a little bit about what you share with students? Is that around email etiquette, etiquette at business lunches, what are just some tips that all professionals can keep in mind as they’re trying to expand their executive presence in that way?

GWSB: Joseph Miranda  30:51

Sure. One etiquette on how do you function within the office? We all have experienced, we’ve seen good examples and bad examples, and I share that with them. When I first started out, there was no such thing as casual dress days. We were all in white shirts, suits, ties. That was it, we couldn’t even bring a McDonald’s bag, with the logo into the lobby, right, we’d have to eat outside of McDonald’s, that’s going back 30 years. So it’s a lot different. But that doesn’t mean you come looking disheveled. Making sure you have a crisp shirt, or it’s clean ironed, and so forth. 

No one’s asking you to spend a ton of money on a wardrobe, it’s just looking the best you can. That’s one type of thing. Business Travel- if you’re traveling by yourself, or with a team, you’re representing the company while you’re on that trip. So you need to make sure that you’re behaving as the representative of the company. That means treating desk agents at the airport kindly, even when you’re frustrated with delayed flights, it means you’re obviously treating the client appropriately. But you’re behaving as a representative and ambassador for your company. 

Oh, and email etiquette! We could spend a whole hour talking about email etiquette. But one quick thing I do try to impart. One thing I do in part with this particular topic is, in my experience, if you’re sending an email back and forth, and a lot of students today, are very comfortable with texting, and you know, not talking face to face, or virtually face to face with someone, if you’re sending an email back and forth, and you’ve sent at least two emails, and there is a misunderstanding or confusion stop, get on a call with them, whether it be a virtual call or a cell phone call or walk down the hall to their office. Just stop because 90% of the time, they’re just misreading what you wrote, you may not have wrote it clearly, or they’re just taking it a different way. And it’s easy to clear up with a great relationship between the two, if you keep going with these emails is going to get worse and worse and worse.  

But then also when you’re hosting meetings you have to have an agenda. I can’t tell you how many times I was on meetings where it just seemed to wander and so why are we here? First of all, don’t call a meeting, if there’s no purpose. Second of all, have an agenda, follow the agenda. Be very clear, engage everyone that needs to contribute to it, have an objective for the meeting, and don’t an end the meeting, once that objective is met, you don’t want to have loose ends there. Right. Now, of course, there might be if someone can’t attend, etc. So there’s, you know, those are an, again, the dinners, right, if you’re going out with clients it could be a formal or an informal. If it’s a formal, the biggest thing that scares folks that are not used to more formal settings is okay, I’m going to wait to see who takes the water because I don’t know what side it’s on. Just something as simple as that.

So I share with them the BMW approach. Bread meal, water. Just think of the car BMW when you sit down. If that’s all you remember, don’t worry about the forks and stuff, just bread, meal water, right? Simple. 

You’ve also got to understand when you’re traveling with your boss or with team members, and there’s different philosophies on this, is that when you’re traveling, it’s work, right? You’re not just always watching movies, there’s a time for doing that. But you’re not just always watching movies or playing video games on your phone, you know, it’s better to get work done. You’re there on business, that’s what you’re being paid to do, there’s lots of prep work to do before you land and you get to your destination, or whether you’re on a train. So use that time effectively to work. It demonstrates your commitment to the project to the company, when you show that you’re doing that, and you’re not just worried about getting a soda.

This is just a sampling of what we try to get into. Every one of our workshops has some type of involvement from the students. So it’s never just a lecture that always ends with some kind of case. Getting them involved with, how would you handle this in this situation. From a from a standpoint of etiquette, is this an example of executive presence? Or is this an example and why?  So it’s, it’s very active, not just passive. They have to be involved, they have to think through what they’re hearing and what they’re learning, and try to really internalize it.

MC: Namaan Mian  36:26

We haven’t discussed this topic before, but our guidance is very much aligned. Those are some of the same things that we’re sharing inside of our corporate trainings inside of our trainings with our university partners. And it’s amazing, even professionals who have been working at the top of their field for 10 or 15 years. Sometimes they just don’t understand the effectiveness of short, structured, clear meetings, and how to send an email that’s going to gain the buy in and motivate the action and align the team in the way that you need it to. And these are just some of those really basic skills that end up being not so basic when you’re in the real world.

GWSB: Joseph Miranda  37:07

That’s right. What I am starting to also help the students realize is when they enter the workforce, and this is part of etiquette, that they’re in a virtual world, for the most part, and they are going to be working with team members across the globe. You need to be culturally aware, to be able to be effective, right? You just can’t even if you were in person, you just can’t go to Germany and try to be an American manager, right? Or go to Japan and try to be an American manager, you need to understand how to be more effective. There’s lots of different programs out there. 

One of the things I learned at Accenture was Garrick Houstead’s five dimensions. And that has always served me well, I can probably remember a lot of what I learned way back that many years ago, but I still remember nuggets of it. I remember one time when I was in India, and we met with the the entire development team, and the leads were communicating and the team members weren’t. But if you talk with the team members individually, you got a lot of great information. Well, because they were not going to that they had the respect for their lead to be able to communicate to the project lead. If you don’t understand that you’re expecting a different situation, you’re not going to be as effective and be able to communicate individually with team members to get their perspectives. Being culturally sensitive is very important in today’s world.

MC: Namaan Mian  39:04

Outside of cultural sensitivity, which I think is even today very underrated, is there another underrated skill beyond the ones we’ve talked about today that you think all great consultants possess.

GWSB: Joseph Miranda  39:17

Yes. And this changes as you progress up, but since we’re talking about focusing on on the university students, I’m going to keep it at that level. When you’re starting out, whether you’re an MBA, or whether you’re an undergrad, you’re not going to be leading the company. You’re going to have work and you’re going to be deep in the weeds. One of the things we try to impart is, yes, you need to be deep in the weeds, that’s your job. But stick your head up and make sure you understand the landscape. Don’t ever lose sight of the bigger picture because if you if you do, you may be wandering and miss them as the target. But if you understand the landscape and you’re not completely devoid of it, you’re going to be more effective in working in the weeds and more effective in communicating the interpretation of all that, what you’re doing in the weeds to leadership with, which doesn’t want to know about the weeds, they just want to know about what the landscape looks like.

MC: Namaan Mian  40:29

I think that probably applies to everybody, but even beyond consultants, so understand the why behind your work, and be as hypothesis driven as you can be at all times. Talking about GW specifically, so beyond consulting 360, which is an amazing program, what else sets the School of Business apart? For those who may be considering pursuing an MBA to eventually go into consulting.

GWSB: Joseph Miranda  40:56

Yeah, it’s a great question. GW business school is very strong and is known for its international focus. And I think that draws a lot of students and MBAs to and we’ve got a number of different MBA programs, global MBAs, accelerated MBAs, online MBAs, Senator so. But that is an important aspect of why they’re looking to at GW. So that international piece is important.

The experiential aspects, not just consulting 360. But there’s the consulting abroad program. There’s the short term abroad programs that make a big impact in actually applying your skills and the knowledge you get from your education in other countries, getting to etiquette, right. So now, if you’re in my program, and you’re a second year MBA, and you’re going in the consulting abroad program, you’ve got a much bigger tool belt, and toolset to be able to bring and be effective, right. And they all learn a lot when they come back from this program. 

The MBA programs are also infused with a lot of ethical leadership, a corporate citizenship, and then a global perspective. And that, that is another important aspect, I think, to why they would want to look at GW. And lastly, we have an urban campus in the heart of DC. And we’re in our nation’s capital that gives them access to a lot of resources and a network with the faculty have a lot of contacts and come from industry, and many of them and, and that’s invaluable to kind of have that at your doorstep. And there is a unique charm. So I would say definitely take a look at GW.

MC: Namaan Mian  42:59

Having lived and worked in DC in a prior life I can 100% Second that there is a unique charm to being based in DC. There are a lot of folks listening to this conversation, Joseph, who are considering an MBA program and are considering a life in consulting post MBA, do you have a couple of tips for them as they’re considering whether this is the right time to pursue an MBA? And as they’re sifting through their program options? Is there a framework that you’d recommend they use to make that decision?

GWSB: Joseph Miranda  43:29

Yeah. I’ve talked with with folks and coached them on this as well. It’s really something we would tailor to each individual because it’s a very unique decision everyone has to make. I’ve seen people that do not have graduate degrees achieve the highest levels within consulting. I’ve seen the reverse to people with graduate degrees achieved the highest level, I’ve seen individuals go back for graduate degrees. And it’s helped them, not the degree itself, but what they’ve learned from the degree. Just by having the three letters after your name didn’t make them get a promotion. But what they added in value to the company after getting it surely did. 

I’ve also seen folks with MBAs from great universities, that just didn’t make it and those from smaller universities that really did. There’s no one path or right answer. The first thing I would say is if someone is considering going back for an MBA- Is that the right time? Do I need it?  Look at where you’re at. Do you want to leave your company and that’s what you’re thinking about? Do you want to advance within your company? Well, if everybody who’s advancing your company has an MBA and your company values that, that’s an important thing to know. And if that’s the case, that you need an MBA to be able to get other positions outside of the company, if you want to leave your company, fair enough, then this might be the right time for you to get it. But you have to assess where you’re at. If it’s the right, if it meets your career goals first.

Secondly, are you committed? And do you have the time to accomplish it? And which kind of program or which university affords you the right delivery method? Do you want to do an executive program or accelerated program? Do you want to do a full time program? Online? What meets your particular needs?  Of course, cost is another important aspect to it. And then the program’s culture. Every program is going to have a different culture, just like a company, where do you fit best? So I think they would need to answer those questions for themselves. And then the right universities will sort of filter through, if they’re truly self aware, and making sure they’re honestly answering those questions. They’ll decide if they need to go back or they want to go back, and where’s the best home for them based on their particular situation.

MC: Namaan Mian  46:20

Lots of wisdom there. Thank you, Joseph. One of our traditions here at Strategy Simplified is to end our conversation with a couple of personal questions. And I learned something about you preparing for this conversation that I did not know, and that is that you were on the 1982 championship football team at the University of Georgia. Can you talk to us a little bit about that experience, and maybe a favorite memory from that year?

GWSB: Joseph Miranda  46:46

Oh, we’re going back 41 years now. But there are definitely memories. I have a number of them, but they’re really two that stick out as something memorable. I’m looking at a picture in my office here of one of those times. The first one would be my very first game at Georgia, it was the first game of my first year. We were playing the defending national champions, Clemson Tigers. And you remember William the fridge, Perry was on the team. Future went to the Chicago Bears with one of my teammates from Georgia and won the championship there in 86. 

It was the first game in Sanford Stadium at home. It was the first game of the season, so it was televised. It was a night game. And it was the first time in Sanford stadium that they had lights. They had just put them in that summer prior to the fall season beginning. Running out of the tunnel onto Sanford stadium and between the hedges with a home crowd cheering- I don’t think I’ll ever forget that feeling in that moment. 

The other one, which is a little bit different. One was we were preparing for one of our games. I don’t recall the team at this point. And I played defense so I was running opposition defense for our starting offense. So I was in the middle linebacker position. It was a running play to the left side of the field, which I had read and stepped up and made the play. And I started getting cursed out by all the coaches. Well, I had tackled Herschel Walker, and you know of course, he was a major asset, that you don’t want to get hurt in practice. So I realized okay, where I am on the pecking order, I guess.

MC: Namaan Mian  49:01

You realize really quickly what the team’s priorities were. I have to say that has to be a really bucket list moment. How many people can say they’ve tackled Herschel Walker and live to tell the tale.  Joseph, our conversation today has been chock full of career advice. And just lots of fantastic tips for young professionals. With our audience, which is primarily young professionals, 18 to 34. Is there one piece of career advice that you haven’t yet shared in our conversation today that you would just leave us with as we end our conversation?

GWSB: Joseph Miranda  49:41

Sure. I speak with a lot of employers, and I always ask them, What do you see as the biggest challenge you have with college students coming into the professional world, right that you would want to improve upon, and I’ll say I’ll synthesize it into these two components, that is pretty consistent across humility and patience. A lot of young people have great ambition, that’s great, you gotta have that. But they expect to have, what they want the project they want, the promotions they want when they want it. And that’s, we all may have that, but they don’t know how to voice that to their boss, or talent lead. A lot of times they approach it inappropriately.

So I would say, as things that I haven’t already talked about, that you need to really be humble. That doesn’t mean you can’t be effective. Speak up and be innovative. But be humble in that you’re going to be assigned a project you’re not gonna necessarily have a choice all the time on what project you’re going to be assigned to. But accept it, learn from it, do the best you can shine there. If that’s not where you want to be, and you want to navigate somewhere else within the organization that is perfectly fine. But there is there is a right way and a wrong way to be able to raise those concerns and the right way may get you there a lot quicker. Another thing we tried to teach our students but I would leave that with your students and I would like to emphasize this- build a skyscraper.

MC: Namaan Mian  51:45

Joseph Miranda is a senior career consultant and the consulting 360, Program Manager at the George Washington School of Business. He joins us from his office in Falls Church, Virginia. Joseph, thank you so much for joining us today.

GWSB: Joseph Miranda  51:58

My pleasure. Namaan. Thank you so much.

MC: Namaan Mian  52:01

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Filed Under: Case Interview, Consulting Networking, Strategy Simplified