Introduction à la consultation - Entrevue avec Julien David Mousseau

You will find bellow the english translation of the interview.

Q: How would you describe the consulting profession?

A: It's a bit of a handyman. It really varies depending on the type of practice or team you work in, or the expertise you develop as a person. When you go into a consulting firm, the variety of services that are offered by the firm, usually when it's larger services, is very broad. So when I say a handyman, it's that if a company has a business problem, usually a consulting firm has an answer. That problem in question might be, "I have an integrated data system with my insurance company that's really backlogged. I don't use the data enough to get insight on my clients, take advantage of it, and better target my marketing campaigns. To better target the products I want to offer to existing customers, I want to upscale the customers I currently have." Here's one type of problem and solution that a consulting firm can go and provide. It can be something very different too. It can be through, say, your supply chain. You're told, "It's not really aligned with the way I procure my raw material, that I process that raw material into my finished product. There's a problem with that. There's a lot of inefficiencies in these processes and I'm losing a lot of money in the process." A consultant can analyze all these processes, look for opportunities to save money, inefficiencies, and implement optimizations. At the end of the day, from purchasing raw materials to manufacturing your product, you are able to really build something at a reduced price. There are thousands of examples of this. These are two examples, but really, a consultant, at the end of the day, is a bit of a handyman until we develop our own expertise, whether it's in procurement, customer experience, or e-commerce.

Q: How do you see the consulting business evolving following the crisis situation related to Covid-19?

A: I don't think the job has necessarily evolved, but it's more the way we do things. Also, the problems that clients have are different. So first of all, in terms of the way we do things, the most obvious thing is that we're just working virtually. Apart from our supply chain teams who work on the factory floors, and have to be with the operators, we all work virtually. It was really a challenge to go out and find tools that would really bring the same value as in a room with the customers, like thinking of all kinds of ideas and writing post-its on the walls. And basically, there are a lot of tools that are available for students in the mandates you have with Fashion Spectrum. There's Mural, Miro, and even through Teams there are functions that you can brainstorm. There are tools that are free too. It really helps you to better organize your thread of ideas and procedures internally and with our clients. Then secondly, the problems brought are different. At the moment, we think a lot about SMEs for example, who just had one supplier for a particular raw material. For them, if that supplier has gone bankrupt, it upsets their entire supply chain and they can't manufacture their product in the end. So here, it's finding a solution for them, alternative suppliers and reducing the supplier risk. So those are really two aspects that have changed.

Q: What advice would you give to students in resolving their mandate with Fashion Spectrum?

A: If I really had any advice, it would be to take the time at the beginning of your mandate to think about how we're going to tackle the problem. You have to take a step back at the beginning of your mandate and then say, "Look, we'll take two weeks and we'll do three sessions with the whole team together. In the first session, we will define exactly what our axes are for attacking the problem. The second session, we're going to define our big milestones throughout the project... How we structure ourselves as a team, how we meet, what we're going to talk about in our meetings, what our agendas are, what our objectives are at the end... ". And then you really want to go into detail by identifying "ok, what are we going to do on day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4" and follow your objectives as the project progresses. Then that's really going to show the professionalism and the structure that you have as a team. That's kind of the added value of a consulting firm, and I'm referring again to the Consulting Club, to bring that structure and approach. Then, the knowledge and the ideas that will come out of it, it depends on any problem and it really depends on each student. Then after that, that's the beauty. As I'm young, I don't have a lot of experience, so I bring creativity and ideas. So that's what I would say is my most important advice.

Q: What are the differences between a case competition and a mandate?

A: A case competition is high stress. You have 24 hours, you don't sleep, you solve, you're in your room and it's super high stress. I made a couple, and you're stressed all the time. And when you come to present, it's like "phew". A mandate is very different, because you can really take the time to do research. There I say, Google and the HEC databases, it's your best friend. Even with my clients, I still google. We have internal search engines to really go looking for expertise that we've developed on different subjects. But it's also great, HEC, JMSB or all universities really have these search engines there, these databases there. It's less about the container, less about how you deliver your message and less about the beauty of your powerpoint. Yes, but it's like the minimum requirement when you're doing a mandate. You deliver your message well, your powerpoint is beautiful and clear, but your content, it's ten times better because you've had 3 more months to do it.

Q: Why did you choose the world of consulting?

A: I didn't know what I wanted to do. So, when you don't know what you want to do, you do everything and go to consulting! No but seriously, I had started at HEC, I was doing my B.A. in finance and I was like "ok the cool looking jobs are in investment banking and I'm going to go in there". I do market finance. And then one day, I see a post from the Consulting Club, and it says "we're looking for a job x". Now I'm starting to talk with people and I'm starting to educate myself with the team. I see that it's a nice gang of highly motivated, hyper-minded people, who are ambitious, who want to learn, and now I really find myself on the team. I'm like, "wow, if people in consultation look like that, I want to work in consultation." So it's kind of the people who brought me into the profession. And also, when you go into consulting, you want to find a firm that looks like you and has the same values as you do, because it's very important. It's a very high performance job and it's very demanding. You want to be with people you know you can rely on, that you can collaborate well, that you get along well and that you want to go and have a beer with them when you finish the job. That makes a big difference, and that would be my advice too. If you're interested in consulting after you've done a mandate, it's super important to pick and choose the firm you're going to apply for.

Q: Can you tell us a bit more about EY?

A: I'm an EY baby, it's what they call the people who are part of the EY family and who are going to stay there for a long time, because it's a firm that looks a lot like me. People are a lot like me. What I mean by that is, on the one hand, they' re very dynamic people. Second, they are people who love to collaborate, who always have a lot of energy and want to talk to people. And thirdly, people who have high standards of performance and just perfection for themselves. Then this is what I was looking for, people who are creative, who have ideas, who want to talk, and at the same time the work we deliver is really perfect.

Q: One last piece of advice?

A: I think it's very important not to be shy. People want to help us, people want to support your mandate and want to be there. Don't be afraid to contact your marketing professor, if you have a marketing mandate, to give you advice, to suggest approaches, methodologies, to give you tips and tricks. Don't be afraid to pick up the phone, call me, ask "what should I do in there". Or if it's a mandate that is more financial, call someone who works in a bank. It's really nice for people to talk, to talk about their passion.

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