The Adventures of Consulting Man: A Hero of Our Time

They say he read Case In Point before he could walk. That Victor Cheng emails him for advice. That he once solved a case without even using a framework. He is the suited crusader who aids anyone in the quest to improve client performance. He is Consulting Man.

It was a warm evening and the rain had finally stopped. Tim Prescott was walking to a Bain & Company info session with a particular spring in his step. A pen in his pocket, a folder by his side, Tim (or, as his fraternity brothers called him, Timbo) felt that warm, fuzzy feeling one gets before walking into a room crowded with people passionate about solving business problems. Fresh from the dry cleaners, his grey suit was glistening and his choice not to wear a tie betrayed just enough of that devil-may-care attitude that separates management consultants from those bores in M&A.

Timbo was about to cross the road when a car whizzed by, running through a puddle in front of him. The water that had lain festering in the street all afternoon flew and found its home all over poor Timbo’s freshly creased pants. In a daze, he looked down to find a wet patch murkier than the “Other Skills” section of his résumé. Immediately, he knew it would be networking suicide to walk inside with his pants soaked and dirty. Yet he also knew that if he did not go, then he would not be able to check in online and let the fellows at Bain & Co. know that he, Tim Prescott, tprescott@wharton.upenn.edu, had cared enough to hear them speak. But what could he do? Go home and change . . . but into what? Jeans? At that moment, he fully understood the severity of the situation and sat down on the curb and wept.

And as he sat there, his head in his hands, he almost didn’t feel the light tap on his shoulder. He turned around slowly. A pair of bare legs stood in front of him. He jumped up and found himself facing an extraordinary man. His hair perfectly gelled and parted, his face absent of any stubble, his eyes blazing with intelligence, he seemed the sort of man who could make a PowerPoint about anything in the world. But this was not what shocked Timbo. What shocked Timbo as he stood in the street was the curious fact that this man was wearing the exact same suit as him, only without the pants. The man was standing in his suit jacket, shirt, and shoes, but with only underwear to cover his legs!

The man took his right arm from behind his back and handed Timbo a pair of pants.

“Here, it looks like you need these more than I do.” He said, his voice clear and steady.

Timbo, wondering what his afternoon coffee had been laced with, took them and took off his shoes and the soiled pants. The man looked on approvingly as he wriggled into the new, clean pair. They were a perfect fit. The man took the dirty pants from Timbo and slung them over his shoulder. At this point Timbo was beginning to regain his senses and sputtered, “But shouldn’t I pay you or something?”

The man smiled and replied, “You know how you can pay me? By going to that info session and networking like you’ve never networked before. I want every last company rep in there to go to sleep tonight thinking about you. I want the name Tim Prescott up there in their minds with their family, God, and Bob Bechek.” And with that, he slipped a card into Timbo’s palm and walked away.

And before Timbo could ask how the man had known his name, how he had the same custom suit, or who the hell Bob Bechek was, the man had disappeared. He looked down at the card, it read: “Consulting Man, Partner to Mankind”. The day after he attended the info session, Timbo received an email inviting him to interview with Bain & Co.

And so went the first reported sighting of Consulting Man. A hero to every consultant, every client, every student looking to apply to McKinsey, Bain, BCG, and, yeah, even Deloitte, Oliver Wymann and those other ones. So when you find yourself struggling with a case, writing a cover letter, or remembering your childhood ambitions, just remember that Consulting Man is watching and you’re the case.

 

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