Big Data: and What it Means for a Career in Consulting Feature

On Thursday 11 July, BMT hosted the latest Young Management Consultancies Association (MCA) event in Bath. Young consultants from various firms from across the South West met to discuss the future of consultancy and Big Data.

After a warm welcome from BMT’s Head of Consulting and Advisory Services, Tim Warren, Evan Elliott, Data Scientist, and James Doherty, Senior Consultant from BMT walked attendees through the evolving role of data in the world of management.

Evan and James started with what Big Data is, where it fits into the timeline of technological revolutions – steam, industrial, digital and data automation – and how each has transformed businesses’ abilities to react to markets and pre-empt customer needs. The event also covered the three major areas of growth in Big Data: eCommerce, Operation Optimisation (understanding, maintaining and improving complex operational processes), and Risk (in finance, in security and elsewhere) before taking an in-depth look at Netflix’s use of Big Data to drive business success. James also discussed his current role in the transformation of his client to data led decision making which included influencing the customer towards Big Data and bringing innovation through automated data collection and analysis.

The most relevant part of the talk to Young MCA members was how management consultants fit in. Technical experts, like Evan, perform collection and analysis of Big Data but there is a divide between clients and data analysts. Consultants can provide a bridge between the two advising our clients on the benefits of Big Data and providing a service to embed it into their organisation to maximise efficiencies.

Evan and James concluded with an open discussion about the future of Big Data, specifically its association with Artificial Intelligence (AI). Topics covered included media sensationalism of AI, ethical dilemmas, and the future of the job market. The consensus was that it is our responsibility to adapt and embrace changing technology and develop a new skillset to communicate the benefits of Big Data to our clients. Currently the majority of businesses do not have the capacity or the requirement to exploit the benefits of Big Data immediately but consultants must be ready to lead the conversation and support the change when it happens.

Thank you to Natalie, Jasmine and the Young Management Consultancies Association for their support.

Words by Graduate Management Consultants Ash Ward and Tom Moran from BMT.