Navigating the Consulting Landscape: Assaad's journey in FTI Delta

October 30, 2023

I am Assaad Saade, a 26-year-old Lebanese professional whose journey with FTI Delta began in 2018. Armed with degrees in mechanical engineering and economics from the American University of Beirut and UC Berkeley, my academic path was paved after my time at Sabis Koura. Outside of work, I am also an avid alpine skier and an avid tennis and volleyball player.

My affinity for consulting blossomed early on, nurtured by my involvement in the AUB Consulting Club and conversations with industry peers. These experiences revealed the intricate threads that weave the fabric of consulting's multifaceted impact. Inspired, I embarked on my first venture into the consulting world through an internship in technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT) management consulting. This immersive experience not only ignited my passion, but also provided insight into its complexities and strengthened my resolve to excel in this ever-evolving arena.

The name Delta Partners (now FTI Delta) first resonated with me when they visited my AUB campus. As a top TMT consulting firm, their presentation seamlessly aligned with my interests. This alignment drove me to join them, setting the stage for a transformative journey.

The path from Business Analyst to Engagement Manager

From analyst to manager at FTI Delta, my role was dynamic and varied. Working closely with clients, I immersed myself in the complex challenges of the technology, media and telecommunications sectors. This involved extensive research, intricate data analysis, and comprehensive market assessments - the foundation for actionable strategies and recommendations.

Throughout my tenure, my skills evolved and became pillars of consulting excellence. I mastered complex problem solving, structured methodologies, and innovative solutions. Cross-functional teamwork honed my communication skills, allowing me to articulate complex concepts to diverse stakeholders. Balancing tasks and deadlines became second nature, reflecting the fast-paced rhythm of consulting.

But the pinnacle of learning was client engagement and relationship building. Understanding client needs, fostering trust, and tailoring recommendations became paramount. Active listening, adapting to different cultures, and aligning recommendations with client goals defined this phase. My journey unveiled a dichotomy of challenges and opportunities that shaped my growth:

Challenges Overcome

  • Complex Problem Solving: Navigating multifaceted issues demanded analysis, innovation, and adaptability.

  • Client Expectations: Balancing client aspirations, project constraints, and tight schedules was challenging.

  • Work-Life Balance: The demanding nature of consulting required effective time management and self-care.

  • Travel Demands: Frequent travel, while enriching, occasionally clashed with personal commitments.

  • Adapting to Change: Guiding change management and overcoming resistance were critical.

  • Effective Communication: Conveying intricate ideas to diverse stakeholders required finesse.

  • Continuous Learning: Staying updated amidst the fast-paced industry was an ongoing demand.

Opportunities Embraced

  • Skill Development: Consulting refined problem-solving, communication, and leadership skills.

  • Impactful Contributions: Shaping strategic decisions that influenced client success was rewarding.

  • Diverse Projects: Engaging across industries nurtured continuous learning and versatility.

  • Networking: Building connections opened doors to collaborations and growth.

  • Global Exposure: Working with clients globally enhanced understanding of cultural nuances.

  • Career Progression: Consulting's success paved the way for leadership roles.

  • Innovation Nurture: Navigating complex problems fostered an entrepreneurial mindset.

  • Intellectual Stimulation: Diverse projects prevented monotony, encouraging innovation.

  • Personal Growth: Overcoming challenges and making contributions fostered resilience.

Balancing these facets required adaptability, a growth mindset, and proactive learning. The journey shaped skills, perspectives, and future trajectories.

Success as a consulting leader is a symphony of soft and hard skills, attitudes, and qualities:

1. Leadership Skills

Communication Mastery: Effective communication guides teams and clients.
Empathy: Empathy fosters collaboration and strong relationships.
Influence: Persuasion drives adoption of recommendations.

2. Problem Solving Skills

Analytical thinking:
Analyzing complexity reveals meaningful insights.
Critical Judgment: Make informed decisions based on data, experience, and industry knowledge.

3. Adaptability and flexibility

Agility: Being open to change, adapting to new situations and adjusting strategies as needed is essential in a dynamic consulting environment.

4. Client-Centric Approach

Client relationship management: Building trust, understanding client needs and delivering value-driven solutions are essential to success.
Client Service: Providing exceptional service and consistently exceeding customer expectations is paramount.

5. Project Management

Time Management: Manage resources efficiently to meet deadlines.
Planning and Organization: Clear project plans ensure success.

6. Team Collaboration

Conflict Resolution: Conflict resolution fosters teamwork.
Team Synergy: Leveraging strengths maximizes efficiency.

7. Industry Expertise

Subject matter expertise: Gaining a deep understanding of the consulting field and the specific industries you serve increases your credibility and value.

8. Emotional Intelligence

Self-awareness: Understanding your own strengths, weaknesses, and emotions contributes to effective decision-making.
Social Awareness: Understanding the emotions of others helps you build rapport, manage relationships, and lead with empathy.

9. Ethics and Professionalism

Integrity: Adherence to ethical standards and professionalism is essential.

10. Learning Mindset

Continuous growth: Continuous learning drives success.

11. Resilience

Problem Management: Overcoming setbacks and challenges with a positive attitude and determination is critical.

12. Communication Skills

Presentation: Persuasive presentations engage stakeholders.
Active Listening: Truly understanding customer needs and team members' perspectives helps deliver effective solutions.

Being a successful management consultant requires a balanced blend of technical skills, interpersonal finesse, and a genuine commitment to delivering value to clients and your team. Adapting these skills and qualities to the unique demands of consulting can lead to a rewarding and impactful career.

My FTI Delta journey isn't about a single moment; it's a collection of experiences that have made the journey fascinating and rewarding. The steady growth, the diverse projects, the relationships built, and the opportunity to contribute meaningful insights to client success all contribute to the richness of the journey. It's the sum of these moments, rather than any one instance, that makes the entire FTI Delta experience cool, interesting and professionally fulfilling.

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