Learning Experiential Job Skills without the Experience: The Curious Case of the Remotely Located Consulting Team

By Avinash Rao.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

What happens when a company has to build a consulting team at a remote location, particularly offshore? The practice focused paper presents the efforts to build an remote consulting team. This differs from traditional offshore or remote team (in software development, for example) in that learning consulting skills is usually experiential, with a significant part being from mentoring and client facing experience.
What models can companies use to set up these teams? What are their implications for consultant development? Also keep in mind the talent shortage in India - it is fairly easy to find experienced business consultants in developed markets; if available in India, they command high salaries.
In order to turn non-consultants into consultants, we present the evolution of thinking for this remote consulting team, present three possible models, and adopt one. The model adopted relies on formal training in the measurable elements of consulting (usage of templates, structured thinking, toastmasters for presentation skills, etc); feedback-driven behavior modification for non-measurable aspects (accountability, client readiness of deliverables). The next step is time spend abroad tagged with a senior expert abroad, with the senior consultant being responsible for guidance on the area of expertise, client interactions and communication. As a final step, the consultants return as experts based out of the remote location, but working on engagements anywhere in the world.

Keywords: Remote Learning, Consulting, Offshore

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp.211-218. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 780.044KB).

Avinash Rao

Senior Business Consultant, Product Strategy and Architecture, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Avinash Rao is a senior business consultant with Wipro’s Product Strategy and Architecture practice, with expertise and experience in product development process consulting, supply chain management and e-procurement consulting across the globe. Avinash is fascinated by the process of learning and knowledge retention in organizations, and how companies derive competitive advantages from their structure and processes.


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