Mohamed Chaudry on what he's learned from working in consulting

23 April 2021 2 min. read
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Following a career of more than fifteen years in corporate finance and financial consultancy, late 2018 Mohamed Chaudry transitioned to industry to become Foodhub’s Chief Financial Officer.

Unlike most consultants that progress the ranks, Mohamed Chaudry entered the consulting industry with experience under his belt. “I went into consultancy having previously run my own business. Of course, I had my accountancy degree, but I had experience too. I knew what it feels like to struggle with cash flow problems, and the difficulty of strategising when you’re too tired and stressed to think,” he said.

As result, when Chaudry started out consulting in the Advisory arm of Donn Sheldon, “I had more than a boatload of theory and optimism to recommend me.” He subsequently grew the ranks at Moore Global and Watersheds Corporate Finance (where he become a partner), after which he spent over a decade as an independent consultant and interim finance director.

Mohamed Chaudry, Chief Financial Officer, Foodhub

What working in consulting has taught Chaudry? He shares his five most important take homes: 

1. Take things personally

“When businesses call in a consultant, they do so because they want an objective opinion. Someone who can view their business from the outside and provide advice that as an insider, they wouldn’t have considered. And yes, you must do all of that. But you also need to care about that business. Fight for it. And take any failings personally. Until the business is no longer your responsibility.”

2. Understand the business and the client

“It’s a relatively easy task to go into a business and create a list of things that they are – in your eyes – doing wrong. It’s a lot more difficult to assess that business through the lens of the owner’s ambitions. If you don’t understand the mindset of the people that you’re working with, you’ll never be able to help them fully.” 

3. Communication is everything

“And leading on from that, as well as understanding the needs of a business and its people, you need to know how to communicate with them clearly. And that’s everyone, from the new hires to the C-level executives.”

4. Practical trounces theoretical

“When you’re a consultant working with entrepreneurs, you need to understand that theory is OK. But without working to find the practical aspects of how that theory can be implemented, your advice is worthless.” 

5. Honesty is essential

“Sometimes, you have to deliver news that a client doesn’t want to hear. While you can simply avoid this, you would be failing in your duty to do so. Unpalatable truths can often deliver positive outcomes, so just go with it. You’ll better serve your clients and increase the trust they have in you in the long run.”

“When I began working as a consultant, I was pretty confident that I had what it takes but I have learnt a lot along the way. Even with many years’ experience, I’m still learning every day and I think that is something true of every successful consultant.”