Carlos Alvarenga worked for about 20 years at large international audit and consulting companies Ernst & Young (now EY), Accenture and PricewaterhouseCoopers (now PwC), where he rose from manager to partner. Currently, he is a managing partner at Lumis Partners (private investment fund), a senior lecturer at the business school named after. R. Smith (Maryland, USA) and maintains his own blog on the global economy, social and political issues ( So, there is no doubt about his skills as a consultant.
We offer you a translation of the article The 10 Laws of Management Consulting from the blog of Carlos Alvarenga.
«Recently, my consulting career came to an end after twenty years. Over the years, I have compiled a list of rules for myself that I have called the Ten Rules of the Consultant. I have discussed these rules with my project teams and now, for the first time in years, I want to share them with everyone.»

Here is my list, in ascending order of importance:

  1. If nothing else worked, just try saying it in human language (Alvareng’s communication rule).

Years of work dedicated to editing presentations and getting rid of jargon, inaccuracies, and exaggerations convinced me that the best way to get your point across to a client is to use plain language. It’s amazing how rare this approach is in consulting. If your own jargon confuses you, return to plain and understandable language.

  1. Consultant is a company (McNeely’s networking rule).

In consulting, no one has yet managed to do anything worthwhile alone. Build the widest possible network of contacts within the company and use it to its full potential. Let your network handle the tasks for you.

  1. Look ahead to see what’s behind (Hamilton’s career building rule).

A new big project will be over pretty soon, and you should think about what will stay with you for a long time. Data collections and analytics will lose their value within a few years, so start planning now for what you will be doing for the next three years.


  1. You always have a choice until a firm no is said.

Take a stand and convince clients for as long as you can. But if the client finally says no, accept their answer and do your best to make this idea come true. Use the same approach internally—even the smartest people don’t have to win every argument.

  1. Any question already contains an answer.

Listen carefully to clients when they talk about their problem. A good consultant very often finds the answer in the description of the problem, and it is worth mastering this skill to perfection.

  1. Before getting up, sit down.

Never jump into a project, a new position, a client job, etc. without thinking about the consequences. In other words, before you start anything, first sit down and think it over carefully. Sometimes what looks attractive isn’t, and the same is true vice versa.

  1. If something happened, then it could happen. If something can happen, it will happen (the rule of relativity in consulting).

Don’t be afraid to take on new projects and new challenges. Be confident in the talents of your colleagues and the company. The best companies and consultants never let anything stop them from taking on a challenge.


  1. If the manager asked you what time it is, don’t tell him how the clock works (rule of Taormina management).

If a senior colleague asks you a question, don’t tell them everything you know about it. Answer only to the point and as concisely as possible.

  1. Always take an early flight.

When it’s time to leave a project, a client, or your company, do it. Don’t stay longer than you can afford or you’ll miss your stop. The same rule will work at any airport on a Thursday afternoon.

  1. Shy counselors tend to have skinny kids (Porter’s consulting rule).

You must be able to present yourself, your work, and your company with confidence, while avoiding excessive arrogance (or weakness). Don’t assume that anyone will find out or get something for nothing, and be prepared to defend your position at any time. Communicating clearly is the best skill a great consultant develops throughout his professional career.