From Consulting to Fashion and Media

Beyond Consulting with Rahul Malik  


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Ken Kanara: Hello, and welcome to Beyond Consulting brought to you by ECA Partners. The only podcast dedicated to helping our listeners navigate the wide variety of options that they have available to them after a career in consulting. I’m Ken Kanara, host of Beyond Consulting and CEO of ECA Partners, a specialized project staffing and executive search firm focused on former management consultants and private equity.

Each week, I get to host guests that have spent time in consulting and made some sort of pivot or career change. The goal is to help our audience understand all the options that they have available to them. And ideally learn from our guests, both in terms of what they got right and things they wish they would have done differently.

Today, we welcome Rahul Malik to the studio. Rahul, thanks so much for joining us.

Rahul Malik: Absolutely. Thank you, Ken, for giving me a chance to be on this podcast.

Ken Kanara: You bet. So Rahul let’s, I guess let’s kind of kick things off. Would love to just, I guess, get a little bit of background on yourself and kind of, you know, give our listeners to the intro.

Rahul Malik: Happy to do that. So I am currently the Managing Director of North America for a media company called The Business of Fashion. We produce professional content about the fashion, beauty, retail, luxury industries, primarily targeting those who work in the corporate side of those industries. But I’ve been with the company for now coming up on three years.

I had originally joined the company in London, having moved from New York. And prior to my current role at The Business of Fashion, I’d been a long-time consultant at Boston Consulting Group, but originally joined BCG out of undergrad back in 2011.

And had a career that was a bit in and out. So I joined BCG, I was there for about a year. I left and joined a startup. I came back to BCG, I went to business school. I came back to BCG and then ultimately decided to transition full time. Kind of consulting, which brought me to my current company, The Business of Fashion.

But I’ve covered a number of things in my career. I began very passionate about the airline industry and then started to focus much more on both fashion and media, which made my current company a really logical and interesting landing point.

Ken Kanara: And Rahul for those of our guests that don’t get to see you on video, I will say you might be our most well-dressed guest. And I think that’s very, very fitting

Rahul Malik: You are too kind. You don’t have to stroke my ego.

Ken Kanara: Well for our listeners, I know you can’t see it, but he’s got some, some cool frames on and a much cooler business dress shirt than I have on.

Let’s start off, Rahul. Business fashion, I know you said it’s a media company, but kind of what is it, and what is it that you all do?

Rahul Malik: I found the easiest way to prep. Talk about what we do is in some sense to talk about the origin of the company in a media in different sectors, I think has evolves in, you know, with a different relationship to the, to the sector that it covers. And for decades, Media about the fashion industry was hardly independent and it was a largely advertising driven business.

It was in many ways, existing in a very symbiotic relationship with the brands and retailers that made the industry tick, which meant that a lot of the coverage about the industry wasn’t wasn’t necessarily very rigorous or very independent. And so the business of fashion is an analytical and independent.

You know, a media company that produces primarily written content, but the content, you know, across a number of different mediums about the fashion industry attempting to treat that industry with the rigor and seriousness that an industry of that style of that scale and, and influence really merits And deserves.

And so the business of fashion emerged in substance, not as a business, as a blog, our founder, who was himself an ex-consultant had left consulting, was kicking the tires on, on some entrepreneurial endeavors in fashion. And on the side was right. You know, in 2008, 2009, a blog that eventually became the business of fashion and that blog took off, I think in part, because it was offering something that really hadn’t existed before, which was a sober data-driven take on an industry that yes is very creative, but also is a really complex.

And large industry and our business has grown since then. And we are and certainly endeavor to be a daily resource for executives who are steering some of the most well known brands and retailers for professionals throughout those companies. And also for students and aspirins who are interested in the industry, but also trying to build their understanding of it and try and figure out how they themselves might want to.

Ken Kanara: That’s extremely interesting, especially for someone that used to rely on this, I’m going to pronounce this incorrectly, but this tutorial sectorial list I, I, I mean, I, I remember going that once or twice a week to figure out what I was going to wear. I it’s actually something that I, I thoroughly enjoy fashion as well.

That’s cool. What was the name of the blog? If you don’t mind me sharing that, that started at all.

Rahul Malik: I think it was so I don’t remember if it or what the, what the back half of the URL was, but it was, I think it was called. And, and so our founder had just registered it. It was some, you know, it’s probably some random domain because it really wasn’t, it, it was just an outlet, I think, for his own exploration of the industry, it wasn’t intended to be much more than that, which is, I think what’s always funny when, when the business evolves from, or, or, you know, the, the, the blog evolves from that and to becoming what is now a full-fledged media business with a hundred people around the world with four or five different constituent businesses.

Something that I think is much different than, than its original incarnate.

Ken Kanara: That’s incredible. And yeah, it’s, especially, I can only speak from the perspective of a male, but like, I just remember when I started my career in consulting, first of all, I didn’t know what the heck to wear. And to like, I, I, it wasn’t really a thing, you know, it wasn’t really a thing like it is now and professionalized to kind of like, you know, even understand kind of what the options were especially for men’s style

Rahul Malik: totally. I, you know, I think a lot of people try and they, you know, they go through their own journey in some sense. And, and, you know, similarly have always been passionate about it and probably went through some sort of a journey to try and find my own style in terms of where it is today. But I think along that way also started to just develop an appreciation for the underlying industry.

And I think throughout my career, I’ve always found it really exciting. And in some sense, empowering to work very closely with creative industries. And I don’t, you know, I don’t think that’s necessarily a very typical path, certainly for a consultant, but I find myself fortunate to enough to have those opportunities.

And so when I was thinking about leaving consulting, I was thinking that I really enjoy being close to those type of creative industries in which there is real, consistent, genuine creative output. And I was interested in trying to find a way of you know, during myself.

Ken Kanara: And the other thing that’s kind of interesting about creative industries is for decades, right?

They’ve been dominated by, you know, by, by artistic people or creative people that, you know, and I think it’s interesting when you apply kind of like a con a consultant in that environment, right? It, it, it, it brings, it brings, I don’t want to say a level of sophistication, but it brings kind of a low level.

A rigor around kind of like process and kind of strategy and tactical things that I think makes a lot of sense. So obviously what you guys are doing is working and, and what’s, what’s kind of your role at the, at the company.

Rahul Malik: I have a few different roles that, that, that, that that probably define how I spend my time.

Part of what I do, probably half of what I do is we have launched in the last year, a new business within the business of fashion called BOF insights. And so our core business, as I mentioned, is, you know, kind of day-to-day reporting. It’s very analytical reporting, but fundamentally journalism in the traditional.

As you might expect it. And we’ve often thought that there is an opportunity to supplement that journalism with our own proprietary research and analysis. And certainly, you know, in the past, I think given the uniqueness of the type of reporting that we do, we’ll have consultancies brands, retailers, private equity funds come to us asking for our point of view on a particular deem, a particular company, even a particular category to guide their work.

Informed their investment diligence. And we’ve, you know, we’ve, we’ve been interested in more formerly being able to deliver upon that and resource against that. And so part of what I do is, is help oversee that business. We’ve now hired a few team members. We launched last year. We’ve been really, really pleased with what the reception in the market.

And now in the process of scaling that into being a subscription oriented. Research and analysis division within the overall company, I then spent a lot of time with with our board and investors were venture back from. You know, we raised a series B in 2019, and I spent a lot of time working with those investors and our board just as we also think about how best to grow a company as a whole.

And certainly just given the, the unexpectedness, if you will, of the basket of yours, you know, we’ve had to just, you know, take a step back and try and figure out how do we want to evolve ourselves and what we do and how we do. To best weather w what seemed to be a never-ending set of storms. And, and lastly, you know, where I spend now increasingly uh, much more time having moved back to the U S from London, where most of the company is based is just spending time thinking about how we can build our presence in north America in particular, where we feel like just given this sheer scale of the market, we have disproportionate had room to grow and you know, and build our presence and compete in the market.

Ken Kanara: Excellent.

And you brought something up, which I want to touch on, which is kind of the impact that the pandemic had on your business. I mean, given that you’re a media company on one hand in, in some ways it’s, it’s not so impacted, but then given the fact that a lot of your distribution channels for, you know, typical.

Of distribution channels for fashion are severely interrupted as well as events. I mean, what was the, what was like kind of your, your take on the pandemic and the net effect on your business?

Rahul Malik: You know, well, one of the fascinating things that, you know, that for me, myself, having joined immediate business, real consulting has been really interesting to, to get exposure to is just the, the number of businesses that sum up.

Media business, as we see it from the outside you know, fundamentally what we do is we have an audience and we grow that audience. And then we have a number of businesses that serve different needs for that audience. And those businesses all had differing positions of security. If you will, during the pandemic, you know, our core business, which is a subscription access to our journalism did really, really, really well.

You know, at a moment of extreme uncertainty of, you know, extreme crisis that given you know, kind of given store closures and lockdowns was deeply affecting the fashion industry. You know, professionals turn to us as a beacon of understanding of, okay, how can I help, you know, how can I navigate and figure out what’s coming?

And so that part of the business did really well during the pandemic. And in some sense, you know, Really empowered us to feel really secure in the mission of what we do because in a moment of complete disruption, we felt that the value proposition of our journalism really, really, really shine. Of course, the flip side of that is we used to have a pre pandemic a really important roster of in-person physical events.

That that were really important for the business important you know, important parts of the revenue contribution to business important brand building exercises for us, and very, very, very quickly just given the size and scale and complexity of those events. We were trying to figure out, all right, how can we hold them if at all?

And as 2020 went on, it was very clear that we weren’t going to have any physical event. That for us required quite a bit of transition into how do we redo what we were doing physically digitally. Obviously we need to think about that very, very differently. On one hand, it’s easier perhaps to execute on the other hand, the monetization potential of something like that.

It’s a bit lower. And so we just had. Work through that, you know, that aspect of our business. And I think excitingly now we’re returning back to doing a many of those events in, in person.

Ken Kanara: Okay.

And you mentioned kind of having three primary responsibilities with your role. Tell us a little bit about kind of what your customers or clients look like.

I’m guessing it’s a mix of consumer as well as B2B.

Rahul Malik: Exactly. So we. You know, for our core business, certainly, you know, our customers are a mix of professionals in the fashion industry and we are either in a selling them individual subscriptions or we’re selling subscription access via the companies that they work.

And we also then have a large population of, you know professionals who work in adjacent industries, whether that’s on the agency side or their advisors or their investors to the industry, but for them having an understanding of you know, what’s happening in fashion across a number of different dimensions is really important for their own day-to-day work.

We also have a population or an audience of what we like to think of. As, as prosumers, if you will. I think fashion like many industries, but fashion has just a following. Well, outside of those who work in the industry and there’s interest in, in the inside baseball of it, if you will. And so there are people who don’t work in fashion, but really value.

And take away a lot from just learning about how the industry is working and digesting our analysis on a particularly impressive campaign or move by a company or a particularly impressive expansion into a category. They themselves are interested in learning about that. Even if they don’t directly work in the end.

And then we have an audience of students and aspirants. They want to work in the industry and we’re a resource for them to build their knowledge base and also just help to guide and influence where and what is a very large and massive industry day. They want to see themselves and they want to build their careers.

Ken Kanara: And, and what have, I guess, what kind of trends have you seen kind of overall? So you you’ve been in the business long enough now that you’ve probably observed some, some kind of like high-level things. So what have, what have you seen in the last kind of like five, 10 years

Rahul Malik: trends in terms of the fashion industry?

Ken Kanara: Yeah, just, just in terms of kind of like emerging trends or anything like that, that, like for, let’s say like our, you know, I consider myself, like, I’ll take myself as an example. I consider myself very interested in fashion in the sense that I like to look nice. And I dress a certain way for certain things and everything like that.

But the, I wouldn’t say I am. I’m particularly finding myself researching the, the fashion industry, like at a whole, but I guess I’m curious to, like, for someone that’s just interested in how they look w w what are we missing, I guess is what I’m trying to ask?

Rahul Malik: Sure. I mean, if a few different things come to mind and I don’t offer these in any.

Priority order, but, but there’s certainly topics that, that we think about a lot. Th th th you know, if you consume our journalism, you’ll see day in and day out, our recorders tackling with one is I think there is an obvious casualization in terms of how we dress. But I think it’s coupled with a bit of anxiety in terms of trying to figure out now in a world of extreme casualization, how do I find and figure out what’s the.

Because where there used to be very explicit norms of what’s required. Now, I think are just a lot of implicit or even ambiguous norms such that I think a lot of people are just trying to figure out, navigate our, how is it then that, that I should know how to appear in a particular set of circumstances.

And I think it’s coupled also, you know, in a moment in which there’s just far more flexibility and freedom to express yourself through style through club. You know, however, however you want. So the two sides to that coin on the business side you know, I think. Climate impact of, of the fashion industry is rightfully coming under increasing scrutiny.

You know, both in terms of just the impact of the production and manufacturing and transport of clothing, but also in terms of just the sheer amount of consumption or certainly the sheer amount of clothing that’s produced per capita. And I think a really rightful question of just, well, how much clothing do we need?

How much newness is required in an industry that’s built on seasons that’s built on. Kind of this sense that you must constantly refresh what’s in your closet, what you’re wearing to, you know, whether that’s to match a specific set of trends or even just to continue to inject some freshness. You know, I think there’s a questioning of just how necessary.

And sustainable that cycle is, and really not even how sustainable it is, but, but really a recognition of how unsustainable it is. And I think that feeds into something that I know my team on the BOF insights side has been thinking about quite a bit, which is what are new business models that, that. A greener future for the fashion industry.

One of those business models is secondhand fashion. Certainly secondhand fashion is exist, existed for decades, but what we’ve seen in recent years has been the advent of these online resale marketplaces that are increasingly sophisticated. That are also attracting you know, legions of, of consumers who we don’t really think will age out.

And we’ve been fascinated with how resale as a way of consuming fashion as a way of also injecting what you might currently own back into, back into the marketplace, back into the ecosystems, becoming a really sustained way of shopping and participating in the industry and discovering new brands and also just perhaps making it a bit more of a circular and sustainable.

Ken Kanara: That’s pretty cool way to, to pick things up to it, especially for I personally, when I ever I buy a piece, I actually, as a consumer. I think about is this, is this a timeless piece, but I’ve never like th that, that, that thought is very important to me as someone that you know, is going to buy something.

Right. Am I going to, am I going to wear this for the next 10 years? Is this is a question that I have for probably 80% of my wardrobe. But it’s interesting that you say that because I’ve never thought about it from a climate perspective, but I see what you mean in terms of kind of like the, the second.

Kind of markets that are, are becoming increasingly relevant as well as the casualization point. I mean, I, I mean, not just kind of Not, not just kind of like what situation you’re in, but also kind of like what geography you’re in. If, if you’re in Palo Alto or San Francisco, you wouldn’t dare to think wear a tie, but if you’re in DC or New York, it becomes a real question.

Right. And so I, I haven’t ever kind of like picked things up from that point of view. So thanks for sharing that. Of course. Excellent. I think we touched on this a little bit, but in, just in terms of kind of. Yeah mean, obviously you’re interested in the fashion industry, but kind of like what got you, what got you kind of like initially interested in the business of fashion, kind of like what, what made you make the leap from consulting or from BCG to where you are now?

Rahul Malik: I had focused the last third, if you will, of my consulting career on media and fashion. And so for a variety of reasons, I actually knew about the company that I know work for either knew about it because it was a, you know, as I was mentioning a great resource. To really stay apprised on what’s happening in the fashion industry and, and to really digest, someone’s very analytical and well-reasoned take.

And so I had a really high regard for the business of fashion because it was for most days, you know, for me, it just a resource one that I was checking in the morning various times during the day to consume media about the space. The media, part of me knew about it because it was an example of a new digital upstart that was subscription oriented that was not driven by advertising monies that I think represented to me then, and now being on the inside still represents to me an example of I think a really innovative and.

In sustainable business model in media, you know, the shift, if I take a step back from print media to digital media has not been the kindest to the industry. It’s actually been really challenging for the industry to try and chart out and figure out what is a right profitable, sustainable business model to produce digital content going forward.

And the business of fashion, to me represented an example of an upstart that was doing it right. And so when I decided to leave consulting, which really didn’t have anything to do with the business of fashion, I just had always known at some point that I wanted to transition from being an advisor, to being an operator.

I was thinking about smaller companies that were still scaling that were tackling something that intuitively really mattered to. And I had a chance to meet via, via someone in my network, the Imran, who is the founder of the business of fashion. And and I just really left that conversation, thinking that it would be really fascinating and impactful to have a chance to join the team.

And it coincided with the fact that they were looking to, to grow the team. And, and one thing led to another. That’s how I ended up here.

Ken Kanara: Yeah, that’s it, that’s, that’s actually a unique story because most folks that end up at wherever they’re going to end up, usually don’t they don’t necessarily know about that place before, you know, like, but I mean, you knew about the company more as kind of a consumer and then and, and then made the leap, which is, which is a good story.

So Rahul, you talk a little bit about kind of the difference between being an advisor versus being an operator. Could you tell us a little bit about how you’ve picked that up and what you’ve observed since joining and maybe how things are different now versus as a consultant?

Rahul Malik: Absolutely. I mean, I think it’s, it’s, it’s certainly the toughest element of the learning curve.

I, you know, I’ve found, I think at the end of the day, there’s a real difference in doing really amazing rigorous analytical work. That’s fundamental. Meant to be advice, to some sense, it’s a set of really well-structured well-reasoned thought-starters and then trying to put that and put that into practice is, is really tough.

It’s just never as neat as the slide says, and it’s never as easy as the Gantt chart might suggest, and it requires far more. Give and take then, you know, than I’d ever experienced in my consulting career. And I’ve been fortunate that I’d left consulting once before I’d worked and worked at a startup company.

I had a sense of what it was like, and that’s ultimately what I was really seeking in, in leaving consulting. And in looking to join a company was to just try and put so much of what I was doing in practice and try and figure out how hard that is and the reality. It’s it’s it’s that much harder and it’s that much more rewarding.

At least that’s been my personal experience. And I think the flip side, or perhaps something that I think about in, in addition to that is just the excitement I get from really being accountable for a set of targets. It’s really hard to know exactly how something will. And, and, you know, even in the context of launching a new business for the business of fashion, you know, putting together a business plan, as you might expect using a lot of the skills I developed as a consultant and then actually holding myself accountable for those targets has been really exhilarating, stressful, but, but ultimately rewarding experience because.

You know, what I realized is there is a plan. And then when you go and try and implement it, it never quite works. And really then just have to have to go back to the drawing board, but in a really focused way to try and make things happen. And I found that to be just an exciting part of what’s going on.

Ken Kanara: That’s pretty unique. I’ve heard folks pick up kind of the operator versus advisor piece differently, but not from the signing up for targets. Right? Because in consulting. You’re signing up for a plan, right? I will, I will gather this information and I will present these findings, which to be honest, like looking back now, it doesn’t seem like you’re signing up for much, right?

There’s not much risk you, you can be wrong. Right. And that’s obviously not good, but you can be wrong. I think what you talked about, which is interesting, which is around targets, is like, there’s also a lot of external factors that are completely outside of your control. That in a way, not only you’re signing up for a plan and you’re going to do these things, but you’re also relying on variables that are completely outside of your control.

Rahul Malik: Absolutely. And I think what I found at least is that that accountability actually drives and tools for more creative thinking and out of the box, thinking that I might have expected coming in, because my experience has been the. When I know that I’m accountable for a certain goal, you know, to the company, to, you know, to, to, to, to my boss, to the management team and, and the plan isn’t working, I, you know, suddenly the team, you know, we’re huddled about drawing up the list of things that we might’ve disqualified before, but now we’re like, well, maybe we’ll try that.

Maybe we need to just do it this way. And I found that to be actually somewhat liberating experience because it’s in those moments that you end up trying things and doing things that you just. I have thought to do before. And and I just really value that and I have found that to be a really educational component of my, of my day-to-day job.

Ken Kanara: Yeah. Thanks for sharing that. I hadn’t had. Realization before, but it’s something I kind of enjoy about my current role as well, and that, you know, I, I never thought about it from that paradigm. So thanks for sharing that. I guess on the same kind of line of thinking, where do you feel like consulting has set you up for success with what you’re doing now?

Rahul Malik: No doubt. There is a way of thinking and a rigor to the thinking that I carry from. You know, in my day in my day-to-day, I just do think that there is a fundamentally structured approach to organizing thoughts, to sequencing activities, to trying to decide what to do and why to do it or what not to do and why not to do it.

That that I think is incredibly valuable that, you know, that’s a bit of a, that feels at times a bit of a superpower so much. I think of operating in a business is trying to figure out where when to say no and why to say. And that can be really challenging to do. And I found that certainly having the training and exposure of, of kind of how to engage in that thinking, but in a really methodical way has just been an accelerant in being able to do that.

I was also fortunate, probably like all consultants, especially having joined BCG out of undergrad. I was just constantly in. Environments and rooms where I had no business, given my lack of seniority being, you know, just time and time again, was interacting with executives and clients who are far more experienced than me, far more knowledgeable than me was presenting in, in those kinds of environments.

And I think. There’s just a calmness that I’ve taken away from that in terms of being able to thrive in a variety of different environments and try and, you know, maybe overcome any sense that I don’t necessarily need to be in that room that, that I’ve just found to be really, really valuable. It’s valuable in a sales context, it’s valuable, you know, representing myself to the rest of the company.

It’s valuable when I and others speak with investors and board members, it’s just valuable in so many different ways. And I think consulting probably more so than, than even other professional services careers really just seems to have found a way of inserting people who are very early on in their tenure in those environments, but setting them up to succeed.

And I think that’s just really been a helpful skill for me. Now, you know, now here outside of consulting as an operator inside of a small, you know, smaller company,

Ken Kanara: I agree. And, and, and they do, and consulting does it in a way that almost doesn’t even let you know how much you don’t belong in that room at the time.

Like, I don’t know about you, but like my experience was I felt like I did belong. And now looking back. What, what were you doing in that meeting you? Like, I mean, I I’m kind of half joking, but also have serious. I don’t know if you had that same, same experience.

Rahul Malik: Oh, absolutely. And, you know, I can think of particular projects in which, as a consultant, I had particular autonomy and at the time that felt amazing.

And I, you know, I’m really thankful for it now you’re right. With some remove, I look back and I’m just surprised that someone is willing to sign off on, on, on that. On that way of working. I think it also teaches you though that, that, you know, as an outsider and, you know, in many ways, I suppose, as the value proposition of, of bringing in external consultants, just as an outsider, you do see things or ask questions that others just probably had had asked years ago and, and don’t even think is worth asking again.

And that, and that it can be just a really revealing. And, and so it’s, you know, despite feeling sometimes that I was so young and, and surprised at the meetings I was in or the people that I was interacting with, I do think that’s one of the reasons it worked because I was deliberately put there to try and understand as an outsider, what was going on and, you know, with a particular client or a particular situation.

And, and that process was particularly useful. Given that in some sense, I knew nothing going into that environment.

Ken Kanara: Yeah, no abs absolutely agree. And I guess, okay. So if, if one thing I’d like to ask all of our guests too, is just, if you were talking to someone that’s currently in consulting and considering a career in something like fashion or, or maybe media what advice would you give to them?

Rahul Malik: I have always focused my career around industry and. I say that because, you know, when I joined consulting, all I wanted to do was work on projects that were in the industry that I was passionate about at the moment it was first airlines and then it was media and fashion, but I was relentless. Quite a shift and, you know, I’m still quite passionate at the airline industry and I’m the kind of person who has a particular set of things that, you know, that I love to go deep on.

And all three of these topics, you know, all three of these industries are examples of that, but you know, the advice that I have, and this comes from my own experience. And so perhaps it’s very tailored to how I’ve structured my career as I have just sought to exclusively focus then on the thing that I’m, that I’m interested in.

And so, you know, when it came to media and fashion, I was relentless in trying to find the partners who could offer me that type of work, who could bring me on as bring me on as part of the projects that they were doing. And, and I think that was necessary. You know, the big consulting firms are at the end of the day, marketplaces of talent and projects.

And if you have a sense of what it is that you want to do, you really have to go out and. Find it, but also go out and market yourself in the right way. So that you’re an attractive profile to be staffed on, on a particular project. And when it was airlines for me, when I joined BCG and all I wanted to do was airlines work.

I hadn’t actually, you know, no credible airlines experience. It was just out of undergrad. I was, you know an airline dork and knew everything that I could read about from the industry from the outside, but no practical experience. And so when I left BCG, I left to go join a startup airline and ended up coming back to BCG.

When I came back to BCG, I was a pretty credible airlines person. All of a sudden I was, it was that much easier for me to find that type of work. And, and so it, perhaps it’s a bit of a chicken and egg challenge, but I really think just thinking about how to make yourself really marketable, to be staffed on projects in this space that you might be interested in and then just going and aggressively pursuing.

Is from the vantage point of someone who’s entering consulting and has a sense that they want to move on and go into a particular industry. I think just a really, really important if perhaps obvious way to actually make that happen. Otherwise, if you’re not too careful, you know, it could sell a consultant career can go by pretty quickly.

And if you’re interested in media, you might’ve accidentally spend all of your time. You know, running the halls in various pharmaceutical companies or big banks or whatnot. And I think just trying to solve for what you’re interested in is, is important.

Ken Kanara: No, I think that’s right. And in fact, I, I remember in consulting, a lot of folks were super proactive about.

Networking with the people that they wanted to work with on the projects that they wanted to be on. And at the time I was, I was, I was dumb. I I’m S I’m still not quite, you know, considered bright, but I, I always looked at them like, what, why are they, why are they, why are. Why are they, it’s almost like the kid looking for homework after class, but looking back on it now, I’m like, wow.

They, they, they made it a lot more out of that situation than I did. Cause I kind of just floated in the wind during my consulting career, if I’m being totally honest, it worked out. But I look back now and I don’t regrets the wrong word, but I wish I was a little bit more proactive. Two things. One is networking.

And then two, just about the projects that I was going to be on, you have way more influence than, than you than you probably think to. And I guess from an outsider’s perspective,

Rahul Malik: definitely.

I mean, there’s always a limit to that networking. You know, it only, it only goes so far, but, but I think just even trying to put yourself in the position to know at least who the right partners are and to whatever degree possible put yourself on their radar is isn’t.

And, and for some people I do think trying it all is the value proposition and that’s great, right. That’s absolutely what they should solve for, for whatever reason. I’ve just always been animated by a very specific particular set of things. And so when I thought about my consultant career, all I thought about was how I could do.

Those specific things.

Ken Kanara: Well, it’s, it’s worked out for you clearly. And and you’ve got you know, a lot of exciting, a lot of exciting things going on. I speaking on the same topic of learning one of the things we like to do is we’re kind of curating a consultant library, if you will Rahul any books that you would recommend to.

I don’t even want to get a caveat, the question too much, but w w what books would you recommend to, to anybody in our audience?

Rahul Malik: I tend to read a lot of fiction, and so I was you know, I’m never sure if, if, if those kind of recommendations resonate here, but I’ll draw two nonfiction books. One I suspect is really well-known, but after long overdue, I finally read.

Which which is, you know, Phil Knight’s book on, on, on the founding and early, early decades of, of Nike. And I just thought, I thought it was such an impressive, inspiring view of really the odds you’re up against in that kind of entrepreneurial endeavor and just the sheer grit that’s required to push through it all.

And you know, and, and one other book that I’d recommend that I’m reading at present is one called barbarian days. By William Finnegan is the author’s name. I think he’s in, he’s been a long time, new Yorker correspondent, but he grew up surfing and the book is I kind of a coming of age tale, if you will, but really told through his deep passion obsession.

With surfing and the art of it, the sport of it, its nuances, it’s subcultures. And you know, for someone, I think who’s animated by a different set of, of kind of similar passions that I can just go endlessly deep on. I’ve found that book to just be a really inspiring, inspiring retrospective on what it’s like to really fall in love with something and fully immerse yourself in it.

And that element of it is really resonated with.

Ken Kanara: Well, thanks for sharing. I you know, it’s interesting. We, we get all sorts of recommendations and, and w we actually do get a fair bit of fiction Rex as well, just because, yeah, it’s it, it, I, I think I sometimes ask the question too directly and I need to be a little bit more open-ended, but but we’ve gotten a lot of really cool books, so I’ll, I’ll I’ll have to check those out as well.

Well, good stuff. Rahul, thanks so much for, for joining us today. If anybody is interested in learning more about business and fashion could you maybe tell us how, how we could find that?

Rahul Malik: Absolutely. So business of is the best way to immerse yourself in everything that we do. If you are interested in the day-to-day journalism, you know, we offer access to that via our BOF professional subscriber.

Has a trial. So there’s a low friction easy entry point for, for you to really get a taste of, of veteran realism. If you’re interested in working in the fashion industry, we have the largest kind of careers, marketplace, BOF careers with job listings around the world. At different types of companies if you work in the industry and you’re interested in, in really in depth and in many ways, consulting style, research and analysis, you can check out VOF insights, which is the data and analysis business that we’ve just launched.

And that would be the best way I think, to, to get a flavor of the business of fashion and everything.

Ken Kanara: Awesome. Well, we will be sure to put all those three different links in the podcast description as well. For those of you joining us for the first time, be sure to check out and subscribe to the podcast on either Spotify, apple, Google, or Amazon.

And if you’re interested in getting in touch with us directly, it’s www dot ECA dash partners dot. But until next time we will talk to you next week. Thanks so much.

Published On: May 23rd, 2022|Categories: Beyond Consulting, Podcast|

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