Clarkston Consulting
Skip to content

Principal Consultant Career Q&A with Raghu

Principal consultant Raghu has evolved through a series of roles over his 15+ years at Clarkston, wearing multiple hats and expanding his expertise.

How long have you been with Clarkston?

I joined Clarkston in 2007 and have been with Clarkston for over 15 years. Prior to Clarkston, I primarily worked in technical roles, leading and managing core development of system and application software across several industries including sales and distribution, aerospace, banking & financial applications. Over a period of time, the roles and nature of work steadily became routine and mundane, and I was missing the challenge of learning new skills and capabilities. When interviewed with Clarkston, I was excited about the opportunity to extend my technical expertise to directly engage with clients in solving business challenges

What is your role at Clarkston?

As a principal consultant, I have been leading and managing projects across both consumer products and life sciences industries. I enjoy the challenges of working with a diverse set of clients and solving different business problems across a variety of projects. I have also had the opportunity of evolving and transitioning through a variety of roles at Clarkston, from core development and technical roles like SAP security and basis, managing testing, leading data transformation and governance initiatives, leading OCM and training initiatives and managing turnkey project implementations at various client projects.

Tell us about a new skill you’ve developed recently.

Over 15 years at Clarkston, I have worn several hats and played several roles across a variety of business solutions and client projects. Over the last couple of years, I have extended my SME and domain knowledge in the TPM processes, tools and solution. I have had the opportunity to lead multiple TPM implementations across different clients. In addition to growing my SME in TPM, I have also gained significant experience in the area of project management. The project management academy training has taught me a great deal about project management methodology and specifically how we at Clarkston deliver enterprise wide business solutions.

If you had to choose, which of Clarkston’s core values do you feel resonates with you the most?

To me, ‘Brilliant Client Service’ is the highest priority and of greatest value. While this is a fundamental characteristic in any industry, business or job function, it is significantly more important and relevant in the service industry. We are here to serve our clients and help solve their business problems. Basic activities like getting the job done, showing up on time etc are routine and expected. What differentiates us, is our ability to go above and beyond, being innovative and bringing a level of experience and expertise that exceeds client expectations, while engaging with our clients closely and blending in with their culture and embracing their philosophy for success. It is a true partnership.

How has your work changed post-COVID?

Surprisingly, yes, and quite significantly. After being in the consulting business for over 18 years and having to pretty much travel about 95% of the time (which I love and enjoy), it was a significant shift to work from home ALL the time. I was worried if I am going to get tired of this very quickly, but to my surprise I am really enjoying this change as well. It is nice not to wake up at 3 or 4 am on Monday morning to make a flight or come home at mid-night on Thursday or Friday every week. It has significantly improved my work life balance as I am able to be productive for as many or more hours as I did before, while I still have some time to tend to personal needs and my family. I do miss meeting people and the personal interactions, dinners and fun times we have together as a team when we are onsite at a client site. There are also some challenges with scheduling and getting responses quickly at times, especially with larger teams.

Which internal initiatives, communities, or projects are you involved in at Clarkston?

I have been actively engaged in leading several training courses on project management excellence, and helping with training new hires in the Jumpstart program. I am also engaged in the TPM community helping lead and build SME content and material in the TPM area.

What advice would you give to someone starting at Clarkston?

The opportunities to learn and grow in your career at Clarkston is truly limitless. It is in each individual’s hands to choose the path, pace and depth of expertise one would like to achieve. Also, be prepared to roll up your sleeves and take on any role as every opportunity or project may not be perfect or exactly what you want or expect. We have to work together as team to deliver success and we must be ready and prepared to take on different roles that can sometimes be mundane and many a time extremely challenging. Be ready and prepared to get on the roller coaster and it will be an absolutely fantastic ride. Most importantly, do not hesitate to reach out for help. There are several stewards with great experience that can quickly share how to go about achieving your goals or provide guidance on any questions or information you need.

Can you share some advice that someone at Clarkston has given you during your time here?

I have received a lot of good advice and words of wisdom from several colleagues and stewards who have been great friends and mentors throughout my career at Clarkson. One of them that has stuck and made a significant impact is: “Focus on winning the war and not the smaller battles.” Through our career, we will work with different clients and people. Not everyone thinks the same way or may agree to everything. It is important to keep the big picture and end goal in mind and work as one team to be successful.

Tell us about a memorable experience you’ve had while working with a client. 

My entire tenure at Clarkston has been a memorable experience. Every project, team and client has brought unique and interesting experiences. One that stands out most across several occasions is the genuine care and concern we share for each other as a team (almost like family). Be it professional help or a personal situation, or an emergency, or a time when our entire project team was stuck and holed up in a hotel for an entire weekend due to bad weather and cancelled flights, there is genuine concern and intent to help each other in every way we can. More importantly, the genuine care from the leadership and the partners to ensure everyone is safe. It is the culture of caring and empathy for one another that I can never forget and love most about Clarkston.

In your experience, what qualities make someone a good consultant? 

Be a SME and expand your domain knowledge. Number one is to know your subject well. The broader your knowledge the greater your value. The USP and value we bring to the table as consultants is our knowledge and SME.

Be proactive. There are a great deal of opportunities to grow and expand your career at Clarkston, provided you are willing to take the initiative. Open and honest communication is important. This can significantly make the working relationships so much easier and smoother.

Be empathetic. I have learned that this is one of the most important traits to be successful as a consultant and even as a person, from my experience at Clarkston. It goes a long way in building strong, personal and trusting relationships that are lasting for ever with clients, colleagues and fellow stewards.

What drove you to accept Clarkston’s employment offer?

Clarkston offered me the opportunity for a change of pace and career path from a primarily technical role to engage in a business functional role. Additionally, the lure of travel and the opportunity to work with a diverse set of clients and projects were key drivers for the change. I have enjoyed every moment since I made that change.

Learn how you can develop your career at Clarkston here