Travel For Work: Most Annoying Consulting Terms

For some reason management consultants have developed their own set of corporate slang as they’ve migrated across the globe.  If you’ve worked as a consultant yourself or if you’ve had the great pleasure of having one latch onto your company for a period of time, then you may be familiar with some standard “consultant speak”.  Here’s a few of our least favorites:


1. Work Effort:
  • Meaning:  The time/cost/resources it takes to complete a task.
  • Used in a Sentence:  “What’s the work effort on that change to scope?”
2. Ping:
  • Meaning:  To contact someone.  Call, text, email, IM….it’s all the same and it’s all a “ping”.
  • Used in a Sentence:  “I’ll ping john later and have those TPS reports to you by EOD.”
3. Deck:
  • Meaning:  A fancy way of saying “Powerpoint presentation”.
  • Used in a Sentence:  “I spent all day building this deck and charged the client $150 per hour while doing it.”
4. On The Beach:
  • Meaning:  To NOT be working at a client engagement or project and usually working from home.
  • Used in a Sentence:  “I haven’t been flying out lately because I’m currently on the beach.”
5. The Ask:
  • Meaning:  Another (more annoying) way of saying “request”.
  • Used in a Sentence:  “So what exactly is the ask here?” (Yes, the word “ask” is used as a noun!)
6. Utilization:
  • Meaning:  Your percentage of billable hours in relation to your overall hours worked
  • Used in a Sentence:  “My utilization dropped this month because I decided to use my PTO.  Now I need to work a few weekends to make up for it.”
7. Value Add:
  • Meaning:  Refers to what was gained by a specific process or decision. 
  • Used in a Sentence:  “What exactly was the value add from bringing on all these consultants?”
8. Industry: 
  • Meaning:  The term “industry” refers to a business that is not professional services or consulting.  Basically, it’s the client.
  • Used in a Sentence:  “He wanted to spend more time with his family, so he left the firm and took a job in industry.”
9. Going Native:
  • Meaning:  This refers to the perception of being employed by the client rather than the consulting firm.  It can be negative if you’re trying to get rolled off your project and the client sees you as part of the “family”.
  • Used in a Sentence:  “I’m just trying to get my work done and make sure I don’t end up going Native”.

That’s it for now!  However, I’m sure we’ve missed a few.  So as you think of (or create) additional consulting slang, please let us know by making a mention in the comments section.  This is a living document, much like the Constitution, so we’ll keep adding to it!

June 16, 2013