Promotion Tips You Can Steal From a Management Consultant

Strategies from a former management consultant to get you a promotion

Wang Yip
7 min readJun 6


Photo by Jan Antonin Kolar on Unsplash

I was sitting in my senior manager’s office. The promotion email had just been sent out that morning and my name had noticeably (I noticed!) not been on the email. Although if your counsellor (the person you work with to get promoted) had not already mentioned it to you (because management and higher-ups knew about the promotions first), you probably weren’t getting promoted.

Management consulting firms have a two-year up-or-out policy — either you were promoted within two years or were shown out the door. It was my third year as a consultant and I was worried. It wasn’t a hard and fast rule by any means but one that all consultants knew about.

“What’s going on?” I asked my senior manager. “Why are these people (I listed several colleagues who were at the same level and had the same years of experience as I did at the level) getting promoted?”

My senior manager closed his office door and sat me down to share invaluable lessons for getting promoted. I think they will help you no matter whether you’re in a firm or not.

Punch above your weight

The best advice my senior manager told me was to go above and beyond my current role and take on the responsibilities of the role I wanted to be promoted to. I have seen this at the firm, but I have also seen this in the industry. Senior PMs taking on the responsibility of the PMO Lead. Senior Consultants performing Manager duties at a firm. Perhaps you’re an Analyst and want to be considered for a Senior Analyst position in the same team? Easy, start doing the things Senior Analysts do.

There are a few reasons for this:

  • You can’t take on more responsibility until you have excelled at your current role. Even if you excel at your current role, management does not know whether you are capable of performing at the next higher role and so will sometimes hold you back because they are not sure if they want to risk promoting you and seeing you struggle in your promoted role.
  • Performing the duties of the role you want makes it a no-brainer for management. If you’re a…



Wang Yip

Author of Essential Habits. I write about personal development, work and managing your career. Connect with me at