Staff Writer l Palladium - Dec 21 2023
The Next Generation of Consultants in Saudi Arabia are Women

Students participating in the case study workshop. 

“For men in Saudi Arabia, consulting is a status symbol, but most women don’t know what it is,” shares Ayesha Khan, Palladium HR Business Partner in the Gulf Coast region. Providing education on the work that Palladium does in the region and reaching out to the community is at the heart of a recent initiative launched by the organisation’s Saudi Arabic office.

Aimed at empowering students at King Saud University and bridging the gap between schools and consulting organisations, the office hosted a workshop with about 30 students, consisting of both men and women. “This wasn’t meant to be an HR or recruiting initiative,” Khan explains. “It’s part our social commitment to providing the next generation with the tools, knowledge, and inspiration needed to navigate the dynamic landscape of the consulting world.”

The one-day session was centred around a hypothetical consulting case study – one that a Palladium team in Saudi Arabia could be working on. “The highlight of the program was the chance for students to showcase their projects inspired by the case study, using the tools acquired during the sessions.”

“This interactive experience with the Palladium team members allowed students a firsthand insight into the depth of the case study problems, fostering a sense of ownership and application of their newfound knowledge,” explains Khan.

And the attending students agree. “The event provided a valuable opportunity to develop problem-solving skills and introduce new initiatives,” reports one participant. “I had the privilege of meeting industry professionals whose expertise and guidance were instrumental in helping us crack the case. The team played a crucial role in providing us with structured frameworks and approaches. Overall, it was an enriching experience that allowed for personal and professional growth.”

“Throughout the event, we navigated a maze of problem-solving frameworks, each unveiling new dimensions of effective consultancy,” says another. “From mastering SMART goals to wielding the power of SWOT analysis, and diving into models like Kepner-Tregoe and the PDCA cycle, I absorbed a wealth of methodologies tailored for complex challenges”.

Women’s empowerment and youth engagement are top priorities for the Kingdom’s social reforms as part of its Saudi Vision 2030 says Khan. “With an ambitious goal of 50/50 women and men in the workforce, programs and workshops like those that Palladium is hosting are a critical part of ensuring that Saudi women know of all the opportunities open to them.”

The workshop was held in partnership with the University’s AHHIL Initiative, a training program to prepare students for consulting interviews, resume writing, and case interviews. But according to Khan, there are plans to go beyond King Saud University and include more schools in the region. “We want to give students a flavour of what consulting companies look for and in the context of Palladium, what we do, because we’re more focused on positive impact,” she says. “Even students who plan to get into consulting may not know that you can do so through a social impact lens. Now they know and can plan their careers accordingly.”

For the team in Riyadh that led the workshop, the collaboration stands as a testament to the power of CSR initiatives in fostering education and empowerment. “As we reflect on this event,” says Khan, “we are reminded that our commitment to social responsibility is not just a duty; it is a privilege to contribute to the growth and development of the next generation of leaders.”

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