Ben Hurdis

Ben Hurdis

What did you do before you became an independent consultant – and why did you choose this path?

I began my career at L.E.K. and worked in both the Australian and French offices across a wide range of industries and strategic questions. My main areas of focus were private equity work, energy, aviation and healthcare.

I originally had in mind to make the well-trodden transition from being an advisor to joining an in-house strategy team. But, I wanted to dip my toe in the water. After leaving L.E.K., I worked on in-house projects as part of the strategic review cycle of a funds management house, and then leading transformation programs for a large financial institution.

While I was in-house, I came to miss the variety of industry exposure and breadth of strategic questions that typically come within a consulting environment. I was fortunate to encounter colleagues who had chosen – and recommended – independent consulting, and who had built fascinating and varied careers in the process. It was then that I decided to try this path for myself and found that I too thrived on the flexibility and mix of projects of working independently.

 

What are the most fulfilling aspects of consulting for you?

Often, when a consulting assignment begins, stakeholders in the client organisation have many competing views of “the right answer”. For me, the most rewarding aspect is helping to bring clarity and alignment in a compelling, rigorous and concretely implementable way.

 

What have been some of the high points in your work with Eden McCallum?

The consistent high point is the colleagues I work with. Not only are they all great people who always gel into a high-performing team immediately, they are inspiringly diverse. Alongside their consulting work, they may also be magistrates, writers, entrepreneurs or investors. That ensures that we all bring different viewpoints and ideas and makes working in a team environment dynamic and valuable – you can’t replicate that kind of thinking alone.

 

In what ways does being independent influence your impact on projects?

The diversity and depth of experience of the independent consultants I’ve been fortunate to work with, I think, leads to more focused and impactful results for clients.

The Eden McCallum model enables the team to be specifically tailored to the needs of the client. Similarly, the seniority of an Eden McCallum team is also typically higher than that in a traditional consulting firm. This makes for recommendations that are more implementation-ready.

 

What would you say are some of the characteristics of a successful independent consultant?  What is your advice for those considering this path? 

One of the great benefits and fun challenges of independent consulting is pursuing a range of complementary and diverse interests in both client project work and other activities. Multi-tasking, prioritisation and adaptability can become particularly valuable characteristics.

 

You’ve really made the most of the flexibility of being independent – can you tell us about what else you have done alongside your consulting projects?

In the years that I’ve been an independent consultant, I’ve been lucky to be able to balance my work with other interests and passions. Some of my highlights include:

  • Completing an Executive MBA that involved a lot of travel. Independent consulting work made this logistically feasible.
  • Learning languages. I attend regular classes and even took a few months to intensively learn Mandarin in China.
  • Contributing to social and political missions. I enjoy the intersection of commercial life and public policy. I’ve been mentoring with the non-for-profit community, On Purpose, to develop commercial expertise among social impact investing and healthcare-focused social entrepreneur. I’m also active in local politics.
  • Ongoing charity work. Following an Eden McCallum pro-bono project, I am working with a Royal Foundation-backed mental health digital startup, assisting in their business planning.
  • Organising cycle holidays. My family and I try to go on long distance cycle tours once a year, with our favourite destinations including Taiwan, the Danube, Sardinia and central Italy.
  • And, most importantly, running after my almost two-year-old daughter!

❰ Return to Consultant Perspectives page