Consultancy is a lucrative business anywhere in the world. At home too, it has already become an industry. From development work related consultancy about a decade ago to now service centric, the industry is booming.
And like many lucrative ventures, it also raises many questions. One thriving such consultancy is found in the education sector. The increasing number of students leaving educational institutions, coupled with the shortage of colleges and stark unemployment in the country, is feeding the firms.
This time around, business is at its height, as thousands of students look for school, colleges and employment outside the country. Any questions raised about their credibility or being in the news for the wrong reasons could damage their business. But it is important to keep tabs on them.
For instance, India is the preferred education destination for many, as it is closer and comparatively cheaper. The last thing a student wants to hear is controversy about colleges or consultancy firms involved. Our understanding of consultants is that they are qualified experts with substantial experience in specialised areas, who will provide professional perspectives and services.
Getting a visa to study and work in Australia, a favoured third country destination, is difficult. A rejection is hard to digest, as cost implications are high. With more and more Bhutanese applying for visa, the consultancy firms are coming under close scrutiny. The Australian high commission is insisting on firms declaring their procedures. The businesses are being questioned, as some that came through the firms, violated rules.
This is a worrying trend. We may not have a racket now but, in the heat of competition, we could be heading in the wrong direction. Authorities insist on naming firms, as some are reportedly blacklisted for shady deals with clients. A few rotten apples could spoil the whole basket.
We are at a stage, where more and more people are joining the consultancy world. The reasons are plenty. Some find it a better prospect as business; some are forced by circumstances and some, because of their adequate experience and qualification. Even as consultants are being licensed, it is vital to look at experience and qualifications.
A consultant by definition is someone, who provides expert advice professionally. It should not be mistaken for a mere job or business.
The worst problem is if corruption starts setting in and consultancies are awarded by clients, in our case mostly government and corporate firms, to unqualified friends and relatives. There are already trends. Sometimes call for jobs are floated just for the sake of audit purposes. The work would have already been awarded.
This is risky, as consultancy services would be rendered ineffective, and we would be encouraging crooks instead of available professional services outside the government. Worse, a client’s life or future could be ruined.