Laryngopharyngitis and strategy consulting

I realized that there is a striking similarity between doctors and strategy consultants. In both cases, there are clients, who present problems and seek solutions. That’s it right? I realized that it’s a little more than that last evening. As always, I fell sick the moment I arrived in Bangalore. I went to my regular doctor just because he happened to have a clinic right next to my favorite breakfast place close to home, got on some antibiotics that didn’t seem to be helping and so decided to talk to my sister, our family doctor now. She recommended that I see this ENT specialist close to home that is a friend’s father and is supposedly a good doctor. I quickly googled him to find his address and found that he was registered on Practo (run by a friend from school). The millennial in me was a tad bit reassured to confirm his existence via the Internet.

When I arrived at his clinic, I saw four pairs of footwear parked outside further reassuring the popularity of this doctor on a weekday afternoon. The waiting room was poorly decorated and looked quite depressing. This was recommended by my sister, who is a doctor herself, and also quite concerned about my well being and I had no reason to doubt her recommendation. I’d be quick to judge if just Practo recommended this place to me because sometimes a personal recommendation is far superior to that of wisdom of the crowds. Well, at least in the case of life altering things such as healthcare, matchmaking, etc right? When I finally went in to see the doctor, he didn’t make eye contact but he asked me what the problem was. After I gave him a 140-character dope on my symptoms, he pulled my tongue out, checked my throat with a tiny torch and concluded that I had laryngopharyngitis from acidity. He also explained what that meant in layman terms and quickly scribbled 4 tablets on the prescription slip that I have to take over 10 days. I was out in 5 minutes. Hands down, the most efficient doctor I have been to but one can never know if this visit has been helpful or not since the course of medication is 10 days and for all you know, this ailment might die its natural death by then in case the medicines have had no effect.

While this diagnosis seemed far superior to my general physician’s generic throat infection, jumping to a conclusion without hearing me out fully left me unsettled as a client. This reminded me of the time when I was doing a case interview with a friend who jumped to a hypothesis within the first 3 minutes of the case interview and didn’t budge through the length of the interview. While the doctor/ my friend might have been bang on about the hypothesis/ conclusion, real life problems especially medical related are never that straight forward. Not giving your patient/ interviewer the benefit of detailed analysis of symptoms or engaging in a conversation can result in not building a trust between the doctor and patient which forms the basis of cure and continued business in the case of strategy consulting.


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