From a very early age Thiago Eckenroth Guimarães knew that he was an entrepreneur at heart. Some of the earliest memories he has is trying to sell things to people and convincing them why they should invest in him. And throughout this independent consultant’s life, Thiago has always held an innate desire to set up a business in order to serve his own customers.
In a recent interview with Thiago, Talmix delves deeper into this dream to learn and build, and finds out just what it is that resulted in him leaving the corporate world in order to pursue a life of independent consulting and new business creation.
“I started my career working with Deloitte as an analyst and consultant within the corporate finance team specialising within the real estate, tourism and hospitality industries. I’d always had a career plan in my mind that I was looking to follow and it wasn’t long before building up extensive knowledge and expertise with Deloitte, that I had my first taste of independent consulting”, he tells me. Thiago hails from a world of financial advisory services, having worked in both Deloitte in Portugal as well as in Investment Banking for Barclays Bank PLC in London. In Barclays, having served as an assistant vice president within the Technology, Media and Telecommunications team, Thiago is no stranger to high-pressured working environments and working with clients and business functions where he was responsible for the valuation, financial modelling and due diligence on a broad range of high-profile M&A transactions.
But the corporate life wasn’t always for him. Thiago knew that he wanted to work for himself eventually – and had built a career path for himself that would award him exactly that opportunity. In 2010, Thiago founded LGG – his own consulting business that provided corporate finance and consulting advisory services on projects in Europe, South America and Africa. “Back then, the concept of networks and marketplaces like Talmix, weren’t well-known, and anyone who decided to do things on their own, really had to rely on people they knew and word of mouth recommendations.” LGG was successful, and although Thiago enjoyed the freedom and independence of a new entrepreneurial life, it wasn’t long before Thiago was looking to develop himself even more. That is when he decided to further his education and complete his MBA through INSEAD.
“Thinking back on my life growing up, I always knew what I wanted to do, but what matured in me was knowing what type of business I wanted to run, and how I wanted to structure the services I provide. Pursuing my MBA was probably the moment in which I gained the awareness and expertise of running a business professionally – let alone the amount of experience and business contacts it provided. The MBA didn’t convince me to become an entrepreneur – I knew that already. The MBA equipped me with the tools I needed to be able to walk that journey”, he tells me.
We asked Thiago about life after LGG and the MBA. He tells me that he was ready to learn and develop himself even further and he knew that he wanted to expand his M&A skills which is what led him to a fantastic opportunity with Barclays Bank. He’d studied the theory, and was determined to apply what he had learnt and expand his value even more. After working with Barclays for over 2 years, it was time for Thiago to continue pursuing his dream of running his own business. He recalls the conversation with a former MD rationalising his decision to move towards independent consulting. “What I missed most was just having the time to think a little more outside of my day job. Working within the investment banking industry you don’t often have time to be open and meet new people, explore business opportunities, and attend seminars and conferences. You may think that you do – but you don’t often have the mental availability to open yourself to new experiences. When you’re in the investment banking world, you live and breathe your work. Becoming an independent consultant gave me the opportunity to change that”.
We asked Thiago for some advice for people considering moving into the independent consulting world themselves. He shares that one should never underestimate the time it takes for things to happen. “Talmix helps me as a consultant in a big way – because it takes me straight to the client, much quicker than if I were to do this on my own. But it still takes time to find projects, become selected, work out the agreements. And if you do this on your own, it takes even longer”, he tells me.
Thiago is a consultant that puts himself in his clients’ shoes. He understands the corporate world and the challenges that his clients face and has the unique position to be able to practically apply his expertise in a way that speaks from experience. But the point that stands out about the way that Thiago works is his interpretation of the value that a freelancer consultant provides. “The beauty of a freelance consultant is that they are able to be 100% straight-forward and transparent in their approach to a project. They bring real value to clients where it is needed most and cut all the layers of unnecessary costs that burden larger consulting corporations”.