It's easy, almost too easy, for one generation to criticize the next. Poking fun at your predecessors is a tradition that goes back at least several generations. We've all heard the stereotypes of this next generation of workers; some of those stereotypes are probably accurate, some of them are not. Here's our take: From a business perspective, this generation is far and away superior to anything that's come before it. When we set out to find the rising stars of consulting, we had no idea what we were in for. Frankly, we were blown away by the quality of the 300 or so nominations we received for this, our inaugural 30 Under 30 award. With so many qualified, or perhaps even overqualified applicants, we struggled to narrow down the field down to just 30.
It's hard to believe that just a few years ago (and in some cases even more recently than that), the consultants on the following pages were getting out of school and preparing to set the world on fire. And guess what? They have. This year's class includes a founder of his own firm, an interim CFO, a consultant with a 164 percent utilization rate and one who began with her firm at the age of 20. Indeed, this group is changing the world— your world. And even if you don't work with them, you likely have seen the indirect effects of their work in your everyday life. That is, if you drive a car, take a prescription medication, use a computer or have been to a retail store lately.
And, in keeping true to this generation's ideals, all of them are standouts in their local communities—whether it's doing volunteer work, competing in Ironman competitions or running political campaigns. So read on to learn about the talent we've uncovered. And pay attention, we may all end working for one of them one day.
NAVNEET SINGH NARULA - Accenture - Management Executive
Navneet Singh Narula has accomplished much in his 29 years—not just professionally, but for the world. A consultant in Accenture's financial services practice who specializes in systems integration and technology for mergers and acquisitions, Narula has advised many of Wall Street's heavy hitters. He also serves as the chief diversity lead at Accenture's Michigan practice and co-leads the Asian Americans Committed to Excellence diversity group in Atlanta.
But Narula's commitment to excellence knows no borders. As the director of humanitarian relief and community empowerment at UNITED SIKHS, he has participated in, and in some cases led the formation of, schools and relief shelters throughout the world. He also aided in disaster relief in India, New Orleans and Kashmir. The 30 Under 30 distinction is one of many for Narula, who was honored by Sen. Clinton as one of 2006's Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business. He's also received distinctions from the Minorities in Business Foundation and the American Business Awards, among others.
His long-term plan focuses on balance. "I hope to become an effective individual, a catalyst for a better living, a simple, fun, family man and a top leader at a world-class organization or a tycoon businessman. Most importantly, I pray for self-contentment, a healthy lifestyle, and a happy, secure life surrounded by my loved ones.”