If you have been looking into a career in management consultancy you might be asking yourself ‘what does a graduate consultant do?’, and the truth is we do a little bit of everything! I joined North of England Care System Support (NECS) Consultancy in September 2022 after completing my undergraduate degree in History at Newcastle University. NECS Consultancy provides transformational change, strategy and problem-solving services to public sector organisations operating across national, regional, and local footprints. I am currently halfway through the NECS100 Graduate Consultancy Scheme.
I began a career in consultancy purely by chance, but I am so glad I did. The summer after I graduated, I worked as a Project Admin Assistant, and when looking at project management graduate schemes, discovered the management consultancy sector. The variety and breadth of a consultancy career drew me in instantly, and my first year has certainly lived up to these expectations. Some days are filled with calls, engaging with our clients and their key stakeholders for the project, whilst other days I can be engrossed in excel with lots of data analysis. Personally, my favourite days are when I can design visually inspiring content for the client, often when complex information has to be condensed and conveyed in a succinct, clear way.
I am currently working on a project in Wales, supporting a local authority and a Health Board to develop a feasibility study for integrated Health and Social Care Wellbeing Hubs. My days have involved travelling to the client site in Wales, and conducting in-person workshops; a steep but exciting learning curve. This in-person time with the client is important for me as a young consultant, allowing me to experience new situations and accelerate my learning by working with colleagues in person. For example, I recently independently facilitated a Six Thinking Hats task and patient roadmap activity during a client workshop. It was a great way to push myself out of my comfort zone, whilst still feeling supported.
The hybrid model of working offered by NECS suits my lifestyle. I particularly enjoy having the flexibility to go to the gym and out for a walk around my workload, especially in the morning or on my lunch break. This makes me much more productive and ready for the day. I find when I don’t prioritise these things in my day and skip my lunch break or stay logged on past 5pm, the balance between work and life tilts and this can have a knock-on effect on my mental wellbeing. Recently, I have upgraded my desk to a standing desk and already this feels like such a huge improvement to both my physical health and motivation throughout the day – taking standing breaks is so refreshing, especially on a day of back-to-back meetings. There will always be peaks and troughs in a consultancy career but finding the right balance and boundaries early on is very important, and something I work on every day to continuously prioritise.
Writing this day in the life has been a perfect opportunity for me to reflect on how far I have come since I started my career in consultancy. For anyone considering a career in consultancy my advice would be just to give it a go! Why? Because a career in consultancy offers so much flexibility, the opportunity to work on a variety of projects and make a meaningful difference for our clients, something I am particularly passionate about within my current role.