As a Chemical Engineering graduate, I was passionate about problem-solving and project management, but never quite sure about pursuing a career in engineering. During my fourth-year placement as a process engineer for an aerospace manufacturer, I found that I was more interested in the commercial and client-facing aspects of business than the technical design elements of engineering. I also wanted to gain experience in a variety of industries, not just in manufacturing. So, I decided to pursue a career in consulting.
After completing my degree at the University of Birmingham, I joined Managementors’ graduate consultant programme, which enabled me to develop a strong foundation of both business development and consulting skills. As part of the programme, I was exposed to a range of projects across a variety of sectors, including property maintenance, finance, and infrastructure. It also included contributing to several analyses where we complete a two-week ‘deep dive’ into a client’s operations, identifying key issues and areas of opportunity for improvement.
Now, as a consultant, I am responsible for taking a lead on my own work streams and working as part of a project team to help deliver solutions and savings for our clients. Our projects focus on people, processes and systems to achieve the project’s objectives, which typically centre around improving productivity and removing frustration / wastage from our client’s operation. Day-to-day this can involve streamlining processes, creating planning and reporting tools to provide management with better visibility and control of their area, as well as providing training and coaching to enable managers and supervisors to manage their teams more ‘actively’.
On site, I typically work closely with operations managers and supervisors / team leaders, supporting and facilitating their change journey. My week can vary greatly, depending on the project location. Recently I have been driving from my home in Berkshire to the client site in Gloucestershire on a Monday morning before returning home on a Thursday evening and working remotely on a Friday.
One of the great things about consulting is the variety of experience you gain. Each client brings new teams, different sets of objectives and novel challenges to tackle. It can also be fulfilling to improve the work lives of the people you’re working alongside. Seeing teams become more engaged and more productive because their day-to-day frustrations and issues have been identified and resolved is an extremely rewarding experience. It’s amazing to be personally thanked for your support and see change happening for the better.
Bringing people on a change journey can, however, be a challenge. Change can be difficult for many people, and it’s often not straightforward. Each person’s journey can vary significantly, requiring a great deal of understanding, empathy and clear communication to ensure you are providing effective support through the ups and downs that inevitably happen.
A career in consulting is both challenging and fulfilling, offering the chance to hone your problem-solving and project management skills in a wide range of client-facing environments. For me, it’s not just about providing solutions, it’s also about being a supportive and trusted guide. It’s about encouraging ideas, helping people overcome uncertainty and helping them turn their ideas into tangible improvements. If this resonates with you, don’t be afraid to explore this further as a career path.