A Day in the Life of a Young Consultant – Shaheed (Ollie) Hussain

Shaheed (Ollie) Hussain


Cognizant Consulting

I left the University of Birmingham in 2018 with a degree in Business Management. After the usual challenges of the application process for a newly graduated, I landed my role as Graduate Analyst at Cognizant. The efforts and sweat of applying and interviewing had quickly been replaced with excitement, hope and intrigue for what the future held for me in the corporate world. My nerves were calmed fairly quickly during the training period where I met several other graduates and quickly built relationships that transcended simply being ‘colleagues’ and fell into the bracket of friendship

I had joined the Life Sciences division as I’d always had a keen interest in the industry. My dissertation at University was on ‘The effects of Mergers and Acquisitions on the Pharmaceutical Industry’ and so it made sense to join this area. Within a month, I had begun contributing to various pieces of work for multiple clients and building the foundations towards becoming a billable consultant (every young Business Analysts dream!). Not long after, I had landed a billable role at one of the largest Pharma companies in the world, working under the Compliance and Ethics division. I had only studied law briefly at University so this was an exciting entry to a new world. One thing I was clear on from the outset was that any violations of rules and regulations in the Pharma industry could result in substantial financial fines that could cripple many companies. This gave a sense of importance and urgency to the work I am a part of for this client, despite being a young graduate, my opinions, ideas and contributions are always taken on-board and respected just as much as someone senior, which has made the experience all the more rewarding.

I had settled into a perfect routine. My day at work would begin with a coffee and casual catch-up with some of the other graduates who were all living a similar experience. Then came the actual work. One thing I love about this industry is the variety. No two days are ever the same and there is always something new to learn about or do.  I aim to speak to the client 2-3 times a week in order to stay up-to-date on their demands from us. In addition, I’ll also have daily calls with colleagues in my team in order to ensure synergy and coherence to our work as well as being able to offer assistance to each other. At the beginning of each day, I like to plan out my tasks for the day and set mini-deadlines for each (usually something to achieve every hour, if possible). This could be working on an app, cleaning up a data file or producing analysis decks. After work, I’d often go to the gym then end my day unwinding to whatever popular Netflix show everyone was talking about that week!

Things then all changed drastically after just 6 months into my role. COVID-19 had shut down, not just offices, but the whole world it seemed. After moving back home to Birmingham and settling back in with family, I then began a 7 month period, leading to today, that has meant I have now been working longer at home, under COVID, than I ever did in an office! We’ve all had our challenges with this change and for myself, I miss those coffee breaks full of laughter in the office most of all. My day of working however, has not changed so much. Face to face meetings with clients has now become Teams calls, yet the role itself has remained the same. Whether this becomes the new norm or we go back to our old ways is yet to be seen. One thing is for certain though, my first 13 months as a Consultant has been eventful!