Having completed a placement year during university within an Internal IT Communications and Branding team for a Financial Services provider, this was when I decided I wanted a graduate role in Management Consultancy. Through my placement year I was privy to internal strategic and operational transformation programmes, exposed to working on a variety of projects and initiatives, across different departments; with a diverse range of people, including senior management teams.
Following this experience, I met Managementors at the University of Reading’s Careers Fair – and joined their Trainee Management Consultant scheme in September 2016, transitioning into a Consultant within their operational team in January 2018.
As a hands-on operational consultancy, Managementors partners with its clients to deliver a sustainable solution, which requires on-site coaching with management teams throughout the duration of project engagement. Typically I will travel to site on a Monday morning, returning on Friday afternoon – hopefully before traffic on the M25 becomes unbearable!
Recently this Monday to Friday stint was just outside Leeds, where we were working on a project to improve the productivity of a national field engineering organisation, delivering to domestic customers. As projects progress through the solution development, piloting and implementation phases, understandably activities vary week-to-week. To start, we looked at bringing the operations under control, where we conducted Workshop based training sessions with management teams to provide them with the tools to identify and resolve the issues their teams faced. This led on to one-to-one coaching with managers, who varied between first time Team Leaders up to Operational Managers, in utilising those tools to drive issues out of the organisation and improve their team’s performance.
A key objective to all our projects, is ensuring an active Management Operating System (MOS) has been implemented within our clients. This involves developing the processes and tools to allow management to effectively forecast, plan, control, report and review across their operations. In Leeds, we worked closely with their operational management team to develop their MOS. Key to this, was introducing effective standards to plan work, enabling accurate productivity reporting to be created and the introduction of regular review meetings to discuss performance and determine improvement actions.
What’s great about working for an operational consultancy is the mix of tasks you get involved with. One day you might be building an operational report, and the next coaching Team Leaders in how to interpret the data and use the information to make decisions. To ensure sustainability of our solution, we work across all levels of the organisation and interact with individuals across operational, financial and HR teams. This is great, as you get a real understanding of the business, how it pieces together, and the people behind it.
As with all change, however, not everyone is keen to embrace it. It can be challenging to bring everyone on board, when looking at implementing a project which fundamentally changes the way a business might have been run for the last two, five or even ten years, especially as a young consultant. It’s key to build trust with your client and take them on the change journey with you. This way they hopefully feel part of the solution and not think change is a ‘bad thing’ happening to them.
Another part of my role (which I really enjoy), is conducting an analysis of client operations. This involves an intensive exercise of information gathering and critical analysis to uncover operational issues and identify capacity to deliver benefits, through project engagement with the client. With Managementors this work has taken me across two continents and seven countries, including South Africa and Finland.
Looking back on my own reasons for pursuing a career in consultancy (working on a mix of projects, with people from different backgrounds and teams, to deliver tangible change) so far, I think I’ve made the right choice. There are long hours and frustrating clients, but for those who are looking at a career in consulting, the pros far outweigh the cons.