Day in the Life of a Young Consultant | Arka Raina

Arka Raina

Consultant, IBM

My journey into consulting unknowingly began during my school years, when I was struggling which subjects to pursue at a higher level, when depth into a narrower set of subjects was required. I enjoyed both the Sciences and Arts disciplines equally, and I found deep satisfaction in using both my creative and analytical parts of my brain. At the time, Liberal Arts courses did not exist at university so I eventually went onto study both Science and Art subjects at A-level, still hopeful that I could go into an interdisciplinary career. Little did I know that it was my multi-hyphenate ability and interest that would guide my career later on in life.

After studying for a French and Spanish degree, carrying out marketing and sales to tech companies on behalf of a non-profit, and teaching myself basic front-end web development with Code Academy, I concluded that I wanted a career that was people-focused, a blend of technology and business, and made positive impact. Vague at best. My first job out of university was a technical Business Analyst-type role for a Digital Marketing team at a telecommunications provider, and I used this experience as a stepping stone to enter the consulting industry.

Three years later, it is safe to say that I no longer agonise over pursuing one set career path: in consulting, flexibility and adaptability is a must! I have had the opportunity to carry out a range of strategy- and implementation-focused roles spanning across the business, design and technical disciplines. I have tried roles at all stages of the product/software development lifecycle – project management, user researcher, UX/UI designer, developer, tester and Agile coach – in a variety of industries from government to oil & gas, automotive and CPG. This breadth of experience has been really enjoyable as I’ve solved problems from many different angles, learnt about different industries and business models, and have always found that what I’ve learnt in my previous roles helps me to explain and approach tasks creatively.

Contributing to the firm outside of my job has been rewarding as well. I am part of the BAME employee resource group, where I organise and run programmes to celebrate and recognise cultural and ethnic diversity in an equitable and inclusive manner. This has ranged from hosting cultural celebrations, to setting up a mentoring scheme and organising roundtables with clients to discuss D&I strategy for their respective organisations, so that they are diverse, equitable and inclusive of people from different backgrounds. I have also had the chance to apply my design skills more directly via the IBM Call For Code Racial Justice Challenge. I have designed a solution starter to address systemic racism for diverse representation, whilst leading a global team from 5 countries. This is what consulting is for me in a nutshell: a group of talented and passionate diverse individuals who come together to solve meaningful problems, supporting each other along the way.

Ultimately, consulting has been an exhilarating journey. If you want to be constantly challenged whilst learning about new areas, then this is definitely a career for you. As the world comes out of the pandemic, there is only more learning that we have to do, and ultimately, only more positive impact that we can create.