If you’re looking for a role that delivers different activities day in, day out, then consulting is exactly what the doctor ordered.
For me, it all began at university. While studying Economics and Politics at SOAS University of London, I gravitated towards analysis – I found it both meaningful and enjoyable. It was then that I realised I wanted a career where I could solve problems and address business challenges by analysing processes and systems.
And it was as at university where I first sampled life as a consultant. I volunteered as a student consultant for ‘180 Degrees Consulting’, which involved reconstructing an Indian NGO’s social media strategy to attract new stakeholders interested in strengthening the work experience skills of disadvantaged people in Northern India. Working in a group, it was here I began developing basic consultancy and business analysis skills, as well as working with clients overseas. I also discovered the importance of motivation – there’s nothing like knowing the value of your mission to keep you working late.
But even with this experience, I’ll admit to being more than a little anxious as I started my graduate role at BAE Systems Applied Intelligence. What would the role bring me? Could I fill the job spec? And, most importantly, would I be happy at work?
It’s been a huge learning process but one that I don’t regret for a minute. Thanks to being directly immersed into life on a government client site, I have developed a wealth of new skills and gained a detailed understanding of how part of a government’s IT process works. But it’s all underpinned by my original aim of making a real difference by deconstructing problems and providing solutions directly to the client.
There’s no typical day for a consultant as it’s based on the needs of the project. The thing I love about my job, though, is the sheer variety of what’s on offer. Not for me is a monotonous 9-5 routine; some days I’m busy preparing for Project Boards and supporting supplier workshops, and other days I am capturing requirements with different stakeholders, understanding contracts and preparing business cases, to just name a few.
And when I’m back at our offices in London, I know that I will feel at home in what is a diverse and respectful workplace – something that has always been important to me – and where I can get involved in internal clubs and feel part of a community.
When younger people ask me for career advice, I recommend trying a mix of roles to reach a point you obtain a sense of contentment – in other words, something worth the morning commute. It’s worked for me – I hope it works for others, too.