Day in the Life of a Young Consultant | Kainat Ali

Role Public Services Advisory Consultant

Grant Thornton

Growing up being the person who loved to talk and give advice, consultancy is the career path I was inevitably made to take. I have always enjoyed meeting new people, asking lots of questions and problem solving. Consultancy is a career which allows me to do just that and perfectly balances the time available to independently focus on work and time to meet new clients.

After graduating with a First Class Honours in BSc Economics, I began my career by contracting within the Financial Services sector to gain a variety of experience and get a feel for consulting. The project which had the most impact on me was with Grant Thornton’s Public Services Advisory practice. I enjoyed the Grant Thornton culture, and the intriguing range of work within this team, such as the focus and passion towards diversity and inclusion. This ended up being my final contracting project, as I successfully applied for a permanent consulting role with Grant Thornton in June 2021.

As a consultant I now split my time between working directly with clients and studying for my CIPFA qualification. My clients are predominantly local and central government, and I collaborate with my colleagues to support them with a range of issues from assessment of Value for Money to identifying and addressing high spend to service improvement and strategy.

I begin my week by checking that my calendar is up to date and adding blocks of focus time for each of my projects, as balancing and prioritising my workload is very important when supporting multiple clients. I then reply to my emails and messages. The rest of the week is spent following my calendar and work plan. The nature of my work requires me to frequently interact with clients and this sometimes involves travelling to client sites which I really enjoy. Face to face meetings have been reduced greatly since the pandemic, however as we move back to ‘normal’, the visits where in person interaction adds value are beginning again. In addition, I also travel to my home office in London several times a month, as well as my local office, which is Oxford where I spend most of my time.

In addition to client work, I am also involved in a number of initiatives which Grant Thornton has to offer. This includes the Grant Thornton Muslim Network, Women at Grant Thornton, and the Ethnicity Network. In the month of Ramadan, I worked with the Muslim Network and launched the firm wide “Fast with us” initiative, in which Muslim colleagues were paired up with Non-Muslim colleagues to guide them through a day of fasting. This was to encourage inclusion and understanding of colleague experiences. 102 participants signed up to this initiative, which was the first of its kind and made a really positive impact that was captured in several articles both internally and externally. One of the articles can be found here Fast with us: sharing our experiences | Grant Thornton. This has allowed me to build my network and my own confidence.

I would highly recommend a career in consulting to anyone who enjoys problem solving, meeting new people, and a varied work environment. Consulting is highly rewarding, due to the drive to create innovative solutions in collaborate both with colleagues and clients. The variety and number of clients means that no day is the day, and life is far from monotonous! I’m thoroughly enjoying my career and looking forward to developing even further.