I often wonder how I ended up working in Consulting. After completing my bachelor’s degree in Law at Newcastle University, I travelled to America the following day to coach football on the East Coast, it was the dream job! Following this, I returned to my hometown of Bangor in Northern Ireland to the daunting task of getting a ‘real job’.
I spent the next year working as a Conveyancer for a local law firm. I was really thrown in at the deep end with this role and had to learn the ropes very quickly. I certainly do not miss the arguments with Solicitors on the other side of a property transaction who clearly knew a lot more than me, although I certainly did enjoy a good debate.
Following this, I took up a role at PwC within consulting. It was not the only job area I considered but as someone who enjoys communicating with people and problem solving, it seemed like a logical choice. After two enjoyable years at PwC, I joined BearingPoint’s RegTech business in March 2019. The RegTech business provides regulatory reporting software solutions to financial services institutions and regulators around the globe. Whilst I had a background in Financial Services and Regulation, the technology and software side of the business was entirely new to me and it was certainly a steep learning curve in the beginning.
A lot of things had changed in my life very quickly and as a result, my mental health began to suffer. It was something, I had never experienced before so I was not entirely sure how to manage it in the beginning. After speaking to family, various colleagues and medical professionals, I opened up about how I was feeling and what I was going through. I was stunned by how much support there is within the industry and how many people are going through similar issues. I was very lucky to have such a supportive network of people around me. As a result, the prospect of lockdown was initially worrying for me.
From an industry perspective, we were watching unprecedented pandemonium unfold across the global financial system. Each day, a new headline presented itself about financial chaos and mass unemployment. Of course, this led to the worry that client projects could be postponed or even cancelled. Luckily, I have managed to stay busy during this challenging time. Financial institutions have a key role to play in minimizing the economic impact of the pandemic so in addition to my usual BAU tasks, I have been providing analysis of the CRR (Capital Requirements Regulation) ‘Quick Fix’ package to our clients and supporting our International Development Team ensuring they are kept well informed during this challenging period of regulatory change.
In my personal life, I have also managed to keep myself active throughout the last few months. I have found that Physical wellbeing has been key to maintaining good mental health. At BearingPoint we have a Strava Running club which I try to stay active in and we are also lucky enough to have two weekly Boxercise sessions via Zoom with professional boxer from Ireland, Eric Donovan.
Last month, I hosted two virtual mental health workshops, one in London and one for the global business where I discussed my own struggles with mental health and some of the things I learned during this challenging period. It is my hope that this will be of benefit to somebody else who is going through the same struggles, this is particularly relevant to our industry given the amount of time we can spend away from home working to tight deadlines, whilst away from our families and friends. As young professional male, it has become a personal goal of mine to start more conversations within the consulting industry around the issue of mental health.