Degree: Bachelor of Commerce (Management & Finance)
University: University of Melbourne
‘Circle of Life’ starts playing full blast from my phone as I lie in bed listening in a half-dazed, sleepy confusion. Past me (read: yesterday) had struck upon the genius idea of starting my day with Disney’s rendition of the sunrise in the African Sahara, which the present me is now regretting. I eventually get up and ready before rushing off to the station to catch my train, realising that the Lion King soundtrack was more distracting than I had intended.
As part of my new year resolutions, I’m reducing my “screen time” with technology, devoting my morning train rides to a bit of introspection and planning for the rest of the week ahead.
As a graduate in consulting, you get to be involved in a lot of different projects across various service lines. You may not know exactly what you want to do, but it helps to get involved in as much as possible to maximise your exposure to working with different types of people in different environments – this makes you adaptable and helps build your soft skills which are essential when it comes to working in consulting.
First thing I do as soon as I come in every day is to check through my emails for any important notifications or emails from clients/directors I am working with. I noticed quite a few members of my team use OneNote to organise their tasks so it’s a new thing I’m picking up by writing daily to-do lists that I can check off.
Every Monday and Wednesday we have a Financial Modelling scrum, which is a 15 minute stand up for all the members in the group who work on financial modelling engagements. The aim of the stand-ups are to help create visibility across the group around what projects are happening, discuss progress, and most importantly allow people to get involved with projects where they have some spare capacity or would like to learn more about a certain area.
After chatting to one of the directors about a project raised in our scrum, I quickly go upstairs to attend one of our industry sector group meetings. We have a few of these groups established in the team. The one I am going to is for Health and Care, the idea being that we use the meetings to understand and discuss strategies on how we (as the Consulting group) are looking to target clients in this industry. Today we are compiling a list of the clients and prospective clients we are looking to invite to a health focused conference that we will be running in a couple months’ time.
Banana bread time! One of the managers in our group is an excellent baker so we often get to be the test guinea pigs for his latest batch of baked goods…mmm. Must make a tea to go with the banana bread.
We have a brown bag lunch today at one of the presentation rooms at reception. Every few weeks or so we have lunchtime sessions which offer the chance to learn a bit more about a certain subject. Today the session is about financial modelling. We all bring our laptops and run through some of the new modelling standards that we will be adopting across the group for future modelling projects. Our facilitator shares a few key formulas that we might like to use and we try out some exercises in Excel using the new standards and formulas that we’ve learnt.
I start on some of the work I picked up earlier in the day. In this case I’m doing a model build which involves going through the information that has been provided by the client and setting up a sheet of assumptions and inputs for my model. I talk to the project manager who gives me a bit of guidance around what kinds of things I need to consider and offers a couple of examples of similar models that I can adopt from.
At first glance, the idea of putting numbers and creating links in a spreadsheet seems pretty tedious, but over my past few months of experience in modelling it’s actually quite a creative exercise. I really have to sit back and have a think about how is the best way to breakdown costs and how certain items might affect the values of other expenses, and the nature of those relationships. As I go through, I write up a list of questions to take to the client and clarify with my manager.
Time for a client meeting! Luckily it’s not too far so it’s only a short ride to Port Melbourne. Once we arrive at the site, Brett, our client greets us at the door. The client does inspections for heavy vehicles and so there are a couple of big buses parked outside in the yard. This particular project is around running a one day strategy workshop on developing a new business plan for the next 5 years. We head into his office and start talking about the current state of his business, his vision and the areas that he would like to focus on.
A key part about working is consulting and why I picked it is that even in the course of a single day you could be working on very different projects in different industries, so there’s never a dull moment. This is especially good for people like me who enjoy a constant change of scenery and like to be challenged to be engaged in what they do.
The meeting runs for longer than expected and we make it back into the office just in time to pack up. I fill out my timesheets, which logs all the things I have worked on for the day, and pack up my desk. We recently moved to activity based working, where each seat represents a country around the world for booking purposes. I checked the online system and tomorrow I’ll be in Spain, next to a colleague where I’m currently working closely with to help with better collaboration.
My friend calls me over to check on something. Our group runs a regular social event which forms part of the ‘Consulting Games’, which is a bit of fun where the group is divided into 4 teams who compete to score points in various social activities. The next upcoming event is golf, and as one of the team captains, my friend is putting together an email to send out to the group about it. Us consultants are a fun, creative bunch, and as a consequence I find my friend using paint to stick the captains’ faces onto the bodies of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. “What do you think?” Righto.
Wednesdays are my favourite day of the week because it’s my dance class day. I learn bachata which is a form of Latin dancing and which I do at a place in St Kilda. Dancing is my way of unwinding and having a bit of fun during the week while catching up with friends. After class we have a social dance where anyone can come in to dance socially – it’s also a great way to meet new people outside of work.
It’s been almost 3 hrs and I’m still not sure I’ve had my dance fix (does anybody ever?) but it’s been a big day and I need to be fresh for tomorrow. Time to head home to sleep!