• Role: Consultant
  • Location: London
  • University: -Non UK-
  • Degree: Maths and IT

Alexandra Usynina

I completed my BSc in Applied Maths and my MSc in System Analysis from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. After obtaining industry experience in the financial sector I joined Hitachi Consulting as a consultant within the Business Intelligence and Performance Management practice. I have been involved with a number of high-profile clients across a variety of sectors, specialising in the retail industry. I participate in a lot of activities outside of working hours as a Young MCA Steering Committee member, organising events and networking opportunities for young consultants across the UK consulting industry.

What does Hitachi Consulting do?

Hitachi Consulting is a recognised leader in delivering proven business and IT strategies and solutions to top companies across many industries. Hitachi Consulting has offices and clients throughout the world and I often meet people from Japan, the US or other European offices.

Why did you choose a job in the profession?

My background has a technical focus but I always wanted to work with people, and in consulting I have found the perfect combination. Now I have both complex technical challenges and a lot of client interactions.

Another reason why I like being a consultant is the constantly changing environment which will never leave you bored. From project to project I meet new people, obtain new skills and knowledge, learn how different businesses work and visit new cities or even countries!

The company plays the pivotal role of course. Hitachi Consulting is a large international company with a core Japanese culture of providing our clients the highest possible quality products. This allows us to attract the brightest people from the industry, so I really enjoy the opportunity to work with top professionals and learn from them. Hitachi Consulting has a very strong and well-recognised brand – I am always very proud to say to my clients ‘I work for Hitachi Consulting’ – and I see respect and admiration on their faces.

What skills are useful in this sector/profession?

First of all, you should have good soft skills (for example communication and team working skills) – being a consultant is always about working with people. You will receive plenty of training to strengthen them, but during the interview you will need to show that you have a basic aptitude.

Secondly, the ability to pick up new skills quickly will be quite useful – as you are always studying something new on every project and sometimes you need to bring yourself up to speed in a short space of time. To be able to give the best advice to your client you should always be up-to-date on the latest trends and cutting-edge developments.

Thirdly, being results-driven is very important, as is having problem-solving abilities. As a consultant the meat of the work is on projects – which often have limited budgets and tight deadlines, so you must be very focused on what you are doing.

Is it a 9-5 job?

As a consultant you are not paid for the time you spend working, but rather for the end result. As such, you are largely free to manage your own time, and manage your own career. You don’t have people dictating what you do each day and where you should be. Your tasks need to be delivered and completed to a plan and delivering against the plan is your own responsibility. If you’re organised and manage to complete things quicker, then you leave yourself with more time. Of course, consulting etiquette means you should never be late for a meeting with clients or arrive late at the client’s office. According to the statistics the average overtime for the consulting industry is 10-15%. On my current project I can work one day per week from home if I don’t have client meetings that day.

What would you like to achieve in the future?

I consider consulting as a great industry to build a career in. I haven’t decided what I want to do in the future yet – managing complex existing engagements, building relationships with new clients or maybe something different. Consulting is very much a global industry as well – there are always opportunities to relocate to another office or even country. Consulting is definitely the environment where I feel confident that I can progress my career in the direction I want.

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