Having worked for AECOM in New York as an Intern within the Energy Business, I have recently joined the London Consulting team. My role involves advising Banks, Infrastructure Funds and Private Equity firms about transactions in the infrastructure sector.
My work is really varied; I can find myself doing analysis, visiting sites or making client presentations. This variety is fantastic and motivating, as is the team I work in. I have really enjoyed getting to know my colleagues and have made some good friends in the business already.
Why did you choose consultancy?
When I decided to move to London, being part of a company that offers so many services meant I had the opportunity to explore the areas I was interested in, while still remaining with AECOM. Consultancy was always a career path I wanted to pursue; to me, it’s a valuable way of sharing your skills and knowledge with a client to help them achieve the best result.
My work has principally been related to public-private partnerships (PPP)/private finance initiative (PFI) projects. This means I can use my technical background on our construction monitoring projects and also see the value of a building after it’s been built through our operational monitoring, all while being heavily involved in the financial aspects of a project. It also allows me to be involved in infrastructure, which is a growing sector. Development in this area is also a good way to bring the world out of recession. The fact that I also have the opportunity to work around the world in developing markets is a real bonus, and something I find appealing in a job!
How did you get your job with AECOM?
When I graduated from university in Ireland, I moved to New York with a goal of securing a job in my field of study. I was keen to join AECOM since, being a recent graduate, I thought being part of a leading firm that works on notable projects would be a great way to start my career. I applied for an intern position and, following several interviews, I began working within the Energy Business.
My team provided Owner’s Engineer services to a $2.2 billion transmission project in which clean energy will be brought from Canada to power New York City (333 miles to be exact!) through cables buried underwater and underground.
When my graduate internship in New York was coming to an end, I decided to move to London with a focus on getting a graduate position within AECOM’s Program, Cost, Consultancy business in London. While in New York, I began my research on consultancy; I was interested in the many forms of consultancy and the various opportunities, and felt remaining with AECOM could provide the career path I was looking for.
Following some networking within the company, I was approached by a Director within the Consulting team in the London office about a graduate position. I enjoyed talking with him regarding our services and what the team offers both to clients and in terms of career progression. His personal approach played a big part in me wanting to be a part of the team. Soon after, I began the hiring process, signed on the dotted lines and joined the team. I have been impressed with how friendly and supportive everyone is – it makes a big difference to making your workplace more enjoyable.
What are your main duties in the team?
Transaction Advisory helps to ensure clients are making strategic decisions on spending, investing, lending or transacting in the infrastructure space. We mainly work on government projects which are funded by PPP or PFI and can include services from a primary position; from construction through to operations and secondary acquisition, where a client is looking to invest in an operational asset.
As an example, I am currently working on a project under construction in the healthcare sector. I attend site meetings on behalf of our client and report on the progress and building costs and any outstanding issues. I also issue payment certificates to the lenders that have been requested by the building contractor.
I am also heavily involved in a street lighting project which involves replacing street lights across five UK cities with a construction period of five years. Similarly we analyse the contractor’s progress, deductions, and independent certifier’s reports to provide monthly reports to the lenders on key issues in each project.
Another aspect of my duties is operational monitoring where a project is in operation and requires a conditional survey. This can be at various time periods, depending on the project. I work with the team carrying out reviews on payment mechanisms, lifecycle, deduction, performance of the building and surveying the condition of the building on behalf of the lender.
Our secondary acquisition clients may seek to invest in an asset or a portfolio of assets. I work with the team to undertake a review of the financial models, project agreements, facility management services, and advise the client on contract issues, performance and the risks of the assets.
What would you like to achieve in the future?
I think consultancy offers a fast career progression. My responsibilities within the team are not based on what level I am at, but rather what I can contribute, and my team are ready to provide me with the next level of responsibility as soon as I’m ready.
Being a Graduate Consultant with AECOM means I am automatically enrolled in the Graduate Development Programme (GDP). This programme provides a clear path in learning and development opportunities, including gaining a professional qualification. Right now I am focusing on working towards a professional qualification and using the GDP to help me progress in my career.
In the future I would love to travel with work. I think I have joined the infrastructure sector at a point where my understanding of the UK industry will soon become valuable, as the market grows globally.