I started my career on the graduate programme of a leasing company; moving into a management role once the programme was complete. After two and a half years, wanting a faster paced, more varied role, I joined the first cohort of junior consultants at Moorhouse – a boutique transformation consultancy – and never looked back.
Since joining, I’ve delivered a series of projects at a Tier 1 investment bank; completed an advisory project in Germany for a pharmaceutical company; led a transformation programme in the heart of the NHS; ran a two day business development event for the firm; been trained in a wide range of consulting skills; delivered my own internal training programme; written published thought leadership; and mentored upcoming consultants.
There aren’t many jobs where that kind of variety and opportunity are so readily available.
Why did you choose a career in consultancy?
A faster pace of work
I enjoyed my first job in industry, but over time realised that the days that I got home feeling genuinely excited were the days when things went catastrophically wrong and I had to spend my time running around trying to fix them. Each time my job went back to normal, I realised I was in the wrong industry.
Consulting didn’t disappoint. Put simply, you spend your days with people who are dealing with enormous challenges, often need help very quickly, and you are given the platform to make the biggest possible impact. If you like being part of a team, problem solving continually and making a difference, the job is made for you.
Delivering in health
My current role is a great example. Our team is helping the NHS deliver a complex programme to ensure London health organisations have robust, strategic and financially sound plans in place to deliver healthcare for the next five years. It’s a big job and, as the process is relatively new, it’s extremely difficult to know what’s coming more than a few weeks ahead. Cue post-it notes.
To plan for the programme we commandeered a disused room in the building, filled it with hundreds of post-it notes and have got a number of NHS teams working across six workstreams to deliver the changes required to rip the post-its down. There are myriad complexities, challenges at every stage and workshops on a weekly basis, but the satisfaction of progressing through each stage of the programme never diminishes.
If you want to test yourself in the most challenging environments, you’d be hard pushed to find a better career.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Seeing the impact of what we do
Whilst there is an excitement to being in the thick of delivery, simply helping your client to manage their challenges is the most rewarding element of the job.
As an external you get to sit above the politics of a business so can often deliver messages or engage with people in a way that internal people can’t. At my firm we focus on translating business strategies into deliverable pieces of work. So our ability to present – objectively – compelling visions for why things need to get done can often be the difference between our clients being able to kick start a project and not.
In fact, Moorhouse believes so firmly in the power of storytelling to engage and help clients that we have partnered with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) to get trained by actors on how to engage, tell stories and present so that we can impact our clients even more.
Change at an investment bank
I saw the benefit of this directly with my client at a leading investment bank. Desperate to start a programme to change the operating model of their function, they were being blocked by two of the global teams who weren’t buying into the change.
Using techniques I’d learned in a training session to visually map out the benefits of the change, we drew a cartoon vision for the future. The drawing was shared in a series of virtual workshops with the global teams and amazingly it very quickly helped us to alter their views.
Whether it was the creativity or just the influence of somebody external helping to explain the benefit of the plans, the vision was signed off and my client was able to move people into the next phase of the project. Six weeks later, the delivery element of the programme was signed off and the transformation is in full flow.
Seeing the impact of our work together was a truly fantastic reward for the effort we put in.
Get experience where you can
One of the greatest benefits of consulting is the training you get to be able to grow and deliver new kinds of work.
Therefore, you don’t need all the skills in place before you join the industry. You just need to have the kind of experience that firms will be able to relate to: managing projects, dealing with multiple stakeholders, presenting information and persuading people with your arguments. There are a number of jobs and roles that will give you that experience.
My work at a summer camp whilst at university gave me a number of problem solving examples that helped in my interview. Similarly, the work on my graduate programme gave me the skills to talk about managing stakeholders and presenting information to senior members of the executive team. If it’s relevant, it’s valuable experience.
Once you make it into the industry, my advice is to dive in. Since joining my firm I have had a number of opportunities to try different sectors, business lines and consulting work and each time I’ve learned something new. Soak up any opportunity you can find until you find the area that you love.