In November 2010 Diamond Management & Technology Consultants was acquired by PwC and renamed Diamond Advisory Services. This profile was written before this acquisition. Visit the PwC website for more information.
What aspects of your job do you enjoy most?
The wide range of industries and different types of work I have been involved in, combined with real responsibility and the flexibility to work how I want to.
Tell us about the most stressful experience on the job
When there is a deadline to meet the pressure can be intense, but the rewards of working together in small teams to get the job done are great.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned since graduation?
Be prepared to be flexible. One of the most appealing aspects of consulting is its variety but with that comes a need to be flexible. The work can vary tremendously between projects. You need to feel comfortable tackling new subject matter, dealing with ambiguity, as well as travelling and working with new people.
Prior to starting at Diamond I studied geography at Oxford University. I chose a career in consulting for its variety of work locations, client organisations, rotating teams and types of projects. I was initially attracted to Diamond because it offered the opportunity to work for a smaller consulting organisation with big-name clients. Diamond has a large presence in the United States and whilst the London office is relatively small, we still work with clients at the highest levels within the best-known organisations in the world.
I work in a small project team, which gives me the opportunity to take on a lot of responsibility from the start. This gives me great exposure and regular contact with senior clients. I have been working at Diamond in London for just over two years and in that time I have been lucky enough to work on several very different projects across diverse industries and in a number of different countries.
Since joining I have, amongst other things, helped develop the business case for the implementation of a Customer Relationship Management system at a major European bank, played a project management role in the development of a new website for a major global credit card company, conducted a supply chain assessment and organisational redesign for a major retail distributor and helped oversee the operational integration of two of the world’s largest commercial banks following a high profile merger.
Here is a typical week in my life from the first week of a project where we were carrying out an assessment of the management reporting processes and helping to develop an information management strategy for the outsourced IT organisation of a major US insurer.
04.20 – Wake up hideously early, head out to the taxi which is waiting outside and off to the airport. Check in and head to the lounge where I try and keep myself awake with a few strong coffees! Meet up with my manager and talk through the week ahead. The project is a short one; it is going to be intense but the work is new and interesting to me and I am looking forward to getting started.
08.00 – Arrive in Belfast and get a taxi to the centre of town. Check in to our hotel (which is lovely!) and have some breakfast.
09.00 – Arrive at the client site and meet some of the people we will be working with. The first day is back-to-back interviews with senior managers from different areas of the business who talk us through their roles and their part in the overall reporting process.
19.00 – After a long day we head back to the hotel and head out for dinner. My manager wants to find a ‘traditional Irish restaurant’ but with our limited knowledge of the city we end up walking around for ages before settling for a pub which turns out to serve great food. After a couple of Guinness’ we head back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.
07.00 – Wake up and head down to breakfast.
We are on site by 08.30 and I start with consolidating the notes from yesterday’s meetings and synthesising some observations. My manager is having further meetings but is in and out of our office which is rapidly taking shape around us as various people pass by to install phones, printers and internet connections.
Lunch is in the staff canteen and in the afternoon I start doing some external research into some of the issues that have been mentioned to us and try to find examples of similar work Diamond has done before.
19.00 – We leave the office and head for the hotel. We eat in the hotel because we have some more work to do that night (but also the restaurant doesn’t look bad!).
07.00 – I am leaving today so I check out of the hotel and have some breakfast. My manager is staying an extra day but I can work remotely the next day and have a personal commitment in London tonight so I am flying back this afternoon.
08.30 – Arrive at the office, reply to some emails and talk through what I need to get done before I leave. We have been given copies of all the reports published by different areas of the business and I am going to consolidate these in order to identify gaps and overlaps in what is reported.
12.00 – A quick lunch as I am leaving this afternoon and it is back to work.
My manager has identified some further research for me to do looking into industry best practices in information management and operational reporting. He wants me to try and find out the typical data that a professional services firm captures about itself and the sorts of reports they produce from it.
15.30 – Get in a taxi outside the office and head for the airport. Check in and head for the lounge to carry on with some work. Send a few emails and get on my flight.
08.30 – It’s nice to be back in London a day early (we are usually only back on Fridays) but the office is quiet because most people are on client sites. I sort out a few administrative tasks that inevitably get neglected when you’re away and then get back to my research.
13.00 – Send a summary of relevant material I have found to my manager. Grab a sandwich for lunch and eat it at my desk. My manager comes back with some questions and some suggestions for some further research.
17.00 – Put together the afternoon’s findings and send to my manager before heading home.
08.30 – Arrive at the office and already there is a different atmosphere from yesterday with a lot more people around.
09.00–12.00 – I have a training session on how use Diamond’s internal and external research tools. I wish I had had this session a couple of days earlier! We often have training on a Friday and it is great way to supplement everything you learn on the client site.
13.00 – A few of us go out for lunch together and catch up on the last week or two.
After lunch I speak to my manager who has some ideas about how we might communicate what we have found so far and wants me to start putting together some slides.
16.00 on a Friday is ‘Friday Forum’ time where one or a number of people from the office present to the rest of us on an area of expertise or a recent client engagement. This is a really good way of sharing knowledge and insights with each other.
At 17.00 we have our weekly ‘TAG’. This is where everyone gets together with a drink and shares project updates. It is a great way of keeping up to date with everything that is going on in the company. After the TAG I tie up what I have been working on and e-mail it to my manager. I have to submit my expenses and finish writing this and then it’s off home for the weekend!