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Having left university with a languages degree, I immediately discounted consulting as a potential career on the basis that I couldn’t understand how a 23-year old French speaker could possibly advise someone on how to run their business. Luckily, several friends of mine were less quick to judge and filled me in on the reality of consulting.

It was for this reason that I chose strategy consulting; I liked the sound of solving specific strategic issues for companies and providing them with a broad market context in which to analyse their businesses. I decided that I wanted to work in a sector-specific consultancy so that I could build up a strong knowledge base in one area and was immediately drawn to the fast-paced media and telecoms industry.

The final hurdle was finding the right company with a dynamic and collaborative atmosphere, interesting clients and colleagues who appreciate the value of a good work-life balance. I joined Redshift in January 2012 and was surprised to find my rigorous criteria were met. Consulting is a fantastic way to develop a strong and diverse skill set through a combination of formal training and on-the-job experience and provides good variety on a day-to-day basis.

One of the first projects I worked on is a good illustration of this variety – here is a summary of the first week:

Monday

I arrive at work to find the proposal we submitted the week before has been accepted and we have won the project, which gets the day off to a great start. The project is for a company looking to launch a new WiFi service across the UK and they have selected Redshift to develop their market-entry strategy.

As often happens, the client is keen to get the project under way immediately and our project team of five head straight into the boardroom for an internal kick-off meeting ahead of the client kick-off which has been scheduled for the next day.

We discuss the topics we will need to cover with the client and I am assigned the task of preparing a short presentation outlining our strategic approach. Since this will serve as a discussion document in the client meeting, it must be very visual and I liaise with my manager to ensure I am prioritising the key messages.

Towards the end of the day I email a draft to the team so that they can review it ahead of the client meeting. I am out of the door by 6 30pm, ready to enjoy the evening ahead.

Tuesday

My day starts with a morning brainstorm and marketing meeting. This is a fortnightly event where the whole team gather in our Tech Suite to enjoy breakfast and discuss the latest evolutions in the market. Our Tech Suite showcases every type of connected device, from TV set-top-boxes to games consoles and smart TVs, and is a great way for us to keep abreast of developments in technology that may shape the way the market evolves.

This week it is a fellow business analyst’s turn to present on a topic of his choice and we spend an hour or so looking at interactive learning apps on connected TV sets.

After the brainstorm, I have a catch up with my project team and spend the rest of the morning making minor amendments to the pack I drafted yesterday.

The client meeting in the afternoon goes well and I arrange to meet with one of their team the following day for a more immersive insight into their business plan so that we begin the project with a full understanding of their current position.

Wednesday

I spend the morning catching up on emails and sending round interesting sector-related articles to other team members. Often these relate to top-level companies that we have worked with, or particular areas of strategy that we have helped developed, so it can be rewarding as well as informative!

Today’s client meeting is much less formal than the kick-off the day before and we spend a couple of hours delving into their funding forecasts and cost models in Excel and understanding exactly how their technology operates. It is a highly collaborative session which is really enjoyable and gives us a good grasp of their business.

After the meeting I brief my team on our key findings and we prioritise the areas that we will focus on first.

Thursday

The project team meet first thing and each of us is assigned a portion of the analysis. I begin thinking about the best way to evaluate demand for the type of service our clients could offer which will later help me gauge the size of the opportunity in revenue terms.

My first port of call is to talk to my colleagues about previous projects they have done which may provide useful context to the research I am undertaking; with decades of consulting experience between them, I am likely to root out some concrete knowledge even on the most obscure of topics.

I end up having a really interesting conversation with one of the directors and learn about all of the subtler market dynamics that no amount of desk research could grant me.

Friday

At Redshift the best day of the week is made even better by ‘Croissant Friday’; a Pret-a-Manger pastry of your choice delivered to your desk every Friday.

Today my project team heads straight into the boardroom to brainstorm a structure for the Excel revenue forecast we are going to build. This involves large A3 sheets of paper spread all over the table, the Redshift Excel template projected onto the wall and a flip-chart covered in different coloured markings.

Despite the highly analytical nature of building an Excel model, it is at the core a very creative process.

This brings us to the end of the week and before everyone dashes off to enjoy their weekend, we head for a quick drink together at one of the many great pubs we have on our doorstep in Marylebone.

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