• Role: Consultant
  • Location: London
  • University: -Non UK-
  • Degree: BCom Accounting and Finance

Matt Smith

Lucky enough to be born and raised in New Zealand, my childhood was filled with beaches and BBQs. A lot of people ask me why I would want to leave sunny NZ for cloudy UK, and the straightforward answer is that there is more to do. Compare an isolated country with a 4.5m population to a country with 64m and a comparative stone’s throw away from mainland Europe; I can’t think of a better place to live in your 20’s.

I emigrated to the UK to join Sysdoc in January 2015 shortly after graduating from the University of Auckland. Since being here, I have engrossed myself in the bustle of London and the marvels of Europe. More recently, I have become involved in the Young Management Consulting Association and am fortunate enough to sit on the Young MCA council.

What attracted you to a graduate role at Sysdoc?

My working life started at a bank in New Zealand in November 2014. Fast forward two months and I was on a plane to the UK to start my new life and work at Sysdoc. It was one of those frighteningly gigantic life decisions to make, but it was an opportunity that was too good to pass up.

Being a company that started life in New Zealand, I knew that Sysdoc would have a fantastic culture. I was also already familiar with some of the management team and knew the ethos of the company would match their values. The significant development opportunities were clear going in, and this has proved to be completely true.

How has your progression been encouraged?

My time working as a consultant has shown that you can receive as much or as little support with development as you want. If you show interest and put the effort in, the long-term rewards are substantial. At 23 years old, the progression in my career has been faster and better than I could have hoped for.

The management team in Sysdoc want to see young consultants succeed. To paraphrase the Head of Consulting, ‘developing people is all about looking over your shoulder, and supporting them to run past you’. This is a mentality that I have observed across all of the Development Managers who spend countless hours of their own time on developing our graduate consultants.

What is the working environment like?

Anyone who has spent some time with Kiwis (without being too clichéd) knows that we work hard and play harder. Sysdoc embodies this mentality with an environment that promotes cutting the ‘faff’ and political minefields to achieve high quality outcomes with our clients. Working with teams who both function effectively and regularly head to the local for after work drinks is an absolute pleasure.

Successes are celebrated and mistakes are learning opportunities. If you need help you need only ask; and despite my at times oblivious attempts to prove the opposite, there is definitely no such thing as a stupid question! You will regularly be thrown in the deep end, but you’ll never sink on your own.

What is working in the consultancy profession like?

The company I work for has an extremely flat organisation structure. It is easy to avoid political dramas and there is a pleasant work atmosphere. I can have the same conversation with the CEO as I can have with my manager, and she will always stop to have a chat when she sees people in the office

As all management consultants know, it is impossible to explain (in less than 30 minutes) what you ‘do’. Having so many great dedicated people around you to share successes and overcome challenges (as well as the ‘occasional’ gossip session) is an indescribable boon.

What’s been the most challenging moment working as a consultant so far, and how did you overcome it?

Six months into my time as a consultant, I was working on a project where we had to develop 300 or so documents. In two languages.

Three weeks away from the deadline, we lost a significant resource and had no chance of hitting the target without additional support. I spoke to the Operations Manager on a Friday morning, and the following Monday I was responsible for upskilling and leading four new staff members to support hitting the deadline. Three weeks and a working weekend later, we were successful.

This demonstrated the level of teamwork and dedication that I have enjoyed being a part of since I became a consultant. It also showed how a management team willing to provide opportunities to their consultants to take responsibility and to support the achievement of objectives is vital if a company is to operate successfully.

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