• Role: Management Consultant
  • Location: London
  • University: Kent at Canterbury
  • Degree: MA in Critical Theory

Chris Quinn

Why did you choose a career in consultancy?

This is a supercharged industry – from research I knew that this wouldn’t be a typical career; the variety of work and constant challenge to stay ahead of the curve were extremely alluring. What intrigued me was the prospect of being exposed to different industries, clients and problems, compounded by the possibility of travel.

You need to stay hungry – achieving a consistent harmony of understanding about the wider economic impacts of current affairs, technological capability and the softer aspects of working with, and influencing, people. This is an appealing mix that some industries simply cannot provide.

There is a requirement, more so in this industry than others, to stay ahead of the curve and relevant; this requires you to constantly adapt and change your skillset, assumptions and instinctive approaches to any given problem; it brings a certain pace to this type of work that I do not think can be found in many other industries. Working with Chaucer has delivered on all of my wants from a career in consultancy, especially the variety of assignments with both clients and our internal projects.

What is a typical day like for you?

Each role has its core activity set that is somewhat routine and this probably comprises around 50-60% of my time – the remainder is filled with the unexpected; ad hoc requests from the client and overriding priorities that require immediate attention. Change is the only constant, and as consultants we must be adaptable and versatile enough to move with the demands of the client as well as their industry to deliver the greatest value.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

What I enjoy most is seeing our clients achieve their objectives as a result of the team effort we have put in for them. However, getting to this stage is quite a journey with many challenges along the way – it is the constant upward learning curve that keeps me engaged and stimulated and keeps it fun. Chaucer’s unique delivery approach allows consultants to take almost full ownership of their work, which makes for a very entrepreneurial and progressive culture – this level of freedom makes the work highly engaging and enjoyable.

What would you like to achieve in the future?

Aside from continued exposure to different clients and industries, I would like to develop subject matter expertise and truly know a specific area as closely as I can – technology and the psychology of change at scale interests me greatly, these topics have strong links to strategy and transformation. Exposure to client and internal projects at Chaucer are giving me the opportunity to build the foundational knowledge in these areas before specialising.

What are the current challenges the industry faces?

All industries are being forced to meet the ‘more for less mandate’; this is driving higher expectations from clients and stronger competition with regards to rates. Speed to value is a core strength of Chaucer; we have the agility, culture and knowledge management infrastructure to rally resources and experience behind problems, allowing us to deliver a great return on investment. Having the right knowledge management infrastructure in place, promoting a free and open exchange of tools, templates and experience, reduces the time it takes for us to solve problems and deliver value to the client.

Do you have any advice for someone wanting to get into the industry?

There are two key components needed to move into this industry: firstly, you need to leverage your network and be open minded enough to expand your search beyond the ‘Big Four’ – there are significant opportunities to blend entrepreneurship with management consulting, and Chaucer are a great example of this.

Secondly, you need to be prepared to embrace ambiguity, constant change and high expectations – so bring a tangible skillset in the kinds of tools that are used day to day in this industry and demonstrate a heightened acuity for economic and business context that matters to clients, while having an appreciation of the softer side of consulting (how to influence and manage your client across complex stakeholder landscapes).

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