How and why did you join Integration?
Before Integration I lived in six countries, and enjoyed internships across a diverse array of industries. When the time came to choose a career I knew that I wanted one that could provide me with the same kind of stimulating diversity! With this in mind I set my sights on consulting, and Integration stood out among the many consulting companies for three main reasons:
- Being divided into functional practices and not industry verticals, Integration offered the possibility of getting involved in projects in different kinds of industries.
- The London office acting as the hub for Europe meant that I would be able to travel across the continent to serve clients.
- Being a growing operation in Europe, backed by a successful company from another continent, Integration offered me the right balance of learning, entrepreneurship, and the opportunity to build and be part of an exciting organisation.
Finally, as I passed through the interview process, I came into very close contact with individuals from across Integration’s business and I began to realise that, from partners to analysts, Integration’s biggest differential is its people. The company was founded on a very strong set of values, including honesty and respect, and these really shone through in all of the interactions I had during the interview process. It even continued after I received my offer: I was put in contact with an analyst who answered all of my questions about Integration, clearing any doubts I had about where I wanted to start my career.
What does a typical day look like?
My first year at Integration has certainly delivered the diversity I was looking for. So far I have been involved in nine projects, for eight clients, across six industries, and in five different countries!
I wanted to start as a generalist and have a very broad experience to give me a solid platform for my career. In addition to the various industries and countries I have come to learn about, I have also been able to experience projects across all four of Integration’s practice areas: Finance & Management, Marketing & Sales, Supply Chain, and Implementation. This has given me great insight into the direction in which I want to steer my career (and also helped me develop a wide variety of skills!).
As an analyst at Integration you have to roll up your sleeves and get stuck into all kinds of challenges! My projects have provided me with a wide range of new experiences. For example, I enjoyed riding around on delivery trucks with a sales force, selling and delivering pharmaceuticals to understand the practical realities the organisation faces in the field. On another occasion, I presented complex and sophisticated quantitative analysis to the C-suite of a major food manufacturer, which ultimately changed the way the company thinks about their products and customers in Europe.
The great thing about Integration in Europe is that we all have the opportunity to get involved with shaping the future of the company: we all get to put our stamp on the organisation! Although I have only been with the company for a year, I have already been able to lead a number of internal projects, from market entry strategies to new approaches to recruiting graduates in our current markets. The opportunity to tackle problems that directly impact something I am passionate about inside my own company is an experience that I think sets Integration apart from other consulting firms.
What kind of support did you receive?
The trust placed in new analysts does not mean that I was left alone on any project. I began with a two-week induction process with the other new analysts at Integration’s headquarters in São Paulo, which focused on us gaining some key consulting skills (such as presentation skills, financial skills and Excel skills), and familiarising ourselves with Integration’s internal practices and approach to projects. This induction was carried out through presentations and seminars, workshops, and project visits to understand what day-to-day work looks like. We also got to meet all the managing partners individually.
Like all analysts, I joined my first project immediately following the induction process. And like all analysts, I received daily support and coaching from my consultant mentor for the first six months, and I still continue to be partnered with more experienced consultants in projects to guarantee that I keep learning at a high pace. Outside of projects, I have been through Integration’s graduate training programme, which taught me all of the skills I need to be successful in my projects, and in my career.
What are the highlights of your job so far?
Integration has a very entrepreneurial philosophy. On a practical level what this means is that each person is expected to have their own ideas; to contribute these ideas to help the team find solutions that work; and to drive their work stream forward using their own intelligence and personality. It’s a very different approach to some consulting firms where analysts are focused on executing the tasks assigned to them by a manager or partner – it lets everyone make their own impact on each client.
This entrepreneurial mind-set is the same one that allows me to get involved in internal initiatives. It means that if I see an opportunity for Integration to improve the way we do something, I can literally pick that project up and drive it forwards to be responsible for delivering an impact inside our own business. The fact that I get to make my own mark on clients and inside our own company has been the highlight of Integration for me so far!
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to get into the industry?
- Define what you want to do – management consulting is a vast world! There are many companies in the market, with different geographic reach, industry focus, project specialty, and approach. Similarly, understand what your objective with consulting is, whether it is to make a career or to learn before making a career shift, make sure you match your ambition to the company’s culture!
- Talk to people – once you know what you want from consulting and have shortlisted the companies you are interested in, make the most of the career fairs and events! These are the best opportunities to meet people and grasp a true feeling of what each company is.
- Be prepared! – Consulting interviews have a very similar structure. Surf the internet to find the most common interview questions and learn how to approach case studies. Some companies run ‘crack the case’ sessions on-campus, which I found to be very useful.