How did you choose your specialisation?
I am in our general consulting practice. I chose this because of the range of industries and types of services we would cover. Given I preferred that style of broader consulting experience, I chose to apply to this stream rather than other more specific types of consulting like data analytics etc.
What was your interview process like?
For my internship, in the first round, we were made to work in teams to solve an example business problem, emulating how consultants would work day-to-day. We would then break away from the group, and discuss our findings and analyse the case further with a Kearney consultant, in the style of a mini case interview.
Further rounds were on case interviews and more traditional personal interviews. For case interviews, we were given a business problem, and had to ask questions and analyse information to drive a particular recommendation or insight for a hypothetical client. Whilst a little nerve-racking, this style of interview is very common in the consulting industry, and gives you an idea as to the type of work consultants do.
What does your employer do?
Kearney works with companies, institutions and governments to solve their most pressing problems. We do this by collaborating with them to analyse their data and issues, and then work as a team to prove or disprove our hypotheses as to how they might solve these issues.
What are your areas of responsibility?
As a business analyst, I am responsible for conducting analysis that proves or disproves certain hypotheses we have, and then for communicating my findings out to our team, and then to the client. Different things I might often do include brainstorming or thinking about the case in a structured way with our team; interviewing clients; analysing data on Excel; creating slides to show our findings to the client on PowerPoint.
Often we get to ‘own’ a particular stream of work – having complete autonomy to find an answer to a topic that feeds into the overarching problem that a client is facing. This means we get to use a lot of different skills, and have a lot of responsibility, from the get-go.
Can you describe a typical workday?
Mondays through Thursdays, we work at the client’s office, and hours and tasks really do vary day-to-day. Tasks may come up on an ad-hoc basis, and there are plenty of client meetings, workshops and interviews to attend. When not attending these, we do a mix of analysing data and information, and then presenting that information – both to our client, and our internal team of consultants.
The last piece of work I was doing was around defining scholarship strategy for a major university. To understand how we could help the university, we first had to understand what the current state of their scholarships program was, so I spent some time analysing how they split their spend, in Excel. I then translated these findings into a format that was easily digestible for our team and for the client, using PowerPoint. This sounds simple, but involved meetings with the client to clarify points of information, and will feed into further analyses.
What are the career prospects with your job?
Consulting is famous for its broad range of exit options. As well as staying in consulting, it is quite common to see ex-consultants run their own startups, join strategy teams of major companies, join a company in a management function, or go into industries like banking or private equity.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Definitely – and most people do! I work with people from a range of academic backgrounds, including Arts, Science, Engineering, Law and Mathematics; as well as a diverse range of career backgrounds.
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
Hard to say – I wanted great learning opportunities that would translate well in a variety of settings, and exposure to a lot of different industries – and consulting does this very well. If not consulting, I would be in banking or law, with the view of jumping into consulting after a few years.
What do you love the most about your job?
I’ve come to love the ambiguity that certain projects or tasks bring - having to figure out the best way to analyse a problem, and then present it in a clear, easy-to-digest way. I like arriving to that end-state presentation of my findings, and then understanding the role all the work has played in getting to a tangible, positive recommendation for your client.
Doing all of that with the backdrop of friendly, fun and supportive colleagues makes it all the more interesting. The work is definitely challenging, but made possible and exciting thanks to my colleagues. That’s why it’s so important to find people that mesh with you, no matter what the industry!
What’s the biggest limitation of your job?
Stress levels and hours can sometimes be high – and is common in the industry. I think having a support network both within and outside work has helped me a lot. Asking questions and detailing your limitations is definitely a common and encouraged practice, which allows people to thrive and enjoy work despite these industry features.
Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?