What's your name and job title?
Megan Goonetilleke – consultant.
What did you study? When did you graduate?
A Bachelor of Chemical Engineering & Bachelor of Environmental Science at the University of Sydney. I graduated in 2014.
Where did you grow up? Can you talk us through any work experience or previous employment?
I grew up in Canberra and when I finished school I couldn’t wait to travel. I spent a year abroad, volunteering in Kenya and exploring Europe and Asia. I moved to Sydney for university, where I was lucky enough to live at The Women’s College within the University of Sydney. I had a wide range of work experience through university, working on the ski slopes of Falls Creek in Victoria and getting internships at Qantas, AirServices and the NSW Government. Since graduating, I’ve worked in a few consulting organisations.
How did you get to your current job position? For how long have you had it?
After graduating, I started in management consulting where I spent most of my time in risk management. I then went on to work in environment, health and safety consulting, before finding myself at Nous Group. I’ve been at Nous for four months, so I’m relatively new to the organisation but I’m loving the culture and variety of work!
How did you choose your specialisation? Were you weighing up any other alternatives before choosing this specialisation?
What I really like about management consulting is that no two days are the same and you get to work across a range of different clients and sectors. When I was looking for a role, I thought about my background in engineering and science and reflected on my experience from internships. I knew a heavily technical role wasn’t for me. My strengths are leading and working with teams, so this drew me to consulting.
What was your interview process like? What kind of questions were you asked?
There was a few rounds of interviews with different types of questions at different stages. There were a mix of behavioural based questions, written case studies and verbal reasoning case studies. I liked that many of the stages were face-to-face interviews, rather than video interviews – it’s much more personal!
What does your employer do?
Nous Group is a management consulting firm with 350 people across eight locations in Australia and the UK. Nous provides consulting services in three core areas: Business and Digital Strategy, Organisational Performance, and Public Policy. I work in our Business and Digital Strategy practice group.
What are your areas of responsibility?
My job includes project managing, delivering projects, leading, creative thinking and building relationships. Like I said, no two days are the same!
Can you describe a typical work day? What was the last thing you worked on?
There is no typical work day at Nous. Any day can range from facilitating workshops, brainstorming, designing strategy, report writing, collaborating with teams or meeting with clients. I recently worked with an NGO to develop a strategy and operating model for their innovation hub. This project came through the Nous community partnership scheme, where we partner with not-for-profit organisations, and involved consulting with senior leaders in the NGO.
What are the career prospects with your job? Where could you or others in your position go from here?
Management consulting is a great launch pad for your career. Due to the many projects you will work on, you will find out which sectors and services you are interested in working in. After starting a career in management consulting, a graduate could continue with consulting or move into government, financial services, IT, culture and change or management roles. When working with global firms, there is often opportunity to relocate to other countries for work!
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
I’d probably be backpacking across South America.
What do you love the most about your job? Which kind of task do you enjoy the most?
I love collaborating with my clients and my team to solve their most challenging problems. I also love the creativity that comes with designing solutions and it’s important to me that the projects we work on contribute to bettering our community.
What’s the biggest limitation of your job? Do you bear a lot of responsibility? Are the stress levels high?
As a consultant there can be a lot of responsibility when you oversee the delivery of a project. This can be stressful but also really rewarding and it gives you the opportunity to grow and challenge yourself. Since consulting work is focused on individual projects with different clients, you don’t always get to see the long-term results of the project. On the other hand, there is always another challenge in the next project.
Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?