You are currently working as a Senior Consultant at Wavestone, how did you get there?
The journey from GLOCAL to technology consulting might seem unlikely. However, my path here was quite straightforward: Following graduation, I joined an AI software start-up in London to complete a research project internship, which felt like a natural follow-on from Master’s study and the entrepreneurial focus of my thesis. The internship became a permanent role, and I worked there for a year as a Business Analyst. The fast-paced start-up environment was exciting and challenging, and I learned a huge amount, before deciding it was time to move on to a larger firm after around a year in the role.
I then applied to a range of similar positions (Business Analyst, Product Owner, etc.) but I was really just looking for a ‘good company’ to progress my career – the culture, people, and opportunities mattered more to me than the specific field. I applied to Wavestone directly via a job ad, and it was the firm I resonated the most with during the recruitment process.
Since joining last year as a consultant I have worked on quite a number of internal and client-based projects and progressed to the level of Senior Consultant in April 2022.
What exactly are you doing at your current job?
First of all, there are the client projects: I’m typically billed to two clients at a time as Engagement Lead, which means I drive the overall project delivery and manage a small team. The more ‘strategic’ projects will involve hosting workshops, analyzing documentation and conducting research to create a roadmap for an aspect of the client’s IT estate – for example Cyber Security or Sustainable IT. On the other hand, data-driven projects are focused on gathering, analysing and visualising client data to provide what we call ‘Management Information (MI)’ – quantitative insight that informs business decisions. PowerBI is trending at the moment, so we’re often asked to build dashboards and then train a client team to refresh and use them in ‘BAU’ (business as usual, or day-to-day, operations).
Alongside client work are internal commitments: building and running internal communities, participating in recruitment, pitching to potential new clients and so on. Right now I’m part of the ‘Cloud and Infrastructure’ Focus Area, and have been building our capability in areas such as data analytics and AIOps.
These multiple commitments mean that things do get hectic – but it’s important to balance client work with building your expertise and network through internal activities.
Did you already know that you are interested in business analysis and consulting during your GLOCAL studies?
Participating in GLOCAL confirmed to me that I love things like research, investigation, presenting ideas and findings etc. – in fact my job-hunt at first was focused on PHDs and research analyst roles (hence the research project internship).
However, by the time my internship started, I’d already been looking into a career as a business analyst. Your job as a BA is essentially to gather lots of information (quantitative and/or qualitative) to determine the solution to a business problem, then act as a translator between business and technical teams to make the solution a reality. It’s an established career path that matches the skills you gain from GLOCAL quite well; my boss at the start-up suggested the position to me based on my ability to research a topic and present complex ideas in a way everyone could understand.
How are the topics you are working with connected with GLOCAL?
The GLOCAL course helps develop a bird’s eye view of how businesses and institutions interact with each other, both locally and globally. In consulting, you always have to consider the client’s relationship with the central organisation, other entities within the company, and competitors in the market. The real difference I noticed in myself before vs after GLOCAL was the ability to see the ‘bigger picture’, which I think has really helped me in my career.
What skills and experience are valued in candidates applying to work in consulting?
I’m involved in the Graduate Assessment Days at Wavestone. While we test on the usual skills (motivation, presentation, analysis, teamwork, etc.), the character, attitude, and willingness to learn of candidates are big differentiators in the process for entry-level positions. If GLOCALs are motivated, informed, and prepared for the interview I’m sure they can successfully land a consulting role.
Do you have any tips for current GLOCAL students that want to work in consulting?
There’s plenty of info on the web on how to get into consulting, pass the interviews and so on (the BCG practice case studies are very useful by the way!) – Google really is your friend here.
Personally, my first advice is to not be intimidated by the idea of what a consultant is – my colleagues represent a huge mix of skills, personalities, and interests. Secondly, certainly consider smaller firms like Wavestone – the exposure, culture, and pay will often be better than that of the big, well-known firms.
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