What's your job about?
As management consultants, A.T. Kearney are hired by our clients to solve problems. The projects are varied, ranging from growth strategies to process improvement to operating model redesign, and our clients are in just about every industry you can think of. My role as a Business Analyst is to support the team by building models and performing analysis to help inform our overall recommendation, as well as other responsibilities including preparing slide presentations and meeting with clients.
In my most recent project, we were developing a new pricing strategy for a telecommunications company. I was on the modelling workstream, and worked closely with the client to model the revenue, profitability and customer impact of each scenario.
Typically, our project teams are 3-8 people, and we work at the client site Monday to Thursday, and on Friday we are in our “home” office. This often involves lots of travel – in my last 5 months I haven’t spent a full week in my home city of Melbourne! I was working for 2 months in the Philippines, and then for my next project I was flying in and out of Sydney every week. The travel can be both exciting and tiring, but it does help you form strong relationships with your co-workers.
What's your background?
I’ve always been analytically focused, and after high-school was struggling to choose between studying economics, chemistry or engineering. I chose Commerce and Economics at Monash because it gave me the flexibility to focus on economics and econometrics while being able to take some electives in science and engineering. While I enjoyed chemistry, I couldn’t see myself working as a chemist, and preferred the real-world applications of economics and econometrics.
As I was nearing the end of my degree I was (like most people) unsure of what the next steps were – there were too many different paths to go down. In the end, I chose consulting because I would be given the opportunity to have a wide range of responsibilities and be able to learn about many different industries – perfect for someone who doesn’t immediately know what they want to do!
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Of course! When starting as a new consultant there are no specific background or skills required – other than being analytically minded. Whether your background is in commerce, engineering, law, arts or even music, it doesn’t matter as long as you are analytical, can think through a problem in a structured way and are keen to learn!
Consulting firms deliberately hire from a wide range of backgrounds and teach you what you need to know as you go. This ensures there are a variety of different perspectives which can prove invaluable when trying to solve a problem.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
The coolest thing about my job is the opportunity to learn by doing. On many occasions, I have been thrown in the deep end and given the responsibility to complete tasks that I have not necessarily done before. But with the guidance from my team I’m always surprised with just how many new skills I can develop to get the job done!
I also enjoy being able to work on high-profile problems. We are often tasked with solving a company’s most difficult problems. While challenging, it means we have to work as a very close team using everyone’s strengths which builds comradery.
What are the limitations of your job?
The flip-side of being given the opportunity to solve challenging problems is they are, well, challenging. This means there are often some late nights needed to meet deadlines and get the job done. Furthermore, I rarely feel “comfortable” as what I’m doing is always new to me, whether it be a different functional task or in a different industry.
While these could be limitations, they are also the source of the greatest benefits of the job. Being able to work hard on a problem with a team is incredibly rewarding – I am always engaged and learning which makes the long hours pass quickly.
The constant travel can also be tiring at times and for those who like a fixed routine, this may not be a deterrent.
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