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University of New South Wales
Alexander studied B.Mechanical Engineering/B.Commerce at University of New South Wales
What's your job about?
Partners in Performance is a management consulting firm that works in partnership with businesses to help them achieve rapid, sustainable results. As a Business Analyst, my job is all about solving problems, from the data gathering stage all the way through to helping our clients implement behaviour changes to improve their operations.
At PIP every project is different. One of the most rewarding engagements I worked on was helping a state department plan for their future. Our team of three spent the days interviewing key stakeholders and analysing data to try and identify and quantify potential improvement opportunities. My biggest task on this project was to try and work out how many resources would be needed in the future by looking at historical data and expected trends. This involved a lot of research, excel modelling, and client interviews and ultimately we were able to provide a model forecasting the demand and supply for the next three years.
What's your background?
I grew up in the Northern suburbs of Sydney and started attending school in Hornsby from Year 6. It was there that I developed a pretty strong love for 3 things that I still enjoy: physical activity, languages, and numbers. Everything was lining up to move straight into engineering (HSC Subjects: Maths Ext., Physics, Chemistry, Economics, German) but I managed to make it into a double degree doing Engineering and Commerce at UNSW.
My time at UNSW was amazing – the uni lifestyle, a great group of friends both from school and added to at uni, and opportunities for things like exchange. However at uni I quickly ran into two problems: I had a lot more free time and a lot less purchasing power than I used to. The former was easy to fix – I joined the uni judo club (still training to this day), however the latter required me to go get a job. Luckily I had a friend working at a local bar who brought me along for a trial shift. This was a great job, and I can honestly say that half of the professional skills I use everyday at work I picked up working in hospitality. At uni I also spent a semester abroad in Germany studying economics, where I joined the judo club and made a bunch of mates overseas.
After graduating I started applying for consulting jobs while working as an intern at SAP. I got the offer from PIP and haven’t looked back since.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
The three skills and characteristics people need to do my job are:
Ability to Communicate – Often we need to communicate very complex and detailed concepts to people who are not familiar with the subject
Data Analysis/Numerical Literacy – As a Business Analyst a lot of my job is about working with spreadsheets and simple mathematical models.
“Soft” people skills – PIP works closely with their clients, and due to the short length of project it’s critical that we build a good working relationship quickly
If you have all of the above and are willing to work you’ll have no problem.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
The most awesome part of working at PIP is being able to experience a whole range of industries working at different clients. Nothing beats going into a new company in a new industry and learning all about what they do and how they work, and consulting is one of the few types of work where you get this variety.
What are the limitations of your job?
The biggest challenge of working in consulting is Travel.
We fly a lot. In the past year I have spent more days away from my home than in Sydney. While I personally don’t mind the travel, it’s not for everyone – I’ve enjoyed the last year, but you need to be aware of the reality of potentially weekly interstate comuting.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
- Apply earlier for jobs and grad programs – the interview practice you get even if you don’t get the job is invaluable
- Don’t let your grades slip – getting your foot in the door for job interviews often depends on how good your GPA is
- Don’t worry if your first job isn’t what you want – I tried a few different jobs, industries and companies before getting to where I am now