Week in the life of a Junior Analyst
Ellie Tobin, Junior Analyst
Could you describe your role at PPL and how you came to join the company?
I joined PPL in September 2018 after graduating from university in June 2018 where I studied Modern Languages. I joined PPL because I really wanted to do a job where I could make a difference, because I am really interested in people and how they work. I found PPL and felt like it was a great opportunity for me because it would also give me a good breadth of experience at the start of my career.
Could you describe a typical week for you as a Junior Analyst?
This Monday I am working from one of our client sites. It takes me about an hour and a half to get there door to door, so I use that time to catch up on the news, read, or listen to podcasts.
Once I arrive, I do all my planning and organisation for the week. I check our internal weekly bulletin, ‘The Jacob Street News’, for any exciting information and updates on projects. I also email my people manager, project manager(s) and one of the Associate Directors to flag any availability I have this week, which is then communicated to others who may need any assistance on projects.
On my current project, we start our Mondays with a team meeting at 10am to touch base on what we achieved in the last week and what we are aiming to do in the next week. I then sit down and work on the final stages of a document that I have been producing to review expensive residential placements for Looked After Children, summarising all the stakeholder interviews and feedback I have received into a report. In the report I outline the issues raised and solutions suggested, classified by ‘quick wins’ and more long-term options. The aim of all the solutions is to improve long-term outcomes for children & young people. I then send the final draft to my project manager for any last bits of feedback before we send it to the client.
Today I am on client site again and in meetings for most of the day. In the morning, I have a teleconference with some PPL colleagues and one of our partners to explore opportunities for future projects. After that, the client team and I prepare to meet senior council staff in the afternoon to discuss our work expensive residential placements in further detail, and what the next steps are. The meeting goes well, and afterwards I circulate the actions to the rest of the team and get cracking with my to do list and my emails. I am then in meetings for the rest of the day with key stakeholders to agree on the final Terms of Reference for a transformation of decision-making through panels in Children’s Services. It is exciting to be in the final stages of the project as this will be my first project at PPL where I will get to see the fruits of my labour and see the change come to fruition!
Today I am in our central London office. One of my favourite things about working in this office is the open plan work space and the friendly atmosphere. I enjoy coming back to PPL and catching up with colleagues who I don’t otherwise see when I am out and about on client site. Today I am focussing my time on a number of internal projects. I am writing a couple of pieces for our ‘Perspectives’ blog, and then I am in meetings discussing a bid for future work. I also have a meeting with my “buddy”, or mentor, who did the junior analyst scheme a year before me. We meet for lunch/ coffee/ ice cream once a month to catch up, discuss how we’re getting on, and to talk through any concerns.
On client site again! Today I am focussed on my other project, where I am leading on the implementation of new Mental Health Support Teams in schools. This project is interesting as I am helping to coordinate actions from organisations across the NHS, education, universities, a mental health trust, local education leads, and finally the schools themselves. I spend most of the morning coordinating attendees and logistics for a workshop in a few weeks’ time, where we will be codesigning a referral pathway and delivery model with stakeholders from across the different organisations. I then have a two-hour teleconference with other national trailblazer sites to share updates in requirements for delivery, any deadlines, and to share any learning from the past few weeks. Following the teleconference, I update our project plans and update our risk log to reflect any changes that might have happened in the last few days. I then update the client lead and my project manager in a meeting and note down any actions for the following week.
On Friday I am back in PPL’s office for How We Learn, our internal learning & development programme. These sessions occur once a month and are open to all team members. The morning is usually an introduction to the subject matter, and the afternoon is a chance to apply our learning in group scenarios (with a delicious lunch between the two!). This month we discussed change management and how to create sustainable change for our clients. These days are some of my favourites. Our facilitators always manage to find a balance between learning and having fun, and I like getting a chance to work with colleagues who I am not otherwise directly working with on client projects. In the afternoon session there is always an element of friendly competition between different groups, which often ends up with lots of laughter (see my face in this photo as a prime example!). In the weeks between sessions I often think about what I’ve learnt and how I can apply it. The material covered has given me a great foundation for my consulting career.
What do you value about working for PPL?
The best thing about working for PPL is the people. The team is really diverse and come from a range of different backgrounds, both personally and professionally, but we are all united by our shared ethical values and goals to make real change. The team are always on hand to help whenever you may need, and there is no ask too big or small, which I have appreciated in my first few months here. Fundamentally, it is amazing to work in an intellectually stimulating environment, whilst having fun along the way!
What would be your top tips for someone looking to join PPL as a Junior Analyst?
There are no pre-requisite requirements for what qualifications or work experience a Junior Analyst needs, which I think makes it a very unusual and exciting opportunity for anyone interested in going in to management consulting and/or working in the public sector. The one piece of advice I would give to a potential Junior Analyst is to be enthusiastic! One of the best things about PPL is that despite being a small organisation, there are so many opportunities to be supported in your personal development and to experience a diverse range of activities, so embrace them as they come and push yourself out of your comfort zone.