Week in the life of a Consultant
I am currently a Consultant at PPL, having joined as an Analyst back in October 2017. Before joining I completed a business management graduate scheme at Cambridge University Press, a not-for-profit in the education sector, where I worked on delivering change programmes. And before that I was just an idealistic university student with big dreams of changing the world for the better whilst also doing a job I enjoyed (which is what I now do!).
This morning I am travelling with my project manager for two days of meetings and workshops with clients. Thankfully, travelling through London City Airport is about as close to teleportation as you can get in 2019 so it’s not long before we’re at client site.
My project manager has supported me to take a lead on the financial modelling of a health and social care system. I have therefore improved my analytical skills dramatically. Our analysis underpins a wider review on how to ensure sustainability for their health and social care system. This is a big challenge faced by governments around the world and it’s a fascinating topic.
Our first day on site is a mix of desk work alongside client team (civil servants supporting the Review, extraordinarily helpful and a great source of biscuits) and meetings with stakeholders to validate our assumptions.
Today we have a critical engagement workshop to discuss options to meet the health and social care funding gap. It’s tiring work presenting and facilitating for three hours to a room full of ministers, clinicians and care providers but it’s well worth it for the insights they share as these will directly inform our analysis. Plus it’s always fun when senior care managers get really into the silly workshop games you have planned (today it’s traffic light voting but I have previously had success with integrated care card games). After packing up, it’s a quick dash back to the airport for the flight home.
After two days out of the office it’s good to be back in Jacob Street. My responsibilities today are a mix of following up actions from our meetings and the workshop, drawing insights out of what we have learned to apply to our modelling and report writing, and improving the two models we are working on with data updates. I also do a fair amount of research (e.g. what actually happens when you change prescription charges?). PPL is a very collaborative place to work. I only need to wonder aloud about where to find the best deprivation index data or what a typical ‘duty worker’ does and one of my colleagues will be at my shoulder with suggestions. In return I’ll pop over if people get stuck while writing blogs for our website, as I’ve taken on internal comms responsibilities.
Today we have our monthly Consultant support group. At the moment there are just two consultants in the firm so it’s a great opportunity for some focused conversations with Katie, one of our Associate Directors, about how we’re doing and any challenges we’re facing. I have just taken on a pro-bono consulting project with one of my colleagues, supported by PPL’s Management Consultancies Association affiliation, and I’m unsure how best to lead the kick off meeting with the charity we’re supporting. Luckily for me, Katie has worked for several leading consultancies, has a PhD and is generally unbelievably competent. After an in-depth discussion in what, from her extensive experience, makes a perfect kick-off meeting I am raring to go.
A successful kick off meeting!
On Friday I wrap up any actions I can to close off the week and share the log with the team to highlight where we are. I also have a couple of informal discussions with my project manager throughout the day about where we have both got to with modelling and report drafting and what our priorities next week will be.
Victory in the office locker game (too long to explain here!)
Tips for your application!
Your previous experience for a role like mine can vary – one of our other Consultants was previously a pharmacist – but it should demonstrate an interest in consulting and/or in PPL’s client sectors, as well as the transferable skills necessary to succeed. The key difference between Analyst and Consultant roles is responsibility. As a Consultant you should be able to manage your own workload and check in with the project manager for guidance and support rather than a ‘to do’ list. You will also be developing your own interests and particular skills and will be relied on to deliver in your areas of strength.