How I got hired at Arthur D. Little
Why management consulting?
The diversity of work, the people (extremely smart colleagues from whom you can learn) and the relatively flat organisational structure, allowing junior team members to hold responsibility from the start, all appealed.
Did you do any work experience before starting full-time work?
I completed various internships in the public sector, investment banking and auditing sectors in China, Ghana and my home country, Austria, and spent three months at another management consultancy firm.
What do you think made you stand out from the other candidates?
My consulting internship definitely helped me get an offer at ADL – we typically look for at least one aspect on a CV that demonstrates that the candidate is interested in management consulting. I was also on the board of the consultancy society at university, which further demonstrated my interest.
What was the most challenging part of the application process?
The presentation – I was given a topic that I was not familiar with a couple of days in advance, and had to present it to colleagues who are experts in this area!
What is your role in the team?
My specific role varies greatly across projects, but my duties typically involve participating in client meetings, contributing to internal meetings – in which the team decides how a project is to be delivered, taking responsibility for some of the analysis (eg conducting secondary research and/or consultee interviews and analysing results qualitatively and/or quantitatively), holding sub-sessions of client workshops, writing parts of the final report and presenting to the client.
How’s your work/life balance?
It is not a nine-to-five job, but the work/ life balance is significantly better than what I observed at my previous consulting internship. On some projects we tend to travel a lot but this is part of any consulting job, and as we typically only do this on a couple of projects a year, it is viewed as more of an exciting opportunity rather than a burden on social life – eg three months in Malaysia, with rotations!
What has been your biggest challenge in the workplace?
I was given the responsibility to present the findings of a project’s key workstream to the CEO of a very exciting med-tech company with over 500 employees; they were looking to go public, something they have very successfully achieved in the meantime, and we undertook an independent evaluation of the overall market size and future potential of this market.
What training and support have you received?
Aside from on-the-job training, which is a constant, I have just returned from our formal advanced consultancy training, which was held over a week in Athens. Consultants across our global offices attend this training, which you typically attend during your second year at ADL. The core consultancy training takes place in your first year, for a week in Mallorca.
What skills in particular do you think you’ve developed?
My communication and presentation skills have improved massively. I’ve learnt how to conduct two-way interviews (turning them into interactive conversations rather than just going down a list of questions), answer difficult client questions and facilitate workshops.
Any advice to current students?
Make sure your CV shows that you are interested in consulting – either be part of a society at university or have some relevant work experience (this could be in consulting or in one of our focus industries).
Name the top three skills for a successful consultant.
An analytical mindset, proactivity and confidence.