How I got hired at A.T. Kearney
Charlotte Gibney is a senior business analyst at A.T. Kearney. She studied economics and management at the University of Oxford.
Interviewers are not only looking for smart people but also people who can interact with clients and the team.
I moved into management consultancy after almost four years in banking because I wanted to explore a broader range of industries, solving a variety of difficult intellectual and practical problems. The importance of teamwork also attracted me to the industry.
Why do you think your application was successful?
At university I did an internship in investment banking, which not only helped me secure my job in finance, but also strengthened my management consulting application as it showed dedication and drive from an early age. Without question, the most challenging part of the application process at A.T. Kearney was getting my head around the case study format. I didn’t have many experienced people to practise with so undertook much of this preparation by myself, which is perhaps not as effective as working with someone else. However, I believe my strength in interviewing came from my structured approach to the case questions and being relaxed (as far as is possible at interview!) enough to interact easily with my interviewers.
Describe your job role for us.
My role on my current project has been incredibly varied. I have been responsible for data collection and modelling, as well as liaising with the client and pushing certain opportunities forward with them. The team is small and we work very closely together – someone is always on hand to guide where necessary, which is reassuring when tackling something new.
What sort of training have you received?
When I first started here I received introductory training in Excel and PowerPoint (in particular, how to use it in line with the company’s style), which was very helpful and a great way to hit the ground running. A. T. Kearny also provides a week’s training for new consultants across Europe. Not only does this allow you to improve your presentation, modelling and negotiating skills, but also to get to know other new consultants and start building your network outside of the office. There is also a wealth of training programmes that you can choose from, covering both technical and soft skills.
How about your work/life balance?
I think it’s what you make of it. I travel during the week which entails early starts and late nights. We do work longer hours than those in other industries, but this can be managed and does relax between projects. I make sure to prioritise time with my family and friends at the weekends and so feel rejuvenated for the week ahead.
What gives you a buzz?
The most exciting aspects of management consultancy for me are the high level of responsibility that I have received from the outset and the constant interaction with so many different people, across all levels of seniority. A career highlight has been building and owning a heavy data model that makes me the go-to person on the team to answer the technical questions and drive meetings forward. From doing this, I’ve learnt that organisation and tracking are crucial to enable you to answer queries quickly and accurately from both team members and the client.
Any advice to current students hoping for consulting careers?
I think it is important to have interests outside of academia whilst at university (and beyond). Interviewers are not only looking for smart people but also people who can interact with clients and the team, and have a proven record of drive, dedication and responsibility. The top three skills for a consultant in my view are being analytical, methodical and a good communicator.