Why Strategy Consulting?
One of the things I particularly enjoyed about my degree was the fact that it was a mix of Science and Arts disciplines, where a range of scientific evidence needs to be built up into a convincing argument. This skill is at the heart of what we do, taking what can be quite complex and varied analysis and making it understandable and actionable for our clients. Another element that differentiated it from other industries was that you are always doing something new, whether that is working in a different industry or learning a new method of analysis which means the job stays interesting.
I attended the OC&C Open Evening in my final year and was really impressed after chatting with the staff, as they seemed very down to earth and as interested in what you do outside of the office, as in it. The sector focus on Retail, Leisure and Media was also something that appealed. In addition, OC&C is far less focussed around being out on client site Monday to Thursday than other consulting firms, which means that you don't have the feeling that you're living out of a suitcase the whole time.
What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
No day follows the same pattern but generally each week is a mixture of doing analysis such as building a market model or analysing a consumer survey, turning this work into presentations and then discussing and debating your work with your Manager, the Partners or the Client.
What sort of training have you received?
All new joiners start with a fortnight of induction sessions, which gives you an oversight of all the key skills needed for the job, however the majority of analytical learning is done on projects, with people in the firm always willing to give advice. As you go up in the firm the training switches to more of a focus on soft skills which I've found very helpful, particularly around how best to deal with difficult situations and how to manage client relationships.
What do you enjoy about your job?
The variety day to day is one of the biggest draws for me as you never feel like you're doing the same thing twice. It's also a job where you are given lots of responsibility from a very early stage and the opportunities to present and defend your work in front of CEOs is very rewarding, especially when you see your suggestions being put into practice.
How do you achieve work life balance?
Work life balance is very important for me and so far I have managed to work hard but still feel like I've been able to get up to a lot of things outside the office during the week. Obviously it isn't a 9-5, but I've found that as long as you flag evenings where you'd like to get out early enough to your manager you can almost always do it. For instance, I really like taking advantage of all the theatres on offer in London and have never had to miss a performance due to work. The ability to take an additional four weeks off of unpaid leave a year is something that makes OC&C stand out and gives people a chance to totally disconnect from work and travel the world.
What has been your highlight of the job so far?
Recently I have been working closely with a client team from a large retailer to develop a category strategy. This involved interacting with people in roles across the whole business (covering areas such as Trading, Supply Chain, Finance and Marketing) and using insights from our consumer survey to help define what the best strategy would be. This project allowed me to see how the strategic work we do interacts with the more operational side of the business as well as the responsibility given, which meant presenting the findings and debating them with the CEO on a regular basis.
Why do you like working for OC&C?
Although it is a bit of a cliché, the people I work with make OC&C a great place to work. Not only is everyone switched on and driven, they also all have a huge array of interests away from the workplace which means there's always interesting conversations to be had over lunch as well as a real drive to participate in company social events, which are great fun. I've also enjoyed the fact that the firm is constantly open to developing. For instance I've recently helped set up an LGBT network for the company that has had backing and input from people at all levels in the office which is great to see.