A week in the life of a Graduate Business Consultant
Updated: May 12, 2022
In June 2021 I was not only excited about the prospect of lockdown measures being lifted but I also was due to start my new job at Solirius as a graduate in the Business Consulting Practice! Although the world seemed to be slowly going back to ‘normal’, Solirius, like many other companies, was still operating on a remote basis to keep everyone as safe as possible. So as strange as it was, I received my onboarding pack and laptop in the mail and my first day began from the comfort of my own home.
Everyone was so welcoming over Google Hangouts and Slack, and my first week at the company was filled with introductory calls and some preliminary training. One thing I learnt and loved about Solirius during the hiring process was that they believe that learning by doing is the best way, and because of this I was assigned to my first project during my very first week! 3 months down the road, I am about to finish my time on my first project before I get stuck into 2 weeks of internal consultancy training.
In this blog post I will take you through a standard week in the life of a Business Consulting Graduate on their first project with Solirius Consulting. For a bit of background, my first project is for a government department where I was working as a Project Support Officer. As I expressed interest in both project management and business analysis during my interview process, my first role became a hybrid in which I supported both elements.
The week in which I’m writing this post, comes during a planning period of the project. We are currently planning our deliverables for our next phase which involves a variety of workshops internally with the team and with the client. On Monday we had a meeting with our technical team to decide how much we could deliver in the phase, broke down each item and worked out the acceptance criteria. This is an important part of any project, as you need to make sure what you are delivering aligns with your clients’ wants and needs.
Monday is also our weekly working group with the project sponsor. During this 1 hour session we give updates on the work completed over the last week, highlight any issues and discuss important queries.
On Tuesday I got to work on more of the project management side of my role. We had a meeting with the finance team to track our spending, making sure we are within budget, and outlined our planned expenditure for the coming months.
We also had our fortnightly meeting with the assignment management team to go over our payment deliverable report. During this meeting we report and give evidence on our progress vs what we had promised to deliver in our Statement of Work. This evidence is an important part of the commercial process.
On Tuesdays I also have my catch-up with my managers where we talk about how I am getting on, and if there is anything they or I can do to improve my work on my project. Although at Solirius your main focus is on client work, my manager also takes this time to encourage me to work on internal projects, which can range from writing a blog post like this one, to helping fix bugs on our internal time tracking system.
Every Wednesday morning I run my own meeting and manage my own aspect of the project. This meeting is to update our Project Control Log which documents all the risks, actions, dependencies and decisions of your project. This is a very important document that regularly gets presented to senior stakeholders. I love that although I am early on in my career I am trusted enough to be given this responsibility.
Another exciting part of this Wednesday was the Culture Group meeting that happens monthly for Solirius employees. It is a chance to meet people from across the organisation, hear updates such as when we were due to go back into the office and take part in a quiz.
Although I started the job at home, we are now able to book days to work in the Solirius office in Aldgate. This gives you an opportunity to meet colleagues from the company and get a change of scene! On Thursday I decided to spend the day at the office and work more on the business analysis side of my role. We ran a workshop with the data scientists on the client side in order to identify what their requirements were for the tools they need to do their day job. After a workshop like this, time is spent documenting user stories, creating user story boards and ultimately converting them into ‘tickets’ of work for the developers to do. Another benefit of working in the office is being able to grab a drink with colleagues after work and get the real experience of working in ‘the City’ (our office is practically next door to the Gherkin and the Cheese Grater!)
As the week winds down on a Friday, my project manager and I have another report to prepare for our client. This report again documents our progress towards our milestones, gives any updates to specific risks or issues and gives these stakeholders a view of our project.
Fridays are also when we have our fortnightly retrospective meeting. In an Agile project, you hold retrospectives at the end of each sprint to discuss what went well and what could be improved on. It’s great to get the team together to talk about our wins and mentally prepare for the next couple of weeks of work!