Fresh out of university and starting on a major assignment right away— not to mention one that also has a significant impact. That can be quite a challenge! Nino Mulder knows all the ins and outs of being a junior management consultant. What is the first week like in this role? He tells us all about it in his blog.
While working quietly at home one afternoon, I receive a call from my manager. He tells me there’s a good chance I can get involved with a new project and says that someone will contact me that same day. At the moment I’m still working on an internal assignment and developing a proposition in the area of innovation as part of a small team. Although this is extremely interesting and I’m learning a lot, I can also see myself taking on a new challenge for a client. Not long afterwards, I receive an e-mail from the principal consultant who would like to bring me on board for this new assignment.
The next morning, I officially meet the principal consultant and we go over the assignment together. ProRail would like us to take on the risk management within a larger project, which is part of a national program. The project starts in a week, so it’s time for me to get up to speed on things!
After waiting an additional week, my colleague and I finally get down to business. We meet with the manager of the project on a Wednesday morning. After a quick round of introductions, he tells us about his project as well as the program as a whole. The impact and scope of this program are truly massive. If you’ve just graduated from university not too long ago, sometimes it can be hard to believe the interesting projects you already get to participate in. The longer the meeting goes on, the clearer it becomes to me that we have a big challenge ahead of us. I’m glad, since that’s exactly what I was promised during my job interview.
After the intake interview, I meet the team. They are a group of friendly and at the same time highly experienced people, so not only will I enjoy working with them, but I’ll learn a lot as well! Our new colleagues are also very happy to have us on board. Right away they send me some documents to study and review. Despite the large difference in experience level, I’m already being asked for my opinion. The initial introduction period is over and I immediately schedule a meeting with the risk manager of the entire program. She was also anticipating our arrival, and we promptly receive an invitation to a program-wide risk management meeting that will take place the following day. As soon as the meeting has ended, my colleague and I draw up an action plan. A short session is all it takes for us to determine the initial follow-up steps. After this first day full of new impressions, we close our laptops. We still need to get some exercise, after all.
After having a cup of coffee and shaking a few more new hands, I meet with the office manager the next morning. In addition to giving me a laptop, she immediately takes me on a tour of the whole office. Although I'm actually quite eager to sink my teeth into the material, this tour is a worthwhile investment. After all, there’s nothing more annoying than being late for your meetings, and knowing your way around really helps! The office manager also makes sure that all the important meetings are in my agenda. During the program-wide risk management meeting in the afternoon, I take note of the current state of affairs as well as the obstacles, and start trying to think about how to tackle them. Even though I don’t understand everything right away, I have the same feeling as the day before: how great it is to be able to contribute at this level.
At the end of the day, I have a brief feedback session with my colleague. Apart from all my enthusiasm, I also share my struggles with the material. Thankfully I’m immediately told that this is completely normal! We end up walking to the train station together, since there’s one more team meeting on the agenda for the evening.
On the last day of the week, I ride the bus just a few stops longer. My final stop: the Capgemini office. I arrive with plenty of time to spare (a nice perk of living in Utrecht), so I can relax and enjoy a cup of coffee before opening my laptop. It’s not long before my colleagues start trickling in and the room is naturally buzzing with conversation. Today is the perfect opportunity to do a bit of catching up, and everyone is curious to know how my first week went. After having a few good chats, reviewing some documents and attending a short meeting with a vice president in the area of innovation, I dive back into the client’s case. I also go ahead and start scheduling more appointments for the coming week. On that note, I have a lot of respect for the office managers: sometimes all those busy agendas look just like a Rubik's Cube.
Once the meetings have finally been scheduled and my agenda is set for next week, I head to a nearby café with a group of colleagues. We finish off the week together with a well-deserved beer in hand. On to the next one!