Ever since I started pursuing a business degree, I always knew that I wanted to work as a management consultant. But I could never quite grasp the entire spectrum of that desire of mine: Was it because of the challenging tasks and projects and the subsequent steep professional development? Or maybe it was the variety of work – very little mundane weeks or routine workflow? Or was it the unique exposure to high-profile individuals and their expertise throughout a variety of sectors and industries that only management consulting allows for?
I am going to be a little anti-climactic and say that it is a mix of all of the above that makes being a consultant such a challenging and rewarding profession. However, there is also one more thing that kind of stands above all and quite possibly draws most of the people that end up in consulting – international work. And while travelling is an inevitable part of the consultant lifestyle (which I came to realise right from my first project in the CDC ), it is working and travelling abroad that is a real draw for me.
I was lucky enough to be allocated to a high-profile, immensely interesting, project in Sweden right after I rolled off my first task (no bench time for me). As everything in consulting, things developed at a pace I was not used to at the time and after a short on-boarding on Friday afternoon, I found myself on the early British Airways flight to Copenhagen on Monday. Luckily, I was travelling with a senior member of the team and although it was his first time working abroad as well, it still brought a sense of reassurance that we would be delivering as a team. After a short train ride from Copenhagen Airport to the southern coast of Sweden and a quick check-in at the hotel, we were already at the client’s office having a workshop with them as if we hadn’t just ‘commuted’ for 7 hours to get to work.
This happened in March and I have been doing this ‘commute’ on a regular basis for the last 6 months. And pretty soon you get used to it – getting to the airport, boarding, flying and disembarking two times per week was not a big deal anymore. However, these are only the operational details of working abroad. The real value lies in getting the opportunity to work with people from different cultures and from different levels within the client’s company and to enrich your personal and professional skill sets by doing this. I will not get into details about the project as this is not the point of this article but it is massive and the responsibilities (even for a junior consultant such as me) are amazing and fulfilling. The Capgemini and client teams are great and make every travel to Sweden joyful and refreshing (even if sometimes you have to land in London at 10pm on a Thursday).
On my way to work
My international work experience has taught me that it is both the journey and the destination that matter. Having embarked on my consultant journey at Capgemini Consulting, I realise that it is the value of my work, the challenges I will overcome and the expertise I will gather that made me begin it in the first place. But, it is ultimately the places it will take me and the people I will meet along the way that will determine my personal and professional growth in the end.