Vasilisa Takoeva case study

PhD Management
Management Consultant at Deloitte

What are your main work activities in your current role?

It may sound like a cliché, but being a consultant means that every role and every day are different. They change with the client, the focus of the engagement, the phase of the project – and the issue you are to tackle today.

As I work in human capital consulting, my projects tend to focus on the talent, culture and leadership areas; and the contribution I make is dependent on the topics and the team. For example, during culture assessment projects a lot of my time is spent gathering and analysing the data, and report writing; whereas on other projects my role was more heavily focussed on meeting facilitation and helping the clients reach decisions on people.

What route have you taken to your current role?

At the end of my PhD, I joined the Graduate Analyst Programme at Deloitte. It was a conscious decision to start as a graduate rather than experienced hire, as I felt that there was value in gaining as much practical experience across a variety of projects before specialising in a particular area (which is expected at more senior grades). This was a great choice, as I was able to work across sectors, clients and topics and find a team that I wanted to continue working and grow with.

What do you find most enjoyable about your job and what do you find most challenging about your job?

What I enjoy most about working in consulting is that you learn every day. Sometimes, this is about deepening your professional knowledge, other days you gain insight into the industry and client’s operations; or you have a chance to practice and develop core people and management skills, like resolving conflicts, facilitating, and generally “getting things done”.

My main challenge, which is known for this industry, is maintaining work-life balance – your working hours can be long and sometimes you need to travel; but overall, this is paid off with seeing rewarding results of your efforts.

What advice would you give to a current Postgraduate Researcher interested in working in management consultancy?

Come open-minded but remember your worth! Great thing about working in management consulting is that you will be surrounded by incredibly smart people, and you will always be able to learn from them, their experience and ways of working. At the same time, remember what unique skills you have developed during your PhD programme and do not be shy to apply them to work, bringing academic rigour and depth to your deliverables.

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