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One Year of Consulting

ONE YEAR OF CONSULTING working in tech consulting nyc fran acciardo

One month ago, I hit the one-year mark of my job. To get the big questions out of the way, I work in consulting for a large technology company, and I majored in Business Information Systems in college. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin in May 2020 and started my job (remote!) in September 2020. I’m technically based out of NYC (whenever the offices reopen), so that’s why I moved here.

I want to focus on two main things in this post. First, of course, I want to document the first year of my first “real” job! I’ve learned so much over the past year, and I can pinpoint handfuls of ways I’ve changed and grown because of my job which challenges me every single day. I want to document all these things so I can continue to set goals for myself and grow in my role. 

I also want to document where I’m at now in my thoughts about my career, because I think that especially will be interesting to look back on.

To any of you graduating college or looking to get into tech or consulting, I would be happy to share more details on how I got my job and some of the specific things I did, and strategies I used as a senior year in college to apply for jobs. Let me know if you’d find that helpful!

Anyway, let’s jump into it!

Background

I want to just start off by saying I didn’t specifically want to go into consulting after college. I participated in a few case competitions in college, which I enjoyed, so I figured it could be a good industry/role for me. That was pretty much it… like any senior in college, I really just cared about getting a “good job,” and what exactly that looked like wasn’t that specific for me. I applied to tons of different industries and various roles in cities all over the country. 

At the time, I had no idea what specifically I wanted to do (spoiler alert: I *still* have no idea. Literally, no clue. Anyway!)

So, when I got this job offer, it seemed like the best one for a few reasons. First of all, I really did want to move to NYC. I considered Boston and Chicago strongly and had an offer in each of those cities, but I knew NYC was where I really wanted to end up, so that was great. Also, I was excited about this company. I liked that it had name recognition! I also was drawn to the fact that since it is a large company, I would be part of a “start class,” and I liked the idea of having peers going through a similar experience as me. The job itself seemed like a good use of my degree, and I liked that with consulting, you have the opportunity to wear different hats as you move through different projects. Lastly, I found the whole traveling for work thing very appealing. LOL. If only I’d known there was a pandemic coming and I wouldn’t be traveling at all! Looking back, I don’t know if I could even have handled that, I love the work-from-home lifestyle so much.

The First Year

I’ve been on an energy and utility project almost the entire past year. I did not see this coming! A year ago, I couldn’t have told you a single thing about energy, utilities, or meters. Now, of course, as a result, I know plenty about E&U, but that’s kind of beside the point. I have learned a lot of skills that are transferrable outside of just the E&U industry. 

Here’s my best example: on my project, we have a morning and an end-of-day call. The calls are only like two minutes long, but a year ago, if I had to speak on them, I would get so nervous I would be sweating and must write myself a little script… for a two-minute call, which I spoke to only a handful of my closest teammates, with my camera off. Like, dramatic much? But the point is I used to be so scared of every little thing. This past year has given me a thicker skin, professional skills, and quite a bit of confidence in the workplace. Now, I am leading technical discussions and sharing my own opinions and perspectives in meetings with vendors from different companies across North America. It’s crazy what can happen in a year. 

(Not to mention, I am *the* go-to girl on my team for Excel, and I can make a mean PowerPoint deck, LOL )

I’m not perfect at my job (not even close) but I just want to share how much you can learn and surprise yourself in just a year by being curious, always asking if there are other ways to help a team member, and figuring things out on your own before asking for help. 

In fact, that might be one of my biggest tips. I am successful at my job because in the beginning, when I didn’t have much on my plate, I constantly asked my team “what else can I help you with.” Not only did it look good, but it resulted in me owning multiple deliverables, which got me extended on my project. And it wasn’t crazy stuff! I just started putting together spreadsheets and decks and weekly or daily reports, because I had the bandwidth to do so, and I knew it would be a good experience. 

Overall I'd say: consulting is interesting. It’s challenging, I feel like I’m learning a lot, and I like the feeling of accomplishment, achievement, and purpose at the end of… most days ;)  

What’s Next

Right now, I am happy with my job. Like I said, I feel like I am growing and learning a ton, and I feel challenged and purposeful 99% of the time. In my mind, those are great reasons to stay in a job in your early career! I like the city I’m in, I’m excited about rolling onto my second project in hopefully a few months, and I see a trajectory ahead of me, like a promotion and more responsibilities in the next six months or so. 

However, I think consulting is probably not the end-all, be-all for me. I say this with a grain of salt because I’ve only been on one project and it’s not exactly the most exciting thing I’ve ever experienced in my life, but I do think I could probably find a job in the next 5ish years that I feel a bit more aligned to and passionate about.

What that looks like, I have no idea! I have so many interests and there are so many things I’d be willing to try, that my career could potentially go in any direction, which excites me.

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Looking forward to continuing to share these experiences with all of you.
xoxo

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