Image supplied: Alexandria Hewat
B. Commerce/B. Asia Pacific Studies (Year in Asia) 2015
Alex graduated from the ANU with a B Commerce / B Asia-Pacific Studies, spending a year in South Korea as part of her ANU Program. Alex is now a Senior Associate at Strategy& in Canberra and has been with the firm for 4 years, working across various industries including Government, higher education, health, and telecommunications.
Alex’s responses to questions from CBE students
What is the day in the life of a Senior Associate in strategy consulting like?
My days start with a 9am team stand-up where we spend 10 minutes quickly talking about 3 things - what our focus is for the day, if we need any help, and if there are any key meetings. After this, I will review content done by the Associates in my team and have a check-in to relay this feedback verbally. Often I will schedule 30 minutes every other day with my Job Manager to take him through my progress and get his steer and overlay, and will spend the remaining time incorporating that feedback and progressing the thinking further. My team is all working from home from the moment so every afternoon at 3.30pm we have a virtual coffee break and just chat about non-work related stuff.
How and when can someone in a graduate role know that they’re ready for promotion at your company?
At Strategy&, we follow a very rigorous annual appraisal process. Each year, we conduct a 360 degree feedback process where you (the appraisee) are assigned an appraiser who conducts interviews with 10-12 people you've worked with over the past 12 months (both junior and senior). They then collate this feedback and assess that against the PwC Competency Framework and your self assessment.
From there, they will present their findings to the Appraisal Committee who will often ask probing questions and vote on the outcome of your appraisal. Your appraiser will then relay the outcome to you with your development agenda, which you need to demonstrate progress against before the next appraisal period. This process is quite intrusive (and very time consuming) but is extremely valuable in ensuring that people who are promoted deserve to be promoted.
You will typically spend 3 years at Associate, Senior Associate and Manager. As a new graduate, you are assessed against the same framework as a level 3 Associate so we often use the term "runway" to designate whether or not you will be able to "take off" to the Senior Associate position within 3 years.
Does work/life balance exist for people in the consulting world?
Absolutely. This is something that I see we get better at each year. We are output driven, not hours driven. So as long as we continue to correctly scope and resource projects, work/life balance should always be expected. There will always be peak times in projects, no matter how well you scope it so there can be long hours every now and then, but by no means is working late something that is the norm.