About your current job:
How did you obtain your current position?
I applied online, after which I was invited to do a short screening test. I then had to do two rounds of interviews, during which I was asked to work through case studies. The case studies are used to test your analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as whether you would be a good cultural fit for the company.
In what way does your qualification relate to your work, whether directly or indirectly?
Studying science taught me how to think in a logical and structured way, and doing my Master’s provided me with invaluable research and analytics skills which I use in consulting every day.
What are the key skills that have contributed to your success thus far?
Skills that have attributed to my success thus far probably involve interpersonal skills above anything else. In consulting you always work in teams, so being a good team player is invaluable. This includes being positive, keeping team energy and morale up, being open to receiving feedback, as well as providing constructive coaching to people you supervise.
What are your day-to-day activities?
The great thing about Management Consulting is that what you do really varies from project to project. However, as an Associate Consultant my role would usually be more focused on the research, data analytics and financial modelling side, where as you get more senior you start focusing more on the high-level “answer” and developing client relationships.
What are the best and most challenging parts of your job?
The best: If I have to choose one thing I would say the people. It really is amazing to be a part of a company filled with such smart, dynamic, driven and fun teams. I also love the work we do, since every project is different and challenging in its own way and we get exposure to so many different industries and clients. Lastly, I have to mention the global nature of Bain, since it really provides you with a network of people across the world and opportunities to work in other offices outside South Africa.
The most challenging: Sustainability. We work long hours, and in some cases it can become difficult to maintain a normal lifestyle.
About your time at UCT:
How did your extra-curricular involvement while at UCT add value (transferable skills) to what you offer the world of work/your degree?
I was part of the Health Sciences Post Graduate Committee, which taught me valuable project management and leadership skills, and honestly, was just a great way to meet awesome like-minded people.
To what extent did you make use of the Careers Service while you were at university?
I attended Career workshops, which really helped me with the process of deciding what I really wanted to do, as well as applying for those positions. I also used the Careers Service for CV reviewing, which was massively useful since the person reviewing it used to be a recruiter for a Consulting firm, so they knew exactly what the firms would be looking for in a potential candidate.
Advice to current students:
How best should students use their time at university to give themselves a competitive edge in your field?
It’s of course important to perform well academically, but it’s also crucial to be a well-rounded person. Use your time as a student to pursue something that you’re passionate about, whether it is community outreach, student leadership, starting a band or running a marathon. Not only is this good for your own development (and you may never have the time again), but this also tells the company that you are an interesting person, and that there is more to you than just your Math 101 marks. The “would I like to have a drink with this person after work” test is more important than you think.
In retrospect, what advice can you give to students about how to approach their own career development journeys?
I think it’s important to realise that it really is a journey, and it’s ok to not know what you want to do with the rest of your life at 18, or at 25 or 40 for that matter. However, on that journey knowledge is key: read as much as you can, talk to as many interesting people as possible, keep on asking questions and don’t be so afraid to fail.
Do you have any advice for a new graduate entering the world of work?
It’s exactly the same as your mom’s advice to you when you started school: work hard, do your best, be open to learning something new every day, make sure you look presentable and most importantly, just be nice to the other kids in your class.
UCT Careers Service
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University of Cape Town
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