My name is Adrien Monvoisin (Sorka, CL204). I have completed my master in Engineering at UC Berkeley in 2008 and immediately joined Deloitte Consulting as an Analyst. Fast forward 12 years, I am still at Deloitte, as a senior manager in the Strategy & Analytics offering.
AFAM: Please tell us more about what your consulting role is about?
Adrien: I focus on serving clients in the financial services industry (banking and capital markets), leading the design and implementation of large and complex risk, finance and banking transformation programs. I have always had a passion for banking, finance and technology, and I have been fortunate to grow my expertise in the intersection of those three areas. My role is mainly two fold: focus on delivering sold engagements (and make the clients happy), as well as find new opportunities (i.e. sell new projects). I need to strike the right balance between meeting the clients’ needs, meeting the Deloitte partners’ expectations, and fully relying on the team members doing the hands-on work (providing the right level of guidance and risk management, without micro-managing them).
AFAM: How did you get where you are now?
Adrien: To be perfectly honest, I did not really know what to do after my master, and consulting was sold to me as a job where one can “touch” many areas across industries and technologies. Consulting is often described as the best place to start a career, by having to experience a variety of projects, clients and roles, and I genuinely believe this is true. I have been able to find great mentors and have organically grown within Deloitte. It is a fast-paced environment where one needs to quickly adapt to different situations and push his/her limits. It is a “work hard play hard” culture that rewards strong performers. Although I have had opportunities to join competitors, past clients or join new ventures, I enjoy Deloitte’s culture and feel fulfilled in my current role.
AFAM: What does your typical day look like?
Adrien: There is the before and after COVID. Before COVID, I would usually work from home on Monday and fly to the client location on Monday evening. Being on the East coast and focusing on financial services, most of my flights are within 2 to 3-hour range. I would stay at the client site through Thursday and work from home on Friday. While traveling at the client’s location, I do not mind spending longer hours at work if that means starting my weekend in the early afternoon on Friday. Most of the days are filled with meetings, mostly by phone, between dealing with clients’ fire drills, team meetings, proposal and firm initiative / eminence activities. After COVID, all those meetings remain on my calendar but they are all virtual. Although less time is spent traveling, I feel I have been working more than ever. What used to be a hallway conversation became a 15mn meeting. We do try to use video for most meetings, to make it more engaging and more connected.
AFAM: What do you like in your consulting role?
Adrien: There are a lot of opportunities to learn, whether it is around new technologies, tools or processes, either via training sessions or project experiences. I like the variety of the roles and projects (and associate problem statements), and the fact that we are solving real and meaningful business problems with designing and implementing tangible solutions. I also enjoy working with smart individuals that I can trust and rely on. Another perk of consulting is the travel component (which can get tiring eventually) where one gets to stay in nice hotels, go to fancy restaurants and have the ability to redeem millions of miles for family vacations.
AFAM: What are the challenges of the consulting job?
Adrien: The travel. It is fun when young and single, but it quickly feels old to be on the road 3 to 4 days a week. It gets tricky once the family expends and it is critical to reach the right balance between personal and work life, and make a point to be home when it is needed. Another challenge is the unpredictability of the amount of work: it happens to be looped in at the last minute in intense proposal work that can last a week, and sometimes spans over the weekend. Reaching a healthy work-life balance is critical, and that goes by setting boundaries between work and private life, and learning to say “no” at times.
AFAM: What skills and qualities do engineers need to be successful consultants?
Adrien: Some of the must-have skills are: being a quick learner (connect the dots with minimal input), being curious, being social, reading cues, and having strong written or oral communications skills. Those are foundational skills to have, everything else can be learned on the fly. At the analyst level, the interviewers are not judging the experience or content expertise of the interviewee, but rather evaluate how that candidate would perform if put in front of a client. Time management is also a critical skill to have to be able to juggle multiple priorities, as well as being able to navigate through ambiguity: directions are sometimes not clear and one needs to take initiative to move forward, even if that means pivoting the approach later on.
AFAM: What advice would you give to a student who wants to work in consulting? Start as a junior in a large management consulting company, find an internship in a boutique shop, become an expert in a certain field before breaking into consulting……?
Adrien: I would give the following advices:
- Connect with individuals that are currently in the field: it is important to learn from them, understand the company’s culture (each company has its own culture, and may not be a good fit for everyone). Be prepared before engaging with those individuals: time is valuable so do your homework and pre-research as opposed to coming empty-handed.
- Understand what type of consulting to get in: strategy consulting is very different from technology consulting. Each consulting firm has different expertise, culture and approach. Again, knowing what one likes and performing research is essential to ensure it is a successful match.
- When applying for a job, have a story: do not list a bunch of skills and achievement, make sure there is a logical flow and that the job one is applying for is a logical next step in one’s career
- Show leadership activities. I am always surprised by how many leadership activities and internship American students applying for analyst positions have on their resume: it is important to be proactive and have a story to tell and facts that back them up (Americans like to stretch the truth, but never lie!)
- Make sure this is a job fit for your personality: juggling multiple projects and being on the road every week is not for everyone, and can make you miserable if you do not enjoy it.
Consulting is a great way to quickly discover a variety of roles and activities and jump start a career by opening doors for new opportunities. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or just would like to chat on a consulting or banking-related topic.
Other interviews in our "Why Consulting?" series
Interview with Cyprien Bastide (Bo 214), OM Partners
Interview with Claude Leglise (An 74), SVA Innovation
Interview with Maxime Crépin (Bo 210), Bain and Company
Interview with François Théry (Li 96), Accenture