A Week In My Life As A Management Consultant #2

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Curious about what a week for a management consultant entails? Especially when there is more than one project involved. Stay tuned, as I break down a real-life example from my time at KPMG.

 

We will explore each day for two different engagements including my waking up time, travel time, and project expectations – from the team and respective clients.

 

A few years ago, I was working on two different projects, one was for a financial services client based in Edinburgh and another based in London. For a northerner like me, who is based in Manchester, this was imaginably quite a fair bit of travel.

In This Weeks' Blog We Will Explore:

  • Monday & Tuesday – Client 1 in Edinburgh

 

  • Wednesday & Thursday – Client 2 in London

 

  • Friday – Working from Home (Manchester)

 

  • Weekend – Activities to prepare for the following week

Monday

5:30 am wake up ⏰

Time to wake up; shower and get ready to leave for the train station.

 

7:00 am board the train 🚅

Grab a quick morning snack and drink (a strong coffee would help here – shame I’m not into them)

 

Fire up my laptop, get up to speed on my latest emails and prepare for the day ahead. Check up on colleagues who would also be on their way in.

 

Go over some client questionnaire for the interviews with the client team.

 

10:00 am arrive at Edinburgh 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

Grab some lunch items from the train station M&S (this client didn’t have a great canteen!)

 

10:20 am arrive at the client site 🚖

 

10:30 am

Morning stand up with the team to set out the day ahead.

 

11:00 am

First meeting with the client business team to go through their current processes and try to understand any gaps in these. Playback my understanding to the client at the end of the meeting.

 

12:00 pm

Formalise the notes taken from the client into appropriate actions and next steps. Be sure to confer your notes with your colleague(s).

 

12:30 pm

Making my way to the canteen/somewhere to sit, to have the lovely M&S crayfish salad

via GIPHY

 

1:15 pm

Prepare for the next meeting with the technical team

 

2:00 pm

Second meeting with the technical team to understand the implementation of the risk processes (from what I had learned in the earlier meeting), understand the technical challenges and again playback to the client.

You will find many client teams do not talk to each other so well, this is a scenario when consultants add a lot of value....💭

3:00 pm

Formalise the notes taken from the client into appropriate actions and next steps. Confer your notes with your colleague(s).

 

4:00 pm

Another client meeting, as we are currently fact-finding the “as is” state, these phases are client meeting heavy.

 

5:00 pm

End of day discussion with the team and formalise all actions that need following up and assigning ownership. Probably a good idea to send out minutes + actions from the meeting to the clients that were present.

 

5:30 pm

Internal calls for the project team at Client 2 (by the way, this could happen at any point in the day)

 

6:00 pm

Pack up and leave the client site for the Edinburgh station, check into the Hilton close by. Unpack my suitcase, iron shirt out for the next day and have a quick shower.

 

7:00 pm

Order some food or go to the restaurant with the team, depending on my work stack.

 

8:15 pm

Work on report for Client 2, which I had started last week. Also, the final check on emails.

 

10:30 pm 📺

Watch some Netflix and get to bed by 11:30 pm

Tuesday

7:00 am  

Time to wake up; and to shower, have breakfast at the hotel and get ready to leave for the client site and check out of the hotel. Of course, grab lunch from M&S to make sure you don’t go hungry later in the day.

 

08:30 am arrive at the client site

Fire up the laptop, get up to speed on the latest emails and prepare for the day ahead.

 

09:30 am

Morning stand up with the team to set out the day ahead, if meetings with client teams are clashing, divide up the meeting between the teams.

 

10:00 am-12:00 pm client meetings

Marathon of meetings to learn more about the specific client challenge and ensuring each impacted area of the business has been included in meetings; this is important as I am not going to be available face to face until next week.

 

12:30 pm

Make your way to the canteen/somewhere to sit, to have the M&S Tuna niçoise salad

1:15 pm

Prepare for the next meeting with the client senior stakeholder/sponsor

 

2:00 pm

Weekly project review meeting with the sponsor, talk him through the issues we have found so far and whether any particular areas he thinks we need to delve in to further.

 

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Final face to face meetings for Client 1 for this week.

  

Just a note here; of course I would be expected to stay in touch with the client and chase the client teams for the rest of the week since I am not present at the client site. Sometimes, an engagement like this is very efficient, as you are not wasting time staying at client site unnecessarily and allows the client team time to get together the artefacts that you need to continue your work.

 

4:00 pm

End of day discussion with the team and formalise all actions, send out minutes + actions from the meeting to the client teams that were present at the meeting.

 

4:30 pm

Leave for Edinburgh airport

 

5:00 pm 🛄

Arrive at the airport and check-in (usually no bags to check-in, so just go straight through to gate)

 

5:45 pm

Grab a quick snack

 

6:05 pm ✈️

Board the flight, fire up the laptop to close out any remaining actions for the day.

 

7:15 pm

Arrive at the London City Airport

 

8:15 pm

Get to the Hilton in the city centre and check-in

 

8:30 pm

Order in, as too tired to go out.

 

9:30 pm

Last email check of the day to make sure, no issues/escalations. Also, continue with the report writing for Client 2 until such time that it becomes impossible to concentrate.

 

11:30 pm 💤

Get to bed

Wednesday

7:00 am  

Time to wake up; and to shower, have breakfast at the hotel and get ready to leave for the client site. No need to grab lunch early as London has much more to offer.

 

08:30 am arrive at the client site

Fire up the laptop, get up to speed on the latest emails and prepare for the day ahead.

 

09:30 am

Client 2 was in the final phase of the project and hence no extensive fact-finding meetings were needed. Put noise-cancelling headphones on (I’d strongly recommend the Bose noise Cancelling QC35 II) and continue writing the report with the known issues.

 

11:00 am internal meetings

Discussion with the senior manager/partner on general themes of the findings and how you are defining the recommendations for improvement. Incorporate any of their feedback into the report.

 

12:00 pm

Respond to Client 1 on any follow-up questions from the meetings earlier in the week. Have a call with more challenging stakeholders to ensure actions are understood.

 

1:00 pm

It’s London, so step out and get some decent lunch, persuaded to grab a chicken katsu.

 

2:00 pm

Client meetings to close out any open questions from the past few weeks of fact-findings.

 

3:00 pm -4:30 pm

Incorporate anything additional into the relevant section of the report; continue to update the report with known issues and recommendations.

 

4:30 pm

Grab a quick snack and take a call with junior team members, providing advice on their engagements. Also, deal with any further issues from Client 1.

 

5:00 pm – 6:30 pm

Noise-cancelling headphones on, a marathon of report writing, make sure sentences are impactful and the story is flowing.

 

6:30 pm

Take the Tube to the hotel, order some food in, as this report is due by tomorrow.

 

8:00 pm

Continue writing the report with regular breaks, with bouts of annoyance at the laptop as I can’t find certain artefacts.

 

11:30 pm

Stay awake in bed, worrying about client sponsor meeting due for tomorrow 

Thursday

7:00 am

Time to wake up; and to shower, have breakfast at the hotel and get ready to leave for the client site.

Check out of the hotel.

 

08:30 am arrive at the client site

Continue working on the last aspects of the report, making sure regular review with the senior manager.

 

10:30 am

Report finished and final internal review. Ensuring no inflammatory language or sensationalised items on the report. If you know, you know!

 

11:00 am client sponsor meeting

Client sponsor, senior manager and few key client stakeholders are present at this meeting. Present my findings using a story structure, including quick wins, long term strategic changes etc.

 

12:00 pm

Client meeting finishes, fairly positive feedback on the output. However, small tweaks needed on the report for one area of the business that the client wanted including.

 

12:30 pm

Set the last-minute meeting with this particular area of the business for the afternoon, to make sure you get all you need before you leave the client site today.

 

1:00 pm

Urgent call with Client 1 on some areas of our request that was unclear, keep pushing to get the output as soon as possible.

 

1:30 pm

Grab quick lunch from EAT.

 

2:00 pm

Prepare for the last-minute meeting.

 

2:30 pm

Lead the meeting, asking specific questions that the sponsor raised at the meeting earlier. Luckily, it’s a small area with almost no impact on our findings.

 

3:30 pm

De-brief the senior manager on the latest update. Continue to refine the report to include this additional area ensuring story still flows. Get annoyed at spell check for my mistakes.

 

4:30 pm

Leave client site for Euston station

 

5:20 pm 🚅

Board the train to Manchester, continue to work on the report.

 

7:30 pm ❄️

Arrive in Manchester, it is instantly colder!

 

8:15 pm

Arrive home, freshen up and grab some good home-cooked food.

 

9:15 pm

Send out the report for a final internal review

So far, Wednesday is the only day, I haven’t travelled! So, I am getting tired now.

 

10:30 pm

Get to bed early

Friday

7:00 am

Time to wake up; and to shower. I did have an option to go into the Manchester office and have the fish and chips for lunch, however, I decided to work from home. ☺️

 

08:30 am

Fire up the laptop, catch up on any emails and start preparing for the day.

 

09:00 am

Grab something for breakfast from the kitchen.

 

09:30 am

Conference call with the rest of the team for Client 1, making sure all artefacts have been received as expected.

 

10:00 am

Quick catch up with the senior manager for Client 2, ensuring he is comfortable with the report, ready to be sent to the client.

 

11:00 am

Report sent to the Client 2 sponsor and doing a victory dance.

 

11:30 am

Read through some of the artefacts from Client 1 and start setting up meetings for Monday/Tuesday next week.

 

12:00 pm

Attend an internal training on “how to improve networking” for an hour.

 

1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

As the report for Client 2 had been sent in the morning and Client 1 meetings are all set, take a relaxing 90-minute lunch.

 

2:30 pm

Catch up with my mentor for 30 minutes on the story for performance achievement and my goals for this year.

 

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Continue to read through some of the artefacts from Client 1 and writing down questions and notes that need clarification.

 

4:30 pm

If I was in the office, I would’ve attended the Friday social meeting, since I am not, just catch up with a few of my colleagues who are also working from home over MS Teams.

 

5:00 pm

Make a conscious effort to close the laptop by 5 pm.

 

6:00 pm

Unpack from yesterday and put the clothes in the laundry.

 

7:00 pm

Go see friends or spend a quiet evening at home

Weekend

9:00 am

Wake up and finish some chores including drying clothes, dry cleaning suits, buying grocery etc. for the week.

 

There is generally not an expectation to work in the weekend, however, due to some of the deadlines, it may become obvious that weekend push is required.

 

I hope this blog has been insightful and has helped answer some of your questions about consulting. If you would like to be kept informed of more great content like this, subscribe to my newsletter.

 

Check out my other blog: Is a job in consulting right for you?

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Hanzala Qureshi

Hanzala Qureshi

I’m a digital consultant at a leading consultancy firm. I mostly spend my life working on complex data projects. On this website I document my journey in consulting and thoughts on data & emerging technologies.

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