Recapping Our Talk with the Consultancy Club at Imperial College London


Recapping Our Talk with the Consultancy Club at Imperial College London

Robin Bergmans and I greatly enjoyed presenting to around 25 members of the “Consultancy Club” at Imperial College London just recently. We were there to tell them about InterWorks and about what life was like working as a data consultant, and maybe to encourage one or two of them to consider a career at InterWorks.

University College London

Above: Imperial College London Royal School of Mines.

Approaching Engagements & Working with Clients

We talked to them about how we approach engagements, taking the time to understand what the client was looking to achieve. This is often less straightforward than it sounds when you’re dealing with several stakeholders, all with slightly different agendas. We then explained how to work with clients to define what a good outcome would look like and, finally, find a route from where they are to where they want to be.

We described some of the projects we’d personally been involved with:

  • Working with Mars corporation to help them analyse their return on investment from online advertising
  • Helping the NHS analyse their services and expenditure
  • Helping DHL overhaul their parcel tracking following a surge in volume over the last couple of years

Uncovering Unexpected Insights

There can be a particular joy that comes from being a data consultant. Just sometimes, you may discover something unexpected in the data that can lead to a big change in business direction. I described how I first became interested in business intelligence while working at Mobil Oil (now Exxon Mobil) in 1995. This was the time when Mobil was first implementing a global ERP system. Analysing the data in ways that hadn’t previously been possible, they realised that their retail forecourts were making more money from chocolate than they were from petrol. Within a very short time, they upgraded their shops and started selling donuts and fresh coffee. Today, of course, any forecourt shop is like a small supermarket.

Better Work / Life Balance for Consulting

A career as a consultant also brings challenges. Up until 2020 at least, it meant a lot of travel. Since the pandemic, people have become used to Zoom calls and remote working, and it’s hard to tell when or if business travel will return to its previous levels. In some consultancy firms at least, there is a well-known culture of long working hours with many consultants regularly clocking up over 60 hours a week. It’s not like that at InterWorks.

InterWorks London Team

Above: Myself and several members of InterWorks UK in London.

Realistically, travel has been part of the job; but apart from that, the work is arranged so that you can reasonably expect to get your work done within 40 hours per week. You may find yourself working a little longer sometimes, but that’s the exception and not the rule. What that means is that when you are working, you’re not exhausted, so the quality of what you get done in an hour is higher. In the end, our clients don’t actually want someone working all hours of the day. They want someone who can deliver high quality services and help them solve their problems.

Pursuing a Career in Data Consultancy?

Now is a great time to consider a career in data consultancy. Tight labour supply means organisations now have to invest in improving the productivity of the workers they have. InterWorks consultants can help these organisations get better visibility of their own operations so they can find and address bottlenecks.

Might you be interested in a career at InterWorks? Check out our Careers page.

More About the Author

Mike Oldroyd

Data Architect
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