The Career

In Conversation With…An ‘Internal Consultant’

This week’s featured graduate has an Honours Bachelor of Commerce from a recognized university, and has worked at Canada’s top corporate bank since graduating in 2017. A medley of hard work, networking and emotional intelligence helped this forward-thinking graduate to have found his dream job in less than 2 years out of school.

Intrigued? Read on!

The Struggling Graduate: Describe yourself in 3 words.

C: Motivated. Inquisitive. Thoughtful.

The Struggling Graduate: What is your role and what is a typical day like?

C: I’m currently working as an internal consultant at RBC. In a nutshell, we act the same as an external management consulting firm would on engagements with every area of the bank (personal banking, technology, capital markets, wealth management, insurance, etc.) and help them solve complex problems and create long and short term strategies. My typical day would start with a team huddle to check what we plan on working on for the day, then go over long term objectives for the engagement we’re on. I will have a meeting at some point with a project stakeholder to go over work we’ve accomplished or project direction. I’ll spend at least an hour of my day creating content on PowerPoint slides for project stakeholders. PowerPoint for consultants is essential in delivering our opinions, discoveries and direction for our client. The rest of my day I spend doing jobs that interest me, reading articles in the news, listening to music, chatting with friends. I try to make sure each day is balanced with work and what keeps me sane. 

The Struggling Graduate: I agree – all work and no play certainly hinders productivity. One question graduates are often curious to know is how you got your job?

C: I was already working at RBC when I had picked up this job; it’s my second full time role since graduating. I was fortunate enough to have had a good connection that is quite senior at the bank that I’ve made an effort to keep throughout my schooling and career. I reached out to them one day telling them I was interested in moving out of my current role. They in turn connected me with several of their colleagues and started me on a very long 4 month networking journey. I didn’t know what I wanted to do so the context of these 1-on-1 networking opportunities was more to entertain my curiosity for what my next job could be, learn about what they do and their career journeys. After several months of connecting with people for coffee and having those people connect me with other people for more coffee, I was all caffeinated out. However, I had been introduced to this internal consulting group at RBC and after networking my way into their inner circles, got the interview and finally got the job.

The Struggling Graduate: What skills do you need to be good at your role? Describe the kind of person who would excel in your role.

C: My role is a very diverse one when it comes to skills. You don’t need to be a pro at everything but it’s important to have the motivation to want to learn skills that will make you an asset on every engagement you’re on. The basics as a consultant would be your ability to make a meaningful PowerPoint slide – it’s important to be able to convey a message without having to voice it directly. Managing stakeholders including your client as well as your superiors involved is very important. Everyone has their own styles on how they both convey and receive messages; being able to differentiate between styles takes practice but it is essential in the role. Being capable of speaking your mind and articulate your thoughts is also very important. You’ll want to contribute to your projects in an environment where there are many type A personalities, which can be difficult, but once you find your voice it’s a fantastic skill to have and builds thick skin. Excel is a small part of the job, every once in a while you’ll have a project that requires you to tell a story from data, therefore you should have some level of comfort being able to parse through data and gather a view on it. 

The Struggling Graduate: Sounds like it takes a very well-rounded person to go into consulting. Last but not least…where do you see yourself in 5 years?

C: Wow 29, probably having a little (a lot of) anxiety because I’ll be turning 30 in less than a month 5 years from now. I see myself holding a director level job in a corporation of some sort if I stick with the big corporate ladder atmosphere. My mind has also drifted in the direction of having my own company – I try to make an effort in my day to day to analyze the world around me and figure out where my passions lie if I were to start up my own business. My twenties would seem like a good time to take that risk so maybe I’ll be doing that by then. I honestly believe more in 2-3 year plans. They’re more practical in determining your next steps and where you’re headed at our age. You shouldn’t be in a role for more than 2 years, it’s the time to be curious and try and figure out what you truly like. So in 2-3 years I see myself being in a role that really impacts the consumer, working on products that clients use in their day to day lives. Whether that’s with RBC or someone else, I want to be working on things that are involved in our lives and less on corporate problem solving.

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