A Day in the Life of a Sogeti Consultant
Not all consultants have linear career paths, and with so many areas of specialisation available it’s more common than you might think for even the most senior of consultants to settle on just one. Sure, some people may find that they’re blessed to have a clear career trajectory all mapped out during their studies, but for most that’s simply not the case. For our BI & Analytics Portfolio Lead Kathy Magee, this was certainly not the case. But a winding path can lead to a very satisfying career. Here’s her story.
While attending school, Kathy imagined herself as a chemist (white coat and all) spending her day in a laboratory running research experiments with the distinction of Doctor. That is, of course, until she accepted that she had no real aptitude for running experiments (her words, not mine) partway through her bachelor’s degree in chemistry. Rather than drop out, she stuck with it and completed her degree in Edinburgh before moving back to Ireland in search of a graduate job. After a couple of years, she did an IT conversion course at the master’s level and got her first gig in IT, teaching software testing. Before long she ended up in a small consulting firm, and eventually, she crossed paths with Sogeti Ireland as an independent contractor.
Working in software testing was something that Kathy enjoyed- she’s a social creature and thrived in the open, communicative environment she found herself in as a tester. And working as a contractor gave her the variety she craved in a job; she was able to move on to different projects on a somewhat regular basis and to learn about the newest technologies. But after a while, she realised that in order to grow to the heights she had her sights set on, she needed more structure and some real mentorship, and that’s when she officially joined the Sogeti team as a permanent consultant.
Kathy worked her way up through the ranks in our Digital Assurance and Testing practice and decided once again to pursue more education- this time a master’s in data analytics. It was at this stage that she started seeking opportunities to expand out of the world of software testing and into data. With the support of her manager, she began working on some BI projects, taking on bigger pieces of work in a completely different field until she was ready to make the jump full time. Flash forward to today and Kathy is a senior leader, a team manager and takes overall responsibility for a lucrative portfolio of key projects.
Looking back on her career so far, she admits that she sort of fell into consultancy. Driven by a desire for variety and regular change, she realised that consulting would provide her with the flexibility she was looking for while also granting her the stability she’d need in order to become a senior manager.
Not every day is a walk in the park though. For Kathy, one of the most challenging parts of her job has been adapting to the level of personal growth required to operate as a consultant and manager. This means getting very good at a non-traditional form of time management: being able to be productive while working on multiple tasks that are very different from one another simultaneously. It also means getting comfortable challenging stakeholders and colleagues who are more senior when needs be. In order to step into balance all of these different priorities, it’s important to always refocus on the overall picture. Yes, the details matter, but they don’t stop her from seeing the end goals of her clients and projects at the end of the day.
So, what does a typical day look like for Kathy? Calls, calls and more calls, she jokes. There are some days where she spends the bulk of her time in meetings (albeit video conferences during the current climate) with clients. Typically, though, she works across a range of different client sites, catching up with her team of consultants working hard on ongoing projects and getting her hands dirty, so to speak, whenever they require the attention of a senior leader.
The days may be busy and varied, but for Kathy the most rewarding part of her job is a culmination of small things that happen on busy days. She loves conducting probationary period reviews, congratulating new teammates on their growth and progress into their permanent roles. One of the best parts of being a manager is seeing junior consultants thriving in their roles and personally having an impact on the career trajectories of her direct reports. It’s quite an achievement to look back on the year and see those teammates she’s helped move up in their career succeeding. And, of course, she’s a fan of the rush when finding out Sogeti have won a proposal that she’s spearheaded.
For someone like Kathy who didn’t take a Point A to Point B path to get to where she’s at now, having an open mind was a critical step. Her advice to consultants just starting out is to have an open mind from the very beginning. To be open about being challenged on things that they’re good at as well as things they may believe they’re bad at. A willingness to adapt and try new things is a key factor when starting out as a consultant. And over time, the strongest consultants are known for their ability to evolve rapidly based on their client’s needs.
Kathy Magee is Sogeti Ireland’s Portfolio lead for BI & Analytics. She is growing the capabilities of the portfolio to meet the pace of change in data technologies and bring innovative solutions to our clients.