Strategy consulting assignments are high-paced and pressured. Clients typically hire us to undertake projects involving complex issues and tight timelines. Often work can involve travel and periods away from home. We find that this contributes to exciting development opportunities and personal growth but is demanding on our teams’ personal lives. If you are considering joining us, please consider the example schedules outlined below. Note that the typical work week can average 60 hours.

A day in Johannesburg

You are a Senior Consultant working on a project evaluating a global expansion for a Gold Mining company. You’re leading the financial analysis workstream.

06h30 You’re busy with two projects and one is based on client site. You leave gym for the client office and hope you’re early enough to beat the traffic.
07h00 You arrive at the client offices and join your Global Advisors team in a meeting room for the weekly kick-off meeting. The team reviews progress against deliverables and plans the week ahead. You present your summary of the progress on your workstream.
08h00 You attend your first meeting of the day. The CFO wants to discuss progress on your workstream. You outline the key financial implications of the strategic options being formulated and the assumptions underpinning your analysis.
08h45 You prepare a meeting room for a crucial workshop with various stakeholders to your stream. You are to facilitate the meeting and agree the treatment of a number of crucial assumptions to your analysis. The CFO provided some important steering to your discussion.
12h00 The workshop went well. After three hours of facilitation you’re in need of a refresher break. You invite members of the team to join you for a quick bite to eat in the client canteen.
12h30 You begin to capture the outcomes from the morning workshop and prep for a meeting of your analysis team.
14h00 You meet the analysis team and present the outcomes of the workshop. You discuss the implications for the financial model and together build a diagram depicting the logic of the model. The model will be used to track progress after the decision is made regarding the strategy recommendation. As such, it must pull data from live feeds and incorporate these in new calculations. The team spends time debating how to ensure the model is both functional and remains easily maintainable. It is decided that the model will make use of a database and spreadsheet component.
15h30 You attend a workshop held by another workstream. The outputs are critical to correctly building your model.
17h00 While the workshop went well, it is clear that a large degree of ambiguity will remain until late in the project. You will have to ensure the modelling team build flexibility into the model. You begin to document your conclusions.
18h00 There is a Global Advisors conference call with a US gold mining expert. You move to a private meeting room at the client site and dial into the call.
19h00 The call finishes. You have learnt a few valuable tips on critical success factors for the client strategy and some of their financial implications. You call the team over for a quick chat and debrief.
19h30 You leave the client site and drive back home thinking about the week ahead. It is going to be busy.

A day in Zurich

You’re a Senior Consultant working on a market entry project for a global drinks company. You’re based in Zurich and leading the economic modelling stream.

Monday 06h00 Your plane touches down in Zurich after your overnight flight from Johannesburg. After collecting your luggage, you find your way to an airport lounge. You shower and change into your suit so that you can travel directly to your client site.
08h30 You catch a cab to the Zurich CBD and arrive at client site. You wheel in your suitcase ready to begin work straight away. You have been home for one of your home weekends out of every three.
09h30 You arrive at the client offices and join your Global Advisors team in a meeting room for the weekly kick-off meeting. The team reviews progress against deliverables and plans the week ahead. You present your summary of the progress on your workstream.
10h30 You have been asked to attend a presentation by a team that has investigated a new bottling plant for your client. They present their recommendations. Your team is investigating a market entry strategy in a new country and must recommend whether to build or buy an existing player.
12h30 You decide to grab a quick bite to eat at one of Zurich’s sidewalk cafes.
13h30 You retire to your desk to document and consider the information presented by the new plant team.
14h30 You receive a call from the client COO. He has just heard the results of the new plant team and wants to hear your opinion. You swing past your project lead’s desk and ask if he wants to join you for your trip up to the 20th floor. The two of you take the elevator as you inform him of the results presented in this morning’s meeting.
15h00 The COO has presented some interesting commentary on the new plant team’s analysis. It is clear that substantial work still needs to be performed prior to a definitive answer on the costs and timing of a new plant build. You realise that your analysis will have to cater for a number of uncertainties. You resolve that you will have to build an economic model with emphasis on scenarios and sensitivity analysis to support decision making. You draft an outline of the approach and logic you have in mind to run past your project lead.
16h00 You return to your analysis of potential acquisition targets. You consult industry databases for news of the target market. There is only one viable target acquiree and your analysis is predominantly regarding the valuation and purchase price limit.
18h00 A Global Advisors Partner is meeting a potential new client in Johannesburg the next day. You leave the client site, retire to the hotel for a shower and to do an hour of work supporting the new client introduction.
20h30 You arrive at the restaurant for your team dinner.