Three Valuable Skills for a Successful Career in Consulting
In my role as a global investigations and compliance consultant, I work with financial institution clients to identify, assess, and manage the compliance and business risks related to financial crimes including money laundering, bribery, and corruption matters. Day to day, that means that I conduct financial crime investigations by analyzing financial records, identifying trends in transactional activity, and conducting research to discern whether or not suspicious activity is present on clients’ financial platforms. If suspicious activity is identified, I submit Suspicious Activity Reports (“SARS”) detailing the nature of the activity to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a branch of the U.S. Department of Treasury.
For those interested in a career in consulting, I believe that consulting firms most value these three skills:
- Critical thinking
- Effective communication
Before we get to the desired skills, here is a little bit about me. I graduated from Hamilton in 2017 with a major in government and a minor in anthropology. Additionally, I was a member of the football team and participated in numerous social organizations. After graduation, I took a job as a paralegal at a commercial litigation law firm in New York City. A year later, I was offered the opportunity to join Navigant’s New York City office as a consultant. I am thrilled to work in such a collaborative environment with colleagues that I learn from each day and who push me to be the best that I can be. Each day is an adventure and I never quite know what I may get myself into! In addition to work, I am enrolled in night classes at Fordham University School of Law. It can be difficult to balance social life, work, and school; however, I enjoy the challenge and it is incredibly fulfilling to pursue my passions in multiple areas of my life. I am grateful for my liberal arts education at Hamilton that equipped me with a skillset, including those listed below, which I have used to successfully navigate life in the “real world.”
Consultants are problem solvers. Clients present us with various problems, and it is our job to respond with creative remedies. As a consultant in global investigations and compliance, I am tasked with conducting financial crime investigations as well as implementing strategic initiatives to improve compliance programs for financial institutions. To accomplish this, it is critical to be a creative and critical thinker in order to conduct a thorough analysis of financial records and assess business vulnerabilities in compliance programs. I have found that successful consultants are intellectually curious and consistently ask the right questions that determine the best solutions for clients.
As consultants, we are always communicating with our clients and collaborating with our colleagues, whether it’s in person, over the phone, or via email. The ability to communicate concisely, professionally, and confidently is key to the success of consultants. As mentioned above, leveraging expertise and critical thinking to solve difficult and unique challenges is vital. However, effectively communicating those solutions, in both written and oral presentations, is equally important when attracting business to the firm and exceeding client expectations. Consultants that convey their ideas and solutions in a professional and convincing manner build strong relationships and trust with their clients. In the consulting industry, trust between the firm and the client is vital.
A day in the life of a consultant is filled with new challenges and the need to think on one’s feet. Our clients present us with unique challenges and difficult tasks that are often associated with tight deadlines and fluid requests. Our success is largely defined by our ability to comprehend and conquer these challenges while also preparing for a new project or task. Throughout my time at Navigant, it has been commonplace to balance numerous client deliverables while also being pulled into other time-sensitive matters elsewhere in the firm. Knowing how and where to find the answers and how to balance expectations are traits that are always needed in the consulting industry.
Hamilton’s dedication to strong written and oral communication, achieved through writing-intensive courses, oral presentations, and collaborative seminar classes, prepared me to be an effective communicator. I appreciate the diverse coursework that often pushed the limits of my academic comfort zone and taught me how to solve a diverse range of problems. Additionally, the Career Center and Hamilton’s alumni network provided me with invaluable resources and knowledge as I transitioned into post-grad life. Whether you are interested in the consulting industry or something else, I encourage you to be organized and open-minded as you follow your passions. Always be dedicated to consistent personal and professional growth and be confident in yourself and the skills that you have honed. Pursue a path that is fulfilling and embodies the person that you strive to be. Good things happen to those who put in the effort and are driven with passion.