SM (2)

What To Expect As An ‘Experienced Hire’

Sophie McGurk

Senior Manager

Sophie describes her experiences of joining Fairgrove after working at Deloitte and offers some top tips for anyone looking to make a move into consulting.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

I studied Geography for my degree, which I loved, and it opened the door to a whole range of career choices (although for someone who wasn’t sure what they wanted to do, this was tricky). As my degree mainly focused on qualitative analysis (contrary to popular opinion, the majority of the time was spent reading and analysing papers, and not sharpening colouring pencils), I felt I wanted to gain a professional qualification which would strengthen my understanding of the business world.

After graduating, I joined Deloitte’s Audit department, and spent three years studying for the ACA qualification, to become a Chartered Accountant. This was an invaluable opportunity to work with a diverse range of businesses (from large mining companies, to high-growth tech firms), auditing their annual accounts, and understanding what drives their financial performance. On qualifying as an accountant, I decided that I wanted to take my career in a more strategic-focused direction, which led me to consulting.

How did joining as an experienced hire affect your role and attitude towards the work?

Coming in as an experienced hire, I joined at Senior Associate (one level above Associate). As I had no consulting experience, I was aware that my skillset would be below my peers, and so was particularly eager to learn as much as possible, as quickly as possible. Everyone at Fairgrove has an excellent ‘can do’ attitude, and I wouldn’t say that my attitude was any different to other team members, but switching into consulting at that stage in my career definitely provided extra motivation!  

What advice would you give to other experienced hires looking to switch to consulting?

Don’t be put off by having limited, or no, consulting experience, or fear that you are joining consulting too late. I think the most important thing is having a willingness to learn, and don’t underestimate the value of any previous work experience. There is lots which I learnt from my time at Deloitte which has helped me progress throughout my career at Fairgrove – project management, team management, and client interaction are all transferrable skills, and will help you hit the ground running whilst you learn the consulting ‘toolkit’.

What did you find the most surprising about Fairgrove when you joined?

For me, the level of ownership which you are given over your work really stood out. Of course, team members are there to guide you through and answer any questions, but I enjoyed being given so much responsibility so early on.

Secondly, without wanting to sound too clichéd, it’s very much a collegiate atmosphere at Fairgrove – everyone looks out for each other, both in a work and non-work context, and having evening plans is very much the norm, rather than the exception!

Barry’s, 1Rebel, or Yoga?
Since we moved office to Oxford Street, I’ve become a huge 1Rebel convert! As much as I hate myself for admitting it, it is a good way to start the day…

Pineapple or no pineapple on pizza?
A definite no to pineapple. My ideal pizza is actually a tomato base with little, or even better no, melted cheese (which is very strange as non-melted cheese is my biggest weakness).

Three words to describe Fairgrove:
Friendly, Collegiate, Motivational