Jenny Shen studied Master of Finance at University of Melbourne at is now a Consultant at Nous Group
I snooze the alarm twice before pulling myself out of bed. As I pack my bags, I check my calendar to see if I’ll be seeing a client today. If I do, I wear something professional; otherwise I usually opt for a comfortable t-shirt and jeans combo. I rush out of the house to catch the 7:05 am train to get me into the city.
I get into the office just in time to grab one of the prime hot desks. After I set my desk up, I make my breakfast in the kitchen – the usual oats and banana combination. Checking my calendar and browsing news while having breakfast is the perfect start to a workday.
A lot of newcomers have joined Nous recently and I’ve scheduled a couple of catch-up coffees. I meet one of the new starters, Guy, at reception to head down together for a barrista-grade coffee. We get the coffees to go and opt for a stroll around the block instead. This is a great way to have a chat, enjoy the early summer sunshine and get our step count up.
Time for my client call. I project the pre-prepared consultation guide on the big screen as my project manager, Paul, dials the client. A great way to go paperless! After going through the project background and context, we start firing off questions on the consultation guide. I listen closely to the call as I type and synthesise the consultation notes. Post-call, Paul and I have a quick debrief to share the insights that we drew from the consultation and agree on our next steps.
I plug in my headphones before diving into the draft report. The music keeps me focused. Based on the earlier consultation outputs, some of our recommendations need to be changed accordingly. I open up the corresponding Excel model so I can make changes simultaneously in the model and the report. I polish it off and send the draft report to my project manager for review and feedback.
We have a face-to-face catch-up and presentation in Sydney this Friday, so the draft report needs to be finalised within the next two days!
Lunch time. A group of people have already gathered around the kitchen table. I quickly heat up my food before joining them for some casual chit-chat.
Back to my desk and I check what I’ve got on this afternoon. I’ve pre-emptively blocked out my afternoon for my second project. Nous consultants, especially more senior ones, are often juggling multiple projects. I’ve learned to use my calendar to block out my time – both to remind myself and to communicate my availability to others.
My second project requires me to flex my quantitative skills a bit more. I will be using R to remotely access and analyse large amounts of data stored in SQL Servers. I’m still relatively new to R so I rely heavily on Stack Overflow posts and our resident data analysts. Nous has a growing data analytics team which now includes an economist, an astrophysicist and multiple data scientists! Everyone is very friendly and approachable. I ask our data expert Principal, David, to debug my code and he did it speedily while giving me tips on better functions I could use instead. I’m learning a lot on this project!
I break for a cup of tea while catching up with some other consultants in the kitchen. We need to settle on a group costume theme for our Christmas party (we are a bunch of competitive creative people!) but we just can’t agree on one thing. We agree to settle this in our Facebook Messenger group later.
Work half done, I pack my bag and head off to gym. We have a self-management culture at Nous, which means it doesn’t matter when or where you work, as long as you get the work done.
I arrive at the gym for my usual BodyCombat class, which is a great way to let off some steam. I feel both sore and refreshed from an hour of intense HIIT exercise.
I finish up dinner before opening up my laptop again. I need to finish writing up contextual notes in R, both for referencing and potential code auditing later. It only takes me an hour and work is all done.
I relax and check my phone before heading off to bed. All in a day’s work.