Iulia Nicolescu is a recent graduate of the Warwick LLM in International Corporate Governance and Financial. She has joined Limehouse Consulting & Strategy as a project analyst. Iulia feels this is an excellent alternative to the training contract route pursued by so many. She’s finding she uses many of the same skills you need to be a solicitor and sees plenty of parallels between her role and that of a trainee solicitor in a commercial law firm. Perhaps this route might work for you too? Here’s Iulia.
So what do consultants actually do?
Business consultants perform a critical role in shaping strategy or turning around a struggling company. Businesses of all types employ consultants to help them improve their customer service delivery, re-focus their strategy to reduce costs or implement innovative processes to stay ahead of the competition. The financial industry is no different. Just as Law firms come in all shapes and sizes so there is a range of differently sized consultancy firms. I work for Limehouse, which is an asset-based consultancy offering a cost-effective alternative to the bigger firms, whilst focusing on revenue growth and risk reduction and remediation. The firm has a prominent Asia-Pacific focus, servicing major financial institutions out of our London, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia offices. The ‘asset’ part of our offering alludes to a series of innovative technology products we are currently developing for our clients.
And my role?
I’m going to talk about three of the projects I’ve been involved in since I started my role three months ago. My first project was to assist a team of consultants build the business case for creating a centralised Global Services Centre (GSC) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This was to consolidate global processing work and reduce operating costs for a Global Asset Management. My main role was to help write the Location Analysis document in the team’s Microsoft Sharepoint. It is easy to see how this task might relate to a trainee solicitor being asked by an associate to conduct research, coordinate an international team and deal with document maintenance. Indeed, I used my analytical and research skills to compare different global locations against a series of data points such as GDP, annual rental rates, housing costs and talent pool to determine the most cost-efficient location. In the process, I took meeting minutes and employed soft skills such as communication, teamwork, taking instructions and working effectively under pressure. I also created charts and graphs in Microsoft Excel to illustrate analysis points.
The second project saw me working directly with a principal consultant to compile the client proposal to assist a UK retail bank streamline their IT and data gathering processes. The bank’s aim was to reduce the execution costs of their PPI remediation programme. I can compare this task to being asked by a law firm partner to conduct targeted research for a client pitch. In a similar fashion, I contributed to a presentation outlining the benefits of selecting Limehouse’s distinctive consulting approach and our experience in related projects for other clients. In a short space of time, I familiarised myself with technical IT terminology, improved my ability to extract relevant information and summarised complex data in concise terms.
For my third project, I was given leadership responsibility for developing and marketing our flagship business intelligence solution. I undertook initial market research and employed my attention to detail to assist with design ideas and marketing documentation. Currently, I deal with sales tracking and attend client meetings to pitch our solution to interested clients.
Similarities between law and consultancy
There are clear similarities between the two professions at trainee/analyst level. My Project Analyst role has pushed me out of my comfort zone and I may have more responsibility than some of my contemporaries in law firms. However, in many respects I am employing familiar legal skills I have built as a law student at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Perhaps you might want to think about consultancy?