A Day in the Life of…

Chris is a member of a four-person team employed by a client in the mobile communications industry. The team members include a manager, two consultants, and one analyst. The team is working on a corporate integration between a large communications company that acquired a cellular operator. The consultants’ project focuses on resolving the difficulties that reside in the merging of the two company’s independent financial systems. While the parent company is located in Chicago, the acquired company is located in Cincinnati.

7:15am It’s Tuesday morning. Chris wakes up, grabs a coffee and reaches out to his Blackberry. The graphic design team has sent him the updated presentation for the team and management meetings that will take place later on in the day. Chris quickly examines the presentation and sighs with relief when seeing that the amendments he sent the previous night were all updated.

8:45am Chris leaves Cincinnati hotel room and arrives at the client site where the project is managed from a team conference room is located on the 5th floor. Today, the monthly follow-up meeting with the company’s management is taking place, and it requires the full attendance of the team and the partner managing the engagement.

9:15am Chris settles into the conference room, quickly goes through his email, and lingers over the production team’s presentation. Most of it looks good. The partner in charge calls with further amendments and final touches (footnotes, page numbering and the consolidation of charts). After some quick touch-ups the presentation is ready to be sent out for initial review by the client.

10:30am The presentation is sent out to the entire team just in-time for a preparatory meeting to begin. To gain initial client feedback the project manager handles the meeting independently. Meanwhile, Chris finally finds time to address the email he has neglected for the past week due to his recent heavier than usual workload. The email is from colleagues interested in a project that Chris participated in a few months ago, asking for his opinion on the matter. Other emails include a request from HR to interview applicants next week, data from the client regarding next week’s presentation, a quarterly performance review from HR department, and much more.

11:45am After the preparatory meeting goes smoothly, with no amendments, the final presentation is printed out for the entire working team to review and finalize with the managing partner. Chris is rehearsing the pages he intends to present. He is anticipating the questions the client may ask during the presentation, and the best way to answer them.

12:00pm The team’s meeting begins.The senior partner is in NewYork and is attending the meeting via conference call. The partner has experience in dozens of projects in the telephone communications industry and specializes in global mergers in this sector.

12:30pm The members of the team review the slides and the analyses together. The partner gives his feedback regarding the presentation and challenges the members with questions he believes the client will ask or want to know. The conversation helps the team fine-tune the message they want to convey to the client during their next meeting. Chris presents the slides he prepared analyzing the finances of the two divisions, while the remainder and majority of the presentation focuses on the conclusion and recommendations. After the time reserved for asking questions passes, the partner focuses primarily on the data sources missing to confirm the accuracy of the analysis while he diligently toils over finer points that require further data gathering.

1:00pm The team’s meeting comes to an end and the partner concludes the meeting with the news of the day: the client feels that the team’s scope of work doesn’t cover certain aspects of importance, and these new areas needs to be integrated into the updated work plan. The partner sets a follow-up meeting for later in the day with the client’s extended team (other partners who are participating in the project will join as well).This invariably will impact next week’s workload…

1:30pm A quick lunch with the team and part of the client team, then return to the office to prepare for the board meeting.

2:00pm The board meeting takes place in the client conference room. The team manager leads the discussion, while Chris sits quietly but is ready to present the slides he prepared, backup the information, and review the methodology as needed. The CEO challenges the consulting team’s data, questioning its consistency during the different stages of analysis. Chris explains at length and the CEO is satisfied.

3:00pm The meeting comes to an end.The CEO seems satisfied with the level of progress made to-date and the team discusses the agenda for the next meeting scheduled to take place at the end of the project (next month). After the CEO leaves, the team huddles in an adjacent conference room to review the meeting notes and key takeaways. The partner calls from NewYork to receive an update and reminds them that they need to address the project’s scope, the issue that arose earlier in the day.

4:00pm A conference call between the team and three partners regarding the project’s scope expansion is set to begin. An agreement regarding the correct way to approach the problem cannot be reached as frustration levels rise. The argument centers around which new divisions need to be approached, what alternative recommendations might ensue and how all of this new work can be integrated into an already tight timeline. The conversation lengthens but two of the partners must leave for other meetings. The leading partner concludes and states that he will reach an agreement with the other partners and get back to the team later that evening. Back to the laptop…

5:30pm Chris receives an email containing the client’s report regarding the data of the merging finance divisions. The new data must be reflected in the model the team has built. The data is a mess; sub-divisions are missing, formatting is inconsistent and the data comes in multiple large files that are difficult to merge. In order to sort the data, the file must be reorganized in Excel. He decides to work on it at the hotel room.

6:00pm The team manager suggests an early leave in order to celebrate the successful meeting and prepare for tomorrow’s tight schedule that contains multiple meetings with the client.The team attempts to find more data to corroborate their findings.

7:00pm A brief workout at the gym and dinner with team members.

9:00pm Back to Excel. Chris expects many back-to-back meetings tomorrow and he must be prepared for them all. He must request the missing data and explain to the client the necessity and manner in which their work will enhance their own performance, leading them to part with the information. The highlight of his day will be an hour long meeting with the company’s assistant financial director. During the meeting, Chris will try to extract information regarding product profit margin and the decrease in profitability, and then brainstorm about off-shoring to India.

12:00am Chris feels that his level of efficiency is in drastic decline and he decides to call it a day. He sets the alarm clock to 7:15.