Hemant Patel is a consultant in the executive compensation and rewards practice at Towers Perrin. He graduated from Manchester University with a BSc in International Management with French
What do you do in your job?Now that I’m a consultant, I spend more time co-ordinating the work and training the new associates, and checking the work of other people. I also get more opportunity to specialise in projects that interest me.
What was your motivation in applying?
I’d looked at several professional services firms, but this job role appealed to me because it’s so different from accountancy. It’s very client-facing, and you have the opportunity to consider a range of qualifications such as the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and the Chartered Financial Analyst. I also really liked the atmosphere at the firm – it’s lively and friendly.
What do you enjoy about your job?
The flexibility of being a consultant. No one keeps an eye on you to check that you are coming in on time, or to check what you are doing. You can pretty much manage your time as you see fit, as long as you get your work done to a high standard. All of our projects are team-based, but that doesn’t mean you do everything together round a desk. You go away and do the work that you have to deliver, and then come together as a team to review the process.
Most challenging part of the job?
Actually, that’s the same as the above. Managing your own time is a skill, as sometimes you are working on up to eight projects at one time, and you have to deliver the work that you’ve committed to do. However, you are given training on how to manage your time effectively, which helps.
Advice to readers considering a career in your field:
When the recruiter reviews your application they will be asking themselves two key things: one, does this person have the academic credentials to do the job and two, can I put them in front of a client. If you like working independently and are confident enough to manage the flexibility of working as a consultant, then this is probably the job for you. You need to be a good all-rounder, and numeracy is certainly a prerequisite. But you don’t need to have a degree or masters in maths.
Several professional services firms provide human resources, management and actuarial consulting to the financial services industry. Executive compensation and reward consultants help clients to design and implement all aspects of remuneration and reward packages.
Most graduates start as associates, working closely with consultants and clients to learn how to design and maintain pay and reward packages. And it’s not just external clients that you learn to work with, says Hemant. "Something you learn about very quickly is the role of internal clients – for example, your colleagues or senior partners in the organisation. Much of the work you do is for them, so it’s important that you do it well."