A Week in the Life—Michael, Associate A Week in the Life—Michael, Associate

Monday

 

It is late morning by the time I arrive to greet the team again at the client’s office. Our client is an oil and gas transmission utility in West Africa and, despite flying overnight, I arrive relatively refreshed and ready to continue my work. I’ve been on this project for sa couple of months now and I’m really enjoying the experience. The work is super interesting and I’m relishing the opportunity to work in a different culture and developing economy. The team have spent the last couple of weeks working on the project from our various home offices, with regular teleconferences, but we have some big deliverables due in a fortnight so we have come back to the client site where we will be able to collaborate more effectively with the client team.

We are helping our client establish a new business model and develop capabilities to fulfil a new mandate issued to them by the government. The mandate is vital to underpin the country’s economic growth, so we truly feel like we are doing meaningful work. Part of our work has been to develop a commercial model for the utility infrastructure, and when I arrive the team are busy progressing this work stream. Our client CEO has a meeting tomorrow with some important stakeholders, including some senior government ministers, so today we need to polish our commercial model and prepare some material explaining the outputs and some key elements of the model. After a quick alignment meeting with the team, we put our heads down and get stuck into it.

Tuesday

 

Late last night one of the senior members of our team arrived so we meet for breakfast and enjoy a bit of a catch up as we haven’t seen each other for a couple of weeks. Before heading to the office we talk about what we expect will be the outcome of our client CEO’s meeting.

When we arrive at the office we sit down and agree on some objectives for the day. Tomorrow, a colleague and I, together with some members from our client team, will be making a domestic flight down to where a part of the infrastructure associated with the project is nearing completion. We’ll have some information-gathering meetings with some of the engineering and construction management team, and a tour of parts of the infrastructure. Today I will need to spend some time preparing for this meeting. I’ve already been reviewing some of the technical documentation, and I share my thoughts with my manager and we agree on the work I need to prepare.

Before we leave the office for the day, the client CEO comes to give us an update from his meeting that morning. We are pleased to hear that the meeting went well, but there are some new inputs that we will need to consider. We have a brief brainstorming session and agree on the next steps for the commercial model and the implications for our work.

Wednesday

 

Today is an early start to get to the airport. We arrive early for the flight and discuss the schedule for the day. Despite it being only a short flight, I manage a quick nap on the plane. We are picked up at the airport for the one-hour drive to the site. Along the way as we drive through the small rural towns we discuss how this big infrastructure project has impacted the local economy.

Once we reach the site, we are taken to the meeting rooms and we meet members of the engineering and construction management team. We are taken through a presentation by some of the engineers and we ask questions to clarify some of the inputs we need for our work. Following the meeting we are given a tour of the facility; it’s great to see the scale of the project and it provides some good context for the work we need to progress when we get back to our office in the capital city.

The drive back to the airport provides a good opportunity for me and my colleague to brainstorm one of the challenges we’ve been facing with the deliverables that are due next week. With the additional context and data we’ve gathered from this site visit, we are able to start working through the problem. It has been a long day – I’m looking forward to getting back to the hotel.

Thursday

 

Today is going to be a busy day. We are presenting to some of the senior client team members on the progress we’ve made towards some of next week’s deliverables. We will need to test some of our recommendations on them so that we can finalise our work over the coming week. But first I need to tie up some loose ends from yesterday’s site visit so when I arrive at the office I go straight into interviews with members of the client team. Our team has also setup a call with an A.T. Kearney partner in Australia who is an expert on one of the topics that we need to work through. The morning flies by and before I know it we are off to the local café for lunch.

We use the early afternoon to work on the material that we are going to present to the client team. We finalise the agenda for the presentation and agree on who will present each section. I use the 30 minutes before the presentation to read through my material. The presentation goes well and we receive good feedback from the client team on the direction we are heading. The client CEO joins the end of our presentation and invites us to dinner at a nearby restaurant. It is a good opportunity to continue to build rapport with the client team outside of the work environment. 

Friday

 

Overnight we received some new inputs from the engineering and construction team. I’m the one that has been closest to the technical information so the team agrees that I should make the first review of the new data and problem solve the impact on next week’s deliverables. I come up with a view and schedule a call with one of our subject matter experts in Europe to discuss with him and test the direction that I’m heading. She provides me with some great insights which I incorporate into my work.

As Friday draws to a close we discuss what we would like to do over the weekend. There will be three members of the team staying over the weekend and we talk about which of the local attractions we would like to visit. Working abroad provides a fantastic opportunity to see some places that I would normally not have travelled to.

Before we pack up for the week, we reflect on the progress we’ve made. It has been a busy but satisfying week and we agree we are on track for the work that is due next week. With that in mind, we head down to one of our favourite nightspots and enjoy a beer or two to welcome in the weekend.

 

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