Interview with Senior Consultant (Deloitte) - Kajol Patel
Kajol Patel graduated from Imperial College London with a physics degree in 2015 and has forged a career in the consulting industry at Deloitte. She is a Senior Consultant in Venture Building and Innovation at Deloitte with a combination of experience within business strategy, proposition design, user experience transformation and product management. Kajol was named one of the Top 100 Women in Tech UK in 2020. In her spare time, Kajol enjoys making consulting and business videos on her Youtube channel (@management.consultant), mentoring on numerous support networks and advising on pro-bono cases for startups. One of University of Exeter Women in Business Society’s In-House Editors, Bethan Richards caught up with Kajol to hear her insights as a woman in the consulting industry, her successes and her career journey.
First of all, what is Consulting?
A consultant is anyone who gives advice in a particular field - super broad right? Management consulting is made up of strategy, operations and technology consulting where you end up helping to solve business problems companies have. It can be anything from how to increase customers to building a website for a company!
What motivated you to go into Consulting? How did you get into Consulting?
The variety of work you do! You end up working for different parts of businesses, gaining different skills and knowledge from sales, technology, marketing and so much more. I knew that if I ever wanted to start my own business - I’d get an amazing foundation in consulting. My journey to consulting is very different and here’s a video here! Honestly, internships help but I never managed to find one during my time at university. Instead, I focused on transferable skills and think that really helped my case.
Why did you choose to specialise in Technology?
Everything is powered by technology today. It’s crazy. Honestly, I wanted to understand how to scale up technological ideas and execute upon them. Most companies today are technology companies in some shape and form and really wanted to understand
What do you do in your role?
Right now, I’m about to start two new projects so creating a plan for the projects, prepping myself with the relevant knowledge and doing a few training courses to make sure I am prepared. Also, started to create materials for the actual project e.g. Kick Off deck, final report structure and workshop preparation. At the same time, we’re speaking to the client to keep them updated, understand what the real problem is and help them ‘manage’ their boss! One project is me taking more a strategic role and the other a more product role, so it’s great to get both experiences!
What are the typical activities you do day to day?
No day is the same! The only thing that remains the same is probably stand-ups - understanding what progress we’ve made yesterday, what we’re doing today and what the blockers are. What you do really differs where you sit in consulting and what part of the project you’re on. Some people are writing user stories on JIRA and others conducting customer interviews - in the end, it all has some sort of data gathering, analysis and presentation work!
What is it like being a woman in the tech/consulting industry?
What is your favourite thing about working at Deloitte? What is the most challenging?
Not easy to say the least! Whilst the progress of getting more women into tech has been incredible, more education on some of the biases that women face in the workplace needs to be done. Thankfully, I haven’t had any bad experiences but I know people in many consulting firms who have! I love working at Deloitte and honestly, it’s the people who make it for me. Warm, friendly, driven and intelligent. I’m always learning and one of the reasons I haven’t left. What’s the most challenging? I think as always, in every firm, there’s always going to be office politics and it’s learning how best to manage that.
Do you have a favourite project you have worked on?
I love each project I’ve worked on - all for different reasons. One project I loved because of the location (Switzerland - how amazing!), another because of the team I worked with (had dinner with them for 9 months and still didn’t hate them) and another for the role and the work I was doing. Whilst there are definitely lows in projects, you learn the most in those situations and make you come out stronger!
What would you say is your biggest success or career highlight?
Winning Top 100 Women in Tech 2020! Can’t believe it to be honest.
What skills do you need for working in tech and consulting?
Teamworking, communication, leadership, creativity, analytical, logical, storytelling….and I can go on. Most of these you develop on the job but there are definitely experiences you can gain transferable skills for. Teamworking, communication and leadership are definitely skills you should showcase on your application - they really look for these!
Tell us about your Youtube channel?
I started my Youtube initially to give people equal access to information, specifically on consulting but I really hope to broaden it out to the corporate career, entrepreneurship and productivity.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about pursuing a career in consulting?
If you want to start a career in consulting, firstly understand why you want to do consulting and once you’re sure - try and get experience. Experience helps you to definitely confirm you’d like it! Think about ways to stand out - how can you show you’re initiative and passion for consulting? To me, passion and drive stand out!
A huge thank you Kajol for taking the time to speak to the Exeter Women in Business Society. If anyone is interested in hearing more about Deloitte or insights from Kajol, then please do check out the links below.