Sophie Gunn reflects on her first impressions at Egremont Group

12 April 2018 Consultancy.uk

Sophie Gunn joined Egremont Group, a management consultancy specialised in designing and executing business transformations, as a Researcher at the start of the year. Four months into her role in consultancy, Gunn explains what her job involves and how she moved into the consulting industry after graduating with a degree in history.

When I graduated with a degree in history 18 months ago, I didn’t dream that my first job would be a leap into the future. I am nearly two months into a new job as a researcher at Egremont Group, based in London, and spend most of my time looking at future trends and gathering stats and predictions about the world in 2030.

What I do

Before I started working at Egremont, I didn’t have much understanding of what being a management consultant involved and it is certainly a lot more complicated than I could have imagined. I work across the company, interacting with consultants at all levels right up to the senior leadership team, researching statistics and trends that help formulate our forward-looking business strategy for prospective and current clients.

Sophie Gunn, Researcher - egremont group

This involves analysing the implications of these trends and their implications for the current business environment, where the areas of risk will be and how to mitigate that risk and plan for it. This is not something I imagined doing and it’s certainly very different from my degree where I spent the last few years looking back in time! 

Key skills

My degree demanded a whole different set of analytical skills, and essays that ran into several thousand words were not unusual. One of the main challenges I have had in my role has been figuring out how to condense key points from hours of research into a sentence or two. 

Whilst daunting at first, the fact that I have so much to learn has fascinated me and means that every day is different. When one of my first research packs went down really well, it was such a great feeling knowing that I was on the right track and that the consultants appreciated the hard work that I was putting in. 

How I got the job

I was first contacted about the role whilst working as an intern at a retail trends consultancy. Straight out of university I had taken a year out to go travelling and thought it was essential to simply get into a working environment once I was back. Whilst there I started to build my Linkedin profile and send out applications to any job that I thought sounded interesting. I went to loads of interviews, even some for jobs that I was pretty sure I didn’t actually want to get, simply to get used to the interview process and get my name out there.

Quote Sophie Gunn, Researcher

A recruiter contacted me about this role at Egremont after three months of job hunting. I had three rounds of interviews including a phone call, assessment and a one-on-one with a consultant. The final interview with Sean Connolly, the CEO, was an informal chat about getting to know me as a person and working out if I would fit into the company. 

I wish I’d known….

A part of me wishes that I had thought about what I wanted to do earlier and started to research different jobs in my 2nd and 3rd year – whilst I had done a couple of internships over summer holidays, they never really led anywhere as I was uncertain about exactly what I wanted to do. However, taking the year out really gave me time to think and meant that I was more eager than ever to get working when I did. This definitely helped during the interview process as I was ready and eager to work hard.

A bright future

My first month and a half in the new job have raced by and I already feel at home. I have been made to feel welcome from the start, helped by the open culture at Egremont and the outgoing and friendly staff. Due to the nature of my role I have been integrated into the business very quickly, working with a wide variety of people across a number of different projects, from business development research up to assessing broad macro-economic trends. The variety makes every day different and while the office has a laid-back atmosphere, there is a definite work hard mentality here.

Related: UK consultancy Egremont Group sees rapid growth in the US.

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Robert Park on the launch of his consultancy RWG Enterprises

18 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Following a lengthy spell as a General Manager at an international materials corporation, Robert Park was keen to rediscover his inner entrepreneur. With the launch of his new consulting firm, RWG Enterprises, Park spoke with Consultancy.uk to outline his hopes for the future of the company, and how he believes his boutique will be able to challenge the market.

Robert Park commenced his career in retail, taking up a string of General Store Manager positions with companies – including Poundstretcher and The Gadget Shop – before making the 2005 move that would lead him to a 13-year stay with Morgan Advanced Materials. First taking up a role as Production Supervisor with the organisation, Park quickly worked his way to the upper echelons of the group. By 2013, he held the role of UK Operations Manager for the company’s UK ceramic core business, Certech UK, before seeing out his final four years at the firm as General Manager, leading the senior management team and strategic direction of the business.

Despite his success with the firm, however, Park found himself getting itchy feet. A change of career seemed increasingly appealing, and by February 2019, the time to take a new path had arrived.

Park explained: “I was losing the ability to to use the entrepreneurial flair that I had enjoyed in the past; the organisation was moving more towards a structured and common approach for doing things, and that made me feel restricted. I also really enjoy the troubleshooting, problem solving side of my role. However, having been in my last post for four years, the troubleshooting and firefighting was long behind me. I realised that I am really energised by tackling difficult issues or turning around things that are clearly struggling.”

New consulting firm RWG Enterprises launches

His criteria for a new career seemed to point conclusively in the direction of management consulting, and while his CV has no formal experience in the sector, Park believes his career to date has provided him with a wealth of transferable skills. During his time with Certech at Morgan Advanced Materials, he became a Senior Manager at the age of just 21, and went on to succeed in a harsh factory environment where six former candidates had previously failed to deliver results.

Later, he became the group’s youngest General Manager in its history, and was involved in the turnaround of numerous departments. He also developed vast experience dealing with a wide range of ‘people’ challenges, including re-organisation, talent development, talent acquisition and leadership development. Along the way, Park noted that he learned to deal with large, blue chip organisations such as Rolls Royce, securing major long-term contracts worth upwards of £25 million.

Now, he hopes to take that know-how and apply it to the diverse world of consulting work. Park elaborated: “I really want to be able to help organisations that feel that there is no hope or have lost faith in the business… Having been there myself I know how helpful it would have been to have someone to refer to in times of crisis… The firm will also focus on leadership development, as I spent a lot of time with the global graduate program during my corporate career… and I was really motivated to see these individuals grow and develop… helping them to find their own way through challenging situations.

New enterprise

Park’s new Derby-based consultancy, RWG Enterprises, will focus on five key operational fronts. As stated, leadership development and business rescue will be two of these areas, as well as manufacturing – where the firm will tackle challenges such as new product introduction. RWG will also offer financial advisory services and strategic business planning offerings.

While Park is understandably guarded about the firm’s initial engagements, he revealed that he has been “speaking at length to a well-known university and business school about providing mentoring and coaching support to students.” In the long-term, the aim is for RWG Enterprises to take on engagements from clients across the industrial spectrum. He added that as “the company is very embryonic”, it would be “foolish” to become too focused on target clients at this stage.

When asked how RWG Enterprises intends to differentiate itself from the rest of the pack, in an ever-more-crowded UK consulting sector, Park is undaunted by the task ahead. He stated, “I think the main differentiator is that we are small... I have operated at a very senior level for many years but I have enjoyed a very diverse background having worked in most functions within my last organisation. I also won’t take on any work or clients that I feel I cannot deliver value for, I am honest and ethical and am really motivated by seeing others become successful… The main thing I am focused on is 'can I add value' and 'can I help?'”