Joe Earlam and Joe Robertson explain why they chose First Consulting

08 June 2018

First Consulting is enjoying rapid growth since it launched in the UK last summer. Two colleagues that recently joined the firm’s ranks – Joe Earlam and Joe Robertson – explain how First Consulting caught their eye and elaborate on why they believe they made the right decision.

Joe Earlam

Joe Earlam joined First Consulting as a Business Consultant after completing a Master’s degree in International Business at Henley Business School.

How did you start working for First Consulting?
“Whilst undertaking my Master’s degree in International Business, I won a competition which gave me the opportunity to complete a consultancy project in Sydney and Mexico City. During the project, I realised I wanted to be a consultant after I graduated. I (luckily) stumbled across First Consulting on the site and was really drawn in by their core values. Sharp, Fun, Daring, No-nonsense, Trust and Together really resonated with me. What became apparent throughout the interview process, was that this was not something the company aspired to be, rather what the company is each day. The recruitment process, consisting of four interviews, was something I thoroughly enjoyed. I originally thought that having four interviews was somewhat excessive! However, with each stage I learnt more about the company and its employees – this only reaffirmed my desire to work for First Consulting.”

“This clear sense of who First are and what First is about, was something that drew me to First Consulting and made the company stand out.”

How have you experienced First Consulting so far?
“My experience so far has been thoroughly enjoyable. At one point on my third day, I was playing table tennis with Jon Nelmes (UK Managing Director
), Paul ten Haaf (Technology Partner) and Geert van de Goor (Managing Partner). I remember thinking how unique this opportunity was. I do not think this is a situation you could encounter anywhere else. I knew already how ambitious First Consulting was, but this really showed how close-knit the company was. The fact that this new colleague, three days in the job, was playing table tennis and having drinks with the most senior staff in the company – incredible. Genuinely a memory I will never forget.”

Joe Earlam and Joe Robertson - First Consulting

“I spent two weeks in the Netherlands in order to complete a training boot camp. After learning many valuable things and a few Dutch words (Bier, lekker, and bedankt – all of which were very useful), I began my work in the UK. So far this has included working on several proposals but also working on the development and maturity of the UK business. Again, something unique that First Consulting offers. Two months in and I have ownership over several tasks, which will ultimately sculpt the future business here in the UK.”

“If you want to work for a company where you are not just another employee, a company where you are trusted to help develop the UK business from day one and a company that most of all prides itself on its ‘work hard, play hard’ attitude, then First Consulting is the company for you. If you have any questions about First Consulting, feel free to message me on LinkedIn.”

Joe Robertson

Joe Robertson joined First Consulting as a business consultant with a chemical engineering background.

How did you start working at First Consulting?
“Straight out of university I worked as an engineer designing Offshore Gas Platforms and later as Business Process Analyst in the Government Services business unit. In summer 2016 I quit my job and spent more than a year travelling and working in a public school in Colombia.”

“I came across the First Consulting UK website towards the end of my time in Colombia. It seemed like an exciting opportunity to join a dynamic consultancy in an exciting phase of growth. Despite being concerned that my lack of formal IT training would affect my chances, I applied.”

“Throughout the interview process I gained a real appreciation of the core values and it became clear to me that they really are embedded in how First Consulting operates; all the interviewers were ‘sharp’, the process was ‘no-nonsense’ and there was a clear sense of a company that operates ‘together’. So, I was delighted when I got the job offer and had no hesitation in accepting.”

If you want to work for a company where you are trusted to help develop the UK business

How have you experienced First Consulting so far?
“Exciting! It started with a two-week Business Technology boot camp in the Netherlands, where I got to know a lot of our Dutch colleagues. I also learnt a lot from a technical perspective and gained greater insight into how First Consulting operates. Since then I have worked on a variety of projects for different clients and the learning curve has been steep, but there has always been a great level of support from more senior colleagues. This ensures that not only do I continue to learn but that we deliver consistent, high-quality work for our clients.”

“From a social perspective we have a great core team here in the UK and there have been plenty of events, including dinners, ping pong and mini-golf. These are a great opportunity to get to know each other outside of a working environment and we are often joined by Partners from the Netherlands. I’m also looking forward to seeing all my Dutch colleagues at the summer party in June and joining the annual company-wide ski trip at the beginning of next year.”

Continued growth

To meet growing demand of its services, Jon Nelmes, First Consulting’s partner in the UK, highlights that the management consultancy is on the lookout for new colleagues to join the team. “It doesn’t really matter whether you have a lot or very little work experience, we’re looking for people at all grades, as long as you fit the no-nonsense mentality of our team of sharp consultants.”

Related: Emmylou Ferry about her growth and development at First Consulting.

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Robert Park on the launch of his consultancy RWG Enterprises

18 April 2019

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 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?'”