Two young consultants on working in procurement consulting

03 November 2021 6 min. read

The management consulting sector remains a top destination for graduates, offering young professionals a steep learning curve and the opportunity to work on complex challenges across industries. Young consultants Janae Isaacs and Isabell Rosenoegger reflect on what they have picked up from their first yearat Efficio and Proxima.

Challenging work, compelling projects, a diversity of industries and clients are some of the top reasons why graduates dream of a career in consulting. As a result, graduate jobs in consulting are among the most sought-after, with several polls showing that consulting is one of the most appealing sectors for young professionals seeking to jump start their career.

In 2020, in the middle of the global pandemic, Isabell Rosenoegger began her own career in consulting with Proxima, after graduating with a degree in Supply Chain & Logistics in the Netherlands. She had previous experience with consulting, having joined a team of student consultants during her studies to work on various digitalisation projects for small and mid-sized businesses.

Two young consultants on working in procurement consultingShe also worked for Umlaut, a German-origin consultancy, where she completed her dissertation on the topic of electric mobility maturity models. 

Continued learning

What became clear was that Rosenoegger wanted to see more of what consulting had to offer – and Proxima was ideally positioned to do just that. At a challenging time, she subsequently relocated from Germany to England, before commencing her professional career from her living room. Despite the challenges of lockdown, however, Rosenoegger still managed to take advantage of the consultancy’s support for continued learning. 

The Proxima Analyst explained, “Proxima’s graduate programme has allowed me to explore several different areas within procurement, build valuable industry knowledge, and meet stakeholders across different industries… Within my first six months at Proxima, I worked for clients across four different industries; pharmaceuticals, retail, mobility, and information technology, in both the private and public sector.”

One of the things that has really helped her to hit the ground running has been Proxima’s welcoming team of experts. Rosenoegger noted that she was “privileged to be surrounded by intelligent and inspiring colleagues,” who could provide her with expert insights and skillsets. Working alongside them, physically and remotely, has allowed her to grow and develop her own specialisms and expertise.

Rosenoegger added, “When I complete my first year on the graduate programme, I will be able to specialise within a specific field or follow a generalist procurement route. This will allow me to follow a personalised development approach, and be flexible in finding my niche.” 

The diversity of consulting

Janae Isaacs – a Business Analyst at Efficio – also made the move into consulting amid the pandemic. Having studied sustainability and entrepreneurship, she was left with little idea how to put that to use after university. An Academic Advisor had suggested urban planning, but Isaacs was unwilling to “corner myself into such a niche career when I was enamoured by the world at large.”

ortunately, she soon found that a graduate role in advisory work could allow her to apply her academic knowledge, while spreading into new lines of work. After concluding her studies, she recalled, “Efficio hooked me and hired me! I was keen to learn about sourcing suppliers, a relevant skill for any future entrepreneurial pursuits. The name Efficio was also enticing, given my passion for sustainability. I began in October 2020… through a laptop screen.”

Fortunately, like Rosenoegger, Isaacs found that the firm was well equipped to onboard newcomers remotely. As of the end of summer 2021, she had still never experienced a day in the office, met any of her co-workers in person, or completed a Monday-to-Thursday travel cycle to a client site. However, thanks to the “bright people” surrounding her, she has quickly grown in confidence amid the unique and diverse challenges of her role.

“My first project was non-traditional,” Isaacs remembered. “It was the first of its kind at the company, and a great fit for me. The focus was purely on diversity and inclusion. Social sustainability was something I studied as a part of my degree, so fortunately I had fairly substantial textbook knowledge on the subject.”

“Within a few short months, I honed my consulting skills under Efficio’s extensive training programme and an expert project team… I was able to guide a client on effectively reporting and improving their diversity and inclusion strategy. I never imagined I could learn so much, so quickly, in just one chapter of my life, let alone in one occupation.”

The next project she faced was one with yet more new concepts, focusing on cost savings through content elimination, tactical negotiations, and pricing models. It came with an entirely different kind of client, in a vastly different industry – further giving Isaacs the opportunity to broaden her knowledge, while doing “anything and everything” she could to learn from Zoom calls with clients and during intrateam meetings on Teams.

In fact, “one year after joining, the learning is still continuous,” said Isaacs.

Isaacs concluded, “After almost a year at Efficio, I still haven’t touched a traditional sourcing project. It just proves there is so much more to learn, and so many more facets of consulting than just the type of consulting you do. Gaining expertise in multiple industries without having to switch careers – that’s still unreal to me, and I see limitless potential… Consulting at Efficio is where I belong!”

Working in consulting?

For graduates considering a career in consulting, Rosenoegger concludes with a simple but clear tip: “I can strongly recommend a career in consulting. If you are energetic and enjoy working at pace, consulting allows you to shape your career. It is an ever-evolving job that does not stand still and puts you at the forefront of market developments and best practices in order to deliver value for clients.”

For more interviews with senior and junior consultants, see the Interviews section.