Globe trotting as a management consultant
If you think being a management consultant is a career that keeps you tied to a desk and the corporate world, think again.
Bermudian Joanna Dove just returned from a month in Kenya, living in the wild, meeting Samburu warriors and cooking by campfire all as part of her job.
The 28-year-old graduated this year with an MBA from Oxford University’s Said Business School, having gone back to further her education after working for five years in product management at a financial tech company in Boston.
After her year at Oxford, where she made the Dean’s List, she got to be part of a management consulting assignment which took her to Kenya for the Northern Rangelands Trust.
“We spent the month camping in the bush and cooking over an open fire so it was a true experience, complete with elephants and many other animals wandering through our campsites!” Miss Dove said.
“One of the highlights of the trip was when we were able to participate in a Samburu warrior peace keeping summit between conflicting tribes which culminated with a traditional tribal dance around a campfire and the ceremonious sacrifice of a goat. it was an experience we would certainly never have been able to partake in as a tourist.
“We were really able to get to know the local people, work closely with them, and understand their culture and way of life and I am certainly grateful for gaining this perspective.”
Miss Dove is now back in the UK, in London where she is interviewing for positions at a number of management consulting companies that may offer assignments with a global focus.
She spoke to us about her chosen career and her decision to go back to school.
What is your educational background and how did you get into the field of management consulting?What is management consulting?
Miss Dove was educated at Bermuda High School, Deerfield Academy, and Bates College in Maine, where she made the Dean’s List all four years. While in school she was involved in running, rowing and ice hockey.
She was the recipient of the 2010 Ace Group Post-Graduate Scholarship.
“I actually majored in psychology (at Bates) for my undergraduate degree, so had limited financial or technical background, however the company I worked for looked for bright students from a variety of backgrounds who could learn the business quickly.”
Miss Dove worked for Eze Castle Software, a ConvergEx Group Company, where she was a quality assurance analyst before being promoted to business analyst, then associate product manager. She provided technology solutions to hedge funds, mutual funds, pension funds and other institutional investment managers, playing a strategic role in setting new product direction. She also built out numerous global regulatory rule libraries including complex calculations for exposure, risk and cash related rules.
While there Miss Dove became a member in the “100 Women in Hedge Funds” association.
“During my time at the company it was rapidly expanding and this offered a lot of growth opportunities for my career; I joined the product management team focusing on compliance and risk management for institutional asset managers such as hedge funds and pension funds.
“It was a very hard decision to leave such a supportive company and collaborative work environment; however the opportunity to study at Oxford was something I couldn’t pass up. The Oxford programme appealed to me due to the international nature of students students from 52 countries, the accelerated time frame one full calendar year as opposed to two academic calendar years, and the experience of being part of a University with such rich culture and traditions.
“My year at Oxford exceeded all my expectations and culminated with the opportunity to spend a month working on a consulting project in Kenya which was a real highlight of my year.”
“Consultants are mainly concerned with the strategy, structure, management and operations of an organisation. Consultants add value by identifying recommendations, providing additional resources and the implementation of solutions. The field really appeals to me due to the varied nature of the work and environments.
“During my month in Kenya we created four conservancy specific business plans modelling new revenue streams, reducing operational costs, and outlining strategic recommendations in order to achieve financial independence from donors.
“We conducted hands on research by travelling to each of the conservancies, interviewing the local staff, community members, tourist lodge operators and foreign experts.”
What advice to you have for other young Bermudians trying to figure out what they want to do?
“First and foremost get a strong education and take advantage of every opportunity these institutions have to offer.
“In addition to achieving academically, the people you meet along the way and relationships you make are invaluable in helping you find your path. I have found school Careers Offices extremely helpful and that is how I found my first job in Boston where I stayed for five years.
“I was also lucky enough to have a manager at this job who became a real mentor to me during those five years and continues to be to this day, so I would suggest learning as much as you can from your superiors and don’t be afraid to ask for their advice.
“The Island has a lot to offer young Bermudians, whether it’s through internship programmes or scholarships, so take advantage of these to get exposure to a variety of jobs and people.”