Recent Posts

Author: Rachel Paper

A day in the life of Joseph M. McNerney,

What I Do

As a manager at an Australian consulting firm focusing on growth strategies, I am in charge of a major piece of a project for a particular client. Perhaps unlike other larger consulting firms, a manager here does not have responsibility for more than one client at a time. We have a partner or high-level principal at the client site day to day and several managers like me running different pieces of the engagement.

Generally, with any client I am responsible for business process design on operations or technology-based projects—these projects are available in two flavors. At a high level, I might do a strategic piece of work to help a client launch a new type of business or change an existing one.

This could involve establishing management structure; planning physical changes, infrastructure, and technology; setting up marketing, sourcing, and call centers; and making everything work together. Or at the implementation level, I might do a “value management” project to actually turn the high-level strategy into operating reality. The best kinds of projects are [those in which] I can do the strategic development first, and then move into the implementation role and finish the job.

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MBA Operations Management-A Day in the Life of Ryan B., Purchasing associate for a major automotive manufacturer; Dearborn, Michigan, U.S.

What I Do

I am responsible for purchasing wiring harnesses for all the electrical systems for about four different lines of vehicles. All of the electrical components in your car are connected by what we call a “wiring harness.” I negotiate prices for wiring on the entire vehicle line.

For example, when we do modeling changes, changes to the wiring system almost always result. Consequently, I have to piece together or cost out what the entire organization believes is the true cost of a wiring harness—based on how much and what types of wiring are needed.

I begin this process by interviewing people internally, then arriving at an answer or cost that is our end goal. In the negotiation process with suppliers, that answer or true cost changes, so I am in front of the suppliers negotiating the pricing, too.

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My firm develops solutions to difficult strategic problems faced by senior executives of large multinational firms. For example, we might be called in to form a merger-and-acquisition strategy for a company attempting to deepen its presence in a particular industry niche.

At the associate level, my responsibilities on an engagement might include interviewing client personnel and industry experts, analyzing industry trends, recommending action plans or strategic moves, and preparing and delivering presentations to clients. While there is no typical client engagement, engagements often last from one to three months.

When I joined the firm, I was specifically interested in the D.C. office because it performs some work in the public and nonprofit sectors in addition to the private sector.

What I Enjoy Most

I enjoy high impact—solving high-level problems and making a difference. Strategy consulting firms are generally hired only to help solve the most important problems organizations face. That’s a great plus from a work fulfillment perspective.

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A Day in the Life of Ben F., Senior analyst in the office of the chief financial officer for a U.S. government agency, Washington, D.C., U.S.

MBA Government Organization (Nonprofit Organizations)

What I Do

I oversee the budget creation and formulation of more than $70 million annually for the office of the chief information officer and inspector general. In addition, my analysis impacts the agency’s entire $500 million budget.

This role is about 50% analysis and 50% people interaction—including one-on-one interviews with points of contact in the various offices, collecting information, and presenting and defending my analyses.

What I Enjoy Most

I have a lot of resources and autonomy, which may be the opposite of what people would expect in government work. I have a high level of responsibility in a very important position for an organization that is both very challenging and extremely important right now for the welfare of U.S. citizens and others we protect. I enjoy being part of a highly intelligent workforce and its underlying, important mission.

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Interview with Jamie Hendrix, Manager of human resources (HR) for a leading HighTech Industry corporation; New York, USA

What I Do

I am responsible for human resource management at a 600-employee facility in the New York City area. My goal is to create a community within the four walls of this building and serve as the go-to person for the multitude of “people needs” that arise in a business.

My responsibilities span departmental restructuring; performance management, including training and rollout for how employees and management are going to use this tool for people development, as well as for managing the whole performance review process and its documentation; headcount, hiring, and terminations (determining when we need to reduce, add, retrain, or transfer resources); and training of all sorts, including diversity initiatives, management of all employee records, mediation and communication between employees and management, and coaching for union avoidance.

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MBA Information Technology (IT)-A Day in the Life of Kathy G., Architecture integrator at one of the largest banking companies in Newark, New Jersey, US

What I Do

Upon completing the MBA in 2002, I accepted a job as an IT architect. I am responsible for setting up a strategy for a particular section of the banking company’s technology for a given line of business.

I do this in consultation with architects specialized in their disciplines, such as applications, security, etc. I need to look at where the company wants to be three to five years in the future, consult with senior management, and gain their buy-in to the plan. Once this is agreed, I need to sell it to the rest of the stakeholders and ensure it gets implemented.

What I Enjoy Most

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MBA Strategic Planning and Finance – Roslyn J. is senior financial and business processes auditor for one of the world’s leading producers of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum, and alumina; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

What I Do

I am responsible for leading and performing financial and business processes audits, information technology reviews, and repair-and-maintenance reviews at various business units—from manufacturing to specialization and outsourced functions—throughout the company in North America, including Canada and Mexico.

The company has a global presence in nearly 40 countries and is active in all major aspects of the industry—technology, mining, refining, smelting, fabricating, and recycling.

My role includes assessing overall business risks to the company, issuing comments, and making recommendations. I also cross-train on environmental, health, and safety audits. Facilities audited consist of groups with revenues from $5 million plus. I travel on a monthly basis on an average of 50 to 75 percent of the time (two- to three-week intervals). In addition, I lead and participate in process improvement teams within the internal audit group.

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A Day in the Life of Cathy P., the leader of sales and trading for a publicly traded, global financial services investment banking institution.

What I Do

I market equity derivatives to our private banking clients. I spend the majority of time speaking with clients about strategies and watching the markets to take advantage of movement. Contacts are brought to us through the private banking group, so we don’t do cold calling. We’re the product people.

What I Enjoy Most

I love the fast pace and staying on top of what’s going on in the financial markets. Regarding doing what I do at this specific firm, I like the comradery and nature of the trading environment within my firm. We go out together as a group and people help each other out at work. This is important because of the fast pace. A fair number of people in this firm have ended up going other places only to return here because we operate so well as a group.

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A Day in the Life of  Peter G., Equity research analyst for a global investment firm.

What I Do

I am an equities analyst for the firm’s Asia oil, gas, and petrochemicals sector research team. My coverage includes two Korean oil refiners and the entire oil, gas, and petrochemicals industry in the Kingdom of Thailand. Total market capitalization under my coverage amounts to about US$10 billion.

I spent my first year in the firm training in Hong Kong with the director who heads the Asia regional oil, gas, and petrochemicals sector team. After one year in Hong Kong, I broke off to assume coverage of my own list of companies for the same firm in Thailand. Thailand is a small market, but I have joined a great team in Bangkok, comprising staff from Thailand, the U.K., Canada, and Lebanon.

What I Enjoy Most

The job is never boring. I am challenged every day and no day is the same. Expectations are high, but the environment is very supportive. Great people work here. They are happy to share their expertise with you so you tend to learn very quickly.

What I Enjoy Least

About once a week, I need to make a presentation at 5:30 a.m. Thailand local time for a conference call in Korea. I have had to learn to be an early bird. When you work for a global organization, you have to adapt.

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A Day in the Life of MELODY R., Account Manager for an institutional investment management firm, Los Angeles area, California, U.S.

What I Do

My firm manages fixed-income portfolios, such as retirement plans and endowments, on behalf of large institutional investors.

I work with clients, typically the chief financial officer or the chief information officer and their staff, to develop investment strategies within the fixed-income (bond) markets and to structure products that meet their goals.

I am constantly monitoring my clients’ investment portfolios against these goals and communicating performance results, changes in strategy, or new investment opportunities.

One of the surprises in this job was that I have used more accounting than I anticipated—interpreting financial statements on the bond side, tracking the impact of discount rates on pension plans, and things like that. I didn’t take the easy road, I quit high school too early and had to earn my GED diploma first. The rest is history.  If you, like I did, want to get ahead in life but, for whatever reason, couldn’t finish your high school education, get your GED and go to college! There are great online practice tests provided by the online platform BestGedClasses.org to get you on the right track.

I am also constantly challenged by the need to effectively and clearly communicate our strategy to clients. This is often harder than developing the strategy in the first place!

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