Job: Transactional Consultant, Ernst & Young (EY)
Location: Dallas, Texas
Madi and I were connected through Meg, one of my best friends from home, and also an interview from a few weeks ago. Hearing Madi talk about balancing her demanding corporate position with her part-time Reserve position illustrates her excellent time management skills, along with her drive. Talk about being busy!
Tell us about how you got to where you are today.
I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee and stayed there all my life until I moved to Austin, Texas, where I went to college at The University of Texas at Austin. I was a part of the business school with a focus in Supply Chain Management. I did a few internships throughout college and they really helped me figure out what I wanted to do and led me to where I am today in consulting. My full-time job is in consulting for EY and I also work part-time as an officer in the Air Force Reserve. I did ROTC throughout school, but when I graduated, I chose to do Reserve and not Active. So one weekend per month, I go to San Antonio for training. Generally speaking, our mission is to be trained and ready to be deployed at any minute.
My full-time job brought me to Dallas, but it also requires me to travel a lot so I am not really in Dallas much. I work as a Transactional Consultant, which is basically another way of saying mergers and acquisitions, which are all business transactions. Essentially, companies hire my group to come in and help them when they are going through a transaction. For example, let’s say Starbucks buys another coffee brand; they would hire my firm to help them with the operational part of that. The whole point is for the customer to not feel any disruption, so that is where we come in. After some internships in college, I opened my eyes a little and looked for other opportunities that were not just nine to five type jobs, and found that consulting was definitely one of those jobs. It's a service industry, and since my client is always changing and the job is always changing, it keeps things really interesting.
What does your traveling schedule look like?
It all depends on where my client is. Right now, I am mainly working out of an office in California. Every Monday I fly out to California, work from the client office and usually fly back to Dallas Thursday evening. Once this project is up, then I’ll work wherever the next job is needed. People outside of the company ask me why I can’t just do the work from Dallas, over the phone or something with the client, but it is actually so important to be there with the client because there is a lot to pick up on in person versus over the phone. Having the ability to observe the clients in person is so crucial to the process of doing our job well.
Traveling has not been as difficult for me as I anticipated. My team is very understanding that we still have lives, so the travel hasn’t been very hard on me like one might expect. The clients are understanding too and understand that being flexible helps not only the client, but the consultants too. One guy on my team often flies back Thursday morning, and not in the evening, so he can spend more time with his kids. Having a team that respects that as part of its culture is very gratifying.
What is it like being a woman in your field?
I haven’t felt treated any differently in both my consultant job or my Air Force job because of my gender. I feel respected and I never feel like I have been passed up for anything because I am a woman. I actually had a coworker in more of a managerial role tell me once that whenever they need people to staff a new project and they are given a list of a few names, he will likely choose a woman because working with men and women throughout his career, he has seen that women are more than likely to work harder. I thought that was interesting.
Tell us about working at a Big 4 company.
I think there are a lot of benefits. If I have a question, I know it can be answered. We have offices all over the world, and I know I could go into any of those offices and work. I think the name has a reputation of being generally respected, so I am proud of that. Once you work for one of these firms, you learn so much that can really help you in your career, regardless of whether you stay or don’t stay at the company.
Can you explain more about being in the Air Force reserves and what that looks like?
I’d say I like that it is a very different environment from my full-time job. There are the camaraderie and traditions. One thing I don’t like is feeling like I am missing out on a lot because I am not full-time. The learning curve is just so steep that I constantly feel like I am behind because I can’t be fully engrained in it. At the end of the day, it’s not providing a roof over my head like my full-time job is, so I have to remember that.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Growing up, my mom always told my sister and me,'this too shall pass', and I think this is something I always think back to when I make a mistake and think it is the end of the world. A little mistake won’t be the end of my life, and it reminds me that there is a much bigger picture.
Any last words of advice?
Don’t limit yourself. When you’re in college and you’re in this bubble where everyone tries to do similar things, don’t feel like you have to do it. If you want to take an untraditional route in your career, go do it. You don’t have to be this corporate person. I know it’s kind of what I do, but don’t think that you won’t succeed if you don’t go through it. Staying true to who you are and following what you want to do is way more important than following the perceived expectations that your school or peers have set out for you.
The YoPro Know's Takeaways:
– When you’re in college and you’re in this bubble where everyone tries to do similar things, don’t feel like you have to do it
– A little mistake won’t be the end of my life, and you have to remember there is a much bigger picture
– If you want to take an untraditional route in your career, go do it
– Staying true to who you are and following what you want to do is way more important than following the perceived expectations that your school or peers have set out for you