Management Consultants at BearingPoint Caribbean are the first line of contact for our government clients. They gather the client requirements and are the linking pin between the Design and Development teams when it comes to building the application according to the wishes of our clients. Michella Weverink is a Manager Consulting and has been with us for over 7 years. She fills us in on her role, her career path, and different aspects of her position.
From Software Engineer to Management Consultant
Before I started working at BearingPoint Caribbean, I first worked as an engineer at a large company where I calculated and configured electrical medium voltage installations. In addition, I often supported the account managers who went to the client with what I had calculated. I realized that I was increasingly enjoying the combination of the technical side with the business aspect of the work. Because I am an engineer myself, I could relate to their queries and understand their way of thinking. I could help them faster without having to first consult with the back office.
My interest in the client facing aspect of the job grew steadily and I wanted to pursue a career as a consultant. When I applied for a job at BearingPoint Caribbean, I already indicated that I wanted a client-facing role where I could talk about our systems based on my knowledge. It was then agreed that I would start off as a software engineer, or more specifically, as a Be Informed Specialist and get to know the business process platform. Then after a while, I would switch to the position of a Management Consultant with more in-depth knowledge of the platform. So, I did, and 7 years later I’m still here!
The impact of Management Consultants
The impact of our work as Management Consultants is big and diverse. Our focus is on the government sector where most of our clients are in a transitional phase, whether it is because they are going to implement a completely new system or upgrading an existing system. I think our added value is that we can guide the client through this transition no matter how small or large because we understand their domain. As Management Consultants we are the link between the purely technical side and the functional side. We are, so to speak, the interpreter who ensures that our developers understand the client’s wishes and, vice versa, that the client understands our applications and can work with them. They can address all their questions and concerns in a way that they feel comfortable with and be assured that we are here for them to provide guidance and support.
Good communication and understanding each other is therefore essential to ensure that we can carry out our assignments efficiently and to the satisfaction of the client. As Management Consultants we act as interpreters, analysts, writers, implementation specialists, change managers, and project managers. Without this role, projects would undoubtedly be more difficult, and the realization would take longer with all the consequences for budgets, schedules, and client satisfaction.
Flexibility and patience
Fulfilling the role of a Management Consultant requires a lot of flexibility since every day can be different from the next. It is important to have a broad skillset such as good communication skills, presentation skills, planning, and writing skills. These are all necessary because one day you are doing more project management-like tasks, the next day you are at the client, or you are busy with analysis and assisting with sales activities. The Management Consulting position also demands patience and a great client service mindset.
You must be patient with clients who want everything but don’t have a budget, or who are so stuck in their current way of working and cannot immediately relate with our systems because it is sometimes beyond their imagination. It also requires patience within our own organization. Because we are at the frontline and more closely involved with our clients, we often want to serve them quickly. But some decisions take time, and everyone has an opinion that should be considered. We have experts in all areas, and everyone is given the space to contribute a piece from his or her expertise to complete the puzzle. In the end we want to serve our clients to the best of our capability. We must stay true to our knowledge and expertise and bring forward the solution that best suits our client requirements. My motto is “Trust the process and learn from it”.
Variety in the job
The best part of my job is the variety. I wear several hats every day, depending on the project or task. Maintaining the helicopter view and planning my own time is an interesting challenge. Part of my work is to consult with the Development team and review technical documentation intended for the client. And yes, my technical background gives me an advantage while performing these tasks, because I understand the technical jargon that our developers use faster and can translate it into the functional language of the client with more ease. But it also takes common sense; you need to be able to explain the solutions we come up with to the client in a functional manner. If you are able to translate a functional request from the client into our solutions you are fit for this position.
Because there is not just one type of consultant at BearingPoint Caribbean, we carefully look at and listen to the competencies of each individual: are you good at performing analysis to translate the wishes of the client and applicable laws and regulations into functionalities, or do you prefer planning, coordinating and budget management activities in projects? If you like variety and beforementioned skills, then I would say that you should consider a Management Consultant role.