On 11-12-13 November the Consultancy Days will take place. It is the perfect opportunity to get in touch with renowned consulting firms such as Ernst & Young, Deloitte, Accenture, and many more. In order for you to get the best preparation, we thought it would be an excellent idea to search for a success story. And we did not have to look far to find one.
We would like you to meet Luuk Albers. Currently employed at Deloitte as an Junior Supply Chain Technology Consultant, he is an alumnus of Tilburg University and he attended the Consultancy Days of 2018.
Q: Hi Luuk, first of all, thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions regarding the Consultancy Days. I am sure that a lot of students are eager to hear about your experience.
A: “Sure, no problem at all. I am happy to share them with you.”
Q: Perfect, let’s get right to it. Which master did you follow on the University of Tilburg?
A: “I started the master program of supply chain management in September 2018. Before that, I finished my pre-master program in January 2018.“
Q: How did you find out about the existence of the Consultancy Days?
A: “I think it was during the pre-master program. At the time I was enrolled I took part in the Supply Chain Days event, which further developed my enthusiasm for these kind of events. I really enjoyed getting in touch with large companies such as DAF, Campina and Bol.com. However, at that time I already had a growing interest towards consultancy. And since I already had experienced the true value of these events, I signed up for the Consultancy Days.“
Q: And was there a specific reason of your growing interest for consultancy? Or did it just happen?
A: “Well it has some linkage with my previous educational and working background. A few years age I followed a part-time bachelor’s degree in logistics management at a university of applied sciences, which mend I had to study in the evening and work in a study-related field during the day. I was an inventory manager at the Radboud University Medical Centre in Nijmegen. During this line of work I learned that working on dynamic projects simultaneously and continually trying to satisfy various stakeholders and departments was something I really enjoyed. And, in my opinion, consultancy has very corresponding characteristics. That actually was one of my biggest motivations to pursue a career in consulting.“
Q: And which steps did you undertake from the moment the Supply Chain Days were finished?
A: “After those days I registered for the Consultancy Days. I think I signed up for two days for activities with two companies, namely Supply Value and Deloitte.“
Q: For which activities did you sign up with Supply Value and Deloitte?
A: “For all activities if I remember correctly, so the presentations, business cases and lunches. For Supply Value I went to the presentation and I got an invitation to the business lunch and business case. And for Deloitte I attented the presentation and business lunch.“
Q: Okay, and how did you experience your first contact with these consulting firms?
A: “It was really fun. I remember there was a dress code, which was formal. However, I noticed on the first day that the contact with the representatives of the firms was actually quite informal and very friendly. I think it was the intention of the firms to show how you would be treated as a colleague, which was a nice experience.
Furthermore, the two business lunches I attented were very interesting. You can ask a lot of questions regarding the firm, the work environment etc. You also get the opportunity to talk a little bit about yourself and you can learn from the questions that are asked by your fellow students.
Also, the presentations and lectures were very informative. It is handy to get some more detailed information before going to the business lunches and cases. This is also a great moment to think of questions that you wan to ask during the lunches or business cases.
Finally, I also attended one business case of Suplly Value which was a great experience. Supply Value created a fictional company and a case, in which we had to work in groups to create a suitable solution. Eventually, at the end, we also had to present our solution to ‘fictional clients’ which were the consultants of Supply Value. They asked some difficult questions and tried to be the ‘difficult-to-deal-with’ client, which made the case a little bit more challenging but much more fun. Personally, I learned a lot from that experience. And of course, for the firm, it is a great way to see the performance of the students.“
Q: Did you get the feeling that you felt more prepared for the lunches and cases because you attended the presentations?
A: “Yes it did have some effect for me. After the presentation you already know who the representatives are and they might already answered some of your questions. So I do think it will make you feel more relaxed at the lunches and business cases.“
Q: And did you get the feeling it was some sort of selection process or …?
A: “Well the good part is that you definitely do not get the feeling it is but of course you know that there is an element of selection in all the activities you do during these days. So you do know it is your ‘time-to-shine’, so to speak haha. It is a great opportunity to show your best side and I do believe that you need to look at it like that, from a student perspective. For example, if you sit back in the class during the case, listening, and not really making a good move or take the initiative, you will not be getting much out of the Consultancy Days. But if you try to show your best side and dare to take the initiative, which are skills you have to posses being a consultant, there is a better chance something good will come out of it. I also tried to do this during the business cases.“
Q: And… did you get anything in return?
A: “Well, that is a nice story. After the Consultancy Days I found a message in my LinkedIn mailbox from one of the recruiters of Supply Value. The recruiter asked me whether I would be interested in working for Supply Value, either part-time during my masters, writing my thesis or even a fulltime job after graduation. I was going to write a quantitative thesis at the university and after our first conversation it became clear that a part-time job would be the perfect fir for both of us. So I worked at Supply Value for about 6 months during my thesis.
But, there is more. While I was working at Supply Value I was thinking about my future after graduation. I was not sure if I wanted to stay as a consultant at Supply Value or explore other opportunities. And then Deloitte came up in my thoughts. As Deloitte is one of the biggest consultancy firms in the world, with limitless possibilities, working there would be an absolute dream come true for me. So I started applying for a job at Deloitte. I added my experience with Deloitte on the Consultancy Days in my application letter, including the names of the representatives I spoke with that day. And that actually started an entire process at Deloitte with several tests and interviews which eventually led to me being employed as a Junior Supply Chain Technology Consultant at the SAP department. And since then I have been working at Deloitte for the past three months.“
Q: It is very exciting to hear that the Consultancy Days had such an effect..
A: “Yeah, I can say that it all originated from the Consultancy Days. To be completely honest, I would not have met Supply Value if I did not attend the Consultancy Days. And more importantly, my contact with Deloitte definitely contributed positively in my favour in my application process.“
Q: Wonderful. Are you enjoying your position at Deloitte?
A: “Yes I am. I just returned from London where I had a training for three weeks. The colleagues are all young and ambitious, and the atmosphere is great. I also wanted to add that Supply Value is a great company to work for as well. But if you want to do a career in consultancy you have to make the choice of working at a large or a smaller firm. I did both and I think that a bigger firm is a better fit for me right now. But still, that remains a personal choice and both options have their advantages and disadvantages. The people in both firms were great!
Q: Alright. So, would you recommend the Consultancy Days to other students?
A: “Absolutely. First of all, getting in touch with these kind of firms is something you learn a lot from. Second, this is the chance to ask questions which you might not get to ask in a job interview. The Consultancy Days are perfect to get a good picture how things work in reality at these larger firms. I also think it is good that you get some practice with the business cases and the interaction with the representatives.“
Q: And finally, do you have some tips and tricks for the students who are attending the consulancy days of 2019?
A: “Yes of course. First, I know that not a lot of students did this last year, but do some preparation before the event takes place. Check which firms are coming, search for some background information about the firms, if you know wo the representatives are you could try to search them via LinkedIn etc. This all works in your favour. And finally, just be yourself, ask questions, and try to be proactive and do not be affraid to take some initiative.“
Q: Okay, thank you very much Luuk. So to summarize everything in one sentence: you will get as much out of the Consultancy Days as the effort you put into it?
A: “That would be the perfect description how a student should approach the Consultancy Days. Maybe a funny side note to end: Deloitte is attending the Consultancy Days this year and I will be there as a representative. So, see you there!“
Finally, we would like to wish you the best of luck during the Consultancy Days. And, just as important, enjoy!