Starting a Career in Consulting: an NYU Alumnus Story

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Jack Yip is an Associate Consultant at Optimity Advisors. His current role is a Business Analyst at a large consumer operated and oriented plan (CO-OP). His responsibilities include project management support, data analytics, and business decision-making. He enjoys budget traveling and is often on the lookout for airline pricing glitches. He grew up in Hong Kong and has lived in New York City for the past thirteen years. He is a 2014 graduate of NYU Stern where he majored in Finance and International Business, and is a member of Beta Alpha Psi.

One of the most important decisions we make in college is choosing our career. Our first job determines the skill set we will develop, and has a significant impact on future jobs we plan to take. I chose to begin my career in consulting because I wanted to strengthen my interpersonal skills and to develop a broad understanding of how businesses work in various industries.

I utilized NYU Wasserman’s Career Center to land both my financial planning internship and my consulting job post-graduation. As a freshman, I thought I wanted to become an actuary. However, I ultimately decided that I would prefer a job that allowed for more client and team interactions, which is exactly what a career in consulting provides. I specifically looked for a consulting firm where I would be placed as an external consultant at a client. This would allow me to work for multiple clients over the course of my job, as opposed to an internal consultant, where I would be placed on projects within a single company.

In the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to work on multiple projects in a variety of team settings, which has helped me to develop an invaluable and highly transferrable set of skills. I’ve learned to facilitate client interactions, streamline business processes, and stay focused in high-pressure situations.

I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy a great work-life balance at my firm. My firm’s core values include celebrating diversity, having fun, nurturing talent, team focused, thinking big, delivering quality, and standing together as one.  Not only am I encouraged to reach out to other project teams to learn about their work, I am also welcomed to express my interests in projects I would like to be involved with, a privilege that is not available at all consulting firms. As a young professional, it’s crucial that I reach out and learn as much as possible from those around me. I have made it a priority to take every opportunity to expand both my network and my knowledge.

Another way I contribute to my firm is by participating in internal workgroups such as recruiting, professional development, and social media. For those who are more adventurous, they can start their own! Last year, two of my colleagues at the Associate level created a Health and Wellness workgroup, and were able to get over 200 of our employees to participate in a 6-week long Steps Challenge. For myself, in addition to helping out with recruiting (i.e. organizing on-campus recruiting activities), I have also had the opportunity to publish weekly technology tips for the company on topics ranging from using Apple products to creating pivot tables in Excel.

As an avid traveler, I decided to study abroad in both Shanghai and Sydney. Working as a consultant, some of my greatest business experiences have been on the road in a host of different cities. Depending on the dynamics of the project, a consultant like myself could potentially work from our home company office on Mondays and Fridays, and work on the client site Tuesdays through Thursdays. The constant change of scenery keeps me engaged and excited.

Regardless of your choice of career, I strongly suggest that you reach out to recent graduates working in fields you are interested in, as you will be able to learn about their experiences and assess whether a career in their respective fields is right for you.

Optimity is currently accepting applications for the 2016 Associate position through NYU Wasserman’s On-Campus Recruitment Program. Please visit NYU CareerNet to apply by September 20 11:59PM EDT.