How to Be a Rockstar First Year Analyst
Recently I joined a management consulting company as a Business Technology Analyst. I tried to reach out to people, introduce myself, and ask for advice.
If you have a first year analyst on your team, what are some traits that make them stand out?
Here’s what I’ve learned:
1. Do good work, build skills, and think big.
It’s very likely that we will do some labor work to start with, like taking notes, making slides, or cleaning spreadsheets, etc. Dirty work is not fun, but it helps to build critical skills. Note taking can be challenging: first understand the content, write them out clearly and concisely, and organize them in a way that’s easy to follow.
In the mean time, we can observe how people run the meeting, how they present ideas, keep it engaging, and conduct meaningful conversations. Similarly, when we are making decks, we can observe how people structure thoughts. We learn by observing how other people work.
While we are working on a small task, think about the big picture. Why are we doing it? What does our work mean to the team, company, and client? How do we add value? Is there anything additional that we can do to help our team or project? What is something that we can carry through to the next project?
And remember: the best way to network is to do good work.
2. Be someone who is easy to work with.
Proactive communication is the key. Ask questions to start with. Set up checkpoints with managers to keep them updated about what we’ve been working on, and where we are heading. It’s way easier to correct something in the early stage.
Be a problem solver. If we identify a problem or see a need, communicate and go do it.
Ask for feedback. Understand where we are and where we should be, come up with action items, show how we’ve been making progress, and constantly ask for feedback.
Say yes to opportunities. Volunteer to take notes or write things down on the whiteboard. It’s not tough and everyone can do it. Attitude matters.
Be as independent as possible. It’s great to ask questions, but do research ourselves first.
3. Say yes, but be smart about what to say yes.
There are so many things we can possibly get involved, but be realistic about our time and be strategic. What do we hope to learn from those opportunities? How does this might lead us to future opportunities? What do we want to be known for? Focus on quality and impact but not quantity.
4. Know the company well.
Understand what the company is to offer in terms of service lines or capabilities, and have some knowledge about the methodology, terminology, or framework. As for internal tools, know where to find what, and pull up information quickly. Read about industries, tech trends, white papers, etc.
5. Work life balance.
Yes it’s hard, but try to finish work at work. If we work for too many hours, ask why. Is that because we have too much work? Do we have enough resources? Do we prioritize and focus on the most important work? Should we delegate more? This might not be the very first conversation we want to have with project managers, but if it becomes an issue, be open and discuss it with them.
Spend time after work wisely. Have fun, read, run, meet people, and better ourselves.
6. Always be getting more exposure.
Be a sponge, learn as quickly as we can, and try as many roles/industries as possible — this is probably the beauty of consulting. We might like it or might hate it, but at least then we know. A testing role might not be that sexy, but to lead a project in the future, it will be so valuable if we have some experience in every stage of software development life cycle (SDLC).