A day in the life: Kalani Byrd
Kalani is a New York CST Manager focusing on clients in the strategy consulting space. She started at AlphaSights in 2016 and is a graduate of Colgate University.
6:30 am - I usually set my alarm around 6:30 am, but it takes me a little while to get out of bed. By 7, I’m up and getting ready. I recently moved from the Kips Bay/Murray hill neighborhood to the Flatiron district (best decision ever), so I walk to Union Square and hop on the 4/5 subway up to Grand Central, and then walk about two blocks to our office.
7:50 am - First thing I do when I sit down at work is check my emails. I respond to any client emails I’ve received since I woke up, and keep an eye out for new projects or updates on existing projects. It’s important for us to be on top of our clients because oftentime projects have a quick turnaround, and we want to be highly responsive for them!
8:10 am - I recently was elevated from Associate to Manager, so I’m training an intern and a new joiner. I chat quickly with them, before meeting with our whole team. I help them determine their priorities for the day, what projects need more research, and walk through how they can structure their time for each project/activity. We need to stay in the loop because we’re on a high growth team and field new projects every day, and it’s my job to make sure we’re all keeping up.
8:20 am - My team and I gather and meet for a quick 15-minute sync to discuss priorities and set a plan for the day. There’s 9 of us in total, so we take this time to walk through each project our team is working on and evaluate our workloads. Everyone needs to be succinct and efficient as we walk through our “Ns” for the day (the amount of advisors we deliver to our clients), so that Laura (the Senior Manager on our team) and I can use this information to balance out the team and redistribute projects equally.
8:35 am - I am on the Consulting segment here at AlphaSights, and we split ourselves up into dedicated practice areas that mirror those of our clients (Pharma/Healthcare, Advanced Industries, Technology/Media, etc). We have a Consulting manager huddle daily to talk about each practice area’s capacity for the day, and see who’s “busy” and who’s “lighter” on work so we can pass projects around as needed. Ever since my first day as manager, I’ve been treated as an equal in the meeting and am welcomed to present how my team is looking for the day.
8:45 am - Time for breakfast! Great time of the day at AlphaSights. After the manager huddle, I head to the kitchen. There is always a HUGE spread of all types of fruits and berries, bagels and breads, cereals and fresh juices, and more. I typically grab a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats, some grapes, and a cup of black coffee. I’ll read the front page of the newspaper that’s on the counter. This is my time to relax a bit and regroup before I dive into work. I also grab some snacks before heading back to my desk (pro tip: make sure to snag your snacks in the morning because the popular ones go fast!).
9:00 am - For about three hours, I work on projects. I might have a “brief” scheduled in the morning — this is when we have a conference call with our clients to discuss their project and what knowledge gaps they’re experiencing. It’s important for us to ask the right questions to understand what types of experts will be helpful for our client, and set a project timeline together. One of the coolest projects I’ve worked on lately is about the future of drones. Our client came to us with a request of sixty calls over a two week period to better understand how drones will impact everyday life.
12:45 pm - I live for Mexican food! I eat it pretty much every day. If I don’t pack my own lunch, I’ll usually grab a quesadilla from this small grab-and-go spot called Bread & Butter right around the corner, and take it to Bryant Park to eat with my friends. If it’s winter, I avoid the outdoors at all costs and will bring some soup from home to eat in the kitchen.
1:45 pm - Our team does another quick sync to see what we’ve knocked out in the morning and what we need to get done in the afternoon. Once a week we’ll do a fun team activity, like walk to Baskin Robbins and get ice cream. It’s nice to break up the day a bit and reward everyone for their hard work. We always ask a question of the day to have a little laugh with each other. My favorite is: if you could be any person (dead or alive) for one day, who would you be?
3:00 pm - I meet with the board of AlphaSights’s WIN Group, the Women’s Initiative Network, once a month on the last Friday. A few years ago at AlphaSights, some of our female employees came together to discuss their experiences of being a woman in the corporate world, and how they could better support each other. It quickly became a very important organization at AlphaSights, and I’m now on the executive board. We often host speaker events, and this summer we met with the founder of 305 Fitness and got to take a class with her!
4:00 pm - Time for our “housekeeping party”! My team books a conference room and takes this time to go through our administrative tasks that we haven’t had time to do. We all spend thirty minutes doing non-Client Service stuff and grab a ton of snacks and drinks from the kitchen and make it fun. We rotate who gets to DJ the party. Associates are also welcome to ask any questions they may have, so it’s a great time to take a step back and get up to date on everything.
6:00 pm - I’m usually trying to finish up work and get home for the day. For our latest monthly team event, we chowed down at a Brazilian steakhouse, which was awesome. If I don’t have anything work related, I’ll hit the gym or head straight home to watch the Bachelorette with my roommates with a nice bottle of wine. Our new apartment has a rooftop so it’s been great to go up there and relax with them. I’ll often cook tacos for dinner, or my go-to for takeout is Thai food from Seamless.
11:00 pm - Before I go to bed I’ll check my email one more time, and then watch some Narcos or Game of Thrones before going to sleep.