Stax Alumni Stories: Amanda Fields
Now pursuing her MBA at Wharton, Amanda can pinpoint exactly how Stax set her up for the next chapter.
After graduating college — the first in her family to do so — Amanda Fields interviewed with nearly every major consulting firm in the country. After weighing her options, Amanda accepted a position with Stax, and looking back on her experience she’s convinced she made the right choice.
According to Amanda, Stax “expected a lot from me, but guided me along the way. They definitely make you jump in the deep end, but they prepare you well for it.” Amanda enjoyed the entrepreneurial opportunities Stax provided. Because of the client base, associate consultants are given more opportunities and exposure than at other firms.
In her four years at Stax, Amanda worked on forty to fifty projects, while in the same time span, friends at large firms worked on only six or seven. She was included in client meetings — not just to take notes but rather encouraged and expected to speak up. In meetings with private equity clients, Amanda would sit at the table and junior banking associates would silently sit on the perimeter, a stark contrast.
Travel, or Not
Like many in the consulting industry, Amanda wasn’t keen on the amount of travel that tends to be standard in management consulting, the “I-sleep-in-Hiltons-more-than-my-own-bed” type of travel. With Stax, Amanda was drawn by the opportunity for Boston to be her home base, because of its strong private equity scene. While she’d have the opportunity to travel often, it wouldn’t consume her entire life.
Above all, Amanda’s time at Stax was invaluable in preparing her for graduate school. Stax enabled Amanda to confidently interact with leaders and think of management top-down which gave her a leg up on grad school peers.
She learned the importance of understanding and analyzing data, knowing what value add you bring to the room, then articulating the information and insights. These skills prove valuable in class. Amanda spends ample time formulating how to deliver a message so it comes across more powerfully, and the point is clear. Sometimes very smart, passionate, analytical people aren’t able to translate their insights in a way that others can follow.
Having consulting experience is great preparation for graduate school, but even greater, was the nurturing and genuine interest those at Stax invested in her. From day one, she had mentors who played a role in her development and success..
Paul Edwards, a Managing Director at Stax, was one who took an interest in helping Amanda flourish from day one. He was quick with praise, and equally quick to discuss underperformance while offering suggestions. This honest criticism and barometer for performance is something unseen at other firm.
When she decided it was time to apply for graduate school, Amanda received great support and advice from her colleagues regarding the best school and fit based on what she wanted. Both the head of the practice and firm were both pleased to provide recommendations based on her excellent contributions and merits.
Next, Amanda plans to pursue a career in financial services, working with many of the clients she was able to serve at Stax.