The irritating sound of tropical birds and a slowly brightening lamp wake me up in plenty of time to groggily walk into the shower and ritually prepare two cups of espresso. It is the morning of my first day on a new project at a consultancy firm in Canary Wharf. Naturally, after a train and a DLR commute I find myself outside my new office over an hour early. This gives me plenty of time to deliberate the value of a Pret subscription as I ensure my caffeine levels are topped up. To burn time until my new boss arrives, I sit on the banks of the Thames trying to read, though the wind in my face is proving distracting. Slightly before our agreed meeting time, my new boss Russell arrives to let me into the office. I assure him I’ve only been waiting for five or ten minutes and we head into the lift upstairs.
The office is lovely, state-of-the-art really, it is a private equity incubator mainly for software development start-ups. I soon learn that my new client is a German company with both a software development / sales side and a consultancy side. My role will be on the main consultancy project in the UK, assisting with a data management strategy for one of their clients. This particular client of theirs is a large German indexing company who produce both benchmark and smaller scale indexes. Before I can get started in any of my duties, I first have to be inducted onto the IT system. A quick call to the head office in Germany, and choosing my laptop out of the cupboard and I’m all up and running.
My first priority is to begin upskilling on the specifics of Data Management and the different industry standard frameworks, so I open the first of what soon becomes hundreds of browser tabs and start googling. Slightly later in the morning, after some previous meetings, the head of UK consulting joins us in the hot-desking part of the office and introduces himself to me as Peter. He is aware that I have an interest and some previous experience with ESG consulting, so sets a task for me to research with a view to potentially presenting, ESG index products for a new project they are bidding for.
At lunch time I begin to appreciate the value of the Pret subscription as I queue up for a chicken sandwich and coffee as Peter has been apprehended by client meetings and I unfortunately miss out on the customary first day free lunch.
After lunch, I get back to reading about data management strategy and I am also afforded the opportunity to talk with Russell. He has been in contact with the end client and his main point of contact there. This is the first of my series of impromptu training sessions on the internal politics of a large German indexing company, something Russell seems to enjoy and, more importantly, understand due to his wealth of experience in large financial firms.
Towards the end of the day, I am beginning to get an understanding of exactly how little I know about this new field, though more secure now that I have a good understanding of what I will be spending the next few months of work doing. Before I leave the office, Peter catches up to me to apologize for missing lunch and in lieu of this, offers me a boat ride back to London Bridge as a welcome to the role benefit. So, with a cruise down the river Thames on an uber boat, surrounded by tourists, being given a sightseeing tour the likes of which I haven’t had since childhood, my first day in my new role concluded.