Category Archives: City Careers

Becoming a City Professional doesn’t happen overnight. This is an expanding collection of articles that we think will help you to get where you want to be.

Women Who Can – When Self-Doubt is the Odd One Out

We live in a world of so much self doubt. Whether it’s career, personal life or the generic decision making, the intelligent, curious and more than able ‘you’ easily falls into the trap of asking the ‘what if’ questions. Often your inquisitive nature turns into an even stronger critic of its own – questioning abilities, ambitions, goals, when all is needed is that little extra self belief. That’s why we found refreshing to have the opportunity to feature an exciting campaign, focusing on that essential empowering element that can boost your resilience – discover the Women Who Can campaign. 

As we try to be true advocates for the very able, strong, independent women we really want to be, we are pleased to give our own perspective on the Women Who Can campaign.

  1. Who is your Woman Who Can?

    I’m very lucky to be surrounded by amazing women who all fall within the Women Who Can category. Whether they run their own side projects, exceed in their careers, manage to sustain a fantastic social life, have healthy personal lives, travel the world, inspire others and share knowledge – the collective character certainly has some common traits. They are bold, fearless, emotionally intelligent, curious and always eager to learn.

  2. I could not succeeded without…

    The self belief that I can do better. I certainly wasn’t an overachiever at school nor at university, I wouldn’t say I’m one now too. But I have always had that sometimes bold self belief that if I really want to achieve something and dedicate time and effort into it, I can make it possible. I got the best student job I can imagine simply because I applied to it without too much self-doubt. I also got accepted in a number of top-tier universities requiring immaculate academic performance – places which I didn’t even dream being part of but thought they were exactly what I needed for the boost of my career opportunities. And I just changed jobs, ‘upgrading’ into a boutique asset and wealth management consulting firm after spending a few years in a large consulting firm. It’s all possible if you want to make it a priority.

  3. What advice would you give your younger self?

    Don’t try to have all the answers and be comfortable with that. We all have dynamic lives with so much surrounding ambiguity that getting content with the idea you wouldn’t always know what’s next from a young age, can only be beneficial for your resilience. I have chosen a career that requires a full spectrum of skills – from the ‘soft’ people side of dealing with demanding clients, often changing teams and locations to the pretty ‘hard’ technical side of quick 0-100 learning, late night presentation preparations, tight deadlines and often pretty complex problems to be resolved. It’s certainly challenging to have a clear vision of what you’d like you life to be from a young age but focus on skills and develop your curiosity – everything else will follow.

  4. What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?

    Perhaps the first big brave thing I did was moving to study and live abroad but that was just a catalyst. Saying ‘no’ in a couple of critical moments in my life is something I’m genuinely proud of. Still at university and actively looking for graduate jobs with a number of rejections behind me, I was offered work opportunities which were fantastic but they were in strong contrast with the location I really desired at the time. It meant I had to say no to security,  but I couldn’t have taken a better decision.

  5. If I had a mathematical work style formula, it would read:

    Work smart (not just hard) + have fun along the way = Take a step back to enjoy the results

  6. Success is…

    Your happiness. Your ability to step back and feel satisfied with what you have achieved.  Being content with the direction you’re going. Realising you’re failing and taking an action.

7. My choice for ‘take on the world’ Karen Millen outfit – The Pencil Dresswomen who can

  1. What’s your motivational mantra?

    ‘If something feels too difficult, you’re doing it the wrong way’. It’s easy to fall into the trap of discouragement when you don’t see immediate results. Nothing should feel like lifting mountains by yourself – be creative and persistent until you find the right angle – whether it’s your approach, your support group or your attitude.

And as we know, a blog post isn’t complete without the opportunity to win a competition! As part of the Women Who Can campaign, Karen Millen and the Step Up Club are giving you the chance to win £2000 for an upgraded wardrobe and a career coaching session with the experts from the Step Up Club.

Now put that strong critic of yours aside and get yourself writing down the next big goal.

Suits and Books. Our Pleasure.

This is a sponsored post by Karen Millen and this affects in no way how we feel about confidence, self belief or motivation – now stay true to yourself and be your best version at any given time.

 

Getting into Product Management: 5 Questions You Always Wanted to Ask

Getting into Product Management has become one of the hottest job discussion topics in the growing London Tech market as the demand for good Product Managers has skyrocketed. That’s why we sat down with Chantal Foyer, Product Manager at Workshare, who shared her insights into the skills, background and resources you should access if that’s your next career goal.

Getting into Product Management: What is a Product Manager?

getting into management consulting

In a nutshell, a Product Manager oversees a team of engineers, designers and testers to develop a product, bring it to market and grow it. A Product Manager would sit at the interface between design, engineering and business without the need to be an expert in each of the areas. The strength of a Product Manager is having an in-depth understanding of what the customer wants, communicating frequently and gaining feedback, testing prototypes and bringing that customer need back to the team – in order to work with them to create a product that fulfills all criteria. Simple, huh!

The Should Haves:  What skills does a Product Manager require?

getting into management consulting

In terms of hard skills, an engineering or a design background can be an advantage, so are data science and SQL skills, but you’ll find many Product Managers who don’t have such technical background. The single most important skill that a Product Manager should develop is influence. While none of the people on your team report to you from a management perspective – you can’t fire them or affect their pay – your ability to win people over, to pitch ideas and to use evidence to construct convincing arguments are your most valuable assets. With experience, you can learn the capacities and limitations of the technology as well as best practices in UX and UI design. Your interpersonal skills will also come in handy in your communication with customers – from identifying a new need for a product feature to translating it in a technical business requirement in your teams. Empathy is your greatest asset here.

The Could Haves: What experience is useful to become a PM?

getting into management consulting

I have found that the breadth in experience my colleagues have, solidifies the fact that there is no clear route into Product Management. You can start in a specific role in the Tech sector, you can be in project management or you could be an engineer and realize that you would like to try Product Management. A common route is also that of a Business Analyst.

The Resources: How can you find out more about Product Management?

getting into management consulting

The advantage of Product Management being a fairly new field means that a lot of experts are offering definitions of the discipline, which is still being shaped. If you’re interested in finding out more about Product Management, this is my ultimate list:

  • If you like reading, Eric Ries The Lean Startup or his mentor’s Steve Blank’s The Four Steps to the Epiphany are a great starting point
  • If you really like reading, then you might find Facebook PM Simon Cross’s reading list the resource to upscale your knowledge significantly
  • If, like me, you have a fairly short attention span, then you may prefer podcasts or blogs, such as SVPG’s.
  • If you prefer newsletters that will come into your inbox once a week, great reads I enjoy are Ken Norton’s Bringing the Donuts, and Mind the Product.
  • Mind the Product also organizes events, there’s the conference, which comes at a price, but also free monthly events called Product Tank where they tackle different topics relating to Product Management – it’s a fantastic networking opportunity too, so sign up as soon as you can, as these events get booked up quickly.

The Perks: What’s so great about being a Product Manager?

getting into management consulting

What I love about being a Product Manager is the challenge of solving problems, of getting people rallied around a problem and of juggling multiple priorities. I get to interact with all parts of the business and it gives me a great insight into how the business is run. While not a creative role in the strictest sense, creativity is key when it comes to addressing challenges, often with limited resources.

 Chantal Foyer, Product Manager at Workshare

Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn

Do you have a career path worth sharing? Get in touch with us at suitsandbooks@gmail.com
 Suits and Books. Our Pleasure.

Why Busy isn’t the new Stupid

London folks, we don’t have it easy and we’re somehow proud of it. Within an environment, where a filled up social and work calendar is almost a social status on its own, you may ask yourself ‘Is this vanity, lack of focus or plain stupidity?’. Our view is it’s none of that.

Perhaps triggered by Ed Baldwin’s popular article suggesting that ‘Busy is the new Stupid’, our own hectic lives and the occasional comment of ‘But how do you manage it all?!’, we wanted to share our perspective on being busy, handling multitasking, finding focus and getting that satisfactory feeling of self-fulfillment at the end of the day.

The key to balance is in your pocket. Just unzip it.

The 50-hour work weeks, the early weekend brunches, the late networking sessions, the conflicting calendar entries, the late night gallery visits, the long commutes, the demanding clients, the demanding partners – may all sound way too familiar, but you must have that little smirk on your face, because you manage all that and so much more .

busy is the new stupid

If you spent as much time contemplating your life choices this January, as did the 41% of Americans who set a New Year resolution,  then certainly the thought of self improvement tricks, making your life more exciting, finding love or finally getting fit, crossed your mind (and the pages of your newly bought 2017 notebook).

While we don’t believe in the effectiveness of New Year resolutions, we are firm believers of goal setting and keeping track of our progress. As such, balance has been an absolute priority for the last year and humbly, we think we’re doing something right.

In a previous article exploring what is it like to work in management consulting, we highlighted that regardless how junior you’re in your career, having a say in your work routine is vital for progression, productivity and to be honest, sanity too.  Whether this is saying ‘no’ to work which will overstretch your capacity and make you sacrifice your weekend or being firm about taking enough holiday, training days or regular breaks, directing the balance in your work life is a prerequisite for finding balance elsewhere.

While some may find happiness in putting all their efforts into a single activity, we find self-fulfillment in everything from investing time in our hobbies, reading on the topics we’re passionate about, spending time amongst inspirational people, taking ‘me time’ to reflect, being focused at work and the impact we have.  Does this make us busy? Of course, but we choose what to be busy with.

Beat the comfort routine – make it happen.

We have all been guilty of procrastination whether it’s that side project you had in mind for over 15 months and never started,  the temporary exhibition you were meaning to visit or that conference you wanted to submit a paper to and just missed the deadline.

Blame it on comfort zone and inertia, there are still a number of solutions that can help you avoid the trap.  Here are our top 3 tips.

  • The calendar entry

You can never be too organised, someone important once said. Creating the tangible 2-hour slot entry to explore a topic in your diary or ‘booking’ a Saturday morning just for yourself with no distractions can make the difference between having a good idea and writing a business plan. Or finally booking that holiday in the Italian Riviera.

  • Being surrounded by people who ‘make it happen’

We recently went to a fantastic talk by Eileen Burbidge, a lady who not only is the UK FinTech ambassador,  but also a world-renowned venture capitalist, board member of 20 startups, a mother of 4 and overall, an inspiration for anyone who has questioned if you can have it all. While she felt strongly that the 50 – 50 work life split is never possible, she was a prominent example that making conscious choices how to structure your daily routine, makes a difference.

  • Hold yourself responsible

You would often expect a personal commitment from the colleague you work on a joint project with, so why would you treat yourself any different? Holding yourself to a higher standard is the best attitude you can project and you might even set an example for others to follow. It also helps getting shit done.

We all wear the hats of life and often switch between being good employees, husbands, daughters, friends, girlfriends, entrepreneurs, art lovers or avid travellers. It will be a pity to leave any hat behind.

busy is the new stupid

Be busy. Be stupid.

Suits and Books. Our pleasure.