You need to be proactive at PA
This article was first published in Graduateships
Joining a company with a networking culture can be terrifying when you are in your first full-time job after graduation. But it gives you great influence on your career as well as the chance to meet a lot of interesting and supportive people. That’s the experience of Iben Foldager who recently started at PA Consulting, an innovation and transformation consultancy.
How did you start at PA Consulting? Where did you first hear about it?
I read about the opportunity in an overview of graduate jobs. I was not that familiar with PA before, so that was when I started to look into the firm. I knew it by name, and I knew they focused on innovation, but I wasn’t sure what specific consultancy services and offers they had. After learning more about it in the graduate overview, I read about others who had joined PA and looked into their experience with the hiring process and entry position in general.
What attracted you to PA Consulting?
PA Consulting really is about the people. Everyone here is so welcoming, and you feel very much a part of the team from day one. The welcoming culture is especially nice when you are a new joiner and have your first full-time job.
With a tech background, I sought a consultancy house that has a tech, innovative, and agile perspective. PA Consulting is really proficient within these areas. If I wanted to develop my skills, it was important to join a company where that was the core of the company. Plus, with 5000 people globally and 200 in Denmark, PA is big enough to have great development opportunities.
What has surprised you the most about working at PA Consulting?
When I joined the company, PA’s networking culture really surprised me. In the hiring process, I heard they were keen on having internal coffee meetings with colleagues at all ranks, from other new joiners to partners. But I didn’t expect it to be that much of a part of the culture in PA. You have to have a really proactive mindset to make that work for you, but that’s also why they hire people that are very outgoing, seek opportunities, and do not expect them to get served to you.
In the beginning, that was a bit terrifying, reaching out and having coffee meetings with people you didn’t know, telling them why you are the best within your position and why they should choose you for a given project and introduce you to clients. But you get used to it so fast. PA’s networking culture is a very positive opportunity to both get to know your colleagues as well as influence your own career. You can inform others what you find interesting, how you see your future, and what your goals are. By engaging in this culture, PA people help each other reach their goals.
What has been your biggest challenge as a graduate?
On a more personal level, time management was a big challenge. People here in PA are ambitious, passionate, and very social, and there are so many great initiatives and social events, which I appreciate. But you have to manage how much you say yes to. At some point, you will have too much work and not enough time, and then you learn to say no. But it’s challenging – people, including myself, want to invest so much into PA and the social life, so you will end up disappointing someone if you don’t learn to say no.
How do you see your future with PA Consulting?
In PA, you have the flexibility to develop your career and seek the opportunities you find interesting. I have already experienced that I can contribute and be a part of areas that I find very interesting, for example sustainability, and I want to develop further, both professionally and personally.
Do you have any advice for other applicants?
What I really learned from the hiring process was that it was very much about being yourself. Many students now have great grades and great experience, which is also very important. But at PA it is at least as important who you are as a person.
I was very honest in my hiring process – actually, I thought afterwards that I was too honest. But I can confirm now, being a part of PA, that people are very unique and very much themselves. That’s why you feel like you are surrounded by friends when going to work.
And when you join PA, reach out to people. They expect you to do so. They want you to develop, seek opportunities and they want to know what your interests are, so they can support you.