Starting a new job is an exciting yet nerve-wracking thing to go through. I joined Capgemini as a campus hire eager to attend training in Atlanta and India to further build my general and technical skills, and to get certified in SAP Human Capital Management (SAP HCM). However, I was also nervous because there were so many unknowns: which project will I get staffed on? What exactly will I be doing? What if I get sick of traveling? The frustratingly consistent answer of ‘it depends’ to my various questions was obviously super helpful, but over these past two years I have been with Capgemini, I found that embracing ‘it depends’ instead of resisting it is what made my experience at Capgemini so exciting and rewarding.
After OnBoarding and training, I was immediately staffed on a global SAP HCM implementation project on the Performance Management Team. I was fortunate to participate on the project through nearly its entire lifecycle, from Blueprint all the way to Go-Live (currently in the Support phase). As for my day-to-day activities, it truly depends on the phase and needs of the project, and I found myself working on a variety of activities. Typically my mornings are early, hectic, and packed with back-to-back conference calls and screen share sessions because my clients are in the UK, France, and India and my developers are in India. As a functional consultant, I loved the fast pace and shifting nature of the work; in particular I really enjoyed configuration and testing. I like building (and breaking!) things, so being able to translate business requirements into products/tools and seeing them take life in the hands of the end user is really cool. I realized the importance of having ownership of deliverables at an early stage, as it pushed me to quickly learn and digest and eventually gave me the knowledge to lead development and test cycles. The best part is that I have an amazing team who always takes the time to not only explain the details, but also show me integration points from the big picture. Everyone is invested in each other’s growth and is willing to teach and learn. More than once, even though I do not write code on this project but was curious, my more technical teammates took the time to walk me through debugging sessions and explain to me where the logic in the code failed and what needed to be done to fix it.
In terms of travel, I knew that ‘it depends’ but I was prepared and fully expecting to be traveling Mondays through Thursdays on a weekly basis and was actually looking forward to it. As luck would have it, my project is based in Chicago and I am local to Chicago. If you find yourself in the same position, don’t worry, because there is plenty you can do with the time not spent on traveling. I used the time to branch out and meet other people in the Chicago office and get involved with local office activities like campus recruitment and pro bono consulting initiatives. I also got involved with Women LEAD and connected with members of this employee resource group (ERG). Being home on weekday nights also meant that I could explore more of Chicago, hang out with my friends after work (and not have to cram my social life into the weekend), and not feel like my rent money was going to waste. I ended up loving being local, but that’s not to say I didn’t get my fair share of travel. While I did not travel Mondays through Thursdays, I was very lucky to have the opportunity to travel internationally for a couple of weeks. I was in Kolkata (India) for 2 weeks to train users on the Global Performance Management system and in Paris (France) and Woking (UK) for 4 weeks to lead testing on a major interface. It was awesome to experience the truly global nature of the project and meet Capgemini colleagues internationally.
That is when I realized the beauty of the phrase ‘it depends’: it allows everyone to have such diverse experiences that we can learn from each other. So while your experience at first may not seem aligned with what you initially expected, it works itself out and sometimes for the better. Unknowns can be exciting as long as you keep an open mind and tackle things proactively. I hope my story can give some insight on what a consultant’s day to day life could be like, but as you know, it ‘varies.’