It was the 2nd of December and we all congregated in the Excelian kitchen. People were meeting for the first time, exchanging tales of where they had come from, some as far as New York and Toronto. Others were reacquainting after meeting at the various assessment days, and it was exciting to see who had made the final cut. For some of us, especially those who didn’t have a financial background, nervousness but also excitement were the order of the day.

We were taken to the London office which would become our classroom, social club and home for the next 8 weeks.  The first day consisted of introductions and presentations from many of the major stakeholders in the business. It was great to get to know everyone by name and face, and not just from a picture on the company intranet.

The following two weeks took us on a fast paced but thorough journey into Financial Markets, navigated by the excellent Chris Louch. Chris seemed to have worked on every trading desk in the world, retaining at least one fascinating tale from each. The straightforward teaching and storytelling approaches ensured that by the end of the course even those with no financial experience were pricing bonds, discussing the advantages and disadvantages of different commodities and understanding how an investment bank actually operates. The course was capped off with written and multiple choice tests, and everyone performed well, warranting a celebratory meal and a drink or two.

MTEK training courses on FO, GOM, Reporting and Workflows formed a large component of the programme, and were delivered by excellent in-house Excelian trainers. The modules helped give a more detailed overview of what happens in each section of a bank and how technology is utilized to serve the different areas. Additionally, the wide exposure to a range of Murex disciplines at such an early stage in our Excelian careers will prove invaluable when deciding the different areas we’d like to focus on.

So I can guess what you’re thinking, the whole course was based on complicated finance theory and technical skills? Well actually no. A large portion was focussed around soft skills, attributes that are often glossed over in other consultancy firms. Previously I had never considered my body language, irritators I used (“err, umm, you know”), being comfortable with silence or the manner in which I listen. Building rapport with colleagues and clients alike is such an important part of being a consultant and the lessons learnt during this course really helped reinforce that.

Overall the Consultant Academy has been an excellent experience where I have learnt about the financial sector as a whole, gained an in-depth knowledge of the company, and made some great friends. I feel like I’ve passed my theory and practical tests and now I’m ready to get out and really learn to drive. Hopefully my first client placement is just around the corner!