[Chapter 3] Walkin’ with Joaquin: Consulting Life with Julia Toadere

Welcome to the third chapter of “Walkin with Joaquin” — a space where I deconstruct normal conversations into insights, lessons and advice that you could apply in your life! My guest works as a Consulting Associate at a Business Management Consulting company in Toronto. Why did I choose her? A little back story.

I recently tested the “consulting waters” in my career. My expertise lies on Marketing — how to build a brand, create powerful content, and strengthen visibility in the online world saturated with information. If you see my LinkedIn profile, my title is “Marketing Consultant”. I had to sit down and reflect: What does it really mean to be a Consultant? I could have easily typed this question in Google Search and be overwhelmed with articles — all with questionable credibility. I thought of connecting with someone who could help me answer this question.

I met Julia through Shapr – the free app for professional networking. Shapr introduces the most relevant nearby professionals who share your interests! In this case, I swiped right on Julia because I was interested on learning about her consulting career. With about three years of experience, she had some stories and advice that she was willing to share. I also kept things interesting by asking her about non-consulting questions.

Est-ce que tu parles Francais?
“I speak a little French . . and I also like K-Pop!” recounts Julia. I laughed a bit. Imagine someone wearing a business attire, working at a consulting company, and suddenly professes her love for Korean Pop?

Why did I ask her whether she speaks French? Before our meeting, I did a little research on her LinkedIn profile. She declared proficiency in 6 languages! Being a language geek, I started the conversation by asking about it.

I speak English and Romanian fluently. I am familiar with the other languages but not that comfortable using it with a native speaker.

She talked about some of her travels to different parts of the world. She highlighted her trip to Korea as her favorite.

A “Business Generalist” Path

“I studied a Business degree in university. It’s a general path. I had no clue what I wanted to do so I figured that it’s a safe path to fall back on. After I graduated, I still didn’t know what to do!”

This begs the question, “should I take a business degree to land a career in consulting?”. I added the question, “should I go back to school and study business?”. To the first question, she replied that there are people with diverse educational backgrounds who ended up in consulting and are thriving well. She answered the second question with a little hesitation. “Well, learning something always helps.”. The hesitation comes from the idea that it deepens the debt sinkhole once someone keeps on loaning money for education. “It really depends whether you can afford continuing education,” said Julia.

This isn’t for everybody
Julia goes on to share her experiences of working as a consultant. She mentions different terms, processes, projects, and experiences with clients. I honestly told her that I had no clue what she said for more than half of her monologue. She simplified it for me:

If you like solving problems, then this is a great place to work in. However, this is not for everybody. You have to be comfortable to change. Everyday, I come in with different things on my plate. It may be unpredictable, but I like it!

Fake people, anyone?
Julia recalled the application process at her current employment. It had the typical three-step process that usually began with a call and ended with a final conversation with the potential boss. I was intrigued with the last part of the interview process.

We went to a restaurant where we had a cocktail party with the current consultants of the company. It was interesting because all of my other competitors were there

I spent a few minutes asking about this process. Naturally, this is the part where someone wants to demonstrate professionalism and the desire to be with the company – even if it meant sacrificing your true personality.

Julia: “The company looks at our behavior. Do we put down the people who have a lower position than us? Sometimes, one can’t help but notice that some behaviors are . . [in silence] fake.
Joaquin: “There are also a lot of fake people online!”
Julia: “There are a lot of fake people in the world, too!” [laughs]

Thanks for your time, Julia! I hope you enjoyed the cookies!

On y va!!

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