A Job with Room to Grow

Working for a small consulting firm gives Kelsey Leigh Kitsch more opportunities to think outside the box

Since July, 2004, I've been reporting to the president and founder of Ivey Business Consulting Group. (The founder is an Ivey MBA from 2001.) Our 12-person company works with about eight clients at a time in the Toronto area. We specialize in startup and tactical consulting.

My job is to make sure we provide the kind of detailed insight I would feel comfortable with were I launching a business or entering a new market on my own. I love the hard and soft skills this job requires, and a real bonus is flexibility. I tend to work 60 hours per week, but I've always had control over when and where I do that work. Compared with some of my classmates who are working 80-hour weeks and traveling four to five days a week, I've got it good.

When I take the lead of a project -- I'm usually working on three projects at a time -- around two internal analysts join my team. They report to me, but we all -- including the founder -- work as equals unless something requires us to put our management hats on.


7:10 a.m. -- Still sipping my Starbucks coffee, I park the car and say hello to the garage attendant, who wishes me a good day on the markets. He thinks I work in finance.

7:15 a.m. -- The rest of the building is quiet this early, so I press speakerphone to hear messages left by clients and colleagues, read e-mails, and open my project schedules to see what work awaits. Right now, I have three projects at different stages. One is just starting, so I need to clarify deliverables and scope. The second is at the information-gathering phase. The third is near wrap-up, so I need to confirm some numbers and get approval to list them as information contacts for the client going forward. At a small firm like ours, it's important to stay on top of communication and manage projects diligently.

7:45 a.m. -- We do a lot of work for small- and medium-sized clients, as well as business units within larger companies. They tend to need us to get in the trenches to dig for insights they've missed. Laying out my game plan is my favorite part of the day.

8:00 a.m. -- Send e-mails and talk on the phone for the next couple of hours. Roll up my sleeves and get at the juicy information for our clients.

10:00 a.m. -- At the team meeting, we give brief updates of where our projects are and what kind of resources we may require. It's a good session for brainstorming and brain dumping.

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