Michal Wichowski

Company: Strategy& Poland (part of the PwC Network)

Role: Senior Associate

How has your career developed since graduating?

In 2016 I graduated UEA with BSc in Politics & Economics and joined PwC Poland as an intern. After completing my post-graduate study at the University of Nottingham I returned to PwC and have worked there ever since. I am now a Senior Associate in Strategy& (Strategy Consulting Brand within the PwC Network) and am likely to become a manager this year. I currently manage my own strategy projects for clients all over Central & Eastern Europe and manage teams of 3-6 people.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your current role?

The development opportunities: the fast pace of projects, wide diversity of industries, clients & problems, and lots of responsibilities from day one enables strategy consultants to very quickly gain business acumen. This allows you to become a great partner for discussion in any business context, and therefore helps accelerate your career in business.

What is your greatest work achievement since graduating?

Successfully completing my first project as an engagement leader where my team & I helped a client develop a comprehensive strategy for developing an e-commerce marketplace. Despite limited management experience, I was able to deliver the project on time, in budget, and positive sentiment from both my junior team members & the client. In the process develop great relationship with the client enabling future opportunities for the client & my company.

What advice would you offer to current students interested in working in your field?

If you want to land a job in Strategy Consulting, you will have to: 

  1. While at Uni - take advantage of the great selection of societies to find one you are interested in and become a proactive member of that society - on most of my job interviews I spoke about my experiences as President of UEA Model UN Society - they showed that I was self-motivated, able to lead teams, and solve problems - 3 super important traits that recruiters are looking for.
  2. Start preparing for "case interviews" as soon as possible - see resources online for this like Caseinterview.com or Firm Learning on YouTube => this will help increase your chances of getting in and also it will pay dividends once you get in. It might seem daunting so don't get discouraged. Fresh graduates are not expected to "Ace" these interviews but rather demonstrate that you can organize your argument in a clear & articulate manner, that you can think on your feet and that you are good with numbers.

Once you land your job:

  1. Develop your skills - Use online resources to quickly grasp concepts like how to make great PowerPoint slides, how to make excel models, and how to solve consulting problems - again I would recommend the Firm Learning YouTube channel
  2. Be proactive - really show that you OWN the topics you are assigned, try to figure out as much as you can on your own but also don't be afraid to ask your manager for help. Show that you can get things done. The more independent you are, the more managers will want to work with you, the better the learning opportunities you will get 

Strategy Consulting is probably one of the best ways to quickly build a career in business, but it is a highly competitive & can at times be very stressful.

What do you think are the most important things you learnt as part of your course?

  • Critical thinking skills - super important in consulting
  • Ability present an argument effectively & other public speaking skills
  • Ability to understand markets (supply, demand, macroeconomics)
  • Quantitative analysis skills from subjects like Applied Data Analysis or Econometrics
  • Ability to structure my thoughts in written form (writing essays)
  • Self-discipline (especially time management)

Which skills do you think will be necessary now and in 5 years to succeed in your field?

Now:

  1. Quantitative & Qualitative analysis skills
  2. Communication skills
  3. Problem solving skills
  4. Excellence in PPT & Excel
  5. Leadership skills

In 5 Years:

All the above, but increasingly 1) digital skills (ability to use R, SQL, Tableau, Python), 2) communicating with IT professionals (in business jargon: "the ability to align digital capabilities with business needs"), and 3) knowledge of ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance)

How do you think studying Economics at UEA as helped you in your career?

My time at UEA helped me become a more articulate, confident & self-disciplined person, and my Politics & Economics course helped me gain most of the soft skills that are required to succeed in consulting, even if the subject area is slightly different

What is your favourite memory from studying in ECO?

The great energy & enthusiasm of all the ECO lecturers, but especially how Fabio pivoted from Macroeconomic theory to ranting about how economic authorities like central banks were screwing everything up (primarily in the context of the 2008 financial crisis, Greek sovereign debt crisis & austerity measures). I now realize that most my friends from other universities hated macro but at UEA is was a lot of fun.