I threw my hands up for the nth time and asked my dad- ‘Why would an introvert like me be assigned to consulting?’. Ever so wisely, with his seasoned calm, my dad replied, “Always be open to new experiences. Don’t enter a new phase in life with a closed mind.’
And the CCAP program has been just that. A completely new experience in terms of the job, the people, and learning itself.
Firstly, consulting is hardly what it is made out to be in popular culture/ literature. A stereotypical consultant is definitely not a power-crazed, testosterone- charged fast-talker who is constantly taking clients out to three-martini lunches. Rather, the consultants in my team are fast-thinkers who spot logical inconsistencies and gaps in information within a fraction of a second. They are methodical, and pull insights from seemingly dull, voluminous data in a jiffy. And all those reports with those neatly-organized SmartArts and graphs- a consultant’s got to figure out how to present all the information and forecast such that even an industry-noob will be able to grasp the idea and base his decisions on. And if that’s not all, every consultant on the team remains keenly on the lookout for new opportunities for the team. And sometimes the nature of assignments leave all the team-members completely stupefied, because nobody has worked on anything remotely similar before, but only for a little while before they get down to figuring out the approach and methodology before taking on the project in full-force. I had an adrenaline rush just writing that out, so you can imagine being involved in those tasks in person!
Secondly, CRISIL lays a lot of emphasis on being a learning organization. Working on a team where it is quintessential to constantly keep oneself updated with the latest changes in the law of the land, business ventures, and analytical techniques, keeps you on your intellectual toes, and I believe that there no other way for a 20-year-old to be. The knowledge-sharing approach to teamwork shoos away all those butterflies in a fresher’s stomach. There is no fear of seeming silly, and questions are encouraged as against jumbled-up outcomes that don’t meet expectations. This culture has helped me drag myself out of the comfort-zone of reading and figuring things out by myself (I am an introvert, remember?), and asking people for clarifications, and explanations on various topics.
Lastly, the learning. My team-members frequently ask me about what is being covered during my classes. As soon as I list out a few of them, they jump at the opportunity of presenting me with a task that directly applies this theoretical knowledge. Without this practice, I would be riding out the CCAP without any value-addition.
As a special mention, let’s not forget the friends I have made here. It can be comfortable to fall into this work and study rut. There is always an upcoming deadline for a report, or a presentation for which you will need to read-up, but my friends simply won’t take ‘no’ or a no-seeming ‘maybe’ for an answer. Having that group of 20-somethings who are in the same boat as you are, definitely serves the cake and the icing too.
Despite the various options I had after graduating from college, I do not regret moving out to a new city to start on CCAP. It has helped me hone a perception about the world at large that has helped me striving for more, while retaining my sense of wonder in life and all things new.