Inside the Consulting Industry: Interview With Pamela Duncan on Her Role at Capgemeni Consulting

1) Hi Pam, can you tell us a little about yourself? (major at Colgate, what you were involved in while at school, where you are now)

I graduated from Colgate in 2014, where I majored in Political Science and minored in Economics (though I considered myself to be an unofficial Art History major). At Colgate, I was a Link, a Career Services Intern, an Admissions Tour Guide, in Gamma Phi Beta (House Manager), the VP of Panhellenic Recruitment, an SGA Senator, and lover of brown bags.

After graduation, I moved to New York City’s Upper West Side and returned to the Special Programming and Events team at The Museum of Modern Art, where I had interned the summer before. In March 2016, I joined Capgemini Consulting (CC) as a Consultant and am now living in beautiful Brooklyn Heights.

2) How did you go about looking for a career and land the job you’re at today?

Tons of networking. I am certain that I would not have landed this job had it not been for my connections (both Colgate and otherwise). I kept a detailed spreadsheet to track everyone who I was speaking with across several firms, so that I could be sure to send thank yous and to stay clear on the advice that each person gave me.

Speaking of thank you notes… remember to send them. I speak with a lot of Colgate students who are interested in consulting, and I love doing it. There are students who write me a thank you email and stay in touch, and those who do not. I remember (fondly) the people who say thank you. I also remember who has not said thank you. It is so simple, and it goes such a long way.

3) Can you elaborate on your daily operations? What do you think is unique about Capgemini or your position there as a Consultant?

Just like many consultants, I am staffed on a new project every few months – new client, new industry, new city, new team, new hotel… new everything. As a result, there is nothing “daily” about what I do, which is exciting and exhausting. Exciting because there is always the thrill that comes with novelty. Exhausting because I am rarely in my Comfort Zone, since everything is always new. The lovely thing about operating in your Stretch Zone, just outside of your Comfort Zone, is that it is there that learning and growth happens.

Back in May, I was based on a project in Houston. One week, the client needed someone to lead a series of workshops in another city, and my project manager decided that I should be the one to go. As a result, I flew to another city and led the all-day workshop sessions for 20 people at a time. Before that project started, leading a client workshop was definitely in my Stretch Zone as a Consultant in her first year of consulting. But being given this opportunity has expanded my Comfort Zone and has helped me grow. And that is pretty cool.

Because of the rotating, project-based nature of the industry, consulting provides ample opportunities to operate in your Stretch Zone… and therefore ample opportunities to expand your Comfort Zone.

4) Do you have any plugs on Capgemini for our members of Colgate Women in Business? What kind of people do you think would thrive in such an environment? 

I have been with CC for 18 months now, which I cannot believe; the time has absolutely flown. Time flies when you’re having fun, right? Here are some of the things that I love most about CC:

  1. We operate as a fairly flat organization. I am a Consultant, which is the most entry-level position. When I offer my thoughts to a VP, I feel like my opinion is valued just as much as anyone else’s. I have found that at CC, ideas matter much more than your title does.
  2. We are integrating with Fahrenheit 212(F212), an innovation firm based in New York and London. CC acquired F212 in early 2016, and we are in the process of bringing together our unique offerings. In fact, we just moved into a hip new office together in Union Square this summer. CC has adopted some of F212’s practices, like giving each consultant a Personal Enrichment Credit every year; the Enrichment Credit is a lump sum that each person can spend on any class that expands her mind (think improve class, woodworking, golf lessons, etc.). I used my credit to take an intermediate Spanish class at Idlewild Books in the West Village; it was really fun to go back into student mode for a few hours each week.
  3. The people are unbelievably kind. I did not appreciate how much this would matter until I messed up… and then I understood. Instead of placing blame or blowing up, my incredibly generous colleagues first comforted me and then worked with me to create an action plan to resolve the issue. The people at CC lead with love. And when you’re traveling with these people Monday– Thursdayand working late nights with them, love is a critical piece of the puzzle.

5) What do you think were the most helpful resources while interviewing for jobs/internships? (either Colgate or non-Colgate is fine)

I was very lucky to have a great mentor, who is a family friend and Colgate alumna. She is essentially who I want to be, and I value her opinion immensely. I leaned on her heavily for her (very frank) advice, insight, and pep talks. It is very special if you find someone you both admire and click with; when that happens, don’t take it for granted.

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