We caught up with Katy Brown, a Senior Manager at boutique consultancy firm Alpha FMC, to discuss her career and what makes Alpha FMC stand out.
Please give us a brief overview of your role and how you got there.
I’m a Senior Manager at Alpha, having joined the firm in February 2012.
I moved to Alpha from a large professional services firm, where I was part of their graduate scheme. I’ve worked on three clients and multiple projects during my time at Alpha, starting with almost a year at a large investment management firm working on the implementation of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
I then worked with a Swiss private bank in Geneva, implementing OTC derivatives regulation for two years and most recently, in January 2015, I began working with an asset management start-up that launched last year.
"I’ve had the opportunity to focus on specialist areas but also gain a broad range of experience"
Working with a start-up of about 35 people, I’ve completed projects across various business lines, including a number of strategic initiatives. I’ve gained experience across multiple areas, including risk management, remuneration, governance, digital strategy, solution architecture and process re-engineering. I’ve had the opportunity to focus on specialist areas but also gain a broad range of experience.
What makes Alpha FMC different to some larger firms?
"We don’t have the concept of ‘time at grade’ so if people can demonstrate the skills and experience to progress, they can"
Alpha has an open, friendly and inclusive culture, as well as being very sociable. We are still at a size where you can know everyone in the firm and build strong working relationships across peer groups.
Another important point is that Alpha is a true meritocracy – we don’t have the concept of ‘time at grade’ so if people can demonstrate the skills and experience to progress, they can. That’s a great thing for graduates, their exceptional progression opportunities.
Our team is dedicated to working with the asset and wealth management industry but within that there is a wide range of capabilities and specialisms, so you can really build a diverse experience. You have the opportunity to shape your own career path, something I find very appealing.
We also have offices around the world which offer secondment opportunities – be it in London, New York, Paris, The Hague or Luxembourg.
What advice would you give to women applying to Alpha FMC?
"It’s important that you don’t let your gender dictate your choices...it’s all about whether you have the skills and experience to get the job done"
I wouldn’t give any specific advice to women applying. We do work in a male oriented industry, but if you have the right attributes to succeed then your sex shouldn’t make any difference.
It’s important that you don’t let your gender dictate your choices – I’ve never let it come into the equation for me. It’s all about whether you have the skills and experience to get the job done.
What do you enjoy most about your current role?
My current role is extremely varied. I work on a number of different projects, covering both strategy and implementation. I’m lucky that my current client is an innovative start-up - they are committed to building a transformational fund management business which means that we are often challenging the status quo and working at the cutting edge of the industry. It’s that challenge, diversity and flexibility that makes my role so exciting.
What challenges have you overcome in your career?
We are always learning and developing, encountering things that we may not have dealt with before. One of the great challenges with consulting is that you can be thrown in at the deep end and need to get up to speed as quickly as you can.
"When people bring problems and challenges, you have to work towards the solution"
You have to remain focused and calm and work from a solution and outcome focused viewpoint. When people bring problems and challenges, you have to work towards the solution.
At Alpha there's a support network around you to help with any challenges – including a buddy who will be a similar grade to you. You’ll also have a mentor who is usually a couple of grades your senior, as well as your project lead and a strong network of colleagues. It’s a great place to be and I’d highly recommend it as a place to launch your career.
To find out more about roles at Alpha FMC, please click here.