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What entry-level or junior consultants do at CPCS

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Thinking of becoming a business management consultant in the infrastructure sector? Here’s what to expect as a junior consultant at CPCS.

Profile in brief:

  • Job title: Junior Consultant
  • Education: Entry-level talent with a Master’s degree in economics, management, finance, law, data science, engineering, urban planning or other relevant disciplines
  • Years of experience: 1 to 3 years
  • Job summary: Contribute to business development activities, project execution and corporate development activities

What junior consultants do at CPCS 

Our junior consultants usually begin their career in our Young Professional Program (YPP).

This program, led by our Growth and Operations (GO) Unit, serves as an onboarding station where professionals are assigned to support local, national and international projects.

When joining our YPP, junior consultants learn the basics of the consulting process. This includes gaining familiarity with, and working on the following:

  • Expressions of interest (EOIs)
  • Requests for proposals (RFPs)
  • Project execution phases

These consultants also go through introductory courses and brown bag lunches focusing on our core sectors, which are transport, power and public-private partnerships.

Once they have grasped the fundamentals, junior consultants move on to support, coordinate and contribute to project work. They lay the groundwork while senior consultants and technical experts take the lead in client-facing duties and project management.

Junior consultants are responsible for:

  • Conducting research
  • Analyzing data and models to extract insights
  • Contributing to writing reports and presentations
  • Assisting other teams during peak periods

Junior consultants are given a variety of assignments to be exposed to different areas of our business. This helps them identify their strengths and interests.

Moving to a market or a technical team 

As junior consultants gain experience and learn the ins and outs of management consulting, they move to one of our geographic divisions or global units after a year.

A geographic division is a team that focuses on a specific market, such as Canada, U.S. and West Africa.

A global unit focuses on a technical sector. These are:

  • Transport
  • Power
  • Public-private partnerships
  • Infrastructure development
  • Analytics

Whether the junior consultant joins a geographic division or a global unit, they become a true subject-matter expert in their field. Given the nature of their work, outstanding junior consultants will have the following traits:

  • Depth-focused
  • Evidence-based
  • Excellence-driven
  • Pragmatic
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Respectful

These qualities form the essence of what it means to be a CPCSer

Words from our own junior consultants

We asked real junior consultants to tell you about their CPCS experience.

This is what they had to say.

Question: What’s the best part of working at CPCS?

One answer emerged repeatedly from our interviews: the people.

According to one junior consultant:

“I think the biggest factor to my success is my colleagues. As a new consultant still learning the ropes, having seasoned peers and caring mentors is the difference between sinking and swimming. Luckily, CPCSers have a contagious attitude that is warm and welcoming. It makes me want to do my best and bring my ‘A’ game every day.”

Another popular answer speaks to the variety of the work that they’re doing. A consultant said:

“I appreciate that there is no such thing as a ‘typical day’ at CPCS. One day, I could be working on a project in the aviation industry in Brazil. The next, I could be on a flight to Kenya. Who doesn’t like to do different work and have their wanderlust fulfilled?”

Question: What surprised you when you joined CPCS?

Junior consultants were pleasantly surprised about the real sense of belonging at CPCS. How the firm handled the COVID-19 pandemic was a major talking point among the interviewees.

As one consultant puts it:

“As you know, the pandemic had everybody on edge. After hearing that so many lost their jobs, I was prepared to accept the same fate. As a new hire, I felt especially vulnerable to layoffs.

Instead, the opposite happened. Senior management took the biggest pay cuts. Newcomers like me were mostly spared. By ‘sharing the burden,’ the company went through the toughest stretch of the pandemic without laying off a single employee.

When senior management carries the brunt of the financial burden, you know you’re in good company.”

Question: What’s the workplace culture like at CPCS?

Many junior consultants admitted that they were impressed by how CPCS effectively blends rigour with camaraderie. 

One of them pointed out that having some of the brightest engineers and economists under a single roof makes for high expectations at work. Yet, she was delighted to find a culture anchored on friendliness—even with high-achieving PhDs running around.

She credits the healthy work environment to team-building activities like pizza lunches, knowledge sharing sessions, after work events and virtual hangouts.

She admits having taken weekend hiking trips with colleagues working in the same city as her.

Advice to a consultant who’s starting out 

A few tips for success from our junior consultants:

A good attitude: Maintaining a positive attitude gives you the energy needed to tackle the numerous challenges in this line of work. Also, being enthusiastic is useful in the consulting world. Clients will be more drawn to you, and colleagues will be more willing to help you.

A great work ethic: It’s important for any job, and consulting is no exception. A consultant at any point will juggle multiple assignments—all with tight deadlines. Being focused helps you get the work done without feeling overwhelmed.

Be a team player: Consulting is a team sport. Regardless of your expertise, you’ll rarely encounter a project that you can take over by yourself. Impactful work is usually not that simple. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, but be ready to give it as well.

You may also like these stories from our interns:

Get discovered today!

We’re always looking for early-career professionals. To be considered for our Young Professionals Program, send your CV and cover letter to ypp@cpcs.ca

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