I am Ioanna, I am thirty years old. I was born and raised in Athens. I loved Economics so I decided to do my
undergraduate studies in Economics in Panteion University in Athens. I
graduated in 2005 and I decided to take it a step further, so I went to Warwick University to do a Master’s degree,
again in Economics. Once I graduated from Warwick, I decided to, I was offered, actually, a scholarship to do an MBA in ALBA Graduate Business School. I took
this opportunity and graduated from my MBA studies in 2008. I was recruited then in Ernst & Young, where I joined the
Financial Services team in Consulting. I stayed there for a year and then I moved to PwC, again in the
Financial services Consulting team. The good thing about my work is that there is no ordinary or typical day.
However, I have to carry out some typical tasks, starting my day, like checking my e-mails and checking whether there are urgent requests that I have to respond
to. But usually I start my day by doing my to-do list, which usually
includes a series of meetings, both internal and external and
of course the actual work I need to do to deliver to the client what he requested. However, because we are working at the same
time in many projects and with many clients,
many things pop up, many things that are different, many things that require my attention and usually most of the times I end up deviating from my to-do list. I am required to stay long many days, in order to deliver the best result to my client.
So, there is no typical and ordinary but still, you have to manage to have a
structured approach towards all the requests you recieve. The exciting part about my work is the variety it offers in all fronts. I work in an agile environment, usually restless, stemming from the fact
that I have to work in many projects and with many different people at the same
time. As my company has clients from all the sectors in Greece, both greek
companies and international companies. This means that I get to meet a lot of new people everyday. Each one of them exposes the team and myself included, to new challenges
and new requests. We are usually asked to perform all tasks in a different way, which means that we
have to reinvent ourselves every time and find ways to do things differently. Finally,
the the greatest part and the most
challenging is that we have to ensure as a company, and as consultants of course, that we are aware of the latest changes and updates in the markets we serve, which
means that for me in particular, I have to be
updated with all the changes and all the regulatory events that happen in the financial
services landscape. Finally, what we are asked to do, is to explore
new opportunities, meaning that we consistently need to
find ways to serve our clients better, solve their problems, solve even problems that they have not
understood yet, that they would have or they will face in the future and this makes our daily job even more exciting and I
would dare to say innovative. The advice I would give to my twenty-years old self would be first of all,
study what you would really enjoy spending time on. Set the target to yourself to become the
best you can and not the average person in your field. Exploit all opportunities that come along
your way and this starts at high school. Do not wait to get in the university to start
thinking about your future. Choose good universities, invest in your
education, make the best out of the universities you enroll to, try to acquire knowledge, build your network and take advantage of any other
opportunity offered to you. And finally, dare to change. Don’t be
afraid of change because change is the basis of evolution and evolution is the basis to survive. What keeps me motivated is a good working environment and nice colleagues, interesting people sharing the same view with me, working towards the same
targets and of course exciting projects, learning every day new things and performing well. However, I had a face to face chat with the manager one day and he told me, “Ioanna don’t expect anyone or any external
factors to keep you motivated, you have to do all
the work yourself.” Which is quite interesting as an approach, and it’s of
course true. Because we live in such conditions the last years especially in Greece, where
we have to face so many different and changing, fast changing events and it’s true, we cannot depend on external things to be motivated. So my
advice would be that you have to do it yourselves. It’s like
the Olympic motto “Higher, faster and stronger”. You have to always
push yourself further, finding new ways
to do things and have a question in mind,
which is “Okay, what I’m doing must be done better”. So this is the basis of motivation and improvement. The attributes that a PwC candidate should have, is of course
first of all, a sound academic background. Many people tend to neglect the importance of a good CV, but it does give a
lot of indication about your career aspiration, your character and your approach in life. As for a PwC candidate in the consulting field in
specific, you have to be an adaptive person. We usually work for many projects with many
different people. Projects are fast-changing so you have to be able to handle changes well. You have to be able to work out of your office, in the client’s premises and this is a very important skill.
Second, you have to have a good communication skills. Communication is the cornerstone for a
successful project. Communication can be either internally or externally. You have to do it well, it might save you from extreme circumstances, or even save a project that does not go very well. And finally you need to love to study. This is because a consultant always needs to be some
steps ahead of the client. No client ever will
offer you a project if he’s not sure that you are aware of what you are required to do and you are
not going to offer him an added value. Always ensure that you are better informed and ahead of your clients needs and
of course knowledge As a final point, I would like to share one of my favorite quotes by Gandhi, which is “The future
depends on what you do today.” What he wants to say is that your decisions today will shape what you will face in the future. So take the good decisions today and the
future will be somehow, as you have planned to
be.