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Nous Group

  • 100 - 500 employees

Hamish Stein

The core skills in consulting are the ability to solve problems, convey information and most importantly interact with people.

What's your job about?

Nous is a management consulting organisation that delivers strategy and other advisory services in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

Nous has three broad practice offerings, Business and digital strategy, public policy and organisational performance and leadership. Technically I am a business and digital strategy consultant, but I’ve worked on projects in all three practices.

Management consulting is a famously murky industry and it can be hard to explain your job to your friends, however, there are really three main roles we fill:

  • Deliver additional capacity – clients may not have the people power to get a big task done and so they bring in Nous as additional experienced resources
  • Validating or disproving theories – executives may need a third party to test their ideas in before enacting a new strategy or business plan
  • Subject matter expertise – Nous has a long history of solving complex problems and can bring this experience to the assistance of clients.

On any given day I am likely working across multiple projects. Typically, this will mean check-in meetings first up, followed by a few hours making slide decks or processing data. On a busy day, the afternoon might see me help facilitate a strategy workshop hosted at Nous before dashing over to a client to present an update on our data model.

Working at Nous is fast-paced and certainly intellectually challenging, but I am gaining exposure to such a breadth of challenges and all with a sense of trust that affords me responsibility way beyond what I expected when I arrived as a grad.

What's your background?

I’ve taken a strange and winding pathway into a management consulting career. I grew up in Perth and in 2010 after finishing high school I made the decision to ‘head over east’ and study at the University of Melbourne. Lured by the generalist nature of ‘the Melbourne model’, I initially studied a Bachelor of Commerce and later returned to do a Masters of Science. In between, I dabbled in a wide range of different kinds of work and study.  

Between 2010 and 2017 I studied three degrees in two different disciplines and worked at different times as a dishwasher, investment banker, hockey coach, personal trainer, fieldwork assistant, garbage man, geophysicist and in charity-corporate partnerships.

By the end of 2017, I was finishing my masters and was looking for an entry role into a career in geology. I loved elements of science, especially the practical hands-on work and trying to solve complex problems. However, I always had a nagging thought that a career in science would lead to a high degree of specialisation and was concerned that I wanted to leave more doors open.

Enter consulting. I didn’t really know what consulting was and so hadn’t considered it an option. Encouraged by a mentor I started to investigate the options and found the breadth of work to be a major appeal.

I wasn’t sure my background would get me a foot in the door in the industry. I remember going in for an interview at Nous and thinking nervously that there was no way they would hire someone with a geology degree to work on public policy problems. As it turns out Nous does work in a wide range of sectors and they actively seek out consultants with a wide range of backgrounds.

So this year I’ve started out as a management consultant. There are a few less field trips than I would have liked but I’m glad I’ve ended up here and am looking forward to year two.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Absolutely. I have a non-traditional degree for this industry as do many others at Nous Group. The core skills in consulting are the ability to solve problems, convey information and most importantly interact with people. Anyone who can bring these skills can make a good consultant.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

The thing that I love most about my job is the variety. Working across multiple projects in different sectors gives me a broad exposure not only to different organisations but also to different colleagues within Nous.

What are the limitations of your job?

Consulting can be hard work. We always strive to deliver value to our clients, which can sometimes mean late nights or weekend work, often under high stress.

Nous has a great culture for supporting everyone when they are working hard, including flexi-work arrangements, offering time-in-lieu and an established support network of coaches and mentors for every consultant. However, that doesn’t make it any more fun when if you find yourself working on a Sunday.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  • Don’t rush. Your career might last 70 years, your degree could be as short as three. You really aren’t disadvantaging yourself by taking a gap year or underloading at uni.
  • Make some new friends at uni. Moving over from Perth forced me to meet new people, these are now some of my closest friends.
  • Do more than study. There’s so much out there, do a bit of it all. Not only is it fun but you can justify it all by saying it looks good on a resume.