Updating Results

Nous Group

  • 100 - 500 employees

Syra Khan

I think the important thing about being here is to accept that you won't know the ‘tricks’ of the consulting trade until you keep at it.

What's your job about?

Nous works with the public, private and not for profit sectors to provide thoughtful and innovative solutions to complex problems.

Tell us details about YOUR daily work and your specific tasks

The average full-time consultant is across three projects. On a given week, I have worked on economic modelling, organisational culture and the role of GPs in the context of people experiencing work incapacity – none of the subjects seem related, but you’d be surprised to know what you learn and carry forward with each project.

What's your background?

I grew up in Pakistan and when I finished high school I moved to Australia to do my undergraduate degree at the University of Sydney. I completed a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Political Economy and International Relations. I would say choosing my majors was a big step. Political economy sparked my interest in economic history and international development – both of which still play a part in my life today. I worked at the Asian Development Bank office in Sydney for about a year and a half on International Development projects in the Pacific before I moved to Canberra to do my Masters

I moved to Canberra in 2017 to start a Masters in Economic Policy from ANU – I decided to take a break from full-time work and do some consultancy on the side when I studied. I continued working for ADB, and also worked with a consultancy called Equity Economics. I started an internship with Nous in March in 2018, became a consultant in June and never left!

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes – I think Nous is great because it attracts people with diverse backgrounds – professional and academic. I think the important thing about being here is to accept that you won't know the ‘tricks’ of the consulting trade until you keep at it. No one comes in on their first day knowing exactly what needs to be done – you just have to be interested enough in the problem that you can think of innovative solutions to.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

I enjoy travelling with Nous. I have been to Melbourne and Sydney a fair few times before I joined, and I might be going to Darwin this week! Which is great.

The mix of clients that Nous works with (Public sector, private sector and not-for-profit) means the work is varied. The constant change and new projects to work on keeps your mind ticking, which I also enjoy.

What are the limitations of your job?

It’s not a cushy job. I don’t think I would be happy if it was cushy though – it requires your attention and your focus, which can sometimes involve long hours. The life cycle of projects varies – sometimes you have a lot of time to plan, but sometimes a client wants something ASAP. It can be stressful, but there is definitely a sense of achievement when everything goes according to plan.

The amount of responsibility you bear at Nous is really up to you – grad consultants get time to go to induction, settle in and really get the lay of the land before being thrown into having full responsibility. But, if you think you bring previous project management experience to the table, Nous will usually be more than happy to put it to good use as soon as you feel comfortable.

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

  • Be confident in what you are working towards: you should look at your degree as a stepping stone to where you want to be 20 years.
  • Be kind to yourself: grad jobs are hard – there are so many applicants and not enough positions – this is in no way a reflection of your self-worth.
  • Keep at it: don’t give up on what you want to do. It can take some time, it can be hard, but you’ll have the a-ha moment one day when you realise you are slowly but surely ticking off your life goals.