We often base our career paths on the skills, passions and interests that resonate with us. For Hallie Pedersen, company culture was a determining factor that also belonged on this list. In fact, it was the culture of community at West Monroe Partners that convinced her to consider a career in consulting in the first place.
Now, Pedersen is a Consultant in Data Engineering and Analytics (DEA) and says she’s “excited about the variety of experiences” that West Monroe has to offer. DEA training, communication skill building and team-bonding dinners are just a few examples of the learning opportunities and support she’s received since joining the company in 2018.
Recently, Pedersen shared with us some of the perks of this culture and the most appealing aspects of her role, as well as what exactly made her transition to West Monroe so smooth.
How long have you been with your company? What about it made you first want to join?
I’ve been with West Monroe as a full-time employee since August 2018, though I also interned here in the summer of 2014. While in school, I didn’t know much about consulting in general, so West Monroe was never really on my radar. However, they caught my eye at a career fair, as they seemed like one of the only companies with employees who appeared to enjoy each other’s company. I ended up striking up a conversation with them and learned all about the variety of projects they’d d been on and how well their DEA role seemed to fit with what I was interested in.
Tell me a bit about your current role. What are your priorities?
My role in DEA leads me to different tasks all the time. I’m currently on a project where I get to design helpful reports and visuals from client data that my team and I compiled. This will enable them to see greater insights than they did before. Change is always difficult, and with visuals we really want to try and make them as useful as possible, so my current priority is creating a story with the data, as well as working with the client to make sure that the report solves their needs and will actually be used.
What were the three most appealing aspects of this job/your company that led you to apply?
West Monroe appealed to me for three main reasons —the first being that the work seemed challenging and rewarding. I talked with people from West Monroe throughout the process and they mentioned projects that allowed them to grow in many different areas. Secondly, but in the same vein, the projects at West Monroe seemed to cover a vast array of specialties, industries and locations, and I was excited about the variety of experiences. Finally, West Monroe appealed to me because everyone who works there knows how to have fun, and the number of great events they had ensured that I’d never be bored at work!
How did the hiring/interview process stand out to you as being a positive experience?
The interview process stood out to me because I got to meet quite a few people during that time, and everyone made sure that any questions I had were answered. When I did get my offer, one of my favorite things was that West Monroe employees emailed me with congratulations, making sure I knew I was wanted and that I would be appreciated here.
Tell me a bit about your first day (or week). What kinds of things (whether formal onboarding programs or casual interactions) made you feel comfortable?
When starting at West Monroe I went through three weeks of training. I spent the first week with everyone who joined at the same time, and the second and third being with my practice specifically. The first week enabled me to meet many people which helped me build relationships across West Monroe. The practice-specific onboarding was incredibly useful because it ensured that I would not be thrown into my first project without understanding more about DEA at West Monroe specifically. It also enabled me to meet many people from my practice who I could build relationships with.
Starting a new job can be overwhelming. What have you done or who have you gone to when you’ve had questions or needed help?
My career advisor has been incredibly helpful since I got started at West Monroe. He consistently makes sure that my projects are going well, and if I need help he’s always there to point me in the right direction. Additionally, every project manager that I’ve had has been invested in my success, providing advice and guidance when requested. Even my project team members, no matter their level or role, have provided assistance when they’re able to — not just with work, but with travel tips and the like.
What’s your favorite aspect of your company’s culture and/or your favorite company perk?
My favorite aspect of West Monroe’s company culture is the fact that cultivating a healthy community is heavily emphasized. While traveling to client sites throughout the week, it is not uncommon to have team dinners. We also hang out at the airport together when there are delays. In general, there are a ton of events put on by West Monroe to make sure that the community continues to grow, and that everyone with any interest outside of client work can find someone else with that same interest. “Fun” is one of the words that West Monroe was founded on, and it shows!
What’s something you think most people (perhaps even current employees) don’t know about your company that you think they should?
The technology practice instituted a majors/minors program, where we are able to choose very specific technological areas of expertise that we want to focus on, in order to learn new things in these areas and apply them to future client work.
What was the best quality of the best boss you’ve ever had?
At West Monroe, I’ve had quite a few project managers already, each with their own great skills that they’ve imparted on me. However, all of them have shared one notable quality — great communication skills. They focus on clearly communicating the goals and objectives that we’re trying to accomplish to the client, and they’re always willing to listen to my questions and concerns. They want to know the good and the bad and will communicate that back as well.
What’s the most memorable piece of career advice you’ve received?
I recently heard some great advice regarding work-life balance, and how those two things should not be separate. Work goals should intertwine with life goals, and vice versa. There doesn’t need to be a divide between these two things, but rather it is better to take passions from your life and be able to merge them with work.
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