We’re celebrating Vikram Mehta’s recent nine-year anniversary with 8020 Consulting! In this interview, Vikram reflects on what he likes most about his work, looks back on past projects, explores how he’s grown as a Consultant and revisits memorable experiences with Clients.
1. What do you enjoy most about your work these days?
I enjoy the variety that my projects give me. I gain a lot of in-depth perspective from experiences that are spread across company sizes and industries. For example, I might go from working on Box Office projections for a Fortune 100 Entertainment company to managing the Supply Chain for the largest hair extension company in the US!
A full-time role typically does not offer that level of variety across industries. Nor does it offer what I consider the most rewarding aspect of consulting: the breadth of people you get to work with. Engaging with professionals across the spectrum – of industry, experience level, cultural backgrounds – is a truly wonderful part of the work. That type of diversity is also invaluable in terms of enriching a Consultant’s perspective.
I’ve formed relationships that have lasted well beyond the completion of projects. That has been a wonderful and unexpected benefit of this job.
2. Does any particular project you’ve worked on as an 8020 Consultant hold a place in your memory?
A recent project comes to mind, in which the Client had AR challenges related to processes, data integrity and systems. It was extremely gratifying to build out the functional framework with the Client team, learn about their business and contribute using my related experiences.
This project tends to stand out as the team rebuilt a fully functioning and highly successful AR function, from the ground up. We mapped out existing system architecture while designing the ideal system solution. We were able to incorporate existing processes into the system framework and make changes to processes as needed. It was a truly collaborative experience: I relied heavily on the Client team to slot existing and future hires into the processes, and their input was invaluable.
3. How do you think you and your skills have grown over the last 9 years?
Over the last 9 years, I’ve sharpened my overall skill set as a Consultant. I’m able to assess issues at hand more quickly, identify critical unanswered questions, prioritize the tasks involved in addressing the respective issues and work with Client teams to implement solutions.
An example of that is a recent project where the initial, stated scope was centered on a sales performance issue. After reviewing the sales KPIs and meeting with key management, I felt the issue did not seem to be performance related. Based on past experience with the financial reporting software being used, I decided to review its functionality. The issue turned out to be system related as opposed to a performance one.
They may seem similar at first glance, but every project has its own unique fingerprint. There is no playbook.
4. Can you put your finger on any differences between how you’d approach past projects now? What do you think contributes to those differences?
Today, I tend to conduct deep dives with every resource connected to my project as opposed to liaising mostly with what you could call the core Client team. I realized soon into my consulting career that it’s not realistic to assume a single person or team in an organization is the bearer of all relevant knowledge.
For example, I worked with a leading publishing company on an Inventory Management project. The Client’s management team identified a specific internal team as the sole source of knowledge for the project. Based on my experience, I realized that interviewing the warehouse staff would reveal finer details. The warehouse staff opened my (and their management’s) eyes as they shared several operational challenges and out-of-the-box solutions they were using to address those challenges. We incorporated those temporary solutions into the enterprise software, and it took system efficiency even higher!
5. What advice would you give a new hire at 8020 Consulting?
The only constant in a Consultant’s life is change. You must be open to changing markets, technology and the range of Clients and industries to which you’ll be deployed. That openness to change will allow you to adapt to your environment, which will make you a stronger Consultant.
In my opinion, a Consultant’s core value stems from their knowing how to learn. Good Consultants are always in learning mode while concurrently dispensing value. They need the ability and experience to ask the pertinent questions while filtering out unnecessary white noise and red herrings, whether they be irrelevant processes and data or internal politics.
6. What has been the most unexpectedly rewarding part of your career path?
The enduring Client relationships have been the unforeseen upside of my consulting career. I have forged relationships that transcended the confines of the project deliverables.
For example, my current dentist is a referral from a past Client, and I have a regular golf game with three past Clients. It is enriching to meet my past Clients and discuss our experiences in a non-work environment. Sometimes, you can learn more outside a boardroom than inside!
7. What about consulting work still drives you? Is that different from what drove you at the onset?
I became a Consultant hoping that the ever-changing clientele and projects would be in line with my work goals. But I didn’t realize what the job would entail till I experienced it.
Consulting has given me the opportunity to provide critical solutions on an ongoing basis. It is extremely gratifying knowing that I make a tangible difference in every project. I find the unique challenges of every project addictive, and the uniqueness of every project is what propels me forward. Variety is truly the spice of my work life!
8. Is there anyone you’d like to thank or acknowledge?
I appreciate 8020’s management team for recognizing and harnessing my potential. Additionally, engaging with my peers and Clients has made my career at 8020 extremely rewarding.
9. What are you most excited about currently? (Doesn’t have to be work related.)
My current passion is planning my next family vacation!
Build Your Career With 8020 Consulting
We take pride in nurturing long-term relationships with our team members and our Clients. If you’re interested in working on our team of accounting and finance professionals, visit our careers section of the website, where you can learn more about life at 8020. You can also put in an application for consideration by following the instructions at the bottom of that page:
Vikram possesses 17+ years of experience focused in Financial Planning and Analysis across a variety of industries such as Entertainment, IT Communications, Banking, Food and Beverage, Investment Consulting, Retail, Publishing, Aircraft Distribution and Real Estate. Vikram’s core competencies include managing finance teams and operations (Supply Chain/Inventory Management, Cost Accounting), conceptualizing and leading budgeting and forecasting processes relating to the P&L, Capital Planning, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow analysis for both mid-sized and Fortune 1000 Companies. Vikram has project managed and led several system implementations such as Rightsline, Anaplan, Hyperion Essbase and TM1 Cognos. Vikram attended Willamette University (Oregon) where he received his MBA specializing in Finance. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance and Accounting from Christ College in Bangalore and a master’s degree in Finance and Accounting from Bangalore University.
Categorized in: Careers