Consultant Life: Q&A with Julia Opipari
Have you ever wondered what Consultants do and whether it’s a path worth pursuing?
In today’s Consultant Life interview, I sat down with Julia Opipari, one of Bridgepoint’s Financial Operations Consultants to get the inside scoop on her consultant journey, why she chose the consulting field, and what she has learned along the way.
Why did you decide to pursue the consulting path?
I am a “fixer” at heart. After working my way up in the industry for 20+ years, from Accounting Clerk to Controller, the day-to-day activities were not as fulfilling as they used to be. I sought an environment where I could remove myself from the day-to-day activities of a company and focus more on helping them solve a problem while utilizing my industry experience.
What are three big ways your consulting career differs from your industry career?
In addition to being a fixer, I like variety, and I like to help people. When a company hires a consultant, they are actively seeking someone to help them in a specific way, and most often, they are seeking your opinion and guidance. Meeting that need for the client is very rewarding.
I get exposure to a variety of companies and systems. I get to see how they do things differently from other companies. This exposure allows me to expand my expertise in ways I wouldn’t have otherwise had working for one company directly for a longer period of time. It also allows me to share that expertise with other companies, so they get the benefit of my exposure.
With a family and many hobbies outside of my career, work-life balance is very important to me. As a consultant, of course, meeting the needs of your client always comes first. That said, you have the ability to better manage your workload more so than in your typical industry role. In the words of one of our Principals, Manuel Azuara, I call the day I started working as a consultant, my “freedom” day because it offers endless opportunities for career growth and fulfillment.
What were your biggest concerns about diving into the world of consulting?
That I wouldn’t have all the answers or be able to fix my clients’ problems. Although I have a diverse background of experience in accounting, which comprises the bulk of my problem-solving abilities, I quickly learned that two soft skills are very important in consulting: empathy and agility. If you can listen to your client and know which questions to ask while at the same time having an open mind, then you can solve almost any problem a client presents to you.
What are some of the biggest benefits of a career in consulting?
For me, employee engagement is one of the biggest benefits of a consulting career. A recent study has shown that engaged employees perform better, experience less burnout, and stay in organizations longer. Ultimately that’s a gigantic benefit to me. Translated, it means I get to learn and grow, which is a benefit to my clients as well. Bridgepoint Consulting provides us with many opportunities to stay engaged, from mentoring, leadership, and DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) programs to many social events. All of these opportunities to participate keep me engaged and happy as I continue my personal growth.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a consultant?
- Sometimes you find things that are broken that you weren’t hired to fix, nor does the client want you to fix them.
- You can recommend a solution to a client, but they don’t always adopt it.
- There are times when you have to learn something very quickly because of staff changes or unexpected departures, and you don’t always have the exact amount of time you’d like – you have to ADAPT very quickly!
In a nutshell, what opportunities have you gained from consulting that you couldn’t get from an industry role?
Freedom – I know it’s a buzzphrase these days, but work-life balance is very important to me. Consulting provides me with the flexibility for a fulfilling career while having the ability to more efficiently manage my hours and work schedule. I have a network of people who have worked across many industries, just like me, and they are there at any given time for me to lean on for support.
Purpose – I get to meet new people through my client assignments and create relationships faster than I would have from an industry role. This gives me a better view of the world and helps me understand my purpose.
Stability – Research shows that consulting firms have one of the lowest employee turnover rates compared to other types of service-oriented companies. Consultants are also in high demand. Happy consultants = low turnover rate = happy and returning clients = stability.
Ready to join #TeamBridgepoint?
Interested in a consulting career or learning how you can transfer your field skills to consulting work? Check out our open positions and learn more about our people here or get in touch with a member of our team.
By Jill Cosmas
As Director of Talent Acquisition, Jill works closely with candidates seeking consulting positions within our Finance and Accounting practice. Jill places equal priority on providing a positive candidate experience throughout the interview process and presenting only top talent to her hiring team.