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Nous Group

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  • 500 - 1,000 employees

Joseph Nguyen

Nous largely looks at your ability to think in a structured way, draw out key findings from data (qualitative and quantitative), and communicate insights in a clear and compelling way for clients (usually through PowerPoint or Word).

What's your job about?

Nous is a management consulting firm. I still have trouble explaining what this is to friends and family – but essentially, organisations (public, private or not-for-profit) generally look to engage Nous when they have a problem but don’t have the capacity or capability to solve it internally. Most of the work we do is in the public sector.

As a consultant on projects, my role is typically to help structure and write deliverables. These are often in the form of a report that outlines the key findings and recommendations we have developed to a client’s problem. We typically inform these deliverables in two ways:

  1. Conducting stakeholder engagements
  2. Undertaking desktop research

Therefore, my day-to-day tasks often involve conducting research, creating materials for stakeholder engagements (e.g. PowerPoint slides to present, and interview guides) and writing reports (typically in Microsoft Word or PowerPoint).

What's your background?

I was born and raised in Perth, WA. I realised mid-way through high school that I hated even trying to turn on a Bunsen Burner, concluded that I didn’t think a career in science would be for me and found that I quite liked Economics – so thought I’d pursue a career in business and went all in on business‑related subjects (Accounting, Economics, Business Management). I’m not sure I would recommend this approach to everyone as I still see the value in keeping options open, and sometimes wish I continued with Chemistry to see if I’d like it further (but alas here we are!).

My business-minded ATAR subjects naturally led me to pursue a commerce degree, and I decided to do this at Curtin University in Perth. My first year took me a bit of adjusting – I was quite lazy and didn’t get involved. I took a leap of faith and applied to a university consulting club in my second year. I really enjoyed it, but wasn’t 100% sure if I was all in on consulting.

I completed a few internships in different areas such as accounting, finance and international business. I applied for a grad job at Nous as I still wasn’t really sure what exactly I wanted to do, so the idea of working on a ton of different projects I found exciting. Fortunately, I got the job and have been here for around 1.5 years.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Definitely. There is such a diverse range of degrees at Nous (Commerce, Arts, Health/Science, etc.). Nous largely looks at your ability to think in a structured way, draw out key findings from data (qualitative and quantitative), and communicate insights in a clear and compelling way for clients (usually through PowerPoint or Word). You will be dealing with a lot of people on the job, including clients and colleagues, so the ability to engage with different people is also important.

A lot of these things you will learn by doing, so I’d say a keen attitude and willingness to learn are the keys!

What's the coolest thing about your job?

I do really love having the opportunity to work on a range of projects that actually make a difference. For instance, last year I engaged with an Aboriginal community in regional WA to inform their new Housing Strategy (including with Elders on their traditional land), which I found particularly cool and don’t think I’d be able to do in many other jobs.

What are the limitations of your job?

Delivering to client deadlines and working across multiple projects means you can sometimes be working late nights and weekends. This can be mentally tiring and it can be hard to ‘switch off’, especially if you consistently have a heavy workload. Luckily, Nous’s self-management model promotes taking “recharge leave” if you feel you’ve had a period of really high intensity and need time off.

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

  1. Take your time! There is really no rush to get into a career and get to the top – most of us will be working for 30-40 years when you think about it so what’s the rush?
  2. ‘Lean in’ and try out different things – I only learnt about consulting because I took a leap of faith and interviewed for a consulting club at uni. I also regret not going on a Semester Abroad, which got taken away partly due to COVID. It’s unlikely there is a period in your life that you have as much free time as a university (although it doesn’t feel like it), so if you can, try out as many different opportunities as possible.
  3. Mingle and meet new people – as a natural introvert I know this one can be particularly tough, but this is a great time to socialise and try and make new friends as everyone is really discovering themselves and their passions.