Perspectives from the New World: life as an Analyst for Plural Strategy in New York

19 May, 2018

I’ve been in the New York office of Plural Strategy since July 2017. It’s my first job after graduating from the University of Michigan with a double major in pure math and Spanish (not particularly business-focused, but more on that later).

I was the first American hire for Plural in New York and I think this gives me a unique perspective on what’s great about working for the firm, both generally and in the US.

But first, a little about what I do
As an Analyst, I mainly do the groundwork – searching for relevant data or coordinating interview programs and then synthesizing that research into meaningful output. I then discuss these outputs with my team and iterate. Iterate, iterate, iterate. Occasionally, I’ll speak on a client call, which I think is particularly cool given my youth. And as part of the team, I have influence into the overall thinking and shape of the project.

This all doesn’t sound very “math-y.” Yes, there is excel work which requires quantitative knowledge. But that’s not what made me apply. In college-level math, the task was around proving theories and writing proofs using clear-cut logic. That meant identifying and defining the problem, then following bullet-proof steps to solve it. Consulting is an applied version of that same thought process and I feel like I use it everyday. Everybody in Plural harnesses their specific background to help the team, whether it be English, Economics, Physics, or in my case, math.

Although I’m in New York, the vast majority of my projects involve working in virtual teams with my colleagues in London. I’ve also visited the London office twice since I started – once for a whole month.

Here’s what I’d say to someone who’s thinking of applying to join the firm.

Plural Strategy is a great place to work
You get a lot of responsibility early on. The team don’t place unfair expectations on you, but at the same time, they give you a lot of autonomy. You get properly trained and supported but you’re also trusted to do your job – you’re not kept on a leash.

You’re constantly learning. I’m a week into a project where I’m studying a sector of education technology; initially, I knew nothing about the topic, a week in I know so much more and by the end some might call me an expert. It’s really cool to go from knowing nothing to knowing a lot, and to gain fun facts along the way.

What you do really matters. When I talk to friends in some larger companies, they’re replaceable (if you’re reading this, you’re irreplaceable to me!). But here, if you’re in a team of six, your input decides whether a project succeeds or fails. That’s not necessarily a scary thing – it’s entrepreneurial. From day one, you feel like you own something.

It’s like a family. While I was at college I did an internship at a large insurance company. No one knew each other or what they did. Plural is the polar opposite – everyone knows everyone and is really friendly. We help each other out, both in the office and outside of it.

There are unique advantages to working in the New York office
You’ll be a kind of pioneer, like an explorer to the New World. Plural is an established company don’t get me wrong. If you want the new office to be a certain way, you can help to shape that culture. As we grow here, you’ll be a sort of founding member.

The work is even more varied here than in London. Variety is something you’ll always hear people talk about at Plural. You’re always bouncing around from one thing to another.

You’ll learn how to put yourself out there. Until I went to London, I was just a person on the end of the phone for many people. That meant I had to be more proactive and reach out if I had a question. It’s a good skill to learn.

We have a nice corner office in a shared office space on the 20th floor that has a view of the Flatiron building. So we have a cool view you could say (and ping pong in the lobby). But you’ll also get to spend time in London – in my case, a total of six weeks in my first year.