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James Cooper

What was your background before joining Chartwell?

I studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge, specialising in Materials, and I joined Chartwell as a graduate in 2014.

At university I always enjoyed trying out new things.  During my time there I achieved blades with college rowing team, played in goal for the hockey team, played college rugby, learnt MMA, captained the canoe polo team, learnt how to paddle white water, had a go at acrobatic rock and roll and played trumpet in the university concert band.  This desire to give anything a go has served me well and enabled me to go into any new situation and quickly find my feet.

What have been the biggest factors for your professional development since joining Chartwell?

Before starting Chartwell I didn’t speak a word of German but now I can not only communicate, but also deliver much of the newly learnt Chartwell methodology to a German-only speaking client team.

I enjoyed the commitment of captaining the polo team at university, but I have been able to take my management skills to the next level through taking responsibility for running daily meetings, and reporting my work clearly to upper management.

My technical and analytical skills have also been stretched.  I’ve needed to learn how to create much more advanced excel tools for analytics, as well as test the strength of my practical problem solving skills against complex process issues.

What is a typical week for an Associate Consultant?

Monday often starts with a morning flight to the client’s site as I often work in Germany.  The first couple of hours are spent catching up with their progress over the few days where I was not on site, and depending on this progress, I may end up doing many different things.  For example, I may be required to do some digging into a frequently occurring problem the team had at the weekend, or it may be more important to work on a more strategic action, such as improving the structures in place to drive the improvement effort.

Every day on site I have a team meeting where we review the department’s performance for the previous day and deal with any problems that may have arisen.  The rest of the day can involve work with the whole team, with individuals tackling specific problems or sometimes on my own improving a new excel tool.

On a Thursday afternoon I then fly back to the UK ready to spend Friday in the London office.  This may involve training sessions, presentations or chatting through ideas and problems with colleagues to get someone else’s insight.