A Day in the Life of a Consultant

This week, one of my coworkers asked me to help her out with a presentation that she was giving to business students at the University of Cincinnati about a “day in the life of a consultant.” Nailing down a typical day in my life is hard because, well, everyday is totally different. Usually a serial optimist, I was surprised by some of the ways being a consultant has affected my daily post-grad life. 

It’s truly amazing how adaptable a person is when they have no other choice. I for one, have become quite accustomed to the following:

  • Eating dinner, alone, in a bar, by myself.
  • Having 3 G&Ts as I wait for my connection in Salt Lake, Charlotte or Atlanta.
  • Having 6 G&Ts as I miss my connection in Salt Lake, Charlotte or Atlanta.
  • Sending at least one e-mail complaining to Delta about their customer service each week.
  • Finding great happiness on Wednesday afternoons when I get the much anticipated e-mail: “it’s time to check into your flight.”
  • Realizing that I’m way more cynical than everyone else my age.
  • Finding myself constantly talking about some middle of nowhere town in rando-ville USA.
  • The feeling of despair as I painstakingly miss every single week-night event for the better part of the year.
  • Living in constant fear every time my phone rings.

Truthfully though, it’s hard to pin down exactly what I do every day. Which is probably why no one outside of the SAP eco-sphere, not my mom or my best friends could tell you exactly what I do. There are a lot of worthwhile and noteworthy aspects to life as a consultant:

  • Working 9-5 isn’t a reality for most consultants, however, every single day can be seen as an opportunity to learn something new and tackle a new challenge.
  • SAP is an easily transferable skill.
  • You meet people from all walks of life. You can present to a room of C-level executives and work in the warehouse on the shop floor all in the same day!
  • To the best of my knowledge, no one ever lived or died over SAP, but there is something incredibly gratifying about the work we do. You can see obvious results over time and have the ability to increase the quality of life for many people by making their business processes more effective and efficient.
  • The lines between your career and personal life become incredibly blurred. Your colleagues are your family 4/7 days of the week when you’re on the road. Likewise, experience, not age is the great enforcer.
  • The perks are not underrated. Airline miles. Per diem. Hotel points.

    Left to Right: Bright lights in Times Square. Mountains c/o Salt Lake. The palms out West.

    Left to Right: Bright lights in Times Square. Mountains c/o Salt Lake. The palms out West.

Over the past 2 years my travels have brought me to the following cities: Chicago, Salt Lake City (and Idaho!), Austin (Indiana), Evansville (Indiana), Dallas (x2), Moorestown (New Jersey), Woodland Hills (California), Cleveland, Greeley (Colorado), Columbus (OH), Hebron (Kentucky) and Montvale (New Jersey- just outside of NYC!). I have enjoyed every minute of it.

Anyone else getting playoff fever yet?

Go Reds! Go Tribe!

@PostGradSAP

Tracy

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Bringing Awareness to ‘Food Insecurity’

Food Insecurity defined: Food insecurity is the most broadly used measure of food deprivation in the United States. The USDA defines food insecurity as meaning “consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.”

Some fast facts about food insecurity:

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SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps) average monthly benefit per person (FY 2012): $138.60

WHY NOW? WELL, GREAT QUESTION. In the recent months, the issue of food insecurity has become somewhat ubiquitous. I hear about it everywhere, the issue of national hunger has seamlessly presented itself to me through numerous local and global outlets over the past few months:

1. M2M Hunger 5K: November 9th. Proceeds benefit Matthew 25: Ministries’ work with the poorest of the poor in Greater Cincinnati, throughout the U.S., and around the world. The race also kicks off the Fighting Hunger Food Drive, which raises food products for local pantries and shelters.

2. Jewish Family Service (JFS):  JJ’s dad was honored a few months ago at Cincinnati Jewish Family Service’s Annual Meeting. His family is actively involved in the JFS Food Pantry which is the source for free kosher food, fresh produce, personal care, and household care items for individuals in the Greater Cincinnati Jewish community experiencing financial difficulties. In addition, JFS provides coaching and support for clients of the pantry to help improve their situation.  The Executive Director, Beth Schwartz, and her daughter chronicled their week as they sought to take on the “Food Stamp Challenge.” You can read her blog here: Food Stamp Challenge 2011.

3. Yom Kippur: For those of you that don’t know, this past weekend was Yom Kippur, or the Jewish Day of Atonement. Yom Kippur is the culmination of the “Days of Awe” in which Jews across the world celebrate the Jewish New Year (Happy 5774) and atone for our sins. One of the requisite aspects of the holiday, is the ritual fast (we refrain from eating or drinking of any kind) for 25 long and grueling hours. I am fortunate enough to know nothing of hunger insecurity in my own life, but the fast does shed some light on the issue of world hunger. This past Saturday, I attended Yom Kippur services at Plum Street Temple in downtown Cincinnati. During his sermon, Rabbi Lewis Kamrass pleaded with us to facilitate discussion and action surrounding hunger insecurity within our community.

WHAT NOW? MY INTENTION IS TO FIGHTE HUNGER INSECURITY PERSONALLY, WHILE DRAWING GREATER ATTENTION TO THE ISSUE IN MY COMMUNITY AND ELSEWHERE.

COOL TRACE, BUT HOW THE HECK DO YOU PLAN TO DO THAT?

1. Couch to 5K: JJ and I plan to run on November 9th in support of the wonderful cause. itelligence Inc. will be compiling a team for the event and I am on the committee. Week 1/8 of our training program is complete (and my legs are already not happy with me). I will be “hosting” group runs in which other beginner-level runners can join me on my quest for fitness and awareness! itelligence will also be hosting a canned food drive in the week’s leading up to the race!

2. SNAP (Food Stamp Challenge) 2013: I plan to take the challenge for a week and chronicle my daily food intake/challenges/thoughts on the blog. I will be donating the money that I usually spend on dining out and eating in to JFS, M25M and Plum Street Temple’s Fighting Hunger Initiative.  The SNAP Challenge gives participants a view of the struggle to obtain adequate food that is faced by millions of low-income Americans. By living on the average food stamp benefit, Challenge participants find themselves forced to make food shopping choices on a limited budget, and learn how difficult it is to avoid hunger, afford nutritious foods, and stay healthy without adequate resources. While living on a food stamp budget for just a week cannot come close to the struggles encountered by low-income families week after week and month after month, it does provide a new perspective and greater understanding. For more information please visit: FRAC 101: Food SNAP Challenge Toolkit

Life’s not all about mixing business with pleasure. It’s also about fostering meaningful and lasting relationships, showing compassion and working for the greater good. I invite each of you to join me on this journey over the next 2.5 months and to challenge yourselves and those around you along the way.

JOIN THE MOVEMENT.  

Peace. Love. Cheeseburgers,

@PostGradSAP

Tracy

Rivalries Never Die

The Greatest Rivalry of All Time

The Greatest Rivalry of All Time

I’m a Type A. Can you tell? My actions are deliberate. I want to be heard. I’m not afraid of a little attention. I thrive on competition.

So do the other 500+ people I work with. I’m a firm believer that competition drives success. Nothing wrong with some good old-fashioned [friendly] rivalries in the office if you ask me.

This past weekend I went to that “place up north” to *gasp* cheer on the M*ch*gan Wolverines against the Fighting Irish. Cheering for the Maize and Blue was definitely new territory for me.  Keep your friends close and your enemies closer— and all that jazz. Although this won’t be a frequent occurrence, sometimes, when the heavens are perfectly aligned, rooting on your biggest rival becomes quite thrilling. Two BIG10 teams. One (da Buckeyez) ranked significantly higher in the AP. The second (M*ch*gan), taking on a higher ranked opponent (ND).  In this instance, when your rival wins, so do you. It brings new life back into the competition, brings both teams more attention, and ultimately, makes the inevitable victory even sweeter. COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED FOR THE BIG[10] MATCH UP ON NOVEMBER 30th!

This is not unlike competition at work. We have to be each other’s cheerleaders. Working with a sea of “Type As” can get tiresome, but the competitive spirit can be the most compelling motivator. Looking towards your peers as a benchmark for your own success is not always wise, as everyone treks along their own career path, but the point I aim to make is that the team is greatly strengthened by the individuals’ successes. It’s a dog eat dog world out there and sometimes it’s UP OR OUT, BUT WHEN EVERYONE’S UP, NO ONE’S OUT. 

Hail to the [true] victors, OH-IO!

@PostGradSAP

Tracy

GRC AC 10.0: Running Role-Level Risk Analysis on a Composite Role

GRC Access Controls (AC) 10.0 allows for enhanced risk analysis including permission level and action level analysis on business roles and composite roles.

 

Word to the wise: Make sure to check the box “include mitigated risks” when running the report on roles with Function IDs that have already been mitigated. This will allow for more comprehensive results.

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For more information on enhanced risk analysis, check out this link: GRC AC 10.0 Access Risk Analysis

 

Feeling Fall! Ready for weekends filled with toasted pumpkin seeds, college football and flannel.

Happy Friday!

@PostGradSAP