L5 Spotlight: “Taking on Challenges with Confidence”, Conversation with Evin Demirli, Manager

I went into consulting because… I get a kick out of solving tough problems. I wanted to learn about and understand all aspects of business, how they come and work together. Strategy consulting was an opportunity to learn about finance, operations, marketing, management, a wide variety of different industries and then bring these things together to form strategy. So, it was really right up my alley.

I think the most important quality of a good consultant is… empathy. There are tons of smart people out there. I believe what sets the best consultants apart is being able to put yourself in your team members’ shoes and your clients’ shoes and understand their point of view.

My proudest personal accomplishment was… being able to dive into consulting and add value to Level5 from the get-go. Back in school, I didn’t fit the typical profile of a student who goes into management consulting. I wasn’t necessarily the top of my class. I didn’t know early on that I wanted to get into consulting, so I didn’t really go after those internship opportunities or join consulting clubs. But, I realized later it was a really cool career and I wanted to do it. Level5 afforded me this opportunity and I’m proud to say that I kicked butt and grew very quickly through the company.

My toughest challenge thus far has been… always being challenged in new and different ways and then growing. A few milestones from my career include delivering a deep competitive analysis presentation to a client when I was only 2 months on the job. Also, the first time I managed a project, working with a team, rather than delivering work myself. Both scary and intimidating, but validating. At that time, you’re always questioning yourself as there’s so much uncertainty. But, I ended up doing a great job and it instilled a great confidence in me and my work at L5.

The other challenge for me is to manage that dimension and balancing what I have in my head versus the thoughts and ideas of other people, and then trying to work with a team. It’s something new, challenging and a learning opportunity. You are offered an opportunity to push yourself a bit beyond and it can push you outside your comfort zone. The support is there and you grow. That was definitely a milestone in my career so far.

I overcame it by… working hard and being confident in myself. My approach with anything is that there is only so much you can control, if you focus on that and leave it all on the field then good things will come. You have to have faith in the process and just do the best you can and more often than not, good things will come. If they don’t, you know there was nothing else you could do. You can’t be too critical of yourself and should use it as a learning opportunity.

I’m known for… going to the gym. I show up early or show up to work with my gym bag. At lunch, if I find time, or even sometimes if we are having after-office drinks and I haven’t gone to the gym yet, I’ll have a glass of water. Everyone pokes fun at me for doing that. But, I always make sure to make time for some fun with my team at Level5!

I balance my professional and personal responsibilities by… setting a routine. Some work can be demanding. That’s the reality of consulting. By having a routine and adapting other aspects of my life, I try to fit in “me time” every day. For me, personally, it means waking up early and going to the gym before work, which is my favorite thing to do.

I stay inspired/motivated by… the growth opportunities that L5 offers and my peers. At L5, your next career step is always in sight – if you demonstrate you are ready for it, the opportunity is there for you. This is incredibly motivating to work hard, take on new challenges, learn, and grow. On top of this, I’m surrounded with a truly impressive peer group. I see the work they do day in and day out, and it motivates me to go out and do a great job as well.

I love working at Level5 because… of the learning experiences that are offered. As a young business professional, interacting face-to-face with the partners and being in the same room as senior executives from some of Canada’s largest businesses is the best learning experience you can ask for. Not all larger firms afford you that opportunity.

My best advice to aspiring consultants is… to get involved at school with student consulting groups, case competitions, consulting conferences, and events for example firm tours and info sessions. There are so many great consulting programs and events that schools offer these days. Being involved in recruiting at L5 for many years, the best applicants have a good understanding of what consulting is, know what type of consulting they are passionate about, and know what firms interest them and have a good compelling reason why they want to work at L5 specifically.