Three junior consultants share experiences on working at ACE

23 February 2022 Consultancy.eu 3 min. read

Dutch financial services consultancy ACE Company has in the past months strengthened its team with Bas Beerkens (27), Joost Crul (25) and Mees Collet (22). The three junior consultants share their first experiences on working at ACE Company and the firm’s culture.

How is working at Ace?

Bas: “What I really like about working in consulting is that you get the opportunity to invest in creative solutions. Nothing is routine, there’s no one-size-fits all solution.”

“Even when you’ve just started, ACE Company gives you the opportunity to come up with ideas and build interesting solutions. To me that’s important for change management, which ACE is doing a lot of, that’s what it’s about, everything is different all the time and it’s literally about change. I like that about my experience so far.”

Three junior consultants share experiences on working at ACE

Joost: “What surprised me is that, as a result of the scale of the client I’m currently with, there’s a huge gap between the people working in legal and compliance departments and the people managing the funds. That has been really interesting, because it often means meeting people halfway and filling the gap between knowledge and legal requirements – and that’s really provided challenge and a new way to look at change management.”

Mees: “There’s a lot of room to interpret things in your own way and to build your own solutions. I was asked to do market research and I was just given the freedom to do the work, do the research, and build up what I wanted. Of course, there’s oversight, but there’s a lot of freedom and internal ownership, and that’s really empowering.”

A steep learning curve

Even with academic backgrounds, all three are finding a steep learning curve and plenty to challenge themselves with.

“I’m no data expert and I have no background in data management,” says Bas, “but the project I’m working on has a lot to do with data management. So, I’m learning from my colleagues and building new skills.”

In doing so, “ACE gives you the handholding you need to learn while doing well at your job. That allows me to learn about the subject in a really practical way – even when I’m fresh out of college and have to learn practical applications for a lot of things.”

Joost, who kicked off his new role in January, feels the same way. “There’s a lot of room for personal development. ACE has a culture of teaching and challenging its people. You also get a firsthand look at how processes within large financial institutions link together.”

“I’m doing sustainable finance with a large investor, and there are a lot of paths I could be taking. That results in a very steep learning curve. But that’s perfect because I’ll be able to explore a lot of different roles. I don’t currently know where I want to be in 2-3 years, so having that room to explore and find a good fit for myself is great.”

One of the advantages of ACE Company is that the project teams are quite small compared to the team deployed by for instance the Big Four. This means that juniors get a lot of responsibility. “You get more freedom than when you work with a big company with big teams. So, you can discuss things with the team, they ask your opinion, and you get input and freedom to contribute even as a junior,” says Mees.

He adds: “We have a lot of senior people working at ACE, and it’s really great we can share that. Of course, we [the younger generation] can learn a lot from them.”

Making use of the firm’s entrepreneurial opportunities, Bas and Mees set up an internal program to facilitate learning. “We call it ACE Academy. It’s basically about sharing knowledge, bringing in knowledge from outside the company, and helping everyone to develop in different fields. And that’s a great thing about ACE, you always get the room to do things like this, and I like that a lot.”

The culture

All three agree that ACE’s culture can be described as casual. They comment on camaraderie during meetings, the option to have casual conversations with anyone (across all ranks), and initiatives to create casual and friendly interactions with clients. ACE also takes time to ensure people maintain good work-life balance – even if working long hours happens occasionally on rush projects.