- Meet Our People
Meet Our People
Meet Our People
Our people are the heart of White Space: extremely talented, creative, motivated and fun. We work collaboratively in small teams, giving everyone the opportunity to take on responsibility from day one. Get to know more about us by having a look at some of their profiles, here:
I feel that making the change at 30 to working in consultancy with White Space was exactly the right decision for me. I’ve found a career which challenges me intellectually and that gives me the work-life balance I was looking for.
Since leaving university in 2008, I have worked for a consumer PR company, a pub business in the South of France, a law firm and most recently I spent four years working as a Maths teacher at a South London comprehensive. I’d always enjoyed project work and communication, but I knew that none of these roles were quite right for me.
On deciding that I wanted to make a change, I was looking for a job where I could work with smart, interesting people in a fast-paced environment where my contribution was valued. I didn’t fancy starting at the bottom of an organisation as I had spent time developing analytical, communication, time-management and teamworking skills, and wanted to see the benefit of this.
White Space offered the chance to enter a small company where I could have a personalised career plan and I would be given opportunities as I proved my ability to cope with them. The size of the company also meant that I had the chance to learn from senior staff how best to adapt my knowledge and experience to the context of strategy consulting. This has meant that I can develop quickly and always face new challenges without feeling that I’m having to ‘do my time’.
One of the wonderful surprises of work at White Space has been the extent to which everyone’s contribution and opinion is welcomed and valued. It’s not uncommon to be asked your thoughts on topics ranging from office renovation to recruitment. Another aspect that I value is the work culture. One of the directors once mentioned that he looks for intelligence and an interest in life from his employees. It’s clear that a social life is not possible if you finish work at 10pm every evening. We’re encouraged to leave at a reasonable hour every day, and see in the weekend every Friday at the pub together!
Senior Engagement Manager
I was looking for a career in consultancy after completing a degree in History, and knew that I was not looking for a typical graduate scheme with a multinational firm. I was conscious that working for a smaller organisation would be a fantastic chance to broaden my knowledge of entrepreneurial culture as well as business more generally, and to and learn directly from experienced professionals. I was also keen to ensure that I applied to companies which were well respected, and which worked on engaging projects for blue chip clients.
White Space offers exactly the kind of opportunity that I was looking for. It is a small company, but it punches above its weight in terms of the quality of its work, and offers fantastic opportunities to learn and develop. I have now been at White Space for over three years, and am an Engagement Manager. I’ve worked on over 50 projects, each of which has taught me many valuable lessons and has expanded and shaped my skill set. My experience has been incredibly broad and varied. I’ve worked for clients across multiple industries, from some of the UK’s largest grocers and energy companies, to huge European manufacturers. Every project presents a new challenge. I really value that variety, and working with such a bright, engaging team in the office to shape our recommendations is a real positive to working at White Space.
The White Space culture and working environment sets it apart from other consultancies as a place to work. There is a real emphasis on work/life balance, and most days we do leave the office by 6pm. This, combined with the calibre of our clients and the nature of the work we do, makes White Space a unique employer and a fantastic place to develop a career in consultancy.
Project Team Leader
After graduating from a degree in Law, I was unsure what career I wanted to pursue. I have always had an interest in business, and after completing a Masters focused on business strategy and operations, I knew I wanted to work for a company that could help businesses achieve growth.
White Space was a first choice for me: it is a small company, has blue chip clients, is well respected and our outputs influence markets. We help clients in a variety of areas: helping a client decide to launch a product, identifying growth potential in new markets, or better understanding their current customers – each project has a real impact on the clients’ work and company. I was additionally attracted to the culture of White Space: not only is it a small, friendly company but it is committed to charity work. Since joining, we’ve helped charities in a number of sectors, a favourite has been helping Shelter understand their growth potential from a business perspective.
Having worked at White Space for two and a half years, I am now a Project Team Leader. The position carries a lot of responsibility and challenges me every day. It combines a number of skills: analytics, management of the analysts, organisation and client management. It is a very rewarding position as I am involved in every aspect of the project, from the outcomes of the research, to the delivery of the project. The work involves continuously learning and becoming an expert in new areas. I’ve been greatly supported throughout my time here and, even with continuously increasing levels of responsibility, I feel confident in my ability and the work I produce. White Space is an exciting and unique place to work and I would recommend it to anyone that enjoys problem solving and is interested in business strategy.
During my second year of studying economics at university I started thinking more seriously about possible career options and was quickly attracted to strategy consulting. I was looking for something that would utilise the qualitative and quantitative skills I was developing through my studies and other interests in a stimulating way and the opportunity afforded by strategy consulting seemed perfect. Not only would I have to quickly become an expert on markets and industries on a project by project basis, but I would have to take this expertise and apply it to the biggest strategic questions facing large companies.
White Space instantly stood out in my search for internships as it had the seemingly unique combination of being a strategy consultancy dealing with large, well-known companies across a range of industries and being a relatively small team. This appealed as I thought the smaller size would give me a greater opportunity to get involved in ‘proper’ work and learn from senior staff members, without compromising on the quality of projects I would be involved in. While working as a summer intern it was great to get involved in project work from day one, and I was genuinely surprised at how much responsibility I was given. Not only was I heavily involved in the research for a range of projects but my thoughts on what this meant for the client and the conclusions we would be drawing were actively sought out and valued by the teams I was working with.
I was thrilled to be offered a business analyst role at the end of my internship. As well as enjoying the work itself, I really appreciate working with such interesting people and having sociable working hours that have allowed me to enjoy living and working in Oxford whether that be through playing new sports, struggling through Oxford pub quizzes with my housemates or going out for drinks with colleagues. Looking forwards, there’s always something interesting about to happen at White Space both in terms of new projects and clients, as well as personal opportunities to take on more responsibility. I feel very fortunate to work in an environment where career progression is flexible and the ongoing training and support allow me to get involved in new areas of the work we do.
It only took a short internship for me to know I wanted to be a part of White Space; the projects, the work culture, the people, the opportunities and the city itself all come together to make this a great place to work.
Having studied Economics and Management, I felt that consulting would be a perfect next step (project-based work, exposure to many industries, etc.); however, I had no idea about what really differed between consulting firms. I applied to White Space thinking it was just a small, Oxford-based version of other consultancies. Although there are commonalities, there are a few key differences between us and the others.
Firstly, White Space is a strategy consultancy. We deliver broad market insight to our clients – we might be advising an international retailer on what the market looks like in France, a plastic pipe manufacturer on other markets in which they can use their pipes, or international FMCG companies on how to better serve local markets. We don’t really do management consultancy, and we don’t do operational consultancy; we blend data analysis with qualitative research, and as an Analyst, you are trained and get involved in both sides equally.
Life at White Space is different to other consultancies, too. Firstly, we’re based in Oxford – having studied here, I knew the city well, and I knew that it’s a great place to be. As an employee, the level of trust and involvement is a huge benefit, too. Every staff member is involved in every decision, from whether to install a bar in the office refit (a unanimous “yes”) to project outcomes, recruitment and everything else. As soon as you join, your contribution is genuinely valued on and off projects and it’s so rewarding to see your work being integral to the projects we deliver to our clients.
“Work-life balance” is something every company under the sun claims to have down to a T. At White Space, we have plenty of in-office socialisation – like Pub Fridays, an office football team, regular socials – but the working hours truly allow for a social life outside work. The working day finishes at 17:45 (it really does finish at 17:45), and the office is always shut over the weekend. Our employees have a range of extra-curricular interests – hockey, lacrosse, mountain biking, swing dancing, SCUBA diving, competitive cooking, the list goes on. With White Space, you are actively encouraged to keep your interests up, and the lifestyle allows for that, too.
A day in the life
To give you greater insight as to what we do on a day to day basis, have a look at some of the ‘A day in the life’ stories below:
Head of Analytics
Having joined as a Business Analyst in 2008, I’ve spent the last 9 years experiencing a range of roles that White Space has to offer. I’m currently our Head of Analytics with responsibility for our data and analytics team, extending our capabilities in this area and ensuring we continue to produce the high-quality outputs that we’re known for.
Having worked for many different clients in a wide range of different industries, I can safely say there’s no typical kind of day. It’s impossible to anticipate every twist and turn of a project and every piece of work we do is different. However, if I was to typify what I might expect from a day at White Space:
05:45 a.m. – Get up, get ready for work, head to the train station. As I live in Bristol I commute to the office in Oxford every other day, working from home in the days between.
07.00 a.m. – Open up my laptop and start working on the train. I usually start by checking my diary, making sure I have my day planned out and that I’m prepared for the meetings I need to attend.
08.45 a.m. – Arrive at the office and have a catch up with my respective project teams. This can involve anything from discussing project progress to developing new ways of approaching a client issue. As a group, we think about the findings emerging from the research, how it pieces together and the potential implications for our client. I then provide direction on the best next steps. Post-it notes and scribbling of artistic whiteboard diagrams is a must.
10.00 a.m. – I work closely with my team of data analysts. We sit together and sketch out what data sources we have to play with and what we’re hoping to get out of a particular piece of analysis, building it around one of our client’s key questions. Framing the issue is important when there’s almost limitless possibilities to analyse data in different ways. I then provide guidance on how we may manipulate, cleanse, blend and analyse the data in a meaningful way, using great software like Alteryx or Tableau.
11.30 a.m. – I review a final presentation completed by one of my teams. I think of clearer ways to pitch ideas, simplifying some of the insight into diagrams or interesting visualisations. I’m always amazed by the quality of research that our teams can produce, and enjoy the job of tweaking it in presentations to make sure it’s represented in the best possible way. Finally, I discuss the conclusions with the Project Team Leader and we decide how the client should best proceed.
1.00 p.m. – Client conference call. I present, with the support of my Project Team Leader, a preliminary update on some market sizing analysis that we’ve completed. This mixes views from qualitative research with internal and external data analysis. It’s a great chance for the client to hear first-hand where the project is heading and for them to give a view on the potential impact of the findings. We have a useful discussion around how we will test some of the additional hypotheses they have surrounding the analysis.
2.00 p.m. – Along with one of our Managing Directors I head out to meet with a client face-to-face. They want us to give a walkthrough of the work we’ve recently completed, giving other senior stakeholders a chance to get our opinion on whether they should enter a new market. We also use the time to discuss a potential new project. We scope out how the in-depth qualitative interviews we can conduct, can supplement some really interesting data analysis they’ve been thinking about.
4.30 p.m. – I have a call with a business analyst who I’d like to do some preliminary research into the client’s issues and to find 3rd party data sources that we may be able to use. We can then use this to support an informed project proposal for the client.
5.00 p.m. – I catch the train home. I use the opportunity to think about additional analytical capabilities that could benefit our project work. As a senior member of the team, I also use the time to review overall project performance across the company and think about potential areas of improvement.
7.00 p.m. – Get home and have a final check for any emails I can respond to. Make sure I’m ready for the next day and spend some time winding down. If I have time, I’ll also read articles on additional analytical, statistical/modelling techniques that can be used with the new software we have White Space – predictive analytics is a particular area of interest at the moment. As data and the awareness of the power it holds is getting bigger, the bigger the possibilities there are for our analysts!
There have not been two days the same in the 5 months I have been working at White Space. Most of my time is spent in our office in Oxford, but the work I’m doing can differ hugely from day-to-day and project-to-project. There are also chances to attend interim meetings and final presentations with clients – an amazing opportunity that I was lucky enough to experience within my first 3 months at White Space.
I started today with a meeting catching up with my Project Team Leader and some of the other analysts on a piece we’ve been working on. It is always useful to share progress and discuss where next to go with the work.
After this meeting, I had a call booked in with an expert from an industry we are looking into for a client. Its great to hear people’s thoughts and opinions on some of our ideas and so much fun to chat to engaging and interesting people who know so much about topics I am only starting to get my head around. The expert was very chatty and had loads of helpful insights that I will feed back to the team. Typing up the notes from this call helped consolidate my thoughts on some of the key points and insights, which will shape our understanding of the project and establish our plans going forward.
Following this conversation, I set aside some time to write some slides for a different project that is now in its closing phases. This is one of my favourite aspects of my role as a Business Analyst – it’s so gratifying to see all the hard work you have put in coming together to tell an expressive and comprehensive story. Arranging all the information we have into a format that is both easily digestible and visually interesting can often be quite challenging but tends to be really enjoyable and very rewarding when you get it right!
This took me most of the rest of the morning, leaving me a little bit left to tie up after lunch. Luckily I still had time to make the most of my lunch break and pop into town to meet a couple of friends for lunch – one of the real benefits of being so close to the city centre!
I finished the slides I was putting together and then spent the rest of the afternoon doing some preliminary searches for experts who might be able to help us with a new project that began this week. I approached a few people who I thought would have particular expertise in the area, and was lucky enough that someone got back to me within the hour to arrange something for later in the week.
This took me up to about 5pm when I had a meeting with my mentor to chat about how things are going and areas for improvement (usually over a coffee or a cocktail!). It’s great to get regular feedback like this and be able to ask any questions in an out of work environment.
Project Team Leader
There is no typical day at White Space! One day I could be planning deadlines for a new project and writing discussion guides, another day I could be presenting to a CEO of a FTSE 250 organisation. That is one of the best parts of White Space: the daily variety. My responsibilities are wide ranging and change depending on the project stage. I plan resource required for projects, and how this will be used throughout the time set. I then structure the research and help the analysts conduct this. We will then analyse the information and I will plan and structure the presentation with the project’s Engagement Manager. Finally, once the presentation has been written, we will present to the client. I can be managing 3 or 4 projects at once, so it can be very challenging, but very rewarding, too!
There’s no such thing as a ‘typical day’ at White Space. Most days will involve some meetings, some research and some writing and some days will be wildly different involving a day trip to France, a visit to a trade show or a full day of external training and exams.
Today I started the day by replying to some messages from people on Linkedin. I have been approaching experts to speak to for one of my projects and some had replied with some questions about the project. I managed to book a couple of phone interviews for later in the week which was great. They’re sure to be interesting and productive conversations.
I spent some time organising some insight boards for an upcoming client workshop. We’re amending one of our presentation decks to suit a workshop format. This involves some graphic design, some analytical thinking and some consideration of how the group work will take place. The boards need to be sent to the printers a week before they are needed, so the deadline is tight on this one.
I held a telephone interview with an applicant for the summer internship programme. I like doing these as it gives me a chance to talk about the things I really enjoy about my job. The candidate had done their research into the company and into consultancy and was interesting to talk to.
Then there was a quick job to do collecting some specific information from 40 phone interviews and getting it into a format that we could send to a client. I did my section and passed on to other members of the team.
I held a meeting where I briefed some of my colleagues on progress on a different project and assigned tasks for the week. Then I conducted a phone interview with a senior expert that had been prearranged. It went really well as he understood our approach and had interesting insights to share. It will be great to feed this information back to the client and it will help shape our understanding going forward.
Writing up notes from that conversation took me up to 5:30, when I decided to round off the day by looking at tasks for a white paper I’ve been working on. I’ve had to move some of the jobs around as some of the analysts working on the content have suddenly become busy. I thought about the tasks and who could take them on, then scheduled in a meeting for the following day.
Having experienced working in multiple roles and industries I knew a career that brings variety and challenge was important to me. Joining White Space as an intern and now working as a Research Analyst has given me just that. Whilst no day is the same, here’s an example:
8:30am– Grab a green tea (trying to avoid the very tasty coffee!) and breakfast whilst I quickly check emails and look over my plan for the day. As a research analyst, you work on multiple projects across the company so I like to take 5 to check when I’ll put the time in for different projects and any key meetings I need to prepare for.
8:45am– I’ve scheduled in some calls and a Skype meeting with some experts located in Europe, it’s great to have discussions and industry debates with professionals not only from different industries but across the world too.
9:30am– I take some time to look over my notes from discussions, highlight key insights and relate them back to previous research I’ve completed for the project. I pop some key points up on the Visual Management Board and update the call tracker.
10am– I have a quick catch up with the Project Team Leader. This is when I feedback the insights that have come from expert interviews. Together as a team we take stock of our progress and pull out next steps. It’s great to follow how a project develops from kick-off all the way to the final presentation back to the client.
11am– Another project is approaching its conclusion, with calls completed in the morning now’s the perfect time to put my head down and pick out the research that is most relevant to the client’s needs and will be included in the final deck.
12pm– An early lunch, but well deserved- head to the covered market in town as a treat and have a walk around Christ Church Meadow.
1pm– I am working with a client that wants to fully understand the future growth areas of their industry in the US. I review the project scope with the Project Team Leader and reach out to some industry professionals who could be of help.
3pm– The whole office comes together for a workshop session. Spurred on by some healthy competition our team bring forward some great ideas to feed back to a client that is witnessing a competitive threat but needs some help navigating it.
5pm– Not all the research I do is for a client. I spend the final part of my day speaking with a professor and world-renowned author for a White Paper I am working on. We discuss and debate how economic and political changes may affect the economic B2B space in the coming year.
As you can see there really are multiple aspects to the role of Research Analyst, one minute you can be presenting research back to the Team Leader, another minute you can be speaking with an industry leader about ground breaking technology coming to the market. Having such a varied job that is genuinely intellectually stimulating is great, but even greater in a team that’s so fun to be part of.
Senior Team Leader
Arrive at the office, grab a coffee (black, no sugar), and check-in on the day. Once I have read my e-mails I like to spend ten minutes reviewing the latest news relating to my clients and their industries.
The analysts and I sit down to discuss progress on an FMCG project we have been working on for the past month. We are 50% of the way through the project and are going to catch up with the client later in the week to discuss emerging findings and progress to completion. The challenge for us is pulling out the key trends, dynamics and threats to our client in 6 very different countries. We spend the next two hours analysing what we know thus far.
I take the Consultant on the FMCG project through the proposed structure of the output. With his ~8 years of experience, he provides valuable direction on how the output can be kept shorter, while still being just as insightful.
I am also heading up a project with a major energy provider in the U.K. I know the client well having worked with him for years so we have an informal chat to confirm key objectives, timescales and deliverables.
There is gym just around the corner from the office and I manage to squeeze in a quick session – just what I need for the busy afternoon ahead.
I catch up with our FMCG client to discuss the proposed structure of the output for next week’s session. They provide some valuable views on how it could be structured to best engage stakeholders at their end.
One of the Directors and I take a call from a prospective client in the construction space. We spend the next hour hearing about their needs, and objectives, in advance of putting a proposal together.
The team and I now set about building some key slides for the session with the FMCG client later in the week. Analysts take ownership for their work streams and I take on the more strategic slides and provide guidance on composition.
I make a start on the proposal for our construction friends; by working on the methodology, scope and fees. Being able to work on things outside of project delivery is one of the great things about working at White Space.
I check my e-mails and plan tomorrow. Projects are progressing well, we are on course to meet deadlines and deliverables. And I’m off to put my feet up ahead of another busy day.