A Day in the Life: Associate, Corporate Strategy

Published by: Rishi Kadiwar

A day in the life of Rishi Kadiwar, an associate in the corporate strategy group for an education management company in New York City:

6:20 a.m. My IPhone alarm goes off with a spiteful sound. I live in Stamford, CT a 40 minute express train ride into NYC so I need to be showered, shaved, and clothed by 7:10 to catch the 7:30 train into Grand Central.

7:30 a.m. Get on the train, check my Blackberry for any urgent emails that need a response before I get into the office.

8:30 a.m. Walking into headquarters I quickly stop on the 3rd floor cafeteria to get a cup a coffee (my first of the day) before heading to my desk.

8:40 a.m. At my desk - log on to my computer and simultaneously open up Outlook and IE. Do a quick check of the top industry news sites for any breaking news that I may have missed yesterday.

9:00 a.m. Start putting the finishing touches on a competitive intelligence deck for a 9:30 meeting. Currently one of my ongoing projects is to analyze how our products stack up against our rivals.

10:30 a.m. After the meeting I regroup with my boss, the Executive Director of Strategy to incorporate any new information learned at the meeting. While reviewing the deck, we go off on a tangent talking about how a start-up ed-tech firm (Firm X) could heighten our social media marketing platform.

11:00 a.m. Start researching Firm X to see how exactly we could leverage their technology. Schedule a call with our business technology team to get a better understanding of our own technical capabilities. Log into Capital IQ to get a comp set on rival firms (Capital IQ's comp sets aren't always on point, so most of the time I end up assembling my own), and see if we were to acquire Firm X, about how much it would cost us.

12:00 p.m. My whole team sits together on the same part of the floor, I swivel my chair around and ask if anybody wants to grab some lunch. I usually eat at my desk and catch up on emails. It's remarkable working in a city with thousands of great places to eat and our little stretch of the Upper West Side has nothing that's good AND affordable. So like we do on most days we head over to the Whole Foods or the burrito truck parked next to the office.

12:30 p.m. Get back to my desk with my Chicken Curry Salad in hand. I start drafting an email—the Corporate Strategy group is helping lead a scenario planning session for our Sr. Directors, VPs and SVPs on the future of our new product development pipeline. I have just been informed that the COO might pop in for a minute. Send the email to my boss for comments before I send it to the corporate "higher ups".

1:00 p.m. Meet with our International Development group and an outside consultant to start brainstorming how we can start modeling the growth potential in Asia for our products. We are looking to make a heavy push into Asia, as our main competitor has already entered the market.

2:00 p.m. Get back to researching Firm X. I start making assumptions about their sales growth and open Excel to begin a "back-of the-envelope" DCF. This model will get updated and more robust in the coming weeks, as we meet with Firm X's management.

3:00 p.m. Go into a meeting with my boss to start laying out our presentation for the scenario planning meeting with upper management next week. I'll have the to-do in putting a draft presentation together for our team to review later this week.

3:20 p.m. Go back to my desk and start reaching out to my colleagues in the product groups to incorporate their ideas into the presentation. In an organization the size of ours it's important to learn as much from all the other groups and take a holistic view when doing at firm wide scenario planning.

6:00 p.m. Do one last save on PowerPoint and my Excel DCF and start logging off. Luckily the NYSC is right across our office so I can get a workout in before I head back to Grand Central to go home.

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