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How did you get involved in the project controls analyst role?
I studied engineering, but after an internship, I realized I wasn't interested in a career in engineering. Project Controls involved working closely with engineers on large, technical projects, but with a broader focus than I'd have as a junior engineer, which was more appealing to me. My role involves coordinating with the various leads to understand the cost, schedule, risk, and contractual profiles of projects. I prepare comprehensive reports, indicate if we are on track or not, and flag any issues for project managers to act on. I've enjoyed having a functional role where I can take my skillset to a variety of industries and projects. I've worked on projects for nuclear power plants, air traffic control systems, hospitals, site security installations, and laboratories for testing infectious diseases. Learning about new projects and industries keeps me fresh.
“Step out of your swim-lane and help out wherever you can.”
- Laura Krepel
My U.S. government program involves partnering with foreign governments on collaborative projects, so I get to travel internationally and build relationships with foreign stakeholders. On one project, our team put together a training exercise to simulate a foreign site visit. We focused on a variety of challenges that have been encountered in these site visits (e.g., the van breaks down, the team is denied access to the site, etc.) so new program employees know what to expect from a visit, can be prepared for a variety of situations, and know how and when to ask for help. We made up a foreign country called "Freedonia" and detailed a list of potential collaborative projects, key international relationship issues, and major exports. For fun, we also made up a handshake greeting and national anthem. I played a foreign intelligence officer in the exercise—my job was to ask probing questions to gather information and attempt to bribe or otherwise comprise the new employees. This helped them learn how to recognize those signs and get practice reporting acts of surveillance. Basically I got paid to play spy for a day. Best. Day. Ever.
Before I joined Booz Allen, I worked for a construction and engineering company. In that industry, success is doing work faster, better, and cheaper. At Booz Allen, however, I've learned that it's less about self-performing work and more about impacting others. You can do beautiful A-grade work, but if it's not used by the client or the project then you've made no impact. I've learned that I should spend most of my time communicating about my work—what it does, how it helps, and how clients can use it. My PowerPoint skills and persuasion skills have exponentially grown at Booz Allen. It's important to step out of your swim-lane and help out wherever you can to continue to grow your skills.
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