Akram Hidmi, Senior Consultant
Q. How long have you been with AArete and how did you come into your role here?
I came to AArete as a Consultant in early 2017 and was promoted to a Senior Consultant role at the start of this year. My background is in Finance from The Ohio State University and right out of college I worked for JP Morgan Chase Bank in their Operations Leadership Development Program and transitioned to their Real Estate department doing risk analysis and underwriting. One of my closest college friends had just started her position at AArete and was very excited about the company. After my first interview I was sold on being a part of this amazing, growing culture. I wanted an entrepreneurial environment after leaving Chase, somewhere I could see a direct result of my work.
Q. What does your typical day look like?
There is no typical day here at AArete! We often wear multiple hats in order to service our clients and deliver excellence. An engagement begins at the client site with stakeholder meetings. We use our internal Knowledge Management Center, an amazing online repository of intellectual property, thought leadership and market intelligence from previous engagements to put together a well-informed, well researched, data influenced business case. Then comes the negotiations with vendors to create impactful savings for our client.
Q. What has been your biggest career or client accomplishment?
My biggest client accomplishment was being able to negotiate a large multimillion dollar contract. My work contributed to over $2M in annual savings for our client. AArete has afforded me the opportunity to work directly with and learn from senior leadership. This has strengthened my own development and improved my client facing skills. Being able to work across industries in transportation, retail, and healthcare has also contributed to my overall professional development and confidence.
Q. What advice would you have for a new-hire at AArete?
Never say no to new opportunities. You never know what future opportunities and new skillsets it will lead to. We are working in a consistently fast-paced environment that requires an entrepreneurial attitude. AArete’s technology driven culture and access to the latest digital and data platforms has given me the chance to gain unique business skills to negotiate savings for our clients. This, combined with mentorship from AArete’s senior leadership and interesting project work, has given me a valuable education.
Paige Hagopian, Senior Consultant
Q. What attracted you about AArete?
After graduating from the University of Richmond in Virginia, I took a job at a smaller firm based in D.C. I always knew I wanted to move to Chicago and AArete’s data and technology focused work drew me to the company. I really enjoy using and manipulating data to uncover solutions and my success at AArete is due in large part to my passion for analytical work. I like to do things better, faster and more efficiently. I knew AArete was going to be a great fit because of that.
Q. What does your typical day look like?
AArete is a truly collaborative work environment. Internal team meetings and meetings with our clients are an important and regular part of our day. I love being in front of the client and having that direct interaction. AArete offers client-facing exposure from day one and it is an exciting and integral part of our consulting careers. As a Senior Consultant, I also have the opportunity to project manage and delegate tasks. I love helping direct the work of our team’s analysts and consultants while simultaneously having the opportunity to interact with senior leadership as the point person on projects.
Q. What has been your biggest client accomplishment?
I spend a lot of time working with data to come up with solutions for our clients. On one particular project, I was able to automate a process which, in turn, saved our team an overwhelming amount of manual work and subsequently allowed us to reduce errors and ultimately hit our client’s goal. We had a strict deadline and the client was so impressed with our team’s ingenuity and skill.
Q. What resource do you utilize the most at AArete?
AArete has an internal Center of Data Excellence or “CODE” team. While other firms may outsource this type of work, we have an incredible team of highly skilled Data Scientists, Data Architects and Digital Intelligence/Visualization experts right in our Chicago office whose deep experience is perfectly aligned with our client work. Their support is invaluable, a huge part of our client success and ultimately the resource I utilize the most at AArete.
Q. What advice do you have for a new-hire at AArete?
Everyone at AArete is supportive and friendly and they want you to succeed. Don’t be afraid to meet someone new! Getting to know other AAretians and their client work will set you up for success. Collaboration across teams is a valuable strength and an opportunity that AAretians are excited to take advantage of. The teams here have diverse backgrounds and everyone is a great teacher. In my first 3 months at AArete I learned more than I ever imagined.