Join Houston-based forensics data analytics consultant Ian Shol as he splits time working from the client site and home on his first in-person project at AlixPartners.
Ian Shol shares a week in his life on his first in-person project at AlixPartners, including catching up with his clients over poke, mentoring students at his alma mater, studying for the CFF exam while working out, and prepping a 16-lb brisket for a weekend BBQ.
Monday, November 8
6:00 am: Catch a charter bus from Houston to the client site. The client is a consumer goods manufacturer of nutrition supplements whose primary production facility caught on fire. Our team is helping manage their recovery and plan for the future. I joined the firm during pandemic, so this is my first in person project at AlixPartners! On the ride, I read emails, review my calendar for the week, and make some tweaks to materials for an upcoming meeting.
10:30 am: I get set-up at the client and give the client’s President a brief status update on the project regarding our different workstreams before diving into a costing analysis for the company’s 2022 forecast.
12:30 pm: Lunch with the client staff. Catch up over poké bowls and discuss their work at the company and how their weekends were. The Director of Finance tells me about his farm and taking care of his goats and chickens. Having these casual interactions to get to know the client team on a more personal level is a great benefit of travelling to client sites again.
1:00 pm: After lunch, equipped with some new farming tips, I continue work on our analysis for the company’s forecast.
8:00 pm: I check into my hotel and head to the gym. It’s been a long day, but I force myself to get some exercise in to stay productive over the long term.
Tuesday, November 9
12:30 pm: Meet with a new client contact to catch him up to speed on the project. Will Swofford from our Turnaround and Restructuring group video conferences in and shares background about our different workstreams. I go over the model we’ve built that our client will be taking over. He loves it and gives great feedback.
5:00 pm: I shift my focus to another project. I am part of the management team of two liquidating trusts of former divisions of an appliance manufacturer. We have a meeting tonight with our independent advisory committee, and I review the materials I’ve prepped with the project lead, Regina Lee. She has some great suggestions for the materials that will help focus and drive the meeting.
7:00 pm: Meet with the trust advisory committee. They are based in China, so we alternate late and early meeting times in our respective time zones. As a night person, I much prefer when it’s our turn to meet in the evening.
Wednesday, November 10
10:00 am: Join the weekly calibration meeting with our manufacturing client. We secured the client a big win last week, so the company's private equity sponsors were on the call to congratulate everyone and discuss next steps.
1:30 pm: I volunteer to coach business students at my alma mater. Today, I have a call with my mentees to rehearse a case study examining the legal, financial, and societal implications of mask mandates in preparation for their graded presentation next week.
5:00 pm: I take the bus back to Houston to make pre-marital counseling at my church tomorrow morning. My fiancée and I are going to whiteboard and create an action plan to drive value and success over the long term, even in the face of disruption. Grateful that AlixPartners allows us the flexibility to balance serving our clients and our personal lives.
Thursday, November 11
10:00 am: Make updates to our model based on our manufacturing client’s feedback. I conference in with other members of the team to brainstorm some inputs and assumptions, and then schedule some time with the client to walk through the changes together. As much as I enjoy being at the client, the coffee is much better at home.
4:00 pm: Our manufacturing client has requested our assistance with leveraging their ERP system, so Regina facilitated a call with myself and Meade Monger to discuss the request and how our Digital team might be able to deliver something beyond the client's expectations.
6:00 pm: Hit the gym and get in some study time for the Certified in Financial Forensics Exam from the AICPA. There’s no explanation for it, but listening to lectures on purchase price disputes seems to make the weights move more easily.
Friday, November 12
10:00 am: Hop on a call to check in on a fellow recent joiner to the Houston office, Clark McCarty. My Shih Tzu, Milly, makes an appearance on screen and I formally introduce her to Clark.
1:30 pm: Follow-up on some data requests before a team huddle to discuss our progress this week. Our workstreams are evolving, so we discuss expectations for the future to adapt to the client’s needs.
7:00 pm: Shut down the laptop for the evening and start prepping a 16-lb brisket. I opt to use a simple rub of salt and pepper, post oak wood for the smoke, and the “Texas crutch” method to finish the cook. It’s an hour per pound to cook, so I inform friends and family that brisket will be available on a first-come, first-served basis tomorrow afternoon.