An Interview with Aileen A. Tapia — Senior Consulting Analyst, Accenture
Today, I bring you a virtual coffee chat with Aileen A. Tapia ☕️ Many may know her as a successful consultant at Accenture, an Industrial and Systems engineer from UTEP, or a career mentor. During my chat with Aileen, we covered various topics spanning from picking a major at university, working as a consultant, to growing financial literacy and personal finance.
What decisions and interests led you to pursue a degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Texas-El Paso?
Like many students, picking a major for Aileen was not straightforward. She faced a lot of confusion deciding on a major and finding her passion. Her story about pursuing a degree in Industrial and System Engineering:
“I started out as an electrical engineering student to later discover that I disliked electrical circuits and coding during my freshmen year. I was about to drop the class when I met with two of my mentors and they advised me not to drop engineering. They helped me pick a major that I would enjoy. I am people’s person and find joy in optimizing processes. After going over a degree plan with my mentors, I decided to pick industrial and systems engineering. This major was an intersection of business and engineering and it gave me a sense of both and liked that dynamic”
You possess a wealth of experience from research to manufacturing to operations management and now consulting. What are some transferrable skills you have acquired from these experiences?
An important skill is to be able to identify your transferable skills!
Aileen talks about how being self-aware of the values and skills you can bring to the table and communicating that well is fairly important. From her research positions, she was exposed to product ownerships and helped her gain insight into different management styles. In her different internship experiences, she worked with all kinds manager some of who she still looks up to and a few whose leadership and management skills were not too effective. This gave her an opportunity to experience different workplace cultures and management and choose the right one for herself.
While working in different cultures and adopting key ideas from each one, she learned she enjoys working in a fast paced and dynamic environment. The pace of her work helped her stay motivated and achieve great success. Consulting fulfilled her desire of working in a fast paced environment. Accenture’s commitment to accelerating inclusion and diversity and to create a work environment where everyone feels like they belong really attracted her to the company.
What does your day-to-day look like as a Consulting Analyst? What is advice would you give aspiring consultants?
Not a day that looks the same!
Currently working on digital transformation for a company, Aileen is helping her client company enhance their technical performance after a recent divisional acquisition of another company. Through this project, Aileen has been so successful wearing many hats from working on data visualization, data analytics, training content creation to delivery and logistics, and to cloud migrations.
As she is climbing up the consulting career leader, she has developed core consultancy skills, grown her confidence and has become indispensable. As a successful analyst who has so much growth in a few years, she shared some of her tips and advice.
“When you start consulting, it may be exciting to touch every industry from retails, telecom to manufacturing but specializing will help you become an expert in that field and build a personal consulting reputation” said Aileen. Diversifying your portfolio through internship experience is advised although the impact an intern can make in a short period can only stretch so far. In Aileen’s experience as a consulting analyst at Accenture, working with a client over a few months has helped her develop a deeper understanding of the company and its data pain points, get a strong sense of the business acumen of the company and build a good reputation with the client. She also noted that understanding transferrable perennial skills between different industries is important to break into consulting.
What did your introduction to finance look like and what piqued your interest in personal finance?
If you have not already watched the Financial Literacy and You webinar hosted by khushali desai, co-founder of Her Tech Hour, you should check out the recorded webinar here to explore topics about managing money while transitioning from school into the corporate world, and making smart choices during times of crisis!
As a first generation hispanic student, Aileen faced her fair share of struggles in financial management. Working 35 hours a week in high school, Aileen quickly understood the value of money and carefully budgeted her income. When she transitioned into industry, she was exposed to compensation, employee benefits, savings, stock program, health insurance and more. She felt very overwhelmed by the lack of financial knowledge.
Without personal finance discussions at home, lack of resources and honest talks, Aileen took it upon herself to become more financially literate by learning about the stock market, and creating content to educate other students along the way. Through her persistent efforts to promote financial literacy at university, the university introduced new courses to boost financial literacy among students.
📚 Book Recommendations on personal finance
- Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad
- Broke Millennial Takes On Investing: A Beginner’s Guide to Leveling Up Your Money
Our interviewer’s most favorite financial podcast is So Money by Farnoosh Torabi where an award-winning financial strategist, TV host and bestselling author talks to today’s top business minds, authors and influencers to learn about their financial journey and how they mastered their money.
What advice would you give yourself in university?
Trust yourself more, love yourself no more and ask more questions!
Molding herself into the confident and self-motivated women she is today, Aileen highlights the importance of being vocal and believing in yourself. It is important to remember that confidence comes from within and once you start believing in yourself, you will be able to unlock your confidence and let yourself shine. Another real and honest advice (my personal favourite) she shared was to be more present and enjoy the moment. It’s hard to stay in the present while chasing goals but as the cliche goes, “It’s about the journey and not the destination!”.
Big shoutout to Aileen A. Tapia for sharing her advice in consulting and being so phenomenal in empowering females in STEM and minorities in tech! She is a huge inspiration for all aspiring consultants and engineers. Make sure to follow her on LinkedIn @aileentapia to wish her lots of success in her future endeavours and to follow along on her amazing journey! 🥳