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Meet with one of our consultants at Talan Canada, Freddy KHALIL

In this interview, Freddy Khalil tells us his experience as a consultant at Talan.

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1. Could you introduce your career path?

After graduating from a bachelor’s degree in Finance, in my home country of Lebanon, I started my career in IT, working for a Software 3rd Party Vendor as a Quality Assurance engineer. Two years later, I transitioned to a Product Owner role while graduating with an MBA in management.

In 2021 I moved to Montreal, Canada, and I joined Talan, and now I am working as a Sr. Business Analyst for an International Corporate & Investment Bank.

 

2. What are the different projects/initiatives you are currently working on?

My current client (i.e., one of Canada’s leading financial institutions) is going through a major international payments and business transformation project. As a Business Analyst, I help guide the business in improving processes, products, services, and software through data analysis.

As a Business Analyst, I am responsible for bridging the gap between IT and the business using data analytics to assess processes, collect and document requirements and provide data-driven recommendations and reports to executives and stakeholders.

To do this, I engage with business leaders and users to understand how data-driven changes to process, products, services, software, and hardware can improve efficiencies and add value. Besides a strong background in international payments, I must balance / challenge the requirements against what is technologically feasible and financially and functionally reasonable.

As a Business Analyst, I work with a wide range of stakeholders (i.e., business unit managers, business and process owners, subject matter experts, etc.) to document AS-IS processes and re-design TO-BE processes across the International Payments division.

In addition to my client assignment, I am also involved in the business development strategy of the “Change & Optimization” practice. This is reflected in several initiatives, including

  • Draft marketing materials for client meetings
  • Answer to Client Requests for Proposal (RFPs)
  • Produce client success stories to evidence Talan’s track record on similar client projects
  • Identify new prospects eligible for our consulting offer
  • Built-up brand-new partnerships with US top universities to expand Talan Americas’ fame & notoriety towards local students, while diversifying our recruitment channels and sourcing talents fresh out from schools
  • Draft the social media communication strategy to increase Talan Americas visibility and presence on LinkedIn
  • Work on different Training paths to provide ongoing support to our consultants to help them develop their hard skills and soft skills through our internal training catalog. Our consultants’ professional development is one of our top priorities and career evolution is fully transparent.

 

3. Three words to introduce Talan?

  • Coaching: at every stage of our consulting journey, I have been amazed by the support provided by Talan. One of the expectations of a consultant is based on his/her capacity to work independently. However, it does not prevent the consultant from being coached by a more senior consultant. Which was the case for me at 2 different occasions: when I started a new assignment for a new client in a different industry sector and when I was contemplating the opportunity to transition to a new role. Talan is committed to raising the bar for us and our industry. Talan provides ongoing support to help us to develop our expertise. By offering flexible career paths, encouraging knowledge sharing, and promoting stewardship, they enable the consultants to progress in a way that support individual ambitions while fostering collective growth.
  • Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging: Talan is truly a company that believes in Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging. They know that recruiting talent with diverse backgrounds and perspectives is not only crucial for employee wellbeing, but also good for business. Talan is committed to cultivating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture where our people feel valued, supported, and can learn from each other’s.
  • Commitment: as the business world continues to evolve, it is important to keep abreast of changes to regulation and technology, and thus develop new skills to support these transitions, as they can disrupt our clients’ business models. Upon arrival, our consultants specialize in an industry, practice, function, or role which allow them:

        - collaborate with experts on the same team

­        - develop their knowledge in a certain field

        -­ help Talan tailor their offers to the level of expertise sought by our clients

        - leverage our skills in the context of “Knowledge Management”.

           Beyond specializing in a function, sector or practice, consultants can experience a variety of  assignments, clients, and organizations. I was lucky enough to benefit from these opportunities quite early in my career as a consultant.

 

4. At Talan, what is your playfield? How do you manage to explore it?

It’s quite exciting to be involved in several projects and initiatives at the same time. By being curious, proactive, agile, and eager to learn and develop new skills, I was able to seize many opportunities, explore new playgrounds, develop new skills, and get involved in many internal and exciting initiatives, such as:

  • A “Lunch & Learn” session dedicated to Project Management: I enrolled myself and the idea of transitioning to a role as project management gradually materialized…
  • A Meetup session dedicated to the “Change and Optimization” practice:  at the end of the Meetup, I was so excited that I volunteered straight away to join the “Change & Optimization” practice, contribute to the business development of the practice, and support our consultants to develop/strengthen their project and change management skills.
  • A “Lunch and Learn” session related to Data management, which had led me to enroll for a related course on Udemy (our internal training platform}.
  • The completion of online training for 5 entire Project Management courses to assess their content and advise other consultants on the most appropriate training course(s) according to their level of exposure (beginner, intermediate and advanced) and their expectations.

 

5. Could you describe a strong memory since you have joined Talan?

I have many good memories even though I haven’t completed my first year yet.

During my first meeting with Ana Maria, we got to know each other on a professional and personal level, which gave me a sense of comfort and belonging.

Even before I joined Talan, during Halloween, I received pictures from Ana Maria from Talan’s Halloween party, and she requested the pictures of my baby wearing his costume so the team could meet him.

I still remember how excited I was to join this amazing company, and how welcomed I felt, even before I signed my contract. Talan is not only a great place to work, but also a great company to have friends who are part of the Talan’s family.

Talan strives to cultivate an inclusive and supportive environment in which all are encouraged to be their authentic selves and given the flexibility to pursue a meaningful career.

By supporting the consultants in this way, Talan empowers them to explore new ways of thinking, propelling us all forward.

 

6. Which person inspires you the most?

What inspires me is not necessarily related to knowledge, work, technical skills, or studies. However, great leaders inspire me.

Leaders set the direction and help themselves and others to do what it takes to move forward. They do this by creating an inspiring vision, then motivating and inspiring others to achieve it. They also manage the delivery of the vision, directly or indirectly, and build and coach their teams to make them ever stronger.

 

7. Who would you like to work with?

I enjoy working with colleagues who have a sense of humor and who also know how to manage their stress and their time. I appreciate a friendly environment; it often leads to respect, honesty, teamwork, knowledge sharing, individual and collective successes…