This month we interviewed Tom Ambrogio – Senior Consultant at Tefen USA.
Working at Tefen since September 2014
Tom was recently promoted to the position of Senior Consultant and is based out of the New York Office. Originally from Westchester County, he spent his undergrad years in Eaton, MA while attending Stonehill College. It’s no surprise that his colleagues call him “an all-star consultant” as Tom earned his Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and Masters in Accounting, both while working full-time.
Background (education, previous work, etc):
- Finance at Stonehill College
- Masters in Accounting from Kaplan University
- 8 years as a personal trainer
What drew you to apply to Tefen Management Consulting?
My interest in consulting in general comes from the fact that I am a very analytical person and generating solutions. I brought this over from my previous career, where I spent 8 years as a personal trainer. In both business and fitness there is always a best solution. For example, there are management routines and processes every general manufacturer or every quality control lab should follow, but due to the culture of site it doesn’t work. In training there is always a most effective way to accomplish the goal at hand, but everyone is an individual, so I needed to be able to tweak the plan to make it fit their needs. Same thing goes for consulting. If you want your client to see change and results, you have to tailor the program to them and build in steps towards that direction.
What do you like the most about your consultant life?
I like to eat (laughs) but mostly I like to eat interesting stuff. Since we travel a lot, it’s very conductive for trying a lot of different foods.
What was the most interesting thing you’ve tried?
Duck tongue in London was the most interesting. It tastes like nothing and but the texture is spongy and there’s a bone in it.
What do you like least about the lifestyle?
There are two things that are not so fun. First, it’s never fun going into “crunch time”—it’s part of what we have to do, despite all the planning and executing, there comes times when long hours are absolutely necessary. Second, especially when a project is shorter term, we may have to take multiple flights in one week. It is exhausting being in and out of airports and train stations. Two cities in one week is rough.
What’s the main goal for a management consultant according to you?
We are facilitators of change. At least for the projects I’ve been on, this requires changing a mindset or culture. We are there to provide a guiding hand to the client. That really underlies every project.
Tell us about your most memorable/engaging project.
A year ago I was at the site of a very change-averse client who did not want to participate with the corporate initiative, and it took a while but, as we liked to say, finally the iceberg began to move. The change occurred due to two reasons; first due to persistence and consistency. Always show up and be friendly. We were killing them with kindness. Meet any cynical comment with a big smile and return a positive remark. Second, adjust plans to meet what the client needs. While developing a scheduling and metrics tool, the client wanted to make changes to it that would enable them to operate the same way it was before Tefen arrived on site. We were successful when we found a happy medium to meet customer’s desires, yet being firm about the things that really are best for their business.
What are your activities when not traveling to two cities a week?
I am passionate about investment research for personal endeavors, weight lifting, and NY Jets. This is 90% of my free time. Weight lifting is a form of continuous improvement. With consistency and habit, small changes over a period of time payoff with big results.
Who is the biggest source of influence in your life?
My brother—he set a good example of what I want to be in a few years. He’s been the cornerstone of support for me He always the first person I turn to and help fix the situation.
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What I enjoy most about working at Tefen is the group of people. We have are very different, but share some of the same characteristics. Willing to step up to the challenge, and capable to deliver despite those challenges that come up.