Alexandra, known in the office as “O.J”, is a founding member of our AlphaSights San Francisco office. She joined the New York office in July 2014 and was a student athlete while at Yale.

I have always thought of myself as part of a team. In March of my senior year, during the last play of my last basketball game, I felt a slight panic when the clock stopped at the 10-second mark. Ten seconds later, I wasn’t going to be a part of the Yale Varsity Women’s Basketball team anymore, and there wasn’t another team to look forward to. In what felt like the blink of an eye, such a huge part of my identity was suddenly gone. I never saw myself as a basketball player, I always saw myself as a member of a basketball team.

Three months earlier, when I was beginning my job search, I anticipated this panic and knew that wherever I ended up working it was going to have to be in a team-focused environment. This was a necessity for me, because to be frank, I’m not good at keeping myself motivated if I am the only stakeholder. I need people around me that push me to work harder, remind me of the bigger picture, and pick me up when I’m down.

AlphaSights has definitely given me a team environment to not only succeed, but thrive in. Since joining in July 2014, I have been on three different teams that operate in different ways, and I don’t think I would have been successful if I had joined a firm that didn’t have a team-based structure.

My first team was in our Private Equity Segment, where I was placed on a team with four others for nine months. While we weren’t always working on the same projects, and while we theoretically could have gone the entire day without speaking to one another, having three other people next to me working for the same clients and trying to reach the same account goals kept me motivated. When something funny came up, or there was a lull in my day, I could turn to my right or left, chat with my colleagues, and take a quick break. When I was having difficulty with project delivery, or ran into a challenging situation with a client, I could also look to them for support.

During months 10-15, I was on the Consulting Segment with four different colleagues. Unlike my time on PE, I was regularly delivering on the same projects as my colleagues and sharing all aspects of project delivery. One team member could be conducting research while another could be scheduling and managing communications with our Expert Advisors. The next day, the roles may be reversed. By the end of day three, when you get a email from your client expressing his gratitude for the hard work your team put in, you can celebrate the win with the people around you, the same way that my basketball team would celebrate with me when I made a free throw.

I have since left our Consulting Segment and I am a founding member of AlphaSights’ San Francisco team. There are going to be a lot of ups and downs, new roadblocks to navigate, and unique wins. While I don’t know everything that founding a new office has in store, and while being a part of the AlphaSights’ San Francisco team by no means defines who I am as a person, I know that as long as I have my new team to my left, right, diagonal, rear, and straight ahead, everything is going to be fine.