Career Guide The Top 50 Consulting Firms
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Career Guide The Top 50 Consulting Firms

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Guide To The Top 50 Consulting Firms

Guide To The Top 50 Consulting Firms

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Career Guide The Top 50 Consulting Firms Document Transcript

  • 1. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms is made possible through the generous support of the following sponsors:
  • 2. The media’s watching Vault!Here’s a sampling of our coverage.“For those hoping to climb the ladder of success, [Vaults] insightsare priceless.”– Money magazine“The best place on the web to prepare for a job search.”– Fortune“[Vault guides] make for excellent starting points for job huntersand should be purchased by academic libraries for their careersections [and] university career centers.”– Library Journal“The granddaddy of worker sites.”– US News and World Report“A killer app.”– New York TimesOne of Forbes 33 “Favorite Sites”– Forbes“To get the unvarnished scoop, check out Vault.”– Smart Money Magazine“Vault has a wealth of information about major employers and job-searching strategies as well as comments from workers about theirexperiences at specific companies.”– The Washington Post“A key reference for those who want to know what it takes to gethired by a law firm and what to expect once they get there.”– New York Law Journal“Vault [provides] the skinny on working conditions at all kinds ofcompanies from current and former employees.”– USA Today
  • 3. TOP50CONSVAULT GUIDE TO THETOP 50MANAGEMENTFIRMSAND STRATEGYCONSULTINGFIRMSMARCY LERNERAND THE STAFF OF VAULT© 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 4. Copyright © 2004 by Vault Inc. All rights reserved.All information in this book is subject to change without notice. Vault makes no claims as tothe accuracy and reliability of the information contained within and disclaims all warranties.No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,electronic or mechanical, for any purpose, without the express written permission of VaultInc.Vault, the Vault logo, and “the most trusted name in career informationTM” are trademarks ofVault Inc.For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, contact VaultInc.,150 W. 22nd Street, 5th Floor, New York, New York 10011, (212) 366-4212.Library of Congress CIP Data is available.ISBN 1-58131-293-8Printed in the United States of America
  • 5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Thanks to everyone who had a hand in making this book possible, especially Mike Baker, Stephanie Clifford, Doug Cantor, Todd Kuhlman, Ed Shen, Danielle Koza, Kristy Sisko, Kelly Shore, Elena Boldeskou, Erin Core, Gabrielle Dudnyk and Laurie Pasiuk. We are also extremely grateful to Vault’s entire staff for all their help in the editorial, production and marketing processes. Vault also would like to acknowledge the support of our investors, clients, employees, family, and friends. Thank you! In order to ensure that our research was thorough and accurate, we relied on a number of people within the consulting firms that we profiled. A special thanks to all of the consultants and consulting firm professionals. To the 2,500-plus consultants who took the time to be interviewed or to complete our survey, we could never thank you enough. Your insights about life inside the top consulting firms were invaluable, and your willingness to speak candidly will help to job seekers and career changers for years to come.
  • 6. Table of ContentsINTRODUCTION 1 A Guide to This Guide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1THE VAULT PRESTIGE RANKINGS 7 Ranking Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 The Vault 50 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Practice Area Ranking Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12THE VAULT QUALITY OF LIFE RANKINGS 17 Quality of Life Ranking Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Quality of Life: Top 10 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20OVERVIEW OF THE CONSULTING INDUSTRY 27 The State of Consulting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Practice Areas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31THE VAULT 50 35 1. McKinsey & Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 2. Boston Consulting Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50 3. Bain & Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .60 4. Booz Allen Hamilton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .72 5. Gartner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .88 6. Monitor Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .94 7. Mercer Management Consulting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .104 8. Deloitte . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .114 9. Mercer Oliver Wyman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .124 Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at www.vault.com/consulting — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY ix
  • 7. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Table of Contents 10. Mercer Human Resource Consulting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .134 11. A.T. Kearney . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .142 12. IBM BCS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .154 13. Accenture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .162 14. Towers Perrin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .174 15. Roland Berger Strategy Consultants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .182 16. The Gallup Organization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .190 17. Parthenon Group, The . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .200 18. Marakon Associates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .204 19. BearingPoint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .214 20. L.E.K. Consulting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .224 21. Capgemini . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .234 22. Hewitt Associates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .246 23. Cambridge Associates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .252 24. Watson Wyatt Worldwide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .256 25. Stern Stewart & Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .262 26. NERA Economic Consulting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .268 27. Arthur D. Little . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .274 28. Advisory Board Company, The . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .280 29. Hay Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .286 30. Charles River Associates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .290 31. ZS Associates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .296 32. Mars & Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .304 33. DiamondCluster International . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .310 34. Putnam Associates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .320 35. Corporate Executive Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .326 36. Kurt Salmon Associates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .334 37. PRTM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .342 38. PA Consulting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .350 39. Navigant Consulting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .356 40. Giuliani Partners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .360 41. First Consulting Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .364 42. Dean & Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .370 43. Katzenbach Partners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .380 44. OC&C Strategy Consultants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .388 45. First Manhattan Consulting Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .392 CAREERx LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 8. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Table of Contents 46. Aon Consulting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .400 47. Greenwich Associates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .404 48. Lexecon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .408 49. Huron Consulting Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .416 50. Braun Consulting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .422THE BEST OF THE REST 369 Analysis Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .428 Applied Value . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .433 Brattle Group, The . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .435 Celerant Consulting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .439 Celerity Consulting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .443 CFI Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .446 Droege & Comp. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .451 Easton Associates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .455 ECG Management Consultants, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .458 Edgar Dunn & Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .461 ENVIRON International . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .464 Exeter Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .469 Fletcher Spaght Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .472 Frost & Sullivan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .475 FTI Consulting, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .479 Haverstick Consulting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .484 Health Advances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .489 IMS Health Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .494 J.R. Bechtle & Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .499 Kaiser Associates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .502 LECG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .508 Leigh Fisher Associates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .512 Mellon Human Resources and Investor Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .517 Mercator Partners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .520 Milliman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .523 NorthBridge Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .527 Right Management Consultants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .530 Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at www.vault.com/consulting — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY xi
  • 9. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Table of Contents Segal Company, The . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .534 SOLVING International . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .538 Strategic Decisions Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .541 Superior Consultant Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .547 Triage Consulting Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .542 Trinity Partners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .557 Value Partners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .560 Vantage Partners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .565 APPENDIX 573 Industry Buzzwords . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .575 Index of Firms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .581 About the Author . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .585 CAREERxii LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 10. Introduction Management and strategy consulting is a volatile industry, and this year has been no exception. That’s why we’ve surveyed over 2,500 consultants to bring you the seventh edition of the Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms. We survey the best of the management and strategy firms, as well as those consulting firms with narrower focuses in fields like financial consulting and health consulting. The 86 profiles in this year’s edition are based on detailed research and extensive feedback from current consultants – talking about everything from company culture to pay, from travel schedules to community service. And we cover everything from gigantic multinational consulting firms to boutique firms with fewer than 100 employees. After a few tough years, the management consulting industry seems to be making something of a comeback. But the recovery isn’t evenly spread. Some consulting firms have thrived despite the downturn – and others are just now bouncing back. Check out the Top 50 rankings to see which firms still have the golden touch of prestige, according to peer consultants. Consultants at prestigious firms tend to enjoy access to a high caliber of clients and projects – not to mention that a recognizable and well-regarded name puts a sheen on any resume. Still, there are plenty of other great reasons to choose a consulting firm – specialty, training, perks – and you’ll learn about all of them in the Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms. The Editors Vault Inc.Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at www.vault.com/consulting — withinsider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 1
  • 11. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Introduction A Guide to this Guide If you’re wondering how our entries are organized, read on. Here’s a handy guide to the information you’ll find packed into each firm profile in this book. Firm Facts Locations: A listing of the firm’s offices, with the city or cities of its headquarters bolded. For firms with a relatively small number of offices, all cities are included. Countries for international offices are typically not specified unless the location is uncommon. Practices Areas: Official departments that employ a significant portion of the firm’s consultants. Practice areas are listed in alphabetical order regradless of their size and prominence. Uppers and Downers: Good points and bad points of the firm, as derived from associate interviews and surveys, as well as other research. Uppers and downers are perceptions and are not based on statistics. Employment Contact: The person, address or web site that the firm identifies as the best place to send resumes or the appropriate contact to answer questions about the recruitment process. Sometimes more than one contact is given. The Buzz When it comes to other consulting firms, our respondents are full of opinions! We asked them to detail their views and observations about firms other than their own, and collected a sampling of these comments in The Buzz. When selecting The Buzz, we included quotes most representative of the common perceptions of the firms held by other consultants, even if in our opinion the quotes did not accurately or completely describe the firm. Please keep in mind when reading The Buzz that it’s often more fun for outsiders to trash than praise a competing consulting firm. Nonetheless, The Buzz can be a valuable means to gauge a firm’s reputation in the consulting industry, or at least to detect common misperceptions. We typically included two to four CAREER2 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 12. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Introduction Buzz comments. In some instances we opted not to include The Buzz if we did not receive a diversity of comments. The Stats Employer Type: The firm’s classification as a publicly traded company, privately held company or subsidiary. Ticker Symbol: The stock ticker symbol for a public company. Stock Exchange: The exchange on which a public company’s stock is traded. Chairman, CEO, etc.: The name and title of the leader of the firm. Sometimes more than one name, or the name of the head of the firm’s consulting business, may be provided. No. of Employees: The total number of employees, including consultants and other staff, at a firm in all offices (unless otherwise specified). Some firms do not disclose this information; numbers for the most recent year the information is available (if at all) is included. Revenue: The gross sales (in U.S. dollars) the firm generated in the specified fiscal year(s). Some firms do not disclose this information; numbers for the most recent year the information is available (if at all) is included. In some cases, revenue is given in Euros (EUR). The Profiles The profiles are divided into three sections: The Scoop, Getting Hired and Our Survey Says. The Scoop: The firm’s history, clients, recent firm developments and other points of interest.Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at www.vault.com/consulting — withinsider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 3
  • 13. Getting Hired: Qualifications the firm looks for in new associates, tips on getting hired and other notable aspects of the hiring process. Our Survey Says: Actual quotes from surveys and interviews with current consultants of the firm on topics such as the firm’s culture, feedback, hours, travel requirements, pay, training and more. Profiles of some firms do not include an Our Survey Says section. Best of the Rest Even though the name of this book is the Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms, we didn’t stop there, adding 36 other firms we thought notable and/or interesting enough for inclusion. These firms are listed alphabetically. CAREER4 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 14. TOP50CONSTHE VAULTPRESTIGERANKINGSFIRMS
  • 15. How many consultingjob boards have youvisited lately? (Thought so.)Use the Internet’s most targetedjob search tools for consultingprofessionals.Vault Consulting Job BoardThe most comprehensive and convenient job board forconsulting professionals. Target your search by area ofconsulting, function, and experience level, and find the jobopenings that you want. No surfing required.VaultMatch Resume DatabaseVault takes match-making to the next level: post your resumeand customize your search by area of consulting, experienceand more. We’ll match job listings with your interests andcriteria and e-mail them directly to your inbox.
  • 16. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms The Vault Prestige RankingsRanking Methodology For the 2004 Vault Management and Strategy Consulting survey, we selected a list of top consulting firms to include. These consulting firms were selected because of their prominence in the consulting industry and their interest to consulting job seekers. This year, over 2,500 consultants responded to our survey. The Vault survey was distributed through the firms on Vault’s list. In some cases, Vault contacted practicing consultants directly. Survey respondents were asked to do several things. They were asked to rate each consulting firm on the survey on a scale of 1 to 10 based on prestige, with 10 being the most prestigious. Consultants were unable to rate their own firm. They were asked only to rate firms with which they were familiar. Vault collected the survey results and averaged the score for each firm. The firms were then ranked, with the highest score being No. 1 down to No. 50. We also asked survey respondents to give their perceptions of other consulting firms besides their own. A selection of those comments is featured on each firm profile as The Buzz. Remember that Vault’s Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms are chosen by practicing consultants at top consulting firms. Vault does not choose or influence the rankings. The rankings measure perceived prestige and not revenue, size or lifestyle. Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at www.vault.com/consulting — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 9
  • 17. The Vault 50 • 2005 [ The 50 most prestigious consulting firms ] RANK RANK FIRM SCORE 2004 HEADQUARTERS 1 McKinsey & Company 8.353 1 New York, NY 2 Boston Consulting Group 7.960 2 Boston, MA 3 Bain & Company 7.717 3 Boston, MA 4 Booz Allen Hamilton 6.670 4 McLean, VA 5 Gartner 6.381 7 Stamford, CT 6 Monitor Group 6.327 5 Cambridge, MA 7 Mercer Management Consulting 6.144 6 New York, NY 8 Deloitte 5.955 11 New York, NY 9 Mercer Oliver Wyman 5.811 9 New York, NY 10 Mercer Human Resource Consulting 5.728 13 New York, NY 11 A.T. Kearney 5.690 8 Chicago, IL 12 IBM BCS 5.673 16 Somers, NY 13 Accenture 5.513 12 New York, NY 14 Towers Perrin 5.468 19 Stamford, CT 15 Roland Berger Strategy Consultants 5.447 10 Munich, Germany 16 The Gallup Organization 5.380 NR Washington, DC 17 The Parthenon Group 5.327 15 Boston, MA 18 Marakon Associates 5.280 14 New York, NY 19 BearingPoint 5.241 20 McLean, VA 20 L.E.K. Consulting 5.214 17 Boston, MA 21 Capgemini 5.173 18 New York, NY 22 Hewitt Associates 5.031 23 Lincolnshire, IL 23 Cambridge Associates 5.010 NR Boston, MA 24 Watson Wyatt Worldwide 4.770 30 Washington, DC 25 Stern Stewart & Company 4.707 24 New York, NY CAREER10 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 18. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms The Vault Prestige Rankings RANKRANK FIRM SCORE 2003 HEADQUARTERS 26 NERA Economic Consulting 4.667 25 White Plains, NY 27 Arthur D. Little 4.660 NR Boston, MA 28 The Advisory Board Company 4.620 NR Washington, DC 29 Hay Group 4.556 27 Philadelphia, PA 30 Charles River Associates 4.444 22 Boston, MA 31 ZS Associates 4.428 33 Evanston, IL 32 Mars & Company 4.414 26 Greenwich, CT 33 DiamondCluster International 4.413 21 Chicago, IL 34 Putnam Associates 4.294 49 Burlington, MA 35 Corporate Executive Board 4.280 38 Washington, DC 36 Kurt Salmon Associates 4.225 32 Atlanta, GA Waltham, MA/Mountain 37 PRTM 4.198 34 View, CA 38 PA Consulting 4.144 37 London, UK 39 Navigant Consulting, Inc. 4.023 46 Chicago, IL 40 Giuliani Partners 4.010 40 New York, NY 41 First Consulting Group 3.963 NR Long Beach, CA 42 Dean & Company 3.844 39 Vienna, VA 43 Katzenbach Partners LLC 3.824 NR New York, NY 44 OC&C Strategy Consultants 3.800 28 New York, NY 45 First Manhattan Consulting Group 3.748 29 New York, NY 46 Aon Consulting 3.707 42 Chicago, IL 47 Greenwich Associates 3.678 NR Greenwich, CT 48 Lexecon 3.600 NR Chicago, IL 49 Huron Consulting Group 3.515 NR Chicago, IL 50 Braun Consulting 3.409 45 Chicago, IL Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at www.vault.com/consulting — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 11
  • 19. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms The Vault Prestige Rankings Practice Area Ranking Methodology Vault also asked consultants to rank the best firms in several areas of business focus. These areas are operations and implementation, economic consulting, energy consulting, financial consulting, health care/pharma consulting and human resources consulting. Consultants were allowed to vote for up to three firms as the best in each area. The following charts indicate the rankings in each practice area, along with the total percentage of votes cast in favor of each firm. (As long as at least one consultant voted for more than one firm, no firm could get 100 percent of the votes; if every consultant had voted for the same three firms, for example, the maximum score would be 33.3 percent.) s Human Resources Consulting RANK FIRM PERCENT 1 Mercer Human Resource Consulting 26.16 2 Towers Perrin 14.93 3 Hewitt Associates 14.52 4(tie) Hay Group 6.99 4(tie) Watson Wyatt Worldwide 6.99 5 McKinsey & Company 3.70 6 Deloitte 3.29 7 Accenture 3.15 8 Aon Consulting 2.19 9 Capgemini 1.64 10 Mellon Human Resources and Investor Solutions 1.51 CAREER12 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 20. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms The Vault Prestige RankingsOperations ConsultingRANK FIRM PERCENT 1 Accenture 19.14 2 A.T. Kearney 12.59 3 Deloitte 9.74 4 McKinsey & Company 9.34 5 IBM BCS 8.29 6 BearingPoint 6.55 7 Booz Allen Hamilton 6.32 8 Boston Consulting Group 4.76 9 Capgemini 4.41 10 Bain & Company 3.65Pharmaceutical ConsultingRANK FIRM PERCENT 1 McKinsey & Company 15.23 2 Boston Consulting Group 12.373(tie) Deloitte 6.493(tie) ZS Associates 6.49 4 Accenture 6.18 5 Bain & Company 4.83 6 First Consulting Group 3.92 7 Capgemini 3.778(tie) BearingPoint 3.328(tie) IMS Health 3.32 9 Health Advances 2.5610(tie) The Advisory Board Company 2.4110(tie) Booz Allen Hamilton 2.4110(tie) IBM BCS 2.41Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at www.vault.com/consulting — withinsider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 13
  • 21. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms The Vault Prestige Rankings Energy Consulting RANK FIRM PERCENT 1 McKinsey & Company 22.51 2 Boston Consulting Group 7.07 3 Accenture 6.54 4 Booz Allen Hamilton 6.02 5 A.T. Kearney 5.50 6 Arthur D. Little 4.45 7(tie) Bain & Company 3.93 7(tie) Deloitte 3.93 8(tie) Charles River Associates 3.40 8(tie) IBM BCS 3.40 9 BearingPoint 3.14 10 Capgemini 2.09 Economic Consulting RANK FIRM PERCENT 1 McKinsey & Company 17.52 2 Boston Consulting Group 10.45 3 NERA Economic Consulting 9.81 4 Bain & Company 7.88 5 Charles River Associates 5.14 6 Deloitte 4.34 7 Arthur D. Little 2.89 8(tie) Accenture 2.57 8(tie) Booz Allen Hamilton 2.57 9(tie) LECG 2.41 9(tie) Monitor Group 2.41 9(tie) Stern Stewart 2.41 10(tie) A.T. Kearney 2.09 10(tie) BearingPoint 2.09 CAREER14 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 22. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms The Vault Prestige RankingsFinancial ConsultingRANK FIRM PERCENT 1 McKinsey & Company 25.45 2 Boston Consulting Group 14.17 3 Bain & Company 8.88 4 Mercer Oliver Wyman 6.72 5 Deloitte 6.00 6 Accenture 5.28 7 Capgemini 3.36 8 Booz Allen Hamilton 2.889(tie) BearingPoint 2.649(tie) First Manhattan Consulting Group 2.6410(tie) A.T. Kearney 2.2810(tie) Arthur D. Little 2.28Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at www.vault.com/consulting — withinsider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 15
  • 23. Are you trying to get into the consulting job market or trying to move to another firm? The job market is tough – and you need every advantage you can get. “We got the best revamp “I have rewritten this resume Named the from Vault.com. Our 12 times and in one review expert pronounced you got to the essence of “Top Choice” by the resume ‘perfect.’” what I wanted to say!” – S.G., Junior Consultant,The Wall Street Journal The Wall Street Journal Atlanta, GA for resume “I was skeptical at first, but you makeovers proved me wrong! The critique zeroed in on where I had weaknesses in the resume.” – S.S., Consultant, San Diego Consulting Resume Writing and Resume Reviews “You made coaching fun! Thank you.” • Have your resume written from scratch or reviewed by an expert that knows the consulting – H.C., Consultant, Toronto, industry and has seen hundreds if not thousands Canada of consultants’ resumes. • For resume writing, start with an e-mailed history and 1- to 2-hour phone discussion. Our experts will write a first draft, and deliver a final draft after feedback and discussion. • For resume reviews, get an in-depth critique and rewrite within TWO BUSINESS DAYS. Consulting Career Coaching • Want to know what it takes to get into consulting from school or another career? • Have a deferred acceptance and want to know where to go from here? • Looking to switch from one consulting firm to another? • Is the travel wearing you out and you’re looking to see how else your consulting skills can be put to use? For more information go to http://consulting.vault.com
  • 24. TOP50CONSTHE VAULTQUALITY OFFIRMSLIFE RANKINGS
  • 25. Wondering what its like to work at a specific employer? M | A.T. Kearney | ABN Amro | AOL Time Warner | AT&T | AXA | Abbott Laboratorie Accenture | Adobe Systems | Advanced Micro Devices | Agilent Technologies | Alco c. | Allen & Overy | Allstate | Altria Group | American Airlines | American Electr ower | American Express | American International Group | American Manageme Read what EMPLOYEES have to say about: ystems | Apple Computer | Applied Materials | Apria Healthcare Group | AstraZenec utomatic Data Processing | BDO Seidman | BP | Bain & Company | Bank One | Bank • Workplace culture merica | Bank of New York | Baxter | Bayer | BMW | Bear Stearns | BearingPoin ellSouth | Berkshire Hathaway | Bertelsmann | Best Buy | Bloomberg | Boeing | Bo • Compensation llen | Borders | Boston Consulting Group | Bristol-Myers Squibb | Broadvie ternational| Brown Brothers Harriman | Buck Consultants| CDI Corp.| CIBC Wor • HoursMarkets | CIGNA | CSX Corp| CVS Corporation | Campbell Soup Company| Cap Gem rnst & Young| Capital One | Cargill| | Charles Schwab | ChevronTexaco Corp. | Chiqui • Diversity rands International | Chubb Group | Cisco Systems | Citigroup | Clear Channel | Cliffo hance LLP | Clorox Company | Coca-Cola Company | Colgate-Palmolive | Comcas • Hiring process omerica | Commerce BanCorp | Computer Associates | Computer Science orporation | ConAgra | Conde Nast | Conseco | Continental Airlines | Corning orporate Executive Board | Covington & Burling | Cox Communications | Credit Suis rst Boston | D.E. Shaw | Davis Polk & Wardwell | Dean & Company | Dell Compute eloitte & Touche | Deloitte Consulting | Delphi Corporation | Deutsche Bank | Dewe allantine | DiamondCluster International | Digitas | Dimension Data | Dow Chemica ow Jones | Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein | Duracell | Dynegy Inc. | EarthLink astman Kodak | Eddie Bauer | Edgar, Dunn & Company | El Paso Corporation ectronic Data Systems | Eli Lilly | Entergy Corporation | Enterprise Rent-A-Car | Ern Young | Exxon Mobil | FCB Worldwide | Fannie Mae | FedEx Corporation | Feder eserve Bank of New York | Fidelity Investments | First Data Corporation | FleetBosto nancial | Ford Foundation | Ford Motor Company | GE Capital | Gabelli AssManagement | Gallup Organization | Gannett Company | Gap Inc | Gartner | Gateway enentech | General Electric Company | General Mills | General Motors | Genzyme eorgia-Pacific | GlaxoSmithKline | Goldman Sachs | Goodyear Tire & Rubber | Gra hornton LLP | Guardian Life Insurance | HCA | HSBC | Hale and Dorr | Halliburton allmark | Hart InterCivic | Hartford Financial Services Group | Haverstick Consulting earst Corporation | Hertz Corporation | Hewitt Associates | Hewlett-Packard | Hom epot | Honeywell | Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin | Household International | IBMKON Office Solutions | ITT Industries | Ingram Industries | Integral | Intel | Internation Read employer surveys on aper Company | Interpublic Group of Companies | Intuit | Irwin Financial | J. Walt hompson | J.C. Penney | J.P. Morgan Chase | Janney Montgomery Scott | Janu apital | John Hancock Financial | Johnson & Johnson | Johnson Controls | KLA-Tenc THOUSANDS of top employers. orporation | Kaiser Foundation Health Plan | Keane | Kellogg Company | Ketchum imberly-Clark Corporation | King & Spalding | Kinkos | Kraft Foods | Kroger | Ku almon Associates | L.E.K. Consulting | Latham & Watkins | Lazard | Lehman Brother ockheed Martin | Logica | Lowes Companies | Lucent Technologies | MBI | MBNAManpower | Marakon Associates | Marathon Oil | Marriott | Mars & Company | McCan rickson | McDermott, Will & Emery | McGraw-Hill | McKesson | McKinsey & Compan Merck & Co. | Merrill Lynch | Metropolitan Life | Micron Technology | Microsoft | Mill rewing | Monitor Group | Monsanto | Morgan Stanley | Motorola | NBC | Nestle | New ubbermaid | Nortel Networks | Northrop Grumman | Northwestern Mutual Financ etwork | Novell | OMelveny & Myers | Ogilvy & Mather | Oracle | Orrick, Herrington utcliffe | PA Consulting | PNC Financial Services | PPG Industries | PRTM | PacifiCa Go to www.vault.com ealth Systems | PeopleSoft | PepsiCo | Pfizer | Pharmacia | Pillsbury Winthrop | Pitne owes | Preston Gates & Ellis | PricewaterhouseCoopers | Principal Financial Group rocter & Gamble Company | Proskauer Rose | Prudential Financial | Prudent
  • 26. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms The Vault Quality of Life RankingsQuality of Life Ranking Methodology In addition to ranking other firms in terms of prestige, survey respondents were asked to rate their own firms in a variety of categories. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest and 1 the lowest, respondents evaluated their firms in the following "quality of life" areas: • Overall satisfaction • Compensation • Work-life balance • Hours in the office • Formal training • Interaction with clients • Relationship with supervisors • Firm culture • Travel requirements • Offices • Diversity with respect to women • Diversity with respect to minorities • Diversity with respect to gays and lesbians Ranking the firms A firms score in each category is simply the average of these rankings. In compiling our quality of life rankings, we only ranked firms from whose consultants we received more than 10 responses for that particular question. Only consulting firms that distributed the Vault survey to their consultants were ranked. Firms that distributed the survey this year were: • Accenture • Droege & Comp. • A.T. Kearney • First Manhattan Consulting Group • Bain & Company • FTI Consulting • Booz Allen Hamilton • The Gallup Organization • Boston Consulting Group • Haverstick Consulting • Braun Consulting • Health Advances • Capgemini • Kaiser Associates • Dean & Company • Katzenbach Partners • DiamondCluster • Kurt Salmon Associates Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at www.vault.com/consulting — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 19
  • 27. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms The Vault Quality of Life Rankings • L.E.K. Consulting • PRTM • Leigh Fisher Associates • Putnam Associates • Marakon Associates • Strategic Decisions Group • Mercer Management Consulting • Superior Consultant Company • Mercer Oliver Wyman • Value Partners • Monitor Group • Vantage Partners • OC&C Strategy Consultants • ZS Associates • PA Consulting Quality of Life: Top 10 Satisfaction On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 means very poor and 10 means excellent, how would you rate your overall satisfaction with your firm? RANK FIRM SCORE 1 The Gallup Organization 9.433 2 Boston Consulting Group 8.922 3 Putnam Associates 8.900 4 Droege & Comp. 8.857 5 PRTM 8.842 6 Bain & Company 8.602 7 Mercer Management Consulting 8.571 8 Monitor Group 8.529 9 Marakon Associates 8.400 10 Katzenbach Partners LLC 8.382 CAREER20 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 28. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms The Vault Quality of Life RankingsCompensationOn a scale of 1-10, where 1 is very poor and 10 is excellent, how would yourate your firms compensation (including salary and bonus)?RANK FIRM SCORE 1 Boston Consulting Group 8.686 2 Mercer Management Consulting 8.333 3 Mercer Oliver Wyman 8.281 4 Katzenbach Partners 8.171 5 First Manhattan Consulting Group 8.077 6 Dean & Company 8.000 7 Marakon Associates 8.000 8 Bain & Company 7.868 9 The Gallup Organization 7.857 10 DiamondCluster International 7.593Work-Life BalanceOn a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is very poor and 10 is excellent, how would yourate your firms efforts to promote a livable work-life balance at your firm?RANK FIRM SCORE 1 Health Advances 8.818 2 The Gallup Organization 8.759 3 Putnam Associates 8.600 4 Droege & Comp. 8.500 5 Kurt Salmon Associates 8.000 6 PRTM 7.947 7 Booz Allen Hamilton 7.909 8 Boston Consulting Group 7.865 9 Braun Consulting 7.857 10 Mercer Oliver Wyman 7.609Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at www.vault.com/consulting — withinsider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 21
  • 29. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms The Vault Quality of Life Rankings Hours in the Office On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 means completely unsatisfied and 10 means extremely satisfied, please rank your satisfaction with the number of hours you spend in the office each week. RANK FIRM SCORE 1 The Gallup Organization 8.467 2 PRTM 7.842 3 Braun Consulting 7.750 4 Booz Allen Hamilton 7.730 5 Haverstick 7.727 6 Kurt Salmon Associates 7.700 7 Putnam Associates 7.600 8 Droege & Comp. 7.571 9 Boston Consulting Group 7.385 10 Strategic Decisions Group 7.158 Formal Training On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being very poor and 10 being excellent, how would you rate your satisfaction with the training offered by your firm? RANK FIRM SCORE 1 Bain & Company 9.060 2 Marakon Associates 9.048 3 ZS Associates 8.727 4 Boston Consulting Group 8.519 5 PRTM 8.421 6 Booz Allen Hamilton 8.191 7 Mercer Management Consulting 7.667 8 L.E.K. Consulting 7.333 9 Putnam Associates 7.118 10 The Gallup Organization 7.107 CAREER22 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 30. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms The Vault Quality of Life RankingsInteraction with ClientsOn a scale from 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with your opportunity to interactwith your clients’ top-level management?RANK FIRM SCORE 1 Boston Consulting Group 9.289 2 Value Partners 9.222 3 Droege & Comp. 9.214 4 PRTM 9.211 5 Katzenbach Partners 9.200 6 The Gallup Organization 9.036 7 Mercer Management Consulting 9.000 8 Kurt Salmon Associates 8.839 9 Marakon Associates 8.810 10 Bain & Company 8.556Relationship with SupervisorsOn a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 means very poor and 10 means excellent, howwould you rate your relationship with your superiors/supervisors?RANK FIRM SCORE 1 PRTM 9.158 2 Droege & Comp. 9.143 3 The Gallup Organization 9.067 4 Boston Consulting Group 9.058 5 Mercer Management Consulting 9.000 6 Monitor Group 8.941 7 Putnam Associates 8.850 8 Bain & Company 8.759 9 Strategic Decisions Group 8.684 10 Braun Consulting 8.571Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at www.vault.com/consulting — withinsider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 23
  • 31. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms The Vault Quality of Life Rankings Firm Culture On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is not at all pleasant and 10 is extremely pleasant, assess your firms culture. RANK FIRM SCORE 1 The Gallup Organization 9.667 2 Boston Consulting Group 9.135 3 Putnam Associates 9.000 4 Bain & Company 8.988 5 PRTM 8.947 6 Katzenbach Partners LLC 8.914 7 Health Advances 8.818 8 Droege & Comp. 8.786 9 ZS Associates 8.727 10 Mercer Management Consulting 8.714 Travel Requirements On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 means excessive and 10 means minimal, how would you rate your firms travel requirements? RANK FIRM SCORE 1 L.E.K. Consulting 8.292 2 ZS Associates 8.091 3 Haverstick Consulting 7.516 4 Putnam Associates 7.150 5 Booz Allen Hamilton 7.012 6 Monitor Group 7.000 7 The Gallup Organization 6.769 8 Dean & Company 6.667 9 First Manhattan Consulting Group 6.500 10 PRTM 6.263 CAREER24 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 32. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms The Vault Quality of Life RankingsOfficesOn a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being miserable and 10 being optimal, how wouldyou rate your offices (your firms offices, not your clients offices)? RANK FIRM SCORE 1 The Gallup Organization 9.333 2 Boston Consulting Group 9.058 3 PRTM 8.947 4 Monitor Group 8.882 5 DiamondCluster International 8.848 6 Mercer Management Consulting 8.714 7 A.T. Kearney 8.667 8 Katzenbach Partners LLC 8.657 9 Marakon Associates 8.619 10 Bain & Company 8.610Diversity Rankings: Top 10Diversity - WomenOn a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 means needing a lot of improvement and 10means exemplary, how receptive is your firm to women in terms of hiring,promoting, mentoring, and other programs? RANK FIRM SCORE 1 Health Advances 9.909 2 The Gallup Organization 9.167 3 Katzenbach Partners 9.088 4 Monitor Group 8.533 5 Booz Allen Hamilton 8.514 6 FTI Consulting 8.471 7 Boston Consulting Group 8.365 8 ZS Associates 8.364 9 Putnam Associates 8.211 10 Value Partners 7.875 Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at www.vault.com/consulting — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 25
  • 33. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms The Vault Quality of Life Rankings Diversity - Minorities On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 means needing a lot of improvement and 10 means exemplary, how receptive is your firm to minorities in terms of hiring, promoting, mentoring and other programs? RANK FIRM SCORE 1 ZS Associates 9.000 2 PRTM 8.875 3 The Gallup Organization 8.607 4 Booz Allen Hamilton 8.441 5 Strategic Decisions Group 8.250 6 Mercer Oliver Wyman 7.789 7 Putnam Associates 7.765 8 Boston Consulting Group 7.667 9 Accenture 7.603 10 Value Partners 7.524 Diversity - Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 means needing a lot of improvement and 10 means exemplary, how would you rate your firms commitment to diversity with respect to gays, lesbians and bisexuals? RANK FIRM SCORE 1 Strategic Decisions Group 9.471 2 Katzenbach Partners LLC 9.382 3 Booz Allen Hamilton 8.770 4 Boston Consulting Group 8.730 5 The Gallup Organization 8.529 6 L.E.K. Consulting 8.450 7 Marakon Associates 8.267 8 Kurt Salmon Associates 8.177 9 DiamondCluster International 8.114 10 Bain & Company 8.077 CAREER26 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 34. TOP50CONSOVERVIEW OF THECONSULTINGINDUSTRYFIRMS
  • 35. VAULT CAREER GUIDESGET THE INSIDE SCOOP ON TOP JOBS “Cliffs Notes for Careers” – FORBES MAGAZINE Vault guides and employer profiles have been published since 1997 and are the premier source of insider information on careers. Each year, Vault surveys and interviews thousands of employees to give readers the “To get the un- inside scoop on industries and specific employers to help them get the jobs they want.varnished scoop,check out Vault”– SMARTMONEY MAGAZINE
  • 36. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Overview of the Consulting IndustryThe State of Consulting The dark years of 2001 and 2002 sent shockwaves through the management consulting industry. According to Kennedy Information, a 17-year streak of double digit growth in consulting was snapped in 2002; in addition, the growth rate of the largest firms slowed by up to 10 percent in that year. But now there’s good news – the economic picture for the industry is once again brightening. Management and strategy consulting firms are seeing a return of demand for their services. This growth is partially fueled by an increasing reliance by firms on the ever-popular outsourcing, or BPO. Big government contracts, fueled in part by the increased focus on homeland security, are buoying consulting firms as well – witness the gigantic $10 billion – yes, billion – contract snared, in large part, by Accenture, to build the United States government’s “Smart Border Alliance,” a new system of border immigration controls. A revival in the financial services market, which had plunged along with the stock market, is shoring up management consulting firms as well. While it’s early, anecdotal evidence for 2004 suggests that management consulting firms are stepping up hiring to meet demand. But this doesn’t mean the boom days have returned. The growth in the market is more like a cessation of a slump rather than the return of wild growth. Clients, for example, have more control of engagements than they did before the worst of the recession. Corporations continue to create their own internal consulting arm, or contract with smaller strategy boutiques for targeted projects instead of signing up with larger consulting firms for years- long engagements. Some management consulting firms are accepting more flexibility in their payment arrangements – for example, reserving 10 percent of the total bill, to be paid by the client only if completely satisfied. Other consulting firms are “overpromising,” according to some current consultants, meaning that individual consultants must work more hours at the same pay to deliver the desired result for a valued client. Rebranding take two Is the recent boomlet of rebranding a sign that the salad days of consulting are returning? In 2004, the admittedly awkwardly-named Cap Gemini Ernst & Young decided to call itself by the sleeker Capgemini. Stalwart Deloitte Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at www.vault.com/consulting — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 29
  • 37. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Overview of the Consulting Industry Consulting, having successfully reintegrated into Deloitte Touche Tomahtsu, now goes by the pared-down Deloitte. On the other hand, A.T. Kearney is conducting a sort of rebranding of its own. Shrugging aside the years where it was overshadowed by its corporate parent, IT consulting firm EDS, A.T. Kearney is now promoting itself as independently as possible as its own strategy brand. Everybody’s an outsourcer The line between management and strategy consulting firms and technology consulting firms continues to blur. The historic division – that management consulting firms developed strategies that were then implemented by IT firms – is increasingly just that, history. Some firms, such as IBM BCS, began by offering technology solutions, then built out business strategy components; others, like McKinsey, were historically strategy firms that have increasingly beefed up technology offerings. While some firms remain pure (or purer) strategy shops, their numbers are decreasing. Part of the reason for this migration? Clients are increasingly sophisticated, and MBA degrees more widespread. According to Dwight Gertz, who started his career at a top consulting firm in 1980, “We could do things [in 1980] that looked dazzling to the client that are now taught in first-year classes at every business school in the country.” Outsourcing is another boundary-blurring moneymaker for consulting firms that continues to grow apace. Outsourcing is the process by which consulting firms help clients find cheaper suppliers for essential services. Sometimes, as in the case of HR consulting, the consulting firms themselves are the outsourcers for routine HR functions. Current estimates hold that India has about 80 percent of the market for foreign-outsourced functions, from spreadsheet-reading, to coding, to employee benefit call centers. Pay to play The upturn in the economy doesn’t mean that potential clients still don’t have the upper hand. Consulting firms are increasingly turning to unusual deals to ensure themselves business. Firms like Accenture, IBM BCS and Bain are foregoing part of their customary fees until the engagement is completed, an arrangement normally called “variable fees” or “contingency pricing.” Clients decide at the end of the engagement whether they are happy enough CAREER30 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 38. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Overview of the Consulting Industry to pay the consulting firm the full fee. The need to “overdeliver,” according to consultants, sometimes causes painfully long work schedules. If you can’t beat ‘em … India has emerged as a source of brainpower on the cheap for consulting firms looking to outsource the needs of clients. Now, some consulting firms are seeking to further streamline operations by acquiring Indian firms (and their labor pools) outright. In 2004, for example, IBM BCS purchased Daksh e- Services for a cool $200 million. Boutiques Smaller consulting firms continue to feature prominently in the management and strategy consulting world. Clients who want very specific consulting knowledge – in the airline business, for example, or in fashion retail – often find themselves turning to a niche, or boutique, consulting firm. Still others want to ensure that their premium strategy consulting dollars are buying advice from the A team and not the entry-level consultants that dwell at the bottom of the pyramid of most larger consulting firms.Practice Areas Operations and implementation Operations is the difference between strategy (making a plan) and putting that plan into action. Operations consultants examine a client’s internal workings, such as production processes, distribution, order fulfillment and customer service. While strategy involves setting a client’s goals, operations ensures that clients reach these goals. Operations consultants may investigate customer service response times, cut operating costs, assist with outsourcing, or look into the allocation of client resources. Operations consulting normally includes the implementation of these findings and processes. Typical engagements may include: • Streamlining the equipment purchasing processes of a major manufacturer • Outsourcing customer call centers to India Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at www.vault.com/consulting — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 31
  • 39. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Overview of the Consulting Industry • Working with a newly-merged commercial bank to increase customer response efficiency Human resources consulting The best business strategies and finest operational processes mean nothing without the people to put them in place. HR consulting addresses the issue of maximizing the value of employees and placing the right people in the right roles. HR consulting firms are also hired for organizational restructuring, systems implementation and ongoing studies and initiatives. An important corollary to HR consulting is HR outsourcing. Increasingly, clients are turning to HR consulting firms to manage their internal HR systems. Examples of typical human resources consulting engagements include: • Creating or updating a client’s compensation structure • Counseling and processing laid off (or downsized, “rightsized,” etc.) employees and assisting them with outplacement • Helping to blend the cultures and processes of merged companies Health care/pharmaceuticals consulting This practice area is one of the growth areas in the consulting world. As the population of the United States and of other industrialized countries around the world ages, and as scientists steadily unlock the mysteries of genetic engineering, the health care industry continues to thrive at a time when so many sectors of the economy are faltering. The United States health care market was worth nearly $1.4 trillion as of 2002, and the European market $700 million. Yet just because the market is large doesn’t mean it is easy to profit from it. That’s where health care and pharma consulting firms come in – helping clients like hospitals, HMOs, drug companies and supply distributors cope with an increasingly complicated maze of legislation, competition with other health care providers, cutting costs on vendors and equipment and managing new technology. Examples of typical health care/pharma engagements include: • Creating a strategy to help a hospital become competitive in new markets CAREER32 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 40. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Overview of the Consulting Industry • Helping drug companies speed up the R&D and marketing process for products • Promoting usage of a fertility center Economic consulting As the global economy becomes increasingly interconnected and complex, clients often turn to think tank-like economic consulting firms for guidance. These firms are typically loaded with economics PhDs and MBAs, as well as industry experts, and investigate economic factors in order to give clients the ability to resolve problems caused by competition, antitrust issues, public policy and regulations. These consultancies are prized for their independence and ability to give candid counsel to clients buffeted by the vagaries of the economy. Examples of typical economic consulting engagements include: • Assessing the impact of deregulation of the utilities industry in Hungary for a client • Helping to create rules for more efficient government auctions • Creating a sophisticated economic model to improve the bundling of services Financial consulting Financial consulting firms tend to be one of two animals; either they work with financial services firms to enhance their strategies and performance, or they have a specific financial model they use with clients to enhance their performance. In either case, the focus is typically on enhancing shareholder value.Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at www.vault.com/consulting — withinsider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 33
  • 41. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Overview of the Consulting Industry Examples of typical financial consulting engagements include: • Applying a proprietary framework to enhance market performance and value • Presenting market position analysis to a CEO • Refining online strategies for a commercial bank CAREER34 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 42. TOP50CONSTHE VAULT 50FIRMS
  • 43. V A U L T 1 PRESTIGE McKinsey & Company RANKING 55 East 52nd Street THE STATS New York, NY 10022 Phone: (212) 446-7000 Employer Type: Private Company Fax: (212) 446-8575 Managing Director: Ian Davis www.mckinsey.com 2003 Employees: 11,000 2002 Employees: 11,000 LOCATIONS UPPERS New York, NY (HQ) 83 offices worldwide • Powerful alumni network • Global reach • Research-driven projects PRACTICE AREAS Automotive & Assembly • Banking DOWNERS & Securities • Chemicals • Consumer/Packaged Goods • • Strict “up or out” system Corporate Finance & Strategy • • Ongoing, frequent review process Electric Power/Natural Gas • High • Limited mobility without advanced Tech • Insurance • Marketing • degree Media & Entertainment • Metals & Mining • Nonprofit • Operations KEY COMPETITORS Strategy & Effectiveness • Payor/Provider • Petroleum • Accenture Pharmaceuticals & Medical Products A.T. Kearney • Private Equity • Pulp & Paper Bain & Company Retail • Telecommunications • Booz Allen Hamilton Travel & Logistics Boston Consulting Group EMPLOYMENT CONTACT www.mckinsey.com/careers/apply THE BUZZ WHAT CONSULTANTS AT OTHER FIRMS ARE SAYING • “CEOs of the future” • “Think they know everything about everything” • “World class leader for concepts, however, no implementer” • “Still the standard bearer” CAREER36 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 44. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms McKinsey & CompanyTHE SCOOP“The Firm” (in a non-John Grisham sense)McKinsey & Company isn’t the largest consultancy in the world, but it may be themost powerful. With 83 office locations in 45 countries, the company – known to its6,000 consultants simply as “The Firm” – serves more than two thirds of the Fortune1000, or 85 of the world’s top 100 companies. Notable entities such as Pepsi, IBMand General Motors are members of McKinsey’s closely guarded client roster.Founder James O. McKinsey started the firm in 1926 with the mission of bringing“management engineers” to not only rescue faltering companies, but also to helpthriving companies do even better. Marvin Bower, who joined McKinsey in 1933and passed away on January 22, 2003, is credited with resurrecting the firm in 1939after McKinsey’s death. Bower guided and shaped McKinsey & Company fordecades, serving as managing director from 1950 through 1967, during which timefirm revenue grew from $2 million to $20 million. Bower, considered by many to bethe father of management consulting, retained close ties with the firm after hisretirement in 1992, and McKinsey loyalists still tout his philosophy of emphasizingexperience over education and putting the client’s needs before the consultancy’s.McKinsey went international in the years following World War II, a period ofglobalization in the corporate world. In 1959, McKinsey opened its first internationaloffice in London. The 1950s saw McKinsey adding an expanding number of blue-chip companies to its clientele, as well as adding engagements with majorgovernment and miltary organizations, defense contractors. During that decade, thefirm debuted its nonprofit efforts, which remain strong today. McKinsey offers probono assistance to educational, social, environmental and cultural organizations, andhalf of the firm’s consultants work on a pro bono engagement at some time duringtheir careers.Going globalMcKinsey’s consultants are citizens of 95 countries, providing their expertise toclients around the world. The firm opened 20 new locations and doubled itsprofessional staff in the go-go 1990s; in recent years, the firm opened offices in AbuDhabi, Antwerp, Athens, Dubai, Manila, Rio de Janeiro and Verona, Italy. Thenewest office on McKinsey’s list is in Zagreb, Croatia, opened in early 2003. Thefirm has conducted more than 500 engagements in China over the last decade, and in Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 37
  • 45. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms McKinsey & Company October 2003, McKinsey established its Asia-Pacific regional headquarters in Shanghai. McKinsey’s governing shareholder committee is controlled by a non- American majority, and about 60 percent of revenues come from overseas, with further growth expected from new markets in Russia, Eastern Europe and China Although McKinsey’s international growth has slowed somewhat along with the rest of the global economy in the aftermath of the dot-com bubble and September 11, the firm continues to rack up some impressive accomplishments. In March 2000, McKinsey opened a new office in Tel Aviv, from which it has offered assistance to Israeli corporations, startups and government entities such as the Ministry of Communications and the Postal Authority. The firm’s office in New Delhi is one of its fastest growing sites, and the firm helped the State Bank of India reengineer its business processes in May 2003; advised liquor company Shaw Wallace on opening new breweries in September 2003; consulted with engineering and construction firm Larsen & Toubro on strategy matters; and advised Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on foreign investment issues. Following a strategy set forth in 2001 to expand its presence in Singapore, McKinsey has counseled some of that country’s most prominent organizations, including the gum-disliking national government and Singapore Airlines. In May 2003, the firm took on the role of investment advisor for the privatization of the oil group Unipetrol in the Czech Republic. In July 2003, the firm issued a report on the use of the English language in South Korea. Also in 2003, McKinsey began conducting a comprehensive analysis of the global coffee industry on a pro bono basis, in addition to advising the Colombian Coffee Federation on a new retail strategy. In 2004, as in previous years, a group of McKinsey delegates joined the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, addressing topics such as the benefits and challenges of offshoring; business opportunities and trends in China; and the balance between risk and control in managing corporations. Pointing fingers McKinsey rarely publicizes the names of its clients, but its association with some troubled companies has put the firm in the headlines. In recent years, McKinsey’s association with bankrupt entities, including Enron, Swissair, Global Crossing and Kmart, occasioned some grumbling among outside observers about the value of the high-priced advice it provides. In May 2003, McKinsey’s services were called into question during bankruptcy hearings for client United Airlines. Bankruptcy lawyers charged that the firm’s CAREER38 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 46. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms McKinsey & Companyrestructuring-advice fees, which included a $1 million-a-month flat fee forMcKinsey, were unwarranted for a company that couldn’t manage to pay its debts.UAL dismissed the concerns and retained McKinsey.McKinsey also was caught up in a client’s bad luck when it made headlines forfailing to predict an $800 million takeover bid of client Ocean Spray by rivalNorthland Cranberries Inc. in early 2003. McKinsey had advised Ocean Spray sincelate 2002 and, against the wishes of the company’s struggling growers, had advisedthe cooperative’s management to avoid selling any of its businesses. The collectiverejected Northland’s overture in February 2003, but the pro-sale growers won a voteto replace Ocean Spray’s board of governors with a new, smaller panel, and thecompany cut 58 of its executives the following month.Dot-com dazeMcKinsey could scarcely be blamed for failing to prepare for the bursting of theInternet bubble. Along with most consulting firms, McKinsey reaped the rewards ofthe 1990s Internet fever, taking on more than 1,000 Web-related engagements during1999 and 2000. The firm’s revenues reached an all-time high of $3.4 billion in 2000.Fortunately, McKinsey managed to avoid some of the financial pain suffered by itspeers by limiting the equity stakes it accepted from start-up clients in lieu of fees.Still, the firm was stuck with some of these worthless shares, and income from manypreviously high-flying e-commerce clients quickly dried up.Firming upWhile McKinsey’s internal numbers are as closely guarded as its client roster, it’sclear that the company has taken pains to retain its best and brightest during theweakened post-September 2001 economy. In November 2001, the firm announcedthat it would cut 5 to 7 percent of its 3,000 support staff in the United States andCanada, but reported no layoffs of consultants. And now that the economy is on therebound, so are invitations to join McKinsey.McKinsey significantly expanded its campus recruiting activities on MBA, law, MD,PhD and undergraduate campuses in 2003. In the 2003-2004 campus recruitingseason, the firm hired over 1,600 consultants, about a 60 percent increase over theprevious year. In addition, McKinsey has hired several hundred summer associates– graduate students who are going into their last year of school. The North Americanoffices have scheduled a conference for all of its summer associates in ski paradiseVail, Colorado. Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 39
  • 47. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms McKinsey & Company Knowledge transfer McKinsey’s obsession with excellence reflects the company mantra, “100 percent to the third power,” meaning that the firm seeks to bring 100 percent of firm capabilities to bear on 100 percent of McKinsey clients, 100 percent of the time. However, an internal report from 2001, quoted in a May 2002 Wall Street Journal article, shows this thorough approach to be a possible weakness. The article, “Growth at McKinsey Hindered Use of Data,” cites an internal study, referred to as Project Coolkat. The study concluded that rapid expansion hindered the firm’s ability to keep track of its own information, leading to poor client performance. “It takes much too long to find the right knowledge,” the report states, “and in many cases, the best existing knowledge is not identified and brought to the client.” Furthermore, the report calls the work satisfaction and professional development of McKinsey research staff “unsatisfactory ... moving forward, this is not acceptable.” The firm notes that “most of our most important knowledge is in the heads of our most senior people, exchanged primarily through conversations – not through knowledge workers or electronically. At no point over the last decade has McKinsey ever been anything but the best consulting firm in delivering business knowledge to clients.” Shortly thereafter, the firm launched a new initiative to improve researcher training and a major budget increase for McKinsey’s “knowledge-management” processes and systems, $35.8 million in 2002 versus just $8.3 million in 1999. But a senior partner quoted in the WSJ article was quick to point out that there was “no demonstrable link – in fact there’s no link whatsoever – between our decision to invest in upgrading our knowledge-management systems and any specific client.” McKinsey smarts McKinsey possesses a global network of more than 900 knowledge professionals, most of whom are aligned to specific industry, functional or geographic knowledge domains. These professionals do research on topics related to specific client engagements, allowing consultants to focus on the client proprietary dimensions of a study. In addition to business research, this group also plays a lead role in the creation, codification, organization and dissemination of McKinsey’s vast knowledge base and spearheads the design, development and deployment of all knowledge- related technologies. Recent enhancements include new search technology applied across its document collection and an expertise location approach that enables consultants to identify colleagues from around the world who might be able to help them with a specific problem. CAREER40 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 48. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms McKinsey & CompanyDecentralized structureA corporation which operates as a partnership, McKinsey boasts a decentralizedstructure, a network of offices that operates as a unified firm. In fact, the firm isreluctant to admit it has a global headquarters at all (though it runs much of itsbackbone administrative work from New York City). The ownership andmanagement of the firm is vested entirely in about 800 active directors and principals(which roughly correspond to senior and junior partners).McKinsey’s managing director is elected every three years by these directors, in aprocess some compare to the election of a new pope. In March 2003, Ian Davis, whoheaded the firm’s British office for eight years, was tapped to replace Rajat Gupta,who served the company’s maximum of three three-year terms. Davis, a holder ofundergraduate degrees in policy, philosophy and economics from Oxford University,has been with McKinsey since 1979.Davis’ election was seen as heralding changes for the firm. Gupta, who presided overMcKinsey during its – and the economy’s – period of dizzyingly rapid expansion,became associated with that aggressive growth strategy. But observers say Davis,who publicly emphasizes McKinsey’s “core mission and values,” such as a client-centered, meritocratic approach, may usher in a calmer era at the consultancy.Consultants say that Ian Davis is putting the recommitment to McKinsey’s corevalues in action. In June 2004, the company held a special day of workshops todiscuss the core values of the firm and commitments to serving clients.That McKinsey mystiqueMcKinsey, which rarely reveals the names of clients and issues few press releasesdetailing its activities, is sometimes characterized as a “secret society.” ButMcKinsey takes issue with this: “Only after many years have passed and if our clientsthemselves publicly refer to our involvement, do we acknowledge that we haveserved a company,” the firm contends. “This policy is not the result of somecultivated secrecy or mystique. It is what we believe is professional behavior and theappropriate posture given our conviction that we supplement our clients’ leadership,but never replace it.” Of course, McKinsey consultants do often end up heading theirclients’ firms.McKinsey describes itself as “not a firm of leaders and followers,” but rather “a firmof leaders who want the freedom to do what they think is right.” This could spellanarchy in many situations, but with a bevy of Rhodes Scholars, law review editors, Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 41
  • 49. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms McKinsey & Company PhDs and nuclear physicists on its rolls, the firm is in fairly good hands. An alumni- only directory is published each year listing every living person who has ever worked for the firm, where they live and their current occupation. Some of McKinsey’s recent hires are too well-known to hide. In February 2003, news was leaked that former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton got a $100,000 offer to join McKinsey as an analyst in the London office. But Clinton, a graduate of the Oxford international relations masters program, held out for an assignment in New York in order to be closer to her parents. She got the $120,000-a-year job in March 2003, and has reportedly been pulling 80-hour weeks as she works on projects dealing with health care. The idea factory McKinsey publishes a large amount of booklets, documents, papers and magazines, including the well-regarded McKinsey Quarterly. McKinsey partners often write books independently of the firm. In addition to Tom Peters and Bob Waterman’s In Search of Excellence, books penned by McKinsey alums include 2000’s Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies by Tom Copeland, Tim Koller and Jack Murrin. Titles from 2001 include The War for Talent by Ed Michaels, Helen Handfield-Jones and Beth Axelrod; 20/20 Foresight: Crafting Strategy in an Uncertain World by Hugh Courtney; and Creative Destruction, by Richard Foster and Sarah Kaplan (which unfortunately highlights Enron as a shining corporate example in passages written before the company’s collapse). The big book in 2002 was Dangerous Markets: Managing in Financial Crises by Dominic Barton, Roberto Newell and Gregory Wilson. 2003 saw the publication of Banking in Asia: Acquiring a Profit Mindset, by Tab Bowers, Greg Gibb and Jeffrey Wong. The McKinsey Quarterly, now available in an online version, has more than 300,000 subscribers and runs articles on e-commerce, telecommunications, strategy and other fields. McKinsey also analyzes its own business approach, hoping to understand the difference between change that is fundamental and change that is fundamentally faddish. For example, while the firm had put client service ahead of wealth creation for clients during the recent Internet euphoria, it now applies the principles of strategic thinking, industry and functional knowledge and analytical rigor to today’s environment. CAREER42 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 50. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms McKinsey & CompanyA research powerhouseThanks in part to the vast amounts of research produced by the firm, McKinsey isknown as a preeminent information source on globalization, governance,organizational performance and corporate strategy. The McKinsey Global Institute(MGI), established in 1990, operates as an independent economics think tank withinMcKinsey, conducting research and developing positions on issues affectingbusinesses and governments worldwide. The Institute’s approach “combines therigor of academia with the real-world experience of business,” according to the firm.Through its research, MGI has amassed a fact base that covers more than 15countries, four continents and more than 28 sectors. Located just steps from theWhite House in Washington, D.C., the Institute has been estimated to spend morethan $100 million a year on its information gathering and internal research. Reportsreleased in 2003 include a study of multinational company investment in developingeconomies; an analysis of the benefits and impact of offshoring worldwide; andreports on improving productivity and competitiveness in Europe.In 2001 the firm launched the McKinsey Institute on the Nonprofit Sector andSenator Bill Bradley joined as chairman of its advisory board. McKinsey’s nonprofitpractice coordinates the firm’s community and pro bono activities. Each officedevotes 5 to 10 percent of its consultants’ time to work for nonprofits, and more thanhalf of its North American partners are on the boards of at least one nonprofitorganization. The firm served more than 200 nonprofit and/or public sector clientsin 2003, representing an in-kind contribution of well over $100 million. Theseclients include museums, theaters operas, festivals, multinational NGOs anddevelopment agencies, philanthropic organizations, schools, conservationorganizations, land trusts, zoos and more. Following the events of September 11, theNew York office devoted itself to nine separate pro bono projects. These includedserving the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, overseeing thedevelopment of a victim database for New York State Attorney General Elliot Spitzerand studying how New York Police Department and Fire Department membersreacted during the World Trade Center attacks. The Big Apple office also has donework for the United Way, the World Economic Forum and the New York City Opera.Going high-techMcKinsey has made an effort to provide IT-related services in response to an obviousdemand for tech strategy and support (as opposed to strategy) among today’scorporations. The firm’s Business Technology Office (BTO), formed in 1997, aimsto help companies create business value through information technology. The office Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 43
  • 51. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms McKinsey & Company helps companies implement IT strategies, improve their operations, strengthen the value of their customer relationships and craft innovative approaches to IT architecture and IT management in areas such as post-merger integration, prioritization of IT investments and strengthening of the IT organization. McKinsey admits that previous attempts to build a major IT consulting capability, through acquisition, and then through the creation of an IT practice, “could not achieve sufficient scale to ensure long-term success.” As a result, the firm formed the BTO, the only McKinsey office not tied to one specific geographic location. The strategy seemed to pay off – the number of consultants in the BTO grew by 30 percent in 2003. Still, word on the street indicates that McKinsey, along with many of its high-powered peers, may be facing competition in the high-tech arena from consultancies with IT-centered backgrounds, especially those spun off from high-tech companies themselves, such as IBM BCS. Charge it, China! In 2004 McKinsey completed a study that evaluated China as a market for credit cards. The prognosis was excellent, if you like the idea of credit cards. Though China has a whopping 1.3 billion inhabitants, there are only about a million credit cards in circulation in the country, and fewer than 5 percent of those cards can be used outside China. Despite the fragmentation of the market, McKinsey estimates that the industry could possibly produce up to $3 billion in annual revenue by 2010. Perhaps that’s why American Express is premiering its credit cards in the massive, ostensibly Communist nation. Chinese consumers will be able to pay off their Amex bills in yuan, not dollars, making the cards feasible for the average Chinese. McKinsey gives thumbs up to outsourcing Outsourcing – the placement of jobs in operations in countries outside the United States, typically in India and China – has been a hot button issue in the past few years. But a 2003 study from the McKinsey Global Institute claims that for every $1 spent in an offshore location, the United States economy recoups $1.13. Indian turnover The Indian economy is booming, and it’s showing at McKinsey India. Since the beginning of 2003, McKinsey has seen the departure of key consultants such as director Ashok Alexander (off to head up the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) and principal Paresh Vaish (who joined rival consulting firm BCG). The firm says two CAREER44 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 52. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms McKinsey & Companysenior principals are up for promotion in India, though directors are appointed by aworldwide McKinsey election. McKinsey has approximately 130 consultants on thesubcontinent as of 2004. While the Economic Times contends that McKinsey hasonly made a profit in India for a handful of years in the past 12, the firm remainscommitted to the country.GETTING HIREDLooking for leadersHopeful McKinseyites can find a wealth of information online at the firm’s careersite, which includes information for job candidates from undergraduate, MBA andadvanced degree programs, as well as experienced professionals. The site outlinesthe various consulting roles available at McKinsey, including associate, businessanalyst/fellow, specialist, and expert. A summer associate program is also availablefor MBA candidates. During the interview process, the site says, McKinsey looks forpeople with strengths in problem solving, influencing others, leading others, andbuilding relationships and achieving goals. Prospective candidates can findinterviewing tips and a practice case study online. McKinsey encourages candidatesto use its online application system.A long and steep roadThe application and interview process is described, unsurprisingly, as “grueling” byinsiders. Applicants can expect at least two rounds of interviews, with five to sixinterviews in the final round. Consensus among all participating parties – which mayinclude senior associates, engagement managers and partners – is required to seal thedeal.“The hiring process began one year prior – with my first year in business school,” asource relates. “McKinsey held several formal and informal information sessions oncampus. They also helped with interview preparation, including one-on-one and one-on-six interview workshops.” Another describes a full two years of bravely tryingto get a foot in the door: In the first year, “McKinsey took me out to dinner over thesummer, while I was at another company. Second year included more informationsessions, workshops and dinners. Again, I interviewed with the same office, this timeI was successful.” This source continues, “The case interview process was important,but it became clear to me that it wasn’t the most important. Handling consulting Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 45
  • 53. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms McKinsey & Company cases isn’t that hard, and it doesn’t have to be done perfectly. The key was getting to know the members of the office, and finding a fit with their culture. By taking them up on nearly every offer for dinner or event, I got to know them well enough to get an offer.” Still, prospective McKinseyites should be sure to check the practice case study – these types of questions are “considered very important,” a source says. Cases cited by insiders include “discussing whether a credit card company should get rid of its annual fee for users,” looking at “market sizing for a cystic fibrosis drug,” “whether or not a paper manufacturer should make a major capital investment,” and “the value chain for a furniture company.” One BTOer says that candidates specifically interested in working for the technology practice should have techie backgrounds, as one might intuit. BTO is considered an ‘office,’ just like a geographic location.” Continues the BTO consultant, “After you get past the first round, you interview with an office. If there are people who would be a good match for us, we try to interview them. In technology, there are some things that you just can’t learn on the fly.” Unlike the previous two years, when insiders cited a rather rapid “counsel out” (the McKinsey variant of “up or out”) rate, McKinsey’s doors have cracked ever so slightly open; hiring is up. OUR SURVEY SAYS “Crazy and exhilarating” McKinsey consultants say the firm’s “values-driven culture rewards people for doing the right thing, not the profitable thing.” “Working at McKinsey is crazy and exhilarating. It is a place where you meet tons of people who are extremely smart, but unique in a very diverse fashion,” says an insider. Your colleagues might include a quantum physicist, “top lawyers,” people who hold “PhD’s twice over in information science,” even an “orchestra director.” Sources describe McKinsey as a special place: “There is an overpowering feeling at McKinsey & Company that you are among the chosen few, that you are the best and the brightest. Having survived the grueling interview process, you do indeed feel that you have reached some sort of career pinnacle,” a consultant relates. Others describe life at McKinsey more simply as “a roller coaster.” CAREER46 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 54. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms McKinsey & CompanyLate nights are the normOf course, being part of an elite group comes with a price, insiders say. “Workinghours are hard to control. My goal is to work between 55 hours and 60 hours perweek, and I think I manage that about 70 percent of the time,” says a source. Anothersays that while there’s a “pretty good balance in terms of hours and keepingweekends free – being out of town is always tough.” But a colleague suggestsschedules may depend on who’s managing your projects: “Your time is almostentirely controlled by the [engagement manager], with late night conference callswith the partners, who frequently show up late. Get lucky enough to have an EMwho cares about lifestyle (they’re rare), and you might get out at 8 p.m. regularly.Get the more typical EM [engagement manager] in a busy office that’s overscopingand understaffing projects, and the late nights are the usual.” Another seniorconsultant says that while increased work/life balance is now “part of theconversation” at McKinsey, a “sustainable life” is still a challenge. Interaction withfirm and client higher-ups is the norm at McKinsey: “You can easily meet thepartners,” says a source. Another says that “I’ve interacted with around a dozenCEOs in my five years with McKinsey.”Standing firmConsultants at McKinsey relate to each other in unique ways, sources suggest –starting with their relationship to the company itself. “McKinsey employees aretaught to refer to McKinsey as the ‘Firm,’ never as merely a company. We werealways guided by firm policy and procedures,” says an insider. While the firm isdescribed as “ non-hierarchical from a problem-solving standpoint (i.e., everyoneparticipates fairly equally),” it’s still “very hierarchical when it comes to tacticalissues (e.g., attending client meetings, putting together presentations, controllingyour hours).” But don’t get the impression McKinsey limits its consultants – in fact,says a source, “I believe there are few places where you are more dared to take achallenge: it is the rule rather than the exception to be tasked with a chunk of workwhich is bigger than you have previously handled.”Because of this, the source continues, “Opportunities for advancement there areplenty, or rather, they are mandatory.” The firm has a reputation for being, in thewords of one consultant, “up or out, baby!” – but it also helps ambitious consultantsmove vertically. “McKinsey is all about the performance review, constantly givingevery consultant the next, very specific list of things to work on and ‘upping’ the bareach time you succeed. If you love to constantly be challenged to the next level,you’ll love it here,” says a source, who adds, “If incessant evaluation will make you Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 47
  • 55. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms McKinsey & Company crazy as a loon, try somewhere else.” A colleague adds, “Sometimes you’ll wish they didn’t advance you so fast. Just when you begin to get confident at one position, they’ll fling you into the next.” Another describes the corporate ladder at McKinsey as “fairly self-weeding,” noting that “fewer than 10 percent starting at McKinsey at entry-level move up to partner. Some people thrive on the hard work and competitiveness; many others find greener pastures.” The transition out of McKinsey is usually smooth, there is reportedly a “great demand for McKinsey alumns.” A typical path for McKinsey promotions is described as “about two years to manager, another two years to junior partner (associate principal), and another two years to partner.” To help its consultants become ever more promotable, says a consultant, the firm invests in intense mentoring and on-the-job learning. MBA-level consultants are able to take a training program called ILW after two years on the job. “It is some of the best training in the world – you learn about problem solving and communication. It’s done all over the world in groups of about 20. In my group, we had people from 13 different countries.” Treated like kings (and queens) For their travails, consultants at McKinsey get the “royal treatment,” consultants aver. “The firm tosses a substantial amount into your 401(k) every year, based on performance of the firm and your own performance. There’s also a regular performance bonus that starts at $10,000 and goes up beyond $25,000 in year one,” an insider reports. Others report receiving signing bonuses, a low-rate home loan and an interest-free loan for “settling in.” The company provides a choice of health plans, two of which offer fully paid premiums, along with “fully-paid dental, life, STD and LTD, flexible spending plans and opportunities for group discounts with car insurance and mortgages.” Adoption assistance and “generous” maternity leave are also provided, and office perks include free beverages, free lunches and dinners when work is pressing, and free cab rides to and from work during early and late hours. The firm also offers “monthly social events (bowling nights, creative art gatherings) and lots of opportunities to pick up free tickets to various sporting events.” After reaching the rank of engagement manager, McKinseyites receive a personal assistant. Consultants also get “creature comforts during travel” like nice hotels and first class seats on long flights. The company is also generous to those who decide that McKinsey just isn’t for them (estimates of the turnover range from 20 to 25 percent annually.) When the time has come to part, one insider says, “The firm will continue CAREER48 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 56. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms McKinsey & Companyto pay your salary until you find a job you like. Not just until you find a job, but oneyou like.”Background, not racial, diversityThough sources report that “McKinsey pays a lot of attention to diversity and has lotsof programs and groups within it to promote diversity,” others say “diversity is prettybroad from the perspective of background, but not nearly enough from a gender orracial perspective.” A consultant notes that “women are fairly numerous (30 percent)in the associate class, but dwindle quickly as you move up the ranks – probably dueto lifestyle issues as much as anything else.” Another observes that “newly-mintedMBA consultants tend to be white and male.” “African-Americans are the mostunderrepresented of all minorities at McKinsey,” says a colleague. As for gays andlesbians, the firm “offered domestic partner benefits early on,” a source reports.Another consultant has “worked with gays at all levels in the firm (associate todirector) who were very successful, open about their sexual orientation and open tobringing their significant others to firm events.”The firm is known for performing “a lot of community work.” This includes “probono consulting, voluntary support of United Way [and] various initiatives driven byindividuals.” Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 49
  • 57. V A U L T 2 PRESTIGE Boston Consulting Group RANKING Exchange Place THE STATS 31st Floor Boston, MA 02109 Employer Type: Private Company Phone: (617) 973-1200 President & CEO: Hans-Paul Burkner Fax: (617) 973-1339 2003 Employees: 2,600 www.bcg.com 2002 Employees: 2,600 2003 Revenue: $1.12 billion 2002 Revenue: $1.02 billion LOCATIONS Boston, MA (HQ) UPPERS 60 offices worldwide • Keen attention to work-life balance • “Potential for significant impact at PRACTICE AREAS the client (measured in billions, not Branding • Consumer • Corporate millions)” Development • Deconstruction • Diversity • e-Commerce • Energy • DOWNERS Financial Services • Globalization • Health Care • Industrial Goods • • Most clients not based in Boston Information Technology • = more travel Operations • Organization • Pricing • “Tough” promotion process • Retail • Strategy • Technology & Communications • Travel & Tourism KEY COMPETITORS Bain & Company McKinsey & Company EMPLOYMENT CONTACT www.bcg.com/careers/careers_splash.jsp THE BUZZ WHAT CONSULTANTS AT OTHER FIRMS ARE SAYING • “Deeper analysis than other large firms” • “Work is too theoretical” • “Lost market in Italy” • “Superb industry analysis” CAREER50 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 58. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Boston Consulting GroupTHE SCOOPThe idea factoryThe city of Boston is known as the “cradle of liberty,” but if you look long enoughat The Boston Consulting Group’s history, you might come to think of it as the“cradle of modern consulting,” too. Modern management consulting as we know itowes a lot to BCG, a global powerhouse employing more than 2,600 consultants in60 offices in 37 countries. Founded in 1963 by Bruce D. Henderson as themanagement and consulting division of the Boston Safe Deposit and Trust Company,BCG has been the driving force behind a number of major management consultinginnovations and concepts in its 39 years, including “time-based competition,”“deconstruction,” and “capability-driven competitive strategies.”The privately held firm, headquartered (as one might expect) in Boston, applies acombination of outside-the-box thinking, creativity and analysis to companies innearly every industry imaginable. Its specialties include branding, corporatedevelopment, globalization, information technology, operations, organization andstrategy. The firm’s U.S. revenue was $1.12 billion in 2003. BCG’s consultantswork collaboratively in networks structured around industrial sectors and businessfunctions. A majority of its consultants hold advanced degrees from leading businessschools such as the University of Chicago, Harvard and Kellogg.In April 2003, Hans-Paul Burkner became president of BCG, replacing Carl W. Stern,who stepped down after two three-year terms. Like rival McKinsey & Co., BCGselected a European – in this case, a German – to head the firm, a move that hadobservers commenting on how truly global the consulting business had become. Aninsider at the firm, Burkner joined BCG in 1981 and founded the Frankfurt office in1991. Burkner came in first among Consulting magazine’s list of the top 25consultants in 2003.Step into the MatrixBCG established itself as a consulting thought leader in 1968, the “BCG Growth-Share Matrix.” The Matrix explains the relationship between a company’sprofitability and its market share using “star,” “dog,” “cash cow” and “questionmark” icons in a four-quadrant layout. The model indicates that businesses in maturemarkets (cash cows) provide the funding for high-growth ventures with largeexpected returns (stars), while divesting of low-growth and -return ventures (dogs) Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 51
  • 59. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Boston Consulting Group and trying to build low-return fast growers (question marks) into market leaders before they become dogs. Health care pioneer Another early BCG contribution arose from the firm’s work in 1980, with German pharmaceutical manufacturer Boehringer Manheim. Helping the manufacturer analyze the cost of diabetes and its treatment, BCG applied traditional business systems analysis and total quality management principles to treatments for the disease, identifying junctures at which treatment could reduce costs. This approach, which came to be known as “disease management,” became standard operating procedure for managed care and other interested firms during the following decades. In 1995, BCG’s Joshua Gray and Peter Lawyer wrote a piece titled “The Promise of Disease Management,” focusing on the patient as “the relevant unit of management” in health care delivery. Change monsters, luxury lattes BCG has continued to differentiate itself by introducing buzz-worthy publications and ideas. In 2001, BCG Senior VP Jeanie Duck’s bestseller, The Change Monster: The Human Forces that Fuel or Foil Corporate Change, highlighted the “Change Curve” – the predictable yet frustrating cycle of changes that cripple organizations. The book explores a new way of looking at change strategy for senior executives. In 2003, the book Trading Up: The New American Luxury, co-authored by BCG partner Michael J. Silverstein, made a splash among both business commentators and everyday consumers. The book argues that, despite the economic downturn, “New Luxury” brands – like fancy chocolates, bed linens and lattes – continue to thrive and even grow, at least in the U.S. The book’s authors observe that items once seen as luxuries in earlier times (such as chocolate) have become commonplace. Today’s “New Luxury” goods, which sell at premiums of 20 to 200 percent over standard midprice goods, deliver higher profits than non-luxury goods, while at the same time selling in much higher volumes than superpremium products, the authors argue. New luxury brands include companies such as Starbucks, Restoration Hardware and JetBlue Airways. The book’s appearance just happened to coincide with a few other BCG studies along the same lines, including an October report analyzing sales by companies identified as new luxury players. In November 2002, the firm published “New Luxury: Why the Middle Market American Consumer Wants Premium Goods and How Companies CAREER52 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 60. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Boston Consulting GroupCreate Them,” which details the phenomenon of the middle class “escaping theextraordinary stresses of modern life by carefully choosing high-quality, high-performance, emotionally satisfying goods and services” and offers ideas on howcompanies can take advantage of this. Silverstein also observed the phenomenon of“spite-based” purchases by working women who buy higher-priced goods as aresponse to overwork.Other surveys published by the firm include a study on patient compliance withprescription medications, published in December 2003, and a survey of Internet useamong physicians published in July 2003.Strategy innovationBCG’s “Strategy Institute” was developed in 1998 to research and foster discussionon innovation. Founded by BCG Senior VP Bolko von Oetinger, the Institute gathersinsights from leaders in various academic disciplines and attempts to distill them intocoherent strategy ideas. BCG consultants with academic leanings may work at theStrategy Institute as counselors, and others can access articles and participate indiscussion groups through the Institute’s online “Strategy Gallery.” “Whether they bephilosophers, neurobiologists, anthropologists, mathematicians or artists, when theyapproach the subject with open, inquiring minds, all may find common cause and acommon vocabulary for talking about strategy,” says the firm.The whole wide worldBCG was an early pioneer in Asia, becoming the first Western strategy firm with anoffice in Japan in 1966. The company continues to thrive in the region, obtainingroughly half of its Asian business from local entities (as opposed to otherconsultancies, which derive more business from American firms conductingoperations overseas). BCG added offices in Beijing and New Delhi to the firmduring 2001 and an office in Nagoya, Japan in 2003, the latest in a string of Asianexpansions that began in 1995. The firm’s clientele includes five of Asia’s biggestnon-Japanese companies, three of the top five business conglomerates in Korea andeight of the biggest local commercial banks in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia,Thailand and Korea. In July 2003, an alliance of four cellular operators in India hiredBCG to draw a road map for growth in domestic and global markets.In September 2003, the firm was engaged by the RTS Stock Exchange in Russia toundertake a comparative study of that country’s securities market. Closer to home, Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 53
  • 61. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Boston Consulting Group the Vancouver health authority reportedly paid BCG $1 million for two months of work in 2003 in an effort to help the system find savings to aid a downsizing plan. Domestic engagements included a 2004 deal with the private group that took over the struggling Warner Music Group. BCG also helped its hometown of Boston fine tune a pitch to bring more life science companies to the area. Community aid Pro bono engagements by the firm have included a comprehensive environmental plan for eastern Germany, an evaluation of the economics of child sponsorship for Save the Children, a major study on retail opportunities in American inner cities (in conjunction with the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City) and strategy projects for the American Red Cross and Children’s Television Workshop. BCG also has worked to support economic development in America’s inner cities. GETTING HIRED Go to the source The Boston Consulting Group’s web site offers a wealth of information for the job seeker, including interview prep tips, campus interview schedules, job descriptions by title and degree, and a means of applying online. The firm recruits from top schools, insiders say: around 20 of the top undergraduate campuses in the U.S., and the 12 top business schools, along with a select set of PhD schools and law schools. The firm says it is expanding its hiring in 2004. Insiders describe a “standard set of case interviews, two in the first round and three in the second. Each interview lasts 45 minutes and is usually based on a case that the interviewer has participated in.” A source notes that “The hiring process is considered very warm and friendly. We try and make everyone know that they have a fair shot and that we respect them, regardless of interview performance. We try to establish the human connection very early on.” No ping-pong balls But don’t let your guard down: “The case will make or break your interview,” an insider warns. These cases are “based on a business problem from an actual project experience of the interviewer,” says another. “Over a period of 30-40 minutes the CAREER54 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 62. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Boston Consulting Groupinterviewee needs to develop a proposed solution to the problem, by engaging in adialogue with the interviewer. The case interview gives you a taste of what it’s liketo be a consultant at BCG and the kinds of work that we do.” The good news is thatthere are “no hypothetical ‘ping pong ball’ questions that everyone gets nervousabout”; interviewees are encouraged to check the examples on the web site. Anotherinside tip: “The ability to work closely with senior client executives from very earlyin your career is one of the key factors BCG is looking for in its recruits.” (So don’tforget to look sharp!)OUR SURVEY SAYSHarmony, not hierarchyBCG’s “noncompetitive, collegial atmosphere survived the tough years the industrywent through,” a source says. “BCG has a terrific culture – it is open, quite flat,intellectually stimulating, and constantly challenging,” raves another. Still anotherconsultant notes the “lack of hierarchy, lack of arrogance or negative competition.”A third applauds the firm’s “culture that encourages the development andimplementation of the best ideas, not merely the partners’ ideas.” It’s to everyone’sbenefit that folks at BCG get along. “Since we thrive on the development of insight,our success depends on our ability to collaborate, to brainstorm,” says an insider.“The firm does an excellent job of dispensing with hierarchy to enable thatcollaboration.” And a colleague adds, “The best thing about this place is thatwhenever we come together socially, we all get along. The company nights andretreats are great fun.”Sacred vacationsConsultants report being generally pleased with work-life balance at the firm. “Thefirm strongly encourages the consultants to set their own parameters andcommunicate them. We all try and respect each other’s personal life. There isabsolutely no face time,” a consultant reports. “Vacation and personal time aresacred and respected regardless of the situation on the case. VPs and managers areunderstanding and work around the case team’s personal commitments,” anothersays. Since “BCG doesn’t have the typical ‘camp out’ model,” consultants find theyare “able to balance work at BCG and have a great family life.” “I’ve been verypleasantly surprised by the hours I’ve been able to keep,” says an insider. “Obviously Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 55
  • 63. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Boston Consulting Group the hours are cyclical based on the project timelines, but on average I have a great lifestyle and leave before 7 on most days.” Still, there is a hard-driving crew at the firm, and “many people at BCG can’t leave work at the office. This is a function of personality types as well as the interesting work we do,” a source observes. Work hours vary according to project: “A first time client BCG is trying to impress, or a super fast PMI and you could work 70-80 hours a week. A mature client we know and who knows us, the hours tend to fall more toward the 50-60 hour weeks.” The ups and downs of travel Travel, too, is described as “highly variable.” “There have been year long periods of time where I traveled each week and year long periods of time where I traveled less than five days out of town. During periods when I have traveled, my experience has generally been between two and three days a week out of town,” says a source. Another reports that “We are either on an in-town case (no travel at all) or an out-of- town case (three to four days per week). I’ve had about a 50/50 split between the two types.” Location makes a difference, too – the New York office serves a lot of local clients, and one Big Apple source says “I’ve been here six months and have spent five nights away from the office.” When BCGers do have to travel, “the firm tries to make it as positive as possible. For example, in some cases instead of a business class flight to Europe you can get two economy tickets as long as it does not cost the client any more,” an insider says. In fact, sources say, “BCG is generous with [its] travel policy (most often we fly in first class).” Sharing the wealth In good times and in less good times, the firm has continued to contribute an annual profit sharing contribution, sources say. According to an insider, “15 percent of every dollar you earn is given to you in a tax-deferred profit sharing account with no vesting period – it’s yours at the end of the year. That’s an incredible benefit and really helps you save when you’re trying to pay off school loans.” And the 15 percent reportedly is a percentage of total compensation – both salary and bonus, which makes a difference, sources say. The firm’s health care coverage is “great,” with a co-pay for just about anything. Insiders also enjoy baseball tickets, “nice office trips” and the occasional “good bottle of wine for a hard, rewarding week,” along with “great office social events” like an office weekend away with families. Other BCGers appreciate the CAREER56 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 64. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Boston Consulting GroupAmbassador program, which offers “global experiences to relatively juniorindividuals.” The firm also reportedly “has a budget for each ‘class’ – e.g. allconsultants that start in 2003. We do an annual offsite at a nice hotel with the entireoffice.” As for offices – California, here we come: In San Francisco, consultantsenjoy “views of Alcatraz, sailboats and Blue Angels,” and in LA they get “sleekoffices with great city views.”Tough loveWhen it comes to advancement, “BCG remains a highly selective firm, but also acaring one,” a source explains, adding: “It is extremely supportive of consultantdevelopment, and everyone truly has an opportunity to succeed. Those who chooseto leave are extremely well cared for (and placed). It’s extremely hard to find a BCGalum who would say anything bad about the firm – a claim most consulting firmscannot make.” Most sources agree that “BCG’s policy is a strict up or out. In mostcases when someone leaves, BCG and the consultant arrive at the same conclusion:that this is not the right career.” Though the promotion process is “transparent andfair,” it’s also “tough,” says another insider. But if you work hard, you can advancequickly: “Consultants are generally promoted after 24 to 27 months of service, andthe same is the case for project leaders.”Mentoring pays offSince BCG is known for its “lack of hierarchy,” most consultants spend lots ofquality time with managers both at the office and client sites, sources say – andfortunately for them, partners are described as “accessible and friendly.” “BCG is anapprenticeship culture, and I truly feel that those I have worked with want me tosucceed and are willing to go out of their way to help me do so,” an insider says. Theapprenticeship model, along with “low leverage (number of non-partner consultantsper partner) means you work closely with the most senior folks in the firm,” reportsanother. “I have had exposure to top clients since the early days of my consultingcareer. BCG puts you in a position to have real impact at clients because you areworking with the decision makers,” a satisfied source says. And BCG fosters amentor mentality in its leaders. “The mentorship provided by BCG’s partners andmanagers is one of the key inputs into their incentive compensation,” explains aninsider.BCG’s commitment to training is “strong,” sources report. “There are alwaystraining seminars – formal and informal – covering technical as well as ‘soft’ skills Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 57
  • 65. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Boston Consulting Group like presenting and managing clients,” says an insider. Another reports that training is “still excellent when I compare it to my friends in other firms.” “At each level (consultant, project leader, manager) you attend global training to learn the new skill set required,” another consultant explains. “The practice groups provide both global and local training in their areas (both industry and functional area focused).” In addition, “E-learning materials are available on your desktop providing access to BCG’s leading edge thinking on issues across the CEO agenda.” Still, one consultant gripes that “the training is spread out over your first seven months with the firm. By the end, you are learning things that would have been helpful months ago.” The firm says that while it has increased the amount of training content, more of it is delivered locally. A visible commitment to diversity Women are relatively well represented at the firm, say insiders. “About 65 percent of the people I have closely worked with over the past two years are women,” one source reports. Another says that “In my office women are 30-40 percent of both the consulting staff and partnership group.” Sources report a “tremendous (visible) commitment to trying to find, recruit and mentor great women candidates/consultants.” While the firm’s “established effort” to attract and retain minorities “could be improved,” says a source, “as a minority, to me what is most important is that the environment is respectful of all individuals, and BCG’s is.” Diversity varies by location: “The New York office is over 50 percent international, with an amazing diversity of people from all walks of life,” a consultant says. “When I walk the halls I hear people having conversations in every language,” agrees a colleague. Sexual orientation is part of the firm’s diversity efforts: “The firm has a GLBT network group and actively supports business school GLBT clubs and associations,” says a source. The network works to strengthen BCG’s gay and lesbian recruiting and retention, and “these efforts were recognized with a Corporate Recognition Award from Boston Business Council in 2001,” another consultant reports. Pros at pro bono The firm’s staffers have big hearts, as evidenced by the many examples of community service cited by insiders. BCG “just completed a three-month, four consultant pro bono in San Francisco,” says a source, while another adds, “there is almost always a pro bono project going on in the office – even when we are sold out.” CAREER58 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 66. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Boston Consulting GroupA consultant in Atlanta reports, “We have dedicated 6 to 8 percent of our capacity topro bono the past three to four years.” In New York, in addition to pro bono, “thefirm is also a member of the NYC mentoring program, as well as many othercommunity initiatives.” Another consultant says that “one of the most rewardingthings we’ve done is to adopt a single elementary school in Boston, raising over$25,000 for supplies and school improvements, as well as spending an entire day atthe school last summer as a firm outing to clean, paint and landscape the school.” Yetanother says his office has “started an affiliation with a local charter school. Recentlywe brought the students in to conduct mock interviews and review their resumes.” For more information on top consulting employers and consulting careers, go to the Vault Consulting Career Channel • Detailed 40-page employer profiles on top employers like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Accenture and more • Surveys of employees at hundreds of consulting firms • The only job board on the Web dedicated to consulting jobs – The Vault Consulting Job Board • Case interview guides and one-on-one case interview prep www.vault.com/consulting Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 59
  • 67. V A U L T 3 PRESTIGE Bain & Company RANKING 131 Dartmouth Street THE STATS Boston, MA 02116 Phone: (617) 572-2000 Employer Type: Private Company Fax: (617) 572-2427 Chairman: Orit Gadiesh www.bain.com 2004 Employees: 2,800 2003 Employees: 2,800 LOCATIONS UPPERS Boston, MA (HQ) 30 offices worldwide • “Bain goes the extra mile to make people happy” • Great post-Bain opportunities PRACTICE AREAS Consumer Products DOWNERS Financial Services Healthcare • “Working hours, pressure” Industrials • Compensation on low end for IT newbies M&A/MI Media KEY COMPETITORS Organization Performance Improvement Booz Allen Hamilton Private Equity BCG Retail McKinsey & Company Strategy Technology EMPLOYMENT CONTACT Telecommunications E-mail: recruiting@bain.com www.bain.com/bainweb/join_bain/joi n_bain_overview.asp THE BUZZ WHAT CONSULTANTS AT OTHER FIRMS ARE SAYING • “Excellent generalist firm” • “Do they have any business?” • “Rah-rah, cultish” • “Accelerating out of the decline” CAREER60 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 68. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Bain & CompanyTHE SCOOPBring your burdens to BainFor many consultants, Bain & Company is the crème de la crème of workplaces.Named the top company to work for in 2003 by Consulting magazine, the firm alsowas ranked the fourth most desirable employer by MBAs in the 2003 Universumsurvey. Not bad for a company that started in 1973 with one phone line and threestaffers working out of Bill Bain’s Beacon Hill apartment.As of 2004, Bain had more than 2,800 consultants in 30 offices worldwide. The firmhas served more than 2,500 clients in industries that include aerospace and defense,automotive, consumer products, energy and utilities, financial services, health care,industrial products, media, nonprofit, retail, technology, telecommunications andtransportation. Its clients have historically outperformed the stock market by three toone. According to Bain, the firm works with a greater number of small and mediumsized companies than its competitors, with roughly 40 percent small to mid-sizedcompanies, 25 percent Fortune 500 and 35 percent private equity clients.Bain’s billionsBain was the first consulting firm to establish a private equity group. Founded in1994, the private equity practice focuses on due diligence with private equity andLBO firms. The strategy-based projects in the private equity are usually shorter andmore intense than those handled by Bain’s other groups, with cases lastingapproximately four to six weeks, as opposed to four to six months for a typical Baincase.Bain also maintains ties to the private equity markets via Bain Capital, a successfulventure capital firm founded in 1984 by Bain partners, including currentMassachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. The firm, which has $15 billion in assetsunder management and around 300 employees in New York, Boston, San Francisco,London and Munich, has been a major shareholder in companies that includemattress-maker Sealy, flower purveyor FTD.Com, office-products retailer Staples,KB Toys and Domino’s Pizza. Bain Capital functions as a separate company andprospective employees should apply directly to that firm (www.baincapital.com). Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 61
  • 69. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Bain & Company Spanning profits and nonprofits Another Bain spinoff is the Bridgespan Group, which also operates as a separate entity, though it takes advantage of the resources – and sometimes, the manpower – of Bain’s consulting arm. A nonprofit consulting firm that serves other nonprofits, Bridgespan leverages Bain’s training programs and other resources. Bain consultants who need a fix of altriusm have the option of doing a six- to 12-month rotation into Bridgespan. True north Even a stalwart consulting firm like Bain needs a fresh coat of paint every now and then. Bain released a study in September 2003 claiming that “there are no tired brands, just tired managers.” In other words, the firm found, brand success isn’t based on size, maturity or market leadership, as conventional wisdom suggests, but innovation and aggressive advertising. In fact, innovative and heavily advertised brands can grow on average three times faster than their competitors, the study suggested. The firm appeared to take its own wisdom to heart in April 2003, when it hired designer Wally Olins and design firm Circle for a six-figure rebranding of Bain and Company. According to Design Week, Olins helped Bain define its “brand vision,” and Circle created a “brand book,” visualizing a new corporate identity. A fresh new web site went live in the second half of 2003, using the color red as a “signal color” to demonstrate that it “takes brands seriously.” Another element of the new corporate identity theme is the chord of “True North,” symbolically represented in corporate literature and on the web site. “True North,” according to Bain, is “an unchanging point of reference and grounding, despite shifting conditions and turbulent environments” – the role the firm hopes to serve for its clients. Positioned for success Bain alumni have gone on to powerful positions in business – Scott D. Cook, founder of Intuit, is an ex-Bain-er, as is eBay founder Meg Whitman. The firm says that approximately 55 percent of those who have left in the past five years have joined small companies or private equity firms. Another 25 percent have joined medium- sized firms, while most of the rest have landed positions in Fortune 500 firms. Former Bain consultant Lawrence Stevenson was tapped to run auto parts maker Pep Boys in April 2003, while his colleague Asiff Hirji took the CIO position at Ameritrade in March 2003. CAREER62 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 70. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Bain & CompanyBrains at BainCurrent Bain employees wield considerable influence, too. The book Beyond theCore, by Bain’s Chris Zook, was named one of the five best business books of 2003by the Economist. Required reading for anyone interested in the Bain approach, thebook builds on Zook’s earlier work, Profit From the Core, in which the authordemonstrated how to grow profitably by focusing on a firm’s core business. InBeyond the Core, Zook tackles the question of what to do when this core-centeredstrategy isn’t enough, arguing that companies should look for “adjacent” marketswhere customers, products, sales channels, geographies, or other capabilities areshared with their main businesses. By staying one or two adjacent steps from theircore business, Zook argues, companies can succeed by drawing on their strengths.Bain also publishes the Management Tools Survey, a global survey on the usage,satisfaction and effectiveness of several widely used management tools among abroad range of senior executives. Headed by Bain director Darrell Rigby, the survey,published since the mid-1990s, has been cited in Forbes, the Financial Times, theEconomist, and other top business publications.Smoke and mirrorsBain hasn’t been devoid of intrigue and drama over the past few years. The firm losta $10 million lawsuit in December 2002 after a Sao Paolo consulting firm chargedthat Bain had taken its consultants when it opened an office in Brazil. In January2003, courts dismissed a former Club Med CEO’s $70 million suit against Bainalleging that the firm had conspired with Club Med board members to oust him. Andin October 2003, the Boston Herald began stirring the flames of controversy when itbegan a series of articles charging that Bain’s work with Philip Morris duringMassachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s tenure with the firm was influencingRomney’s opposition to a statewide smoking ban. Romney insisted that BainCapital, which he founded after leaving Bain, did no business with tobacco firms. InMay 2003, the Boston Globe reported that a state senate committee was investigatinga possible ethics breach involving Romney’s use of the firm to conduct crucial policyresearch. Romney’s former colleagues at Bain donated about $12,000 to thegovernor’s campaign in 2002 and Bill Bain ponied up $25,000 for Romney’sinaugural party, the Globe reported. Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 63
  • 71. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Bain & Company Airlines and diamond mines In August 2003, troubled airline United announced that it would extend a contract with Bain, in which the consulting firm would help the airline deal with its Express carriers. Bain earned roughly $1.5 million for its work with United between February and May 2003, helping the airline develop memos of understanding with carriers SkyWest, Air Wisconsin, Mesa and Trans States. In November 2003, diamond giant De Beers confirmed that it had hired Bain & Company to help rethink its brand strategy and stanch its declining market share. And in August 2003, Glasgow-based distiller Kyndal Spirits renamed itself after one of its whisky brands, Whyte and Mackay, and cut 200 jobs following a review by Bain. Bain also has advised Starbucks on its muffin strategy, told Kroger to add more self-checkout aisles, and given Dell and Continental Airlines strategic pointers. Generally busy Bain consultants are primarily generalists, expected to be able to apply their skills to any industry, though there’s the option to work on areas of interest when feasible . The firm encourages consultants to work on a range of project types (such as corporate strategy and mergers and acquisitions) across a variety of industries. The staffing model varies depending on the needs of the client; in North American offices, for example, consultants are often staffed on two projects at a time. Engagements that require process work and significant travel may get 100 percent staffing. Just out of college, associate consultants get assigned to case teams right away, performing research and data analysis and making presentations for the client. Full consultants, who usually have MBAs or graduate degrees, make recommendations after looking at clients’ big-picture problems, studying market dynamics, financial returns or how competitors are performing. They make and hone a recommendation, and get the client’s buy-in. A part-time (60 percent) option is available to consultants who have been with Bain more than a year. Bain says that most of its women managers and VPs have been part-time at some point in their career, and men are signing on for the program in increasing numbers. Feedback, feedback and more feedback Bain conducts performance evaluations every six months, when consultants receive feedback from the managers and partners with whom they have worked closely. In addition, each member of the consulting staff picks a consensus reviewer, who CAREER64 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 72. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Bain & Companyconsolidates all feedback received by an employee’s co-workers and delivers theperformance evaluation. Consultants also can work toward the pre-manager role ofCase Team Leader. They undergo monthly case team surveys, which provideongoing feedback on areas of improvement.Top-notch trainingBain is known for its rigorous – and valuable – training programs. “Bain continuedto invest in global training programs during the tougher years (e.g., 2001) while otherfirms cut back. This was a great signal from the partners that they truly valuetraining,” one insider says. The firm conducts training on worldwide, regional, andlocal levels. Globally, new consultants and newly promoted case team leaders meetin exotic locales like Cancun or Hawaii for training. All associate consultants startwith two weeks’ training at their local office, and then are shipped to a 10-daytraining course in Cape Cod. Regional programs may include offices in NorthAmerica, Asia-Pacific or Europe, and focus on analytical tools and case teammanagement techniques. Consultants may also meet within their local offices totackle specific skills. Major training, conducted by Bain’s own consultants, strategyand industry experts, occurs every 12 to 18 months.GETTING HIREDA hiring boostBain is an elite firm and its consultants are an elite group. The firm hires from topbusiness schools such as Harvard, Wharton, University of Chicago, Kellogg,Columbia, Sloan and INSEAD. Each office may recruit from locally prominentschools – for example, the Los Angeles office looks at UCLA, USC and theClaremont Colleges, while the Atlanta office looks at UVA, Emory, Georgia Tech andUNC-Chapel Hill. Canadian targets include University of Western Ontario,University of Toronto and Queens. In November 2003, Mark Jones, global head ofrecruiting for Bain, told The Boston Globe that the firm planned to hire 30 percentmore graduates nationally than it did in 2002. Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 65
  • 73. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Bain & Company Interview prep Undergraduates and recent MBAs should expect “two half-hour first round interviews,” insiders say. “Next round is usually two 45-minute interviews with two managers. Both rounds, when done on campus, are usually on back-to-back days. All the interviews feature case-style questions.” Adds a consultant, “We try to understand a person’s critical thinking skills first and foremost.” Case the joint “Prepare for case interviews,” advises an insider. “Practice, practice, practice …” Another reports that undergrad hires will get fewer “market sizing questions (requires less knowledge of business) due to the fact that many students have limited business backgrounds.” Case studies may include general questions such as, “What strategy would you suggest to increase the market share of Company A in the X industry?” Or they might relate to specific regions: “Estimate the market for pet food in Italy and the business planning/analysis required to set up a local pet food shop.” Sources say the interviewers are looking for a thoughtful, energetic discussion of business, and ask that you don’t churn out current events, memorized business terms or generic problem-solving frameworks. They expect real recommendations, not theoretical musings. Other cases cited by insiders include: “I have been approached to invest in a juice company looking to start up in X location. What factors should I consider before making my decision? How many drinks would we have to sell in a day to break even?” and “How would you calculate the break even point for an airline company ? How would you define the sales force model for a consumer good company?” An interactive case study practice tool is available at www.bain.com/bainweb/join/interview/practice_overview.asp. Bain also considers undergraduate juniors and first-year MBA students for 10-week paid summer internships. Recruiting for interns occurs in winter/early spring, and takes place through schools. There are two rounds of case interviews, as there are for full-time hires. CAREER66 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 74. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Bain & CompanyOUR SURVEY SAYSCollegial and collegiateBain’s corporate culture is described as “very strong,” “results oriented,” “non-hierarchical,” and, of course, the classic “work hard/play hard.” “Sometimes theculture makes me feel like I’m still in college, which is a good thing,” says oneinsider. “The atmosphere is almost collegiate, with everyone always willing to helpout and share knowledge. Because there is a real meritocracy, there is no downsideto sharing anything,” another source says. Another notices “an interesting dichotomybetween how seriously people approach client issues, yet how people really don’ttake themselves too seriously.” A colleague agrees: “Bain people take their workseriously, but typically don’t take themselves seriously.” “Bain is not just a job, it’smore of a lifestyle,” says another. While a source admits “We’ve got a very smallnumber of jerks, but they’re not-well regarded and don’t last,” a colleague maintainsthat Bain “people are selected on their social skills (which does not always happen atcompetitors).”Though they work hard, Bain consultants contend that they fare better than some oftheir peers in managing a work-life balance. “Within the parameters of consulting(you DO work a lot), Bain does a great job of trying to balance work with the rest ofyour life,” an insider tells us. Another reports that “It is extremely rare for us to haveto cancel a previously established personal appointment, or vacations. Face-time isnot a requirement, only getting the job done.” In addition to a part-time work option,“Bain is open to sabbaticals which can range from one to six months,” a sourcereports. “The company tries to balance the lifestyle for the consultants by allocatinglower pace cases and time on the beach to consultants that have been working hard,”a consultant says. Still, consultants say business has been increasing in the past yearcausing schedules to lengthen. “I just wish I could do this job at 50 hours a week ona consistent basis,” sighs one insider.Like at competing firms, travel schedules and work hours can range from moderateto crazy. Around 60 hours per week is the reported average, though the company canbe flexible, says one insider: “Some days I’ll leave at 2 p.m. or not come in untilnoon if I am waiting on something from a client and have no work to get done. Beingempowered to enter and leave the office freely in addition to working at home makesthe long hours much more bearable.” “Bain works very hard during the week, butweekends are sacrosanct, and most partners and managers respect that,” a colleaguesays. Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 67
  • 75. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Bain & Company Giving 120 percent Bain consultants say that they travel somewhat less than their peers at other top firms. One source says, “Even if I spend most of my time in another city, I normally spend Friday in the office.” Another consultant reports that “On average, we travel less than other firms in that it is rare to be at a client four days a week, however that does happen sometimes.” But, this source says, the two-case workload “is also demanding on your lifestyle, as you feel like you are allocated at 120 percent.” Another reports that “Bain does not generally ‘camp out’ at the client. Instead, we travel when it necessary for meetings, data gathering, etc. We recognize that our clients have day jobs. The exception is where we are doing intense operations or turnaround work.” A Boston consultant delights in working on European assignments: “whole weeks in the office followed by entire weeks in Europe. I like the travel. It makes me feel like I am actually doing something day to day. That said, I have not had to commute to New Jersey twice a week.” Running the numbers on salary Bain consultants seem to feel well rewarded for their efforts, though one source notes that “Bain pays the same thing across all of North America. This makes for a real discrepancy in buying power from NYC to Houston or Atlanta.” During the first three years or so, the company matched 4.5 percent toward a 401(k). “Bain compensation for pre-MBAs is competitive when looked at in a three-year view (third year salary/bonus is great), but not so great if you only take a two-year outlook on the job,” an associate observes. But a manager says that “managers (and obviously partners) have profit sharing and opportunities to invest in private equity investments,” making for a nice bump in bonus pay during strong years. Sunny perks Other benefits of working for Bain include fabulous destinations for retreats, like a “summer offsite at a New England resort,” which earns raves from attendees. A West Coaster loves the “ski house in Tahoe, beach house in Santa Cruz, and company offsite in Palm Springs.” “The firm works really hard to make its employees happy. Last year a group of ACs went on a cruise – rather than 30 of us each taking a vacation day, the firm gave us the day off in addition to contributing $50 to a private excursion while we were in the Caribbean,” says an associate. A colleague adds, “When you are on travel cases, the perks increase, because you have the opportunity for occasional weekend travel, gyms and the famous case team events (which in one case, for me, was to an island in Panama!)” CAREER68 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 76. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Bain & CompanyThe company car is also cited as a perk, as is the “$50/month technology allowanceand $20 for any meal after you’ve been at work for 10 hours.” Managers get a $2,000technology allowance for home office tools like computers and DSL. A Dallasassociate reports, “We have breakfast in the office, just about any snack orrefreshment (including beer!) in the office, and we have lunch delivered to the officeevery day.” Other offices cite “Free cereal and milk in the break room” and “freecoffee, cappuccino and tea” as yummy perks. The firm also pays for MBA schoolapplications and GMAT classes and tests, and the “potential for business schoolsponsorship is quite lucrative.”Bain-ites also have the chance to “transfer offices for six months during the seniorassociate consultant year or to take an externship where we work for another firm toget more experience for six months.” Adds a colleague, “These are amazingopportunities that I doubt any other firm offers.” These transfers can be international“for top-performers, short-term and permanent,” says a source.Outstanding office outloookWherever you go in the Bain world, you’re sure to enjoy the firm’s offices, whichelicit praise globally. “Our 36th floor panoramic view of San Francisco Bay is thebest in the city,” says one consultant. Likewise, says another, employees in Asia get“One of the best views in Hong Kong – 68th floor view of the entire city andKowloon.” The Chicago office’s “high-profile location in the Sears Tower” is citedas a plus, as is that office’s “bay” layout, “which adds a lot to camaraderie.” EuroBainies love the view from the Amsterdam office, the “nice and centrally located”London branch, and the “excellent infrastructure” and central location in Munich.Who knew training could be so much fun?Bain’s training programs receive such high marks from employees that they’re oftencited on the list of perks. “We have very much of both kinds of training (official andunofficial),” says one staffer. “There is an official year-round ongoing trainingprogram and full-blown official training once a year. These annual training events arefantastic, uniting half, or all, of the people (worldwide) in your class.” Anotherreports that senior associates “go to Cancun for a one-week training session,” whilea colleague loves the “extremely well-run, fun, and meaningful worldwide trainingsessions. I spent eight quality days in Miami in February this year with colleaguesfrom all around the world.” Says another source, “Aside from this training there is a Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 69
  • 77. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Bain & Company virtual university at Bain, where you can find training modules on all imaginable subjects relevant to strategy consulting.” Moving on up (or out) Most sources report an up-or-out policy firmly in place at Bain, though experiences, as always, vary. “The up-or-out policy is applied but not in a too strict way. People can take more years to be promoted without getting kicked out of the company,” says one source, who adds, “promotion time has actually extended over the last couple of years.” Another reports that “it is pretty much up or out. To advance from associate consultant to consultant it takes two to three years, from consultant to manager three to four years.” “Promotions are based on meritocracy at Bain. The promotion from senior associate to consultant is generally the hardest to achieve, and you are encouraged to attend b-school first,” a colleague comments. Still, consultants note that “the firm makes sensible compromises when consultants want to go part-time for personal reasons (usually to be a primary caregiver to young children). There’s an obvious career advancement trade-off when you go part-time, but I think it’s well balanced for both parties.” Face-to-face time aplenty Our sources generally have no problem interfacing with seniors at both Bain and client companies. “No other friend of mine, two years out of college, has had the opportunity to present (more than a handful of times) to stockholders and chief-level executives (and actually have them act on what you’re presenting!),” one consultant exults. Another Bainie agrees that “My supervisors are very approachable, the door is always open, so to speak. Also, whenever possible, I get the chance to interact with the client’s top level management.” A colleague adds, “Mentorship is probably my favorite thing about Bain. The people I work for take great care of me and provide me with consistently growing responsibilities and helpful feedback.” Moms in management The company gets high marks for its treatment and promotion of women. “It is hard to find women at the top of organizations. Bain has some good role models of women who have reached the highest levels while having a family,” a source says. A female staffer reports, “especially in the Boston office, there are a large number of women partners. This means that there are a lot of mentors for me to talk to about how to manage a successful career while having a rich family life.” “I am a full-time CAREER70 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 78. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Bain & Companyworking mother, and have been able to balance this well so far. Bain has been verysupportive,” adds another.The company has taken steps to recruit minorities, though some offices report having“precious few.” However, in San Francisco, “it’s an oxymoron, but the majority ofour office is minority.” Being gay lesbian or bisexual is described as “a non-issue inmost offices.” Bain reportedly recruits at BGLAD events on campuses, has an“active internal network” for gay employees, offers domestic partner benefits and has“open, very senior VPs.”The firm’s involvement with nonprofit Bridgespan should give an idea of howcommitted Bainies are to doing good in the world. Bain participates in pro-bonocases, United Way, book and toy drives and other campaigns, and “twice a year theoffice shuts down for volunteer day, where groups of staff go out to local nonprofitsand help them with assorted projects for the day,” according to sources. “TheLondon office has won awards for service to the community,” says a consultant.“Each office has its ‘pet’ cause and regularly assigns case work to that cause,” reportsanother. Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 71
  • 79. V A U L T 4 PRESTIGE Booz Allen Hamilton RANKING 8283 Greensboro Drive UPPERS McLean, VA 22102 Phone: (703) 902-5000 • “Truly international firm” Fax: (703) 902-3333 • Multiple interesting government www.boozallen.com projects LOCATIONS DOWNERS McLean, VA (HQ) • “Quite aggressive culture” Over 100 offices worldwide • “A pervasive inferiority complex to McKinsey” PRACTICE AREAS KEY COMPETITORS Change Management e-Business Accenture e-Government Bain & Company Information Technology Boston Consulting Group Infrastructure Assurance McKinsey & Company Organization and Change Leadership SAIC (government sector) Operations Technology Management EMPLOYMENT CONTACT Strategic Security Strategy MBA/Commercial Sector: Wargaming & Strategic Simulation www.boozallen.com/mbarecruiting European Careers: careers_in_europe@bah.com THE STATS Australia/New Zealand Careers: Employer Type: Private Company aust_recruit@bah.com Chairman & CEO: Ralph W. Shrader Japan Careers: 2004 Employees: 15,000 jcareer@bah.com 2003 Employees: 14,000 Seoul Careers: FY 2004 Sales: $2.7 billion seoul_recruiter@bah.com FY 2003 Sales: $2.3 billion South American Careers: rodriguez_ana@bah.com Government Sector: THE BUZZ www.boozallen.com/recruiting WHAT CONSULTANTS AT OTHER FIRMS ARE SAYING • “High-end intellectual capital” • “Disciplined, but not creative” • “Very good reputation” • “Tough place to work” CAREER72 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 80. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Booz Allen HamiltonTHE SCOOPA spry nonagenarianFor an old hand, Booz Allen Hamilton certainly has a lot of spring in its step. Duringthe company’s 89th year in business, fiscal 2004 (ending March 2004), the firmracked up more than $2.7 billion in annual sales. Booz Allen is one of the mostrecognizable and respected names in management consulting today, providingservices in strategy, organization, operations, systems and technology to the world’sleading corporations, governments and other public agencies, emerging growthcompanies and institutions.The firm takes its name not from the drinking habits of consultants, but rather fromits founder, Edwin Booz, who started the company shortly after his graduation fromNorthwestern University in 1914. James Allen and Carl Hamilton were alsofounding partners. The firm’s brand was updated in 2001, dropping any punctuationbetween the partners’ names.A private corporation with its headquarters in McLean, Va., Booz Allen has expandedits staff to more than 15,000 members located in offices on six continents. Chairmanand CEO Dr. Ralph Shrader is the seventh chairman since the firm’s founding. Thecompany is organized into two main operating units, the commercial consultingsector and the government consulting sector. In the early 1990s, Booz Allen dividedits operations into two major business sectors, Worldwide Commercial Business(WCB) and Worldwide Technology Business (WTB). This separation, however, isnot as stark as one might expect. The firm has been doing more “cross-sector” work,with commercial sector and government sector consultants working together onengagements. WCB, with its concentration on corporate clients, tends to attract moreof the traditional strategy consulting candidates than WTB, which largely doesgovernment work (hence its designation as the government sector business).Strategic approachBooz Allen calls its approach to corporate strategy “strategy-based transformation,”working with clients to develop solutions for problems created by fundamentalchanges in their industry or company. The firm also reports spending one-third toone-half of its time helping clients execute its recommendations. By integratingclient executives and staff into the consulting team, Booz Allen emphasizes clientinvolvement in the transformation process. Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 73
  • 81. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Booz Allen Hamilton Kudos upon kudos Booz Allen has received favorable notice for its client relations and workplace environment. In September 2003, a study from Kennedy Information, “The Client- Side Intelligence Report: Purchasing Behavior, Brand Awareness, & Firm Perceptions,” named Booz Allen tops in the key categories of performance and favorable client perceptions among more than 100 commercial consulting clients in the United States. Also in 2003, Booz Allen was voted 2003 Government Contractor of the Year in the $500 plus million annual revenue category. The award, granted by the Professional Services Council, the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce and Washington Technology magazine, recognizes outstanding contributions to employees, the government contracting industry and the U.S. government. Booz Allen’s status as a corporate do-gooder is also reflected in the awards it reaps. The firm claimed the No. 4 ranking on Training magazine’s 2004 Top 100 list and, for the second year running, the “Best in Class” honor in the Professional Services Company category, in honor of its commitment to personnel development. Working Mother magazine has honored the firm, too, ranking it in its list of “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers” five years in a row. In October 2003, Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao presented the firm with the New Freedom Initiative Award for its efforts on behalf of people with disabilities. Office space The firm’s expansion plans are, well, expansive. In January 2004, the Washington Business Journal reported that Booz Allen was looking to expand its Northern Virginia office space by 200,000 to 600,000 square feet. A spokesman told the paper that the expansion stemmed from a boom in government business, which has been growing at around 20 percent over the past several years. In 2003, Booz Allen acquired Gemini Consulting Japan (GCJ), doubling the size of its Tokyo office. The firm broadened its horizons in the 1990s and the firm has more than 100 offices worldwide as of 2004. Early in the decade, Booz Allen moved its headquarters to its current location in McLean, Va. Booz accelerated its overseas expansion in 1996, opening offices in Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Bogota and Frankfurt, among other world cities. In 1999, the firm purchased Carta Corporate Advisors AB, the leading commercial consulting firm in Scandinavia, with offices in Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark. CAREER74 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 82. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Booz Allen HamiltonThe big gunsBooz Allen has added a list of high-profile D.C. names to its organization. JamesWoolsey, former CIA director, is a vice president of the firm. Former Navy ChiefInformation Officer Ron Turner joined the firm in Spring 2003. In January 2004,Winston P. Wiley, former associated director for the CIA’s homeland securitydivision, was named a principal in the firm, and Lt. Gen. Robert W. Noonan, formerArmy deputy chief of staff for intelligence, became a principal in August 2003. InOctober 2003, Booz Allen welcomed Melissa Chapman, formerly CIO of theDepartment of Health and Human Services.Friends in high placesBooz Allen has scored some key government contracts in recent years. In February2004, the firm was selected by the National Institute of Child Health and HumanDevelopment (NICHD) to provide IT architecture and design to support a 30-yearstudy examining environmental effects on the health of U.S. children. The contractwas valued at $13.2 million over five years. In June 2003, the Military HealthSystem tapped Booz Allen to provide support services for the training andcompliance objectives of the new health information privacy laws, a contract valuedat up to $14.1 million. The firm also signed contracts with the U.S. Department ofDefense’s Naval Air Systems Command Naval Air Warfare Center, and its Space andNaval Warfare Systems Center. The Internal Revenue Service also remains one ofthe firm’s biggest clients.All these government wins may be putting a strain on the firm, the publicationWorkforce Management reported in March 2004. In fact, Booz Allen may actuallyhave lost money as demand outstripped supply for security-cleared workers – thosewho have passed the Department of Defense’s rigorous white-glove test. A recruitingmanager told the publication that Booz Allen has boosted its recruiting team devotedto finding “cleared” employees by 25 percent, and the firm also reportedly offersreferral bonuses to workers who can help bring in new recruits. Newbies start earlyon the long road to clearance.Booz Allen doesn’t publicize the names of corporate clients, but the firm reportedlywas hired by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings in 2003 to help the faltering cigarettebusiness review its strategic options. Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 75
  • 83. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Booz Allen Hamilton The international set The firm has made some powerful friends overseas. In May 2003, Booz Allen received a contract for technical advisory and support services for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces Command, Control and Communication Upgrade Program, valued at more than $95 million if all options are exercised. In March 2004, the firm finalized a strategic alliance with Mahindra Defense Systems to perform defense consulting in India. In February 2003, Booz Allen won its bid to design and implement transport for athletes, officials and media during the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, Greece. The firm performed a similar role in Sydney, Australia during that city’s Olympiad. As of 2004, Booz is also working with the U.K.’s Department of Work and Pensions. Returns on research When it isn’t snagging the latest million-dollar government contract, Booz Allen keeps its name in the papers by publishing research and reports on a range of topics. In 2003 the firm did a (pro bono) strategic simulation to examine the AIDS epidemic in India. Corporate strategy-related reports included an analysis of how companies respond to demands for customized products and a study of turnover among CEOs of the world’s largest companies. The firm also produced a somewhat unusual online evaluation tool called “org DNA” designed to illustrate to clients how employees see their companies, with categories including “passive-aggressive” and “overmanaged.” Corporate citizenship The firm goes beyond just doing a few good deeds here and there – it outlines an entire philosophy on corporate citizenship, explaining that it takes an “employee- centered approach.” This means that Booz Allen aligns its resources for giving – financial, in kind and pro bono – with the charitable giving and volunteering interests of its officers, staff and their families. Corporate charitable initiatives and relationships with charitable organizations include the ALS Association (Lou Gehrig’s disease), America’s Charities, the Neediest Kids, Rebuilding Together with Christmas in April and Special Olympics International. Pro bono clients have included the Nature Conservancy, the Children’s Defense Fund, Lincoln University, Charity Skills (in the U.K.), the Texas Ballet Theater and the United Negro College Fund. Booz also gives out annual “Involvement and Impact” awards to recognize Booz staffers for volunteerism and community service. Booz Allen made news in 2003 when its began a project with former President Bill Clinton to help revitalize Clinton’s newly adopted neighborhood of Harlem, in New York City. The Harlem Small Business initiative aims to help local business owners CAREER76 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 84. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Booz Allen Hamiltonlearn to use computers, manage inventory and advertise effectively. The successfulprogram has since been rolled out to the Bronx and Brooklyn and may go nationwidein the future. But Booz is especially proud of the “Booz Allen Classic,” the PGATour golf event it now sponsors (as of 2004) in Washington. Booz has committed atleast $1 million annually to D.C.-area charities through the event.GETTING HIREDT-shaped consultantsBooz Allen says it actively recruits talented college graduates for opportunities in allareas of the firm. The company also offers summer and academic year internships tocollege students who have completed 30 hours of course work, declared a major andhave a GPA of 3.0 or higher.Most non-MBA-holders enter Booz Allen at the consultant level. “In keeping withour focus on building T-shaped consultants, [commercial-sector] consultants arehired into home offices and work on a series of engagements across industries andissues to develop a broad skill set,” the company explains.Booz Allen’s commercial sector reportedly recruits from “all top MBA schools(probably 10-15 worldwide).” According to a source, “The government consultingside hires college students from six schools: George Mason, UVA, Virginia Tech,Penn State, Mary Washington and San Diego State. This is because they haveIT/management programs that fit the government consultant model.” The consultantadds that “candidates from other schools should not be discouraged.” The firm addsthat it recruits from many more schools for its government business.It’s who you knowInsiders note that the firm has an active employee referral program, but only a fewreported any success with bringing referred candidates on board. “We have anemployee referral program that has not been effective for those I have referred,” saysa source. Well, maybe it’s just that guy’s contacts, because another consultantadvises, “[The government business] is big on internal referral. Maybe 50 percentget in this way. If you know someone at Booz, get them to submit your resume.”Another tip: Have a stellar resume. “There is a pretty thorough review of resumes,” Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 77
  • 85. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Booz Allen Hamilton an insider says, adding, “A resume really has to stand out in order to generate an invitation for interview.” Interviewees can expect an “exciting and exhausting” process with up to seven interviews, including an “interview marathon day with two interviews in the first round, decision point, two interviews in the second round and finally – if successful – last interview with [a] partner who offers [the] contract,” says a source. Another reports that there are “typically five to seven interviews with informal discussion of background, case studies,” plus “lunch or something similar to get a feel for social skills.” Usually, candidates meet with the teams that are looking to fill a position – “Whoever needs the candidate does the interviews. We have some informal training on best practices, but different teams within the firm handle their interviewing differently,” a government-sector source reports. Footprints in the snow Cases are a big part of Booz Allen interviews for the commercial sector and are mostly based on “real life” examples, says a source. “Each case study is typical of the type of work that we are asked to undertake by our clients,” another reports. “The candidate is measured on his or her ability to approach the case logically so as to build a structured framework to be able to solve the problem.” One case question might be, “What are the typical areas of cost improvement within the purchasing division of a machinery company?” Another example, from Down Under: “If you were going to build an office block in the center of Sydney, how tall would you build it?” And another brainteaser: “If your college campus was covered with snow, how many footprints would there be after one normal school day?” Others receive more general interview questions based on experience: “How have you responded in a situation where you knew that the instructions or guidance you’d received were wrong?” or “Let’s say you are the project leader for client X and you are asked to achieve goal Z, how would you handle it? Where have you done this before?” or “Describe a situation where you were asked to work as a team, and one person did not pull their weight. How did you handle this situation?” Candidates for the firm’s government sector reportedly don’t get cases, though they are grilled about their background, skills and other technical proficiencies. Patience is a virtue As for follow-up, sources tell us the process ranges from “very smooth,” with results within a week, to painfully slow. Apparently, the massive surge of demand in the CAREER78 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 86. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Booz Allen Hamiltongovernment sector made an impact on Booz Allen WTB recruiting. “Recruiting isawful at communicating to candidates and employees who refer with status updates,”especially in the government sector, avers a consultant. As of early 2004, the sourcesays, the recruiting team in the government business was “overwhelmed, but theyhave never been great, and they are only getting worse.” Another insider says, “Ipersonally experienced considerable delay in scheduling the initial interview, thenagain a delay in hearing from the firm that an offer would be made. Other firms hadinterviewed and made their decisions in much less time.” A colleague notes, “I leftthe interview with assurance an offer would be forthcoming. It took a month andseveral phone calls to finally generate a verbal offer from HR, and another two weeksto generate a written one.” The moral: Don’t give up on Booz!OUR SURVEY SAYSCulture shiftThe last few economic years have affected Booz Allen, slowing work on thecommercial side, while government sector employees find the gigantic boom inBooz’s government-side engagements have affected their working life as well. Thefirm “generally became much less pleasant during the downturn,” says a commercialbusiness consultant, who adds that it’s “now getting better again as business picks up.The individuals continue to be charming and caring, however.” A colleague agrees,seeing “big improvements being made after the slump.” But another consultant saysthat “During the downturn in the consulting market, the culture shifted from teambased to individual based. The new motto seems to be ‘fend for yourself.’” Thegovernment sector, however, experienced an acceleration of work instead of a slump.Opines a government consultant, “Rapid growth is making a great culture lesspleasant due to the constant intensity of work.” Still another notes that “since thefirm is so large, it can be very impersonal and as if you are walking around in anairport where people are pushing and shoving to get to their gate.”But when they’re not busy fending for themselves in the “intellectually challenging,”even “cutthroat” environment, which is “not for the faint hearted,” “people genuinelylike each other,” insiders say. “People are Booz Allen’s greatest asset – there exists atrue ‘friendship’ culture based on mutual respect,” a source reports. A Europeansource says the firm has a “very nice, diverse group of people” in a “family-like”small office, with “everyone knowing everyone” through “office events like ski trips,Friday lunches or drinks.” Reports another consultant, “At Booz Allen, people have Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 79
  • 87. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Booz Allen Hamilton very diverse backgrounds which makes the interaction in the team very interesting and fun.” But for some, Booz has too many stick-in-the-muds. “Conservative” is an oft-used word in many offices. Grumbles an insider, the firm is “too conservative, old fashioned. Too ‘level oriented’, i.e., people are concerned about each other’s level/ranking.” Another says, “I find the culture to be a bit stuffy for myself, but I can always find the individuals that aren’t the typical, suit-y types.” Maintaining the balance Booz Allen consultants, both commercial and government, give props to their employer for making a sincere effort to allow them to balance their personal lives and work lives at Booz Allen. Several consultants indicate that “there has been a great improvement over the last three years” and that they’ve seen “seen serious commitment from the firm” on work-life balance. Booz Allen is said to promote several policies that give consultants more schedule flexibility. For example, the firm offers consultants with family commitments reduced working schedules. One consultant explains “I have a young child and do not want to sacrifice my weekends, so I cut back on my billable percentage (and my salary!) and usually work on my one weekday off in order to keep up. If I were to go 100 percent, I would be assigned 20 percent more billable work and I would have to work most weekends in order to keep up.” A mother credits the firm for permitting her to “work from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday, which allows me to better care for my child, while still contributing to the firm.” Other consultants take advantage of telecommuting to work more congenial schedules. “I have a family and will often leave for home at 7 p.m. I restart work later in the evening if I need to,” says a commercial side consultant. Booz Allen also permits consultants to effectively bank overtime – one consultant says that Booz Allen employees “can work extra to ‘make up’ the hours and therefore not have to take vacation if you fulfill your utilization goal.” Leaves of absence are said to be “easy to arrange.” At the same time, numerous consultants indicate that it’s up to consultants themselves to take advantage of the ability to live balanced lifestyles. “Balancing work and life is very much a responsibility of the individual employee. If you are not able to set your own borders, people will keep on pushing you. Saying ‘no’ upfront is generally well accepted – but once committed you have to deliver and in emergencies you are expected to step up,” explains one consultant. There are CAREER80 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 88. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Booz Allen Hamiltonsituational issues that promote (or fail to promote) a work-life balance as well. “Thefirm is very aware of the need to promote work-life balance. Whether this actuallyfilters down to the individual project teams depends very much on the partner and jobmanager in charge. On the whole however work-life balance is good,” commentsone insider. A more senior consultant contends, “As you advance in the firm, moreand more demands are placed on your weekend and holiday time to support proposalsand internal firm projects.” A government-sector consultant agrees with theincreased burden placed on senior firm members. “Clients [have] become lesswilling to pay for junior consultants, so that senior team members have tosimultaneously take on analysis, manage the client and drive marketing efforts.”TimepiecesOn average, Booz Allen consultants report working anywhere from 40 to 60 hours aweek. This average varies by division and does not typically include work done fromhome. “The [commercial] side is known as a workhorse, with employees frequentlytraveling and working weekends. [The government side], however, is not as intense,thanks to its scale and actively listens to employee concerns on workload,” oneinsider notes. Says another, “it really depends on where you work. If you work in aclassified facility where external access is difficult, then the work balance becomesquite difficult because of all the administrative work you have to do at home afterworking eight-plus hours at the client site.” A colleague agrees, adding “promotionrequires a lot of company work (employee supervision, proposal writing, etc.) thatcan only be done inside the company’s computer firewall. Since I work at a clientsite, that work is done at home, on my own time.”One source claims the commercial sector’s “2003 workload was not representative.After staff cuts over the past years, business picked up rapidly, causing a resourcecrunch and lots of long hours,” though this hard work was reflected in record highbonuses paid in June 2004. Another source says there are “extensive requirementsfor marketing and business development outside of regular billable client hours.” Acolleague grumbles, “The hardest part of the hours is how much time is spentdeveloping business that you can’t charge for – you will work 60 hours a week, but[are] only able to bill 40 hours.”Taking to the skiesAs for travel, well, it’s par for the course at a consulting powerhouse. Onecommercial consultant describes his schedule as “hard work during three evenings at Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 81
  • 89. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Booz Allen Hamilton [the] client site, staying in hotel, flying home on Thursday to be in office on Friday (usually more relaxed).” “The international structure of Booz Allen … does lead to excessive travel in certain practices – resulting in spending up to eight months a year abroad,” a colleague notes. While commercial consultants may be “away from home Monday to Thursday plus every other Friday, on average,” says a consultant, the firm’s “travel policy is generous though, making travel as comfortable as possible (business class flights, upscale hotels).” An insider warns prospective candidates, “When applying, be sure to accurately state your willingness to travel because it will be taken into account with staffing.” However, the source adds, “With a government focus, travel is not as prominent.” Many government consultants are on long-term projects that last for years; this makes travel schedules more predictable. Up or out of there Booz Allen is an up-or-out sort of firm, insiders report, at least on the commercial side. “Up or out has been increasingly enforced. General tendency is for less ‘fast promotions’ in the last two to three years,” a commercial source says. Another commercial-side consultant agrees: “Booz Allen’s promotion policy is purely up or out – no exceptions made. Consultants typically spend three years at associate (MBA entry level), three years at senior associate, three to four years at principal before making partner.” (For what it’s worth, Booz Allen prefers the sunnier phrase “up-or- on,” not “up-or-out.”) Sources describe a “360-degree annual appraisal with intermediate pulse-checks,” adding that the “consultant has to show improvement against clearly identified development needs.” “If your performance is not sufficient,” a consultant reports, “you receive a ‘warning’ status and are assessed again after six months. After that a strict up-or-out policy is enforced.” (On the government side, consultants do not move in lockstep with their cohort.) “Promotions are purely merit-based and quite formalized to assess each consultant on a fair basis,” says another. But a colleague begs to differ: “Not all promotions are based on merit, but on who you know and who does your assessment. It also depends on the availability of client assignments and your work location. If you are working with a high-profile client, you are able to market [yourself] and bring in more hours and money. If you are working a minor task, you do not bring in much revenue and are frequently passed over for promotion.” CAREER82 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 90. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Booz Allen HamiltonAgain, promotion policies vary based on division: “In WCB, it is up-or-out in threeyears. In WTB, one can seemingly be here forever,” reports a source. “A strict up-or-out is applied to commercial consultants, but not to government-facingconsultants,” a colleague agrees. In the government business, however, “becausemost of the revenue comes from government consulting and especially defenseconsulting, of late where you come from or who you know tend to matter more thanskills and capabilities,” another consultant says, adding, “having clearancessometimes overshadows skills and capabilities in determining hiring practices andraises.”Average salary, fat bonusesWhen it comes to compensation, Booz Allen consultants tend to feel small comparedto their peers – in the words of one source, “competitiveness of [the] compensationpackage has dramatically decreased, both compared to our peers and compared toindustry alternatives.” A London commercial consultant adds, “Althoughcompensation is good, I still feel we should get an increase, as the salaries werefrozen for the last three years, and given the business is picking up so well, we shouldhave an increase covering at least inflation!” A stateside colleague reports that “ourincreases this year were small because of ‘perceived business environment.’ Mysalary has quickly fallen behind other competitors.” Others agree: “I think [BoozAllen] could offer a more competitive salary. An individual with comparableexperience to mine just began work at a government agency and is makingsubstantially more than me.”On the other hand, the bonus situation at Booz Allen is very nice indeed – on thecommercial side; bonuses are distributed differently between the divisions. In thegovernment business, “only senior managers receive bonuses,” leading somegovernment consultants to carp that there’s “no incentive for workers generating therevenue to increase their output.” On the other hand, consultants on the commercialside are eligible for bonuses based on individual and firm performance regardless oflevel. The firm says that bonuses on the commercial side, distributed in June 2004,were well over plan for the first time in 15 years, ranging from 20 to over 50 (!)percent of salary.Booz Allen is reportedly generous with other financial perks. “There is some trade-off between salary and overall work environment, job security, etc. This is a trade-off I very willingly accept,” says a government-sector consultant. Others praiseBooz’s 401(k) matching: “Unlike many other firms, this is not a matching programwhere the company matches employee contributions up to a set percentage of their Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 83
  • 91. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Booz Allen Hamilton salary. Instead, the firm makes annual contributions regardless of the amount the employee contributes” – contributions which can range from 10 to 15 percent of base salary. And employees appreciate the firm’s “liberal training reimbursement” benefit too, with an annual cap of $5,000 for degree-oriented work and $2,500 for certificates and other training. One consultant jokingly scolds the firm for providing ample free lunches. “Every time we turn around there is some event for which the firm supplies lunch, brunch, snacks, etc. I’ve gained 10 pounds.” On the Autobahn Consultants in Germany, at least, can travel to work in a “company car (BMW, Mercedes, Audi, etc.) from year one.” Others receive “hardship payments for tough consulting locations.” Given the hard-traveling nature of the (commercial sector) beast, the “miles and hotel points” add up, and the firm offers “excellent travel policies (five star hotels, business class,” and “weekend fly-backs no matter how far away the client is – as well as the ability to fly somewhere else if it’s cost neutral.” In fact, raves one consultant, the firm has an “unbelievable expense policy – I’m now a connoisseur of the great wines and restaurants of the world, and all at firm expense!” For those who can’t get enough traveling, junior government-sector consultants (who are not bonus eligible) can aim for the VIP (Values in Practice) award, “the highest award available to an associate or below,” says a government sector source, who adds, “it’s an all-expense paid vacation to anywhere in North America and it seems there are about four or five awards per month. My wife and I enjoyed three days on Paradise Island courtesy of the VIP, and I can’t praise the perk more highly!” Other perks include a yearly family event at a Six Flags amusement park for staff in the D.C. area, a weekend ski trip for European consultants, “state-of-the-art computers, mobile phones, free cinema and theater tickets, nice outings or events.” In addition, a source says, “Booz Allen encourages employees to pursue non-work activities. For example, I was selected to compete for Booz Allen in the U.S. Corporate Athletics competition in San Francisco” – an “incredibly fun,” “fully-paid” trip. A room with a view As for offices, it’s all about – you guessed it – location, location, location. If you’re lucky enough to wind up in Hawaii, you might find yourself in the enviable position of this consultant, who says of the Honolulu office: “I don’t think it could be any CAREER84 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 92. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Booz Allen Hamiltonbetter. Corner office with view of Diamond Head, mountains and the ocean – I pinchmyself daily!” Another loves the San Diego office, described as “neat and practicallynew. All folks get the same set-up so there is no in-fighting about who has a betterchair, etc.” But in McLean, a colleague grumbles, “There has not been enough officespace for all staff for over a year. The firm has been working to acquire additionaloffice space in a nearby city, but it seems that they did not anticipate the need beforethe crisis occurred.” (The firm is opening a new campus by Dulles airport in early2005.) In Colorado Springs, consultants work in “a manufacturing facility turnedinto office spaces so the conditions are less than ideal,” including stuffy offices andthin walls.Overseas, at any rate, the offices are nice – in Amsterdam, consultants enjoy “open,light and inviting spaces (glass offices and open desks)” as well as “table football,darts and a roof terrace for relaxing.” Aussies get a “great location and amazingviews of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour.”One on oneMost Booz Allen insiders are happy with their opportunities to meet and interact withhigher-ups. Consultants have “possibilities to work one-on-one with client seniormanagement in [the] early stage” of their careers, and “partners are very open andapproachable,” says a source. Another reports that there’s “significant exposure toclient high-level decision makers often in a fairly self-directed fashion,” adding,“Booz Allen provides amazing access and trusts juniors, once they have proventhemselves as safe hands, to have impact with very senior clients.”As for Booz higher-ups, however, insiders complain that “top level staff are veryrecalcitrant in answering e-mails and phone messages,” and “supervisors are oftentoo busy to give you the time you need.” Says another, “most supervisors are verybusy and they seem to work best with employees who do not require a lot of hand-holding.” It’s “not a nurturing company – sink or swim, you are on your own (unlessyou are friends with a higher level person),” a consultant warns. And in certaingovernment-sector offices, sources report, “The ‘rank’ system similar to thatemployed in the military is prevalent, almost to a detrimental point because lowerlevel employees are ‘not allowed’ to interact with higher level employees withoutgoing through a chain of command.” Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 85
  • 93. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Booz Allen Hamilton Transforming training Insiders say the firm provides “ample opportunities for official and unofficial training, both in-house and outsourced.” While one source gripes that “formal training could be more frequent and more relevant to actual needs,” a colleague says that “our formal training has improved a lot in the past years: there are specific courses for women and I had the opportunity to receive an individual (personality) coaching with an external coach.” A colleague agrees: “Most training is unofficial, but the firm’s official training programs are excellent. I recently took a course on managing people for peak performance that I would describe as transforming.” “There are plenty of official training opportunities at Booz Allen,” says another, adding “I am not sure if any other consulting firm has a better program.” Still, “on-the-job training is the most important,” says a colleague, and there’s “lots of informal on-the-job coaching,” says another. Another consultant agrees that “everyone on my team pushes me and challenges me to be someone better than I am.” Recruitment plans afoot Booz Allen is reportedly ramping up a “corporate initiative” to recruit more women, with a “global rollout expected.” An insider says, “My perception is that this company ‘practices what it preaches,’” with respect to women and diversity, “something I have not seen in other companies for which I have worked.” The firm gets the “highest marks on diversity” – “every minority (I mean really every) has its own committee,” a source reports. Others note that while “minorities are underrepresented in firm leadership,” the firm is “actively working to add minorities to the ranks of the partnership.” As for gay, lesbian and bisexual consultants, an insider reports, “The firm has a policy against discrimination in this area and there are celebratory events. However, GLB persons are not sure the firm is real on this subject. Mostly, this subject is not discussed while women and minority issues are.” The visibility of gays and lesbians varies according to location and practice, says another: “[Booz Allen HQ] has a forum for gays, lesbians and bisexuals – and seems to be a much more open environment. My office – a satellite – doesn’t talk about it. Ever.” But another consultant argues that “we are way ahead of our government clients in this area, and the firm has a great track record of supporting gay employees when clients raise issues.” The firm sponsors a company-wide forum called GLOBE, which holds mixers and discussions to foster an open environment at Booz Allen. CAREER86 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 94. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Booz Allen HamiltonBooz is said to be “extremely involved” in community service and events – “to thepoint that I can’t keep up with all the details,” says a source. One reports that“recently we raised $16,000 in our local office for the American Cancer Society.”Another says the “firm’s outreach into the local community is impressive. FromHabitat for Humanity to mentoring of school children to food banks, Booz Allen isrecognized in the local community for its efforts.”BoozloveDespite any quibbles they might have with the firm, the overriding sense from BoozAllen consultants is one of respect and affection, along with a sense that the firmrewards initiative. Booz Allen offers a “rock solid environment with a conservative,professional, and extremely ethical culture that is intolerant of mediocrity.” Anotherinsider raves, “Booz Allen is a top employer for both the MBA and the government.consultant, and strives to do the right thing for its people and clients. Yes, it makesmistakes and can be slow to react at times (e.g., its Aestix failure in the dot-com era),but at its heart it tries to do the right thing. That makes all the difference in my mind.” For more information on top consulting employers and consulting careers, go to the Vault Consulting Career Channel • Detailed 40-page employer profiles on top employers like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Accenture and more • Surveys of employees at hundreds of consulting firms • The only job board on the Web dedicated to consulting jobs – The Vault Consulting Job Board • Case interview guides and one-on-one case interview prep www.vault.com/consulting Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 87
  • 95. V A U L T 5 PRESTIGE Gartner RANKING 56 Top Gallant Road THE STATS Stamford, CT 06904 Phone: (203) 964-0096 Employer Type: Public Company www.gartner.com Ticker Symbol: IT/ITB (NYSE) CEO & Chairman: Gene Hall 2004 Employees: 3,700 LOCATIONS 2003 Employees: 3,800 Stamford, CT (HQ) 2003 Revenue: $858 million 90 locations worldwide 2002 Revenue: $907.2 million PRACTICE AREAS UPPERS Consulting • No MBA worship Enterprise Risk Management • Terrific vacation time Executive Programs Federal Consulting DOWNERS Intelligence IT Management and Measurement • Pressure for billable hours Market & Business Strategy • Unclear promotion path Strategic Sourcing KEY COMPETITORS Capgemini Deloitte IBM BCS EMPLOYMENT CONTACT Human Resources Fax: (203) 316-3445 E-mail: gartner@gartnercareers.com THE BUZZ WHAT CONSULTANTS AT OTHER FIRMS ARE SAYING • “Great at the narrow area” • “Solid research; far thinking” • “Anyone can draw a growth curve” • “Academic, not pragmatic” CAREER88 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 96. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms GartnerTHE SCOOPThe tech-savvy groupFounded by Gideon Gartner as Gartner Group in 1979, Gartner is associated withtech-heavy market research expertise. The firm went public in 1986, was pulled offthe market two years later, and re-listed in 1993. Since its transfer to the New YorkStock Exchange in 1998, Gartner has grown steadily, opening offices in Europe, Asia,Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. Amidst a field of knowledgeablecompetitors, Gartner remains one of the most recognized brands in market research,and is highly regarded for the technological spin it brings to consulting, research andevents (such as its annual Symposium/ITxpo, held in locations throughout the world).RealignmentWith more than 90 locations worldwide, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Conn.and approximately 3,700 employees are spread among its various business units. Inlate 2003, Gartner reorganized those units to align them more closely with the needsof clients and market opportunities. Gartner Intelligence delivers content and adviceto IT professionals, technology vendors and investors. Gartner Executive Programsoffer membership and peer-networking services for chief information officers andother key executives.Gartner Consulting focuses on “benchmark-enabled” consulting services such asbusiness strategy, IT management and strategic sourcing.Stable revenuesAt the end of 2003, Gartner reported overall revenue of $858 million, down 3 percentfrom the previous year. The consulting arm brought in $67 million for the last quarterof 2003, up 16 percent from the fourth quarter of 2002, and for all of 2003, consultingrevenue was $259 million, down 6 percent from the previous year. For the quarter,consulting backlog was $100 million, a growth of $7 million since September 2003.“This strong performance was due in part to successful investment in high-growthproducts and by executing on our sales strategy,” noted Michael Fleisher, Gartner’schairman and chief executive officer.The year 2003 brought other changes to the firm. In October, Gartner promotedMaureen O’Connell, who joined the group in 2002 after holding executive roles atBarnes & Noble, Publishers Clearinghouse and BMG Direct, to the new position of Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 89
  • 97. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Gartner president and COO. O’Connell has responsibility for all business units and sales and marketing functions. In addition, Christopher J. Lafond, who joined Gartner in 1995, was named executive vice president and chief financial officer. In addition, Bob Patton was brought in on April 1, 2004 from Cap Gemini Ernst & Young (now Capgemini) where he held senior management positions for the past 13 years. Most recently, Mr. Patton served as CEO of Government Solutions, where he secured significant contracts with public agencies. Previously, as managing director for Cap Gemini Ernst & Young Americas Sector, Mr. Patton led 3,500 consulting professionals. The good and bad news In December 2003, Gartner announced that it would eliminate approximately 200 jobs, or 5 percent of its global workforce. The company cited a need to streamline operations and strengthen key consulting practices as reasons for the move. At the same time, Gartner’s own research, published in October 2003, indicated that a substantial recovery in IT spending was likely for 2004, with a moderate spending upturn predicted for 2005 and 2006. As advancing technologies converge, spending will continue to accelerate, the firm predicted – a trend which could bode well for Gartner’s future prospects. From camera phones to semiconductors Gartner’s various business units have their fingers on the pulse of nearly every tech- related issue imaginable. In March 2003 alone, the firm published studies on regulations affecting camera phones, growth in the Eastern European IT market, business process outsourcing in Europe and worldwide mobile phone sales. Other reports released in late 2003 and early 2004 covered semiconductors, the Latin American PC market, the PDA industry and DSL equipment. GETTING HIRED Getting in with Gartner The career section on Gartner’s web site lists job openings in the company’s 75 locations worldwide, and accepts resumes and CVs online. The company will also accept e-mailed, mailed or faxed resumes. The HR department sends an CAREER90 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 98. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Gartneracknowledgment within 24 hours of receiving an application. Insiders report verylittle recruiting by the firm.As for the interview process, it’s described as “positively unnerving and brutal, but ifyou’re hired, you really feel like it is a pretty big accomplishment.” A source reportsthat there’s a “phone interview followed by in-person interview with a number ofindividuals and a group presentation and Q&A session.” Another advises candidatesto “demonstrate a strong knowledge of the firm” in order to get to round two.The case, deconstructedA consultant provides an inside scoop on this second round, describing a “rigorouscase interview that requires you to price a deal and develop the deliverables and basicstrategy for running the engagement.” The source adds that “the same case is usedregardless of the position that you are applying for, but the expectations aredifferent”; associate consultants need to “recognize some general trends and wheretheir expertise can help,” consultants should be able to elaborate “what workproducts would be expected,” while more senior level positions require an evenfirmer grasp of the engagement. “Plan on at least two hours of interviewing,” anotherconsultant notes.OUR SURVEY SAYSIndependence daysCorporate culture at Gartner is described as “laid back and very independent,” withplenty of “intellectual stimulation” from a bevy of “bright co-workers.” “One of thebest things about Gartner,” a consultant says, “is that we are in control of our ownhours and can work from home if we choose – as long as the job gets done mymanagement isn’t too concerned whether I do it at 9 a.m. or 9 p.m.” In fact, says acolleague, “some consultants work from home and receive some perks for doing so(free DSL, printer, etc.)”Make the numbersAlas, at Gartner, with great freedom comes great responsibility. An insider notes that“You are given plenty of latitude in making your own hours, etc., but you must hityour target numbers each year. Failure to do so, after a grace quarter, will likely Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 91
  • 99. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Gartner shorten your tenure with the firm.” Another consultant explains, “The typical Gartner model is for consultants only to be on site to sell, kick-off an engagement, gather information and present information. In this way you can work on multiple engagements – and often need to in order to make your target number.” A colleague adds that there’s a “flat hierarchy,” with “promotion only via pay increases; we’re not a traditional consulting firm, which can churn through MBAs since they just need analysis labor,” since “Gartner is based on industry expertise and longstanding industry relationships whereby turnover would be disastrous.” Generous Gartner – to a point The firm provides “great vacation for a U.S. company,” notes an insider; sources say third and fourth year staffers get 25 days, with a max of 35 days after six years – plus a chance for a month-long sabbatical after five years of service. Insiders also report a 401(k) and some profit sharing, though one source grumbles, “pay was frozen for the last four years,” but Gartnerites saw a “small raise finally this year despite years of stellar reviews.” Another insider says “pay varies greatly and depends on your ability to negotiate.” The source advises Gartner prospects to “negotiate for the best package up front, as raises have been few and far between and advancement is not well mapped out.” Offices get mixed reviews depending on Gartner’s many locations – in San Jose, a source gripes, “we are not in the headquarters and our satellite office’s physical condition leaves much to be desired – the company no longer brings clients into this building but still deems it passable for its own employees.” The company provides “matching charitable donations,” sources say. CAREER92 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 100. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Gartner “Some consultants work from home and receivesome perks for doing so.” — Gartner consultantVisit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at www.vault.com/consulting — withinsider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 93
  • 101. V A U L T 6 PRESTIGE Monitor Group RANKING Two Canal Park THE STATS Cambridge, MA 02141 Phone: (617) 252-2000 Employer Type: Private Company Fax: (617) 252-2100 Chairman: Mark Fuller www.monitor.com 2003 Employees: approximately 1,000 2002 Employees: 850 LOCATIONS Cambridge, MA (HQ) UPPERS 28 offices worldwide • “I can chart my own course” • Beautiful offices PRACTICE AREAS Corporate Strategy DOWNERS Country Competitiveness Financial Assessment/Evaluation • “Communication from senior Marketing Strategy leadership” less than adequate Operations/Logistics • No bonuses in 2001 and 2002 Organizational Effectiveness (bonuses returned to normal levels R&D/Innovation Management in 2003) Strategic Transactions EMPLOYMENT CONTACT KEY COMPETITORS www.monitor.com/cgi-bin/iowa/careers Bain & Company E-mail: Recruiting_us@monitor.com Boston Consulting Group McKinsey & Company Mercer Management Consulting The Parthenon Group THE BUZZ WHAT CONSULTANTS AT OTHER FIRMS ARE SAYING • “Collegial and recognized” • “Wonky” • “Super smart, high level” • “Similar problems as other strategy houses” CAREER94 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 102. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Monitor GroupTHE SCOOPFrom the Ivies to the officeMonitor Group has its roots in the academic world, specifically Harvard BusinessSchool, where a number of its founders taught and studied in the 1980s. But Monitor,founded in 1983, isn’t stuck in the ivory tower – the group aims to put ideas createdin the classroom and business environments into practice in the real world.Compared to its peers, Monitor is mid-sized, but it thinks globally, with 28 offices in23 countries. Its client list includes Fortune 500 companies, international firms, state,national and international government agencies and nonprofit organizations, while itsadvisory services include private equity and venture capital, e-commerce strategyand mergers and acquisition-related transactions, to name a few. Monitor’s all-starlineup of “thought leaders” includes co-founder Michael Porter (creator of popularcase interview framework Porter’s Five Forces and a demigod in the consultingpantheon).More than consultingMonitor describes itself as “much more than” a consulting firm. The company’sorganization allows it to offer clients resources from three divisions: Action Group,which provides management and strategy consulting services; Monitor MerchantBanking, which is involved in capital investing and venture projects; and theIntelligent Products Group, which designs customized data and software products.These groups each comprise one or more companies; for example, Action Groupincludes such operations as the Global Business Network, an organization of topfirms in various industries, and Innovation Management Inc., which uses innovationand technology to help companies. The Merchant Banking division’s companies,such as Monitor Clipper Partners and Monitor Ventures, have an equity stake in 20firms and over their collective lifetime have invested more than $1 billion; MonitorClipper Partners last year sold its stake in Veridian Corporation for a cool $1.5billion. Decision Architects, part of Monitor’s Intelligent Products Group, has beenbuilding custom software models since 1991.Focus on winningMonitor’s goal is to help clients “win” – gain a competitive advantage – rather thansimply improve, according to the company. To that end, Monitor applies a “unifiedtheory” approach, applying resources culled from the firm’s various subsidiaries to Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 95
  • 103. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Monitor Group create unique solutions for clients. Rather than relying on traditional vertical industry groups, Monitor says it prefers to work holistically with a select number of projects, focusing only on the specific resources required to get the job done. Theory and practice Monitor’s “thought leaders,” including Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter, technology guru Bruce Chew, former University of Southern California professor Bernie Jaworski, valuation expert Tom Copeland, game theorist Bhaskar Chakravorti and former Harvard professor Michael Jensen, give the group a distinctly academic flavor. MarketspaceU, Monitor’s research and publishing unit, maintains a presence in the classroom through a series of educational materials on e- commerce published in partnership with McGraw-Hill. Monitor puts its theories into practice through some interesting alliances, including a partnership in 2003 with Sonalysts, a company run by former submariners, to offer “corporate war gaming” services to blue-chip clients. Monitor also has been engaged to help brush up the image of Shell Oil Co.; explore growth and investment opportunities for the Brunei Economic Development Board; design an economic strategic plan for the state of South Carolina; and help California’s Bay Area develop a plan to ensure its preeminence in the life sciences. Post-2001 blues Like its peers, Monitor suffered the effects of the economic downturn in mid-2001; its North American and European offices, as well as its e-consultancy, Marketspace, were particularly vulnerable. Layoffs in Europe and North America led to cuts as high as 15 percent in some offices, though the company has continued to do well in Latin America and Asia. Insiders at Monitor reported no bonuses were paid in 2001 or 2002; in 2003 bonuses returned to normal levels. Capitalists with a conscience Monitor isn’t just about helping clients “win.” The firm says it’s also dedicated to enhancing “the practical realization of their animating moral purpose.” In other words, Monitor has heart. The firm recently celebrated its tenth year of work with South Africa government agencies and nongovernmental organizations on a wide range of nation building and market development projects. For the past five years, Monitor has partnered with New Profit Inc., a young venture philanthropy firm that invests in promising social enterprises. As part of the partnership, Monitor provides CAREER96 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 104. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Monitor Groupfunding, office space and teams of consultants who work with New Profit and itsportfolio organizations. The group partnered last year with the magazine FastCompany to offer the “Social Capitalist Awards,” which honor 20 organizations that“use entrepreneurial genius to solve some of the world’s most daunting socialproblems.” Last year’s winners included a charter school management group,organizations providing capital to low-income entrepreneurs and a victims’ rightsgroup that archives evidence of human rights violations.GETTING HIREDShow, don’t tellThe Monitor interview process is a complex, long and unusual one, which one insidercredits with attracting a “broader and more diverse” set of candidates. In the firstround, which usually occurs on campus for school-based recruits, candidates aregiven a written case. Candidates are given a written case with multiple exhibits andhave a set amount of time to read and analyze the material. The analysis of thewritten material with a Monitor consultant takes about 30 minutes (one Monitorconsultant says that it is interesting to see how candidates react when “they are a littlebit stuck.”) The second half of the first-round interview is a fit interview.The second-round interview starts with the notorious Monitor group interview.Candidates are put into groups of four or five. Each candidate is given an identicalpacket of information to digest. Then each candidate receives a different packet offollow-up information and a specific question to discuss with the group, such as oneabout customer segmentation and prioritizing particular customers. Each candidatethen has 15 minutes to present and discuss with the group. Two Monitor consultantswatch but do not interact with the candidates. “We evaluate the candidates on boththeir analytic contributions and their interpersonal qualities,” says one insider. Thegroup exercise typically takes two to three hours. After a break, candidates then getwhat is internally called the roleplay interview. Candidates read a snapshot ofvarious client-consultant interactions and discuss with a Monitor interviewer. Attimes, the candidate may be asked to roleplay with a consultant. The firm is lookingfor both diagnostic skills and the ability to act on a diagnosis.Finally, after another break, candidates receive feedback on their performance. Theyare also asked to share their views on their interviewers. Says a Monitor insider, “Weare looking for good self-diagnosis skills and a thoughtful reaction to feedback. Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 97
  • 105. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Monitor Group There have been candidates we thought were superstars who were not invited to join the firm based on performance in the feedback interview.” The interview process is the same for undergraduates, MBAs and experienced hires at most levels. Summer undergraduate interns, however, do not have a roleplay interview. Top school focus Insiders tells us that Monitor maintains relationships with about 15 undergrad schools in addition to seven MBA programs (Darden, HBS, Kellogg, Sloan, Stanford, Tuck and Wharton), and generally limits its picks to “Ivies, baby Ivies and highly regarded MBA programs.” Monitor organizes its recruiting system by school, meaning applicants from relationship schools should check with their career office for application deadlines and contact information. Applicants from other schools should apply through Monitor’s web site. Most candidates at both the undergraduate and graduate levels are hired into the Monitor Group, and may be allocated to Group companies based on interest and needs. Candidates should express office preferences and any interest in specific group companies in their cover letter. OUR SURVEY SAYS Collegial culture Insiders consistently describe the culture at Monitor as “collegial” and “collaborative,” with a few giving props to the company’s “nonhierarchical” structure. The firm’s small size offers ample opportunities for nonhierarchical interaction: “Senior members of the firm take a noticeable interest in my personal and career development. I have frequent conversations with partners about my own progress. I do not know a single partner to whom I could not go to seeking feedback or advice,” one consultant says. “Monitor’s open, nonhierarchical culture makes relationships with managers feel more peer-like than superior-subordinate,” another reports. Some describe the firm’s culture as relatively free of peer pressure compared to other top consulting firms. “I feel like Monitor is a place where you are free to be yourself and are not always worried about what everyone thinks about you outside of your CAREER98 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 106. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Monitor Groupperformance at work,” notes a consultant. Concurs another consultant, “There are awide array of personalities and there is plenty of room to find your own groove.”To your healthBenefits at Monitor are reportedly basic, with the health plan scoring high marksoverall. Some respondents gripe about the firm’s retirement benefits: “Monitor doesnot match 401(k). It really doesn’t make any sense. You would think a consultingfirm would realize the tax advantages of such a plan,” grumbles one consultant.Other perks are more specialized. One consultant reports that the firm “providesopportunities to invest in our merchant banking group” for accredited investors, andanother says the firm provides profit sharing for partners. Bagels and popcorn(presumably for everyone, not just the higher-ups) are cited as another plus, as are the“killer views” of the Pacific from the Los Angeles office.Comp commentsAs for compensation, the general feeling is that things could be better, but they’re notas bad as they used to be. “Bonuses were lean to nonexistent for the past couple years.In the last comp week, bonuses were finally good. Salary level increases were lessgood. If the year is good, folks will be compensated on market levels with a nicebonus.” Another says, “Monitor does not take an industry-leading approach tocompensation, especially at the more junior levels.” Still, this consultant reports, it’snot a deal-breaker: “I’ve noticed some differences with my peers at other firms, butnothing that would make me want to jump ship.” Muses one consultant, “I thinkcompared to other top-tier consulting firms, Monitor somewhat underpays byperhaps 15 percent or so. But still, in the overall context of work situations, we arewell compensated.”Flex schedule loveMostly, what keeps ‘em around at Monitor isn’t the pay or benefits structure, but, inthe words of one respondent, the firm’s “culture, flexibility in our work schedules(ability to work from home if needed), [and] innovative workplace.” In fact, severalMonitor consultants say they regularly work “a few hours” over the weekend to evenout hours during the week. Another insider reports, “I have found my managers tryto be very conscious of my personal needs within the demands of excellent clientservice.” Work-life balance receives decent marks on the whole – one consultantreports that her schedule is flexible enough to allow her to pick her child up from Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 99
  • 107. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Monitor Group school in the evenings when she’s not on the road. “People genuinely develop at their own pace,” a consultant writes; “Working half-time (one case, not two) is common for people with young families or [who are] pursuing academic interests.” The aforementioned Monitorian individuality, however, can impact schedules. “One thing is that [work schedules are] not consistent, people are truly individuals here, which is good and bad. Depending on who you work for you may have an extremely laid-back experience or the feeling that you are on-call for your manager 24 hours a day,” notes one insider. Monitor’s policy of staffing consultants on two cases at once (the 50/50 model) also has the potential to complicate schedules, say insiders, as “dual allocation can sometimes be more work.” Getting schooled The firm seems to focus more on training on a daily, informal basis rather than through a structured program. One consultant sums it up thusly: “Most training that is helpful is unofficial.” “Training at Monitor is basically on the job,” another says, adding, “there is considerable feedback on cases, so one hears about missteps as they occur.” Another consultant reports that formal training recently re-started after a hiatus of one to two years, while another says that “recent training has been excellent.” Meritocratic Monitor Almost all of Monitor’s consultants cite the firm’s lack of an “up-or-out” policy as a positive thing. “People are evaluated extensively on an ongoing basis, on a multitude of characteristics and dimensions,” one consultant reports. “For the most part, consultants who are falling significantly behind the curve self-select out of the job and pursue other opportunities that are more commensurate with their interests and abilities,” another consultant says. Yet another comments, “Monitor has lived up to its meritocratic roots in allowing me to advance as fast as I am able. Consultants who are underperforming are asked to leave, but I have never felt the pressure to move up or else.” Ambition pays off Respondents agreed that hard work yields results quickly at Monitor. “The new undergrads are given significant responsibilities early on and manage newer employees by their third year,” reports one consultant, who adds that graduate level hires can become team leaders on cases within three years. “More important than CAREER100 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 108. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Monitor Grouptitles, consultants are given as much responsibility as they can handle – the firm isnot so structured that younger consultants can’t take on more ‘senior’ responsibilitiesif they can perform at that level,” the consultant concludes. Others agree, with oneconsultant noting that “ability is truly the only limiting factor” in a consultant’sprogress at the firm.Monitor’s relative flexibility and self-determination, cited by most consultants, canhave its less wholesome flipside in the form of interrupted communications. “Thefirm is at a transition point in many ways from being a “family firm” run by foundersto being something bigger with a wider partnership and governance. There aregrowing pains in that we often don’t have the transparency and openness on firmdecisions and don’t have a set of established bureaucracy yet (moving toward a moreestablished firm). I think that the firm could do a better job on communication ofmajor decisions and on business results,” comments one insider. Another consultantagrees, saying “Monitor has made strides to improve communications, but it still hasa ways to go in terms of providing sufficient insight into the firm’s direction andapproach.”Hanging with MonitorMost respondents indicated that Monitor doesn’t require a high level of travel. A fewreported that Monitor seems to have a common sense approach to travel: “We don’ttravel just to ‘be at the client’s office,’ but instead travel when it makes sense to doso,” one says. A colleague agrees: “Unlike at McKinsey where you just camp out ina conference room Monday through Thursday, [at] Monitor you work where you canbe most effective, which is sometimes in the home office.”Monitoring diversityMonitor’s consultants give high marks to the firm’s treatment of women, minorities,and gay, lesbian and bisexual employees, though a few lament the lack of women insenior-level roles. “The firm can do more to continue to promote women andencourage them to stay with the firm as their personal lives change with marriage andchildren,” one respondent says. Another consultant reports, “Monitor is quite opento gays, lesbians and bisexuals. I have numerous colleagues who are homosexual –there is no issue with homosexuals at Monitor and I have noticed zerodiscrimination.” Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 101
  • 109. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Monitor Group To pro bono and beyond Monitor’s community involvement gets high marks from its staff. “The firm has invested considerable capital and time in its support of New Profit, a venture philanthropy housed within our Cambridge and New York offices,” one insider reports, adding that Monitor’s pro bono efforts allow greener consultants to gain valuable experience. Consultants say the company’s flexible policy also allows them to spend time on individually selected nonprofit pursuits, such as serving on charitable boards. For more information on top consulting employers and consulting careers, go to the Vault Consulting Career Channel • Detailed 40-page employer profiles on top employers like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Accenture and more • Surveys of employees at hundreds of consulting firms • The only job board on the Web dedicated to consulting jobs – The Vault Consulting Job Board • Case interview guides and one-on-one case interview prep www.vault.com/consulting CAREER102 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 110. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Monitor Group“Monitor has lived up to its meritocratic roots inallowing me to advance as fast as I am able.” — Monitor consultantVisit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at www.vault.com/consulting — withinsider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 103
  • 111. V A U L T Mercer Management 7 PRESTIGE Consulting RANKING 1166 Avenue of the Americas THE STATS 32nd Floor New York, NY 10036 Employer Type: Subsidiary of Marsh Phone: (212) 345-8000 & McLennan Companies Inc. Fax: (212) 345-8075 Chairman: Peter Coster www.mercermc.com President: David Morrison 2003 Employees: 1,000 (due to transfer of some employees to other LOCATIONS Mercer units) New York City (HQ) 2002 Employees: 1,400 22 offices worldwide UPPERS PRACTICE AREAS • Fortune 500 parent company Functional Practices: • Powerful alumni network Business Design Innovation • “Best ideas in the biz” Customer and Brand Strategy Operational Breakthrough DOWNERS Organizational Transformation Portfolio Redesign • “The hours can be tough” • “Lack of brand name” Industry Practices: • “Relatively small critical mass in Aviation/Aerospace certain areas and industries” Communications, Information and Entertainment Manufacturing KEY COMPETITORS Retail/Value Engineering Bain & Company Travel and Transportation Booz Allen Hamilton Utilities Boston Consulting Group McKinsey & Company EMPLOYMENT CONTACT E-mail: recruiting@mercermc.com THE BUZZ WHAT CONSULTANTS AT OTHER FIRMS ARE SAYING • “Strategic, nice people” • “Middle of the road” • “Great place to start a career” • “Unspectacular” CAREER104 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 112. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Mercer Management ConsultingTHE SCOOPA startup earns its stripesMercer Management Consulting, headquartered in NewYork, was formed in 1990 bythe merger of Temple, Barker & Sloane and Strategic Planning Associates.Originally considered a brazen startup in a strategy consulting field dominated by bigguns like Bain and Booz Allen Hamilton, Mercer quickly made a name for itself andexpanded rapidly, adding offices throughout the world and acquiring boutiqueconsulting companies in the U.S., Germany, Mexico and Switzerland. Today, thefirm employs 1,000 professionals in 22 offices worldwide.Mercer Management Consulting is owned by professional services giant Marsh &McLennan, which operates other consulting arms under the aegis of Mercer Inc.,including Mercer Human Resource Consulting, Mercer Investment Consulting,Mercer Oliver Wyman, Mercer Delta Organizational Consulting, NERA EconomicConsulting; and Lippincott Mercer. Together, these subsidiaries posted $2.7 billionin revenues in 2003. Mercer Management Consulting covers the waterfront in termsof the industries it serves, which include aerospace, computing, entertainment,media, pharmaceuticals, transportation, utilities and a host of others. Mercer saysthat since its compensation arrangements can involve equity, success fees andintellectual capital licensing, it provides consultants with the chance to work with abroader client set, including mid-sized and start-up companies, private equity fundsand venture capital firms.Brain powerMercer organizes its consulting services around five categories: business design,customer brand strategy, operational strategy, organizational transformation andportfolio redesign. It draws on a substantial reserve of intellectual capital, and haspublished a number of influential business books, including The Profit Zone, ValueMigration and Profit Patterns. Strategy guru and Mercer managing director AdrianSlywotzky, named one of the most influential people in business management byIndustry Week, hit it big in March 2002 with his book The Art of Profitability. Thebook uses a fictional master of management, David Zhao, to walk readers through 23lessons on improving profitability without breaking relationships.Slywotzky’s next magnum opus, published in 2003 with fellow Mercerite RichardWise, was a product of the more modest recession-tinged environment. How to Grow Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 105
  • 113. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Mercer Management Consulting When Markets Don’t counsels businesses on how to “break through the growth wall” using an approach called “demand innovation,” focusing on customer needs in the spaces surrounding a product. Mercer also publishes the Mercer Management Journal, featuring articles written by Mercer consultants on a variety of management topics. In addition, the firm publishes a range of industry-specific and general studies, which are helpfully compiled and organized on its web site each quarter. In November 2003, the firm took a look at communications companies, publishing a study arguing that there is a pent-up demand for next-generation services like broadband and wireless among consumers. In August 2003, the firm tackled the pharmaceutical industry in an executive briefing questioning the industry’s “one-model-fits-all blockbuster business design.” And in April 2003, a Mercer study looked at senior executives’ business strategies in a challenging economy, finding that execs continued to focus more on top-line growth than retrenchment. Managing the downturn Mercer’s exposure to the high-tech and international markets left it vulnerable to the dot-com meltdown. As a result, Marsh & McLennan reported that its 2001 management consulting revenue was down 21 percent from the previous year, and in November 2001, Mercer closed its Geneva and Washington offices, displacing 77 employees. Recruiting and hiring of interns also tapered off during that troubled period, though the firm’s internship program is back on track since 2002. Mercer has made some other moves that indicate its participation in the overall financial recovery. In June 2003, it united its brand capabilities with those of branding and identity firm Lippincott & Margulies to form a new organization called Lippincott Mercer. Lippincott, in business since 1945, pioneered the corporate and brand identity field, helping to establish some of the world’s most recognized brands, like American Express and Coca-Cola. A number of Mercer Management Consulting pros joined Lippincott. Mercer is headed by David J. Morrison, a former vice chairman of the firm, who succeeded James W. Down in November 2002 as president of worldwide operations. Morrison co-founded Corporate Decisions Inc., a Boston-based strategy firm that was acquired by Mercer in 1997. He has written three critically acclaimed books on management, The Profit Zone, Profit Patterns, and How Digital Is Your Business?, with Mercer colleague Adrian Slywotzky. CAREER106 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 114. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Mercer Management ConsultingIn February 2004, Mercer hired former Motorola strategy VP Arun Inam as amanaging director in its communications, information, and entertainment consultingpractice. In June 2003, Ambrosio Arizu stepped down as head of the firm’s Spainand Portugal operations. Jordi Dunach, a former Mercerite who rejoined the firmafter a period at DiamondCluster, replaced Arizu.In November 2003, Mercer and British Energy International Consulting completed aplan to transform the Ukraine’s largest energy producer into a joint-stock company.Other past Mercer clients include Hawaiian Airlines and Sinotrans, a large China-based shipping company.School daysFor consultants interested in hitting the books again during or after their careers atMercer, the firm offers a wealth of support. In fact, says Mercer, nine out of 10 of itsconsultants are accepted into a top business school program. Mercer’s supportthrough the MBA program application progress includes office visits by top schooladmissions officers; information sessions; advice on GMAT preparation,recommendation gathering and other steps; a digital library containing informationon the top schools; and a network of Mercer alumni to talk to.Analysts, consultants, and associates who decide to go to business school and haveoffers to return to Mercer may qualify for a sponsorship, including tuition assistance,a book stipend, a possible living stipend, and use of a Mercer laptop and voice mailwhile at school. But those Mercer-ites who don’t decide to go the MBA route stillcan make out pretty well – Mercer doesn’t require an MBA for promotion to associateor partner – and says that many of its partners started as analysts (without advanceddegrees).And other Mercerites have gone on to pursue successful careers in completelydifferent fields. The firm reports its alumni have entered medical school at Duke,foreign policy and law programs at Harvard, Oxford’s doctoral program, Wharton’sPhD marketing program and other ivy-covered halls. Mercer alumni can be found inthe upper ranks of top companies like GE, Cisco, American Express, Bertelsmann,Citibank, AOL, MTV Europe and Capital One, while others have gone the venturecapital or Internet startup routes. Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 107
  • 115. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Mercer Management Consulting Climbing the ladder Analysts, the first step on the Mercer ladder, carry out essential research and data collection, conduct complex quantitative, strategic, and financial business analyses, and work directly with client teams on client sites. On the next rung, consultants at Mercer are typically promoted from the analyst position, though graduates with relevant work experience or advanced degrees may qualify. Mercer consultants need to demonstrate superior analytics, modeling skills and research capabilities, since they’re responsible for their own work planning, advanced analyses and more. Associates have MBAs when they join Mercer. They’re responsible for research, analysis and packaging their findings, and will eventually manage and develop other case team members. Senior associates, the next step, are typically promoted from associate – they take on even more leadership roles; of course, this is a significant step on the way to becoming a partner. Interns at Mercer participate in the firm’s summer associate program, occurring worldwide, June through August, in which they join project teams. The firm offers an internship at the analyst level in Europe. Mercer interns are supported by training, an advisor system, a buddy system, formal and informal feedback, and plenty of socializing. Best in front Mercer’s non-partner staffers are part of a generalist pool. The firm says it employs a “best in front” staffing philosophy, versus office- or practice-based staffing, to give clients the best resources for the job and consultants exposure to a range of cases. Usually, non-partner Mercerites work one case at a time, but some may be staffed on two. Mercer believes in giving its people roles that require them to test the limits of their abilities (“stretch roles”) and provides extensive feedback (including a 360- degree review system) and training (including online resources). Mercer also provides opportunities for international casework as well as a flexible office transfer policy and a formal ambassador program, which allows consultants to spend up to two years in an office outside their home country. Mercerites may also take on externships and nonprofit fellowships or receive new venture support or tuition reimbursement from the company. But work-life is important at the firm, which is why Mercer developed the 10/11 Month Year, a program that allows consultants to take one or two months off each year (without pay) to pursue projects outside the firm. Mercer also tries to follow a CAREER108 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 116. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Mercer Management Consulting“Fridays in the office” plan, and offers flexible part-time and leave of absencepolicies. Mercer says nearly 25 percent of its consulting staff participated in the10/11 month work year, nonprofit fellowships, or externships in 2003.Diversity rulesWomen make up 30 percent of the firm’s non-partner and 14 percent of its partnerstaff. It offers U.S. consultants free advice and referrals for local child care,education, adoption and elder care, and a “Women Consultants at Mercer” initiative,which addresses career management, life-work balance, mentoring, and networkingfor women. In addition to having a gay/lesbian community, the firm offers domesticpartner benefits coverage, as well as coverage for the dependent children of domesticpartners in the U.S. Named among the top diversity employers in a 2003 Universumsurvey, Mercer participates in and sponsors a variety of programs geared towardminority support and recruitment, including sponsoring the National Black MBAAssociation at local, regional, and national levels and working with other campusdiversity organizations, such as the Whitney M. Young conference at Wharton.GETTING HIREDClick and learnMercer’s career section on its web site is comprehensive, offering online applicationforms plus detailed information on positions and the interview process, a consultingglossary, and even examples of possible case interview topics (including strategy,market sizing and brain teaser exercises). The firm recruits on campus at more than50 universities per year worldwide; its web site links to dedicated school pages forcampus-specific information.As for school recruiting, insiders tell us that Mercer picks from among the best –Dartmouth, Duke, Harvard, Northwestern, Penn, Princeton, Stanford and Yale werenamed as undergrad choices, while MBAs often come from Kellogg, Stanford, Tuckand Wharton. “We recruit only at a handful of schools for both undergraduate andgraduate, and pick from the best people available,” an insider reports.Sources say Mercer usually gives six interviews over three sessions, with about halfof these being case-oriented. One source says that “The majority of case interviewsare customized based on an individual’s actual project experience.” Past case Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 109
  • 117. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Mercer Management Consulting interviews have asked interviewees to “analyze a go-to-market decision for a particular product in the precision lens industry,” and analyze the prospects for a “NFL football franchise in Canada” or ponder the ins and outs of “starting a bar in New York City.” OUR SURVEY SAYS Social butterflies Mercer consultants describe the culture at their firm as “one of its great selling points.” “People work hard but they also really enjoy working with the other people in the firm,” an insider reports. Consultants describe the culture as “non- hierarchical” and “very collegial with few egos”; its “bright and down-to-earth” people share a “wonderful sense of irreverence.” “It has a small-firm, close-knit feel” despite being part of a mammoth company, a source says. Mercer keeps its employees’ social lives hopping, too, a consultant says: “The company also does a great job with social events, whether informal (e.g., foosball, Friday drinks) or formal (e.g., holiday party, new hire party, business school send-off party, summer picnic, etc.).” As for the workload, there’s no question Mercerites work hard, though they don’t seem too worked up about it. “It’s not always easy, but comparing notes with friends at other consulting firms, [it] seems in line with their experiences,” a source notes. “In general, about 50 percent of projects require some level of weekend work, though that doesn’t mean working every day, every weekend.” Adds a colleague, “I rarely work a full weekend (periodically I’ll put in a few hours) and have been able to basically manage my own schedule around personal preferences and events to a large extent.” Get a life Programs like the 10/11 Month Year are widely applauded as evidence Mercer really does take work-life balance seriously. Says a working mom, “At Mercer you are encouraged to identify the two to three priorities you have outside work (ranging from sleep and workouts to being home for dinner with my son), and communicate those priorities to your case team, so your schedule can be accommodated whenever possible.” “The firm generally demonstrates flexibility in any given week for CAREER110 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 118. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Mercer Management Consultingpersonal situations and over time, staffing on local projects after being on out of townprojects, as necessary,” says a colleague.Travel and hours vary among Mercer staffers. “Travel is mixed and projectdetermined. Generally it is either heavy travel – four days a week – or very light …Mercer is good at monitoring travel levels and staffing so that no one is travelingsignificantly over multiple projects,” says one consultant. Another says that “mostMercer projects are not four days at the client”; and the firm’s Fridays-at-home policygenerally seems to be followed. But one Mercerite grumbles, “I’m gone all week andthen too tired on the weekends to take care of errands, let alone do anything fun.”Time on the beach averages around three weeks annually for the Mercer staffers wesurveyed. Hours, which can range from 50 to more than 70 per week, are still “verymanageable assuming you are comfortable with the demanding pace and lifestyle ofmanagement consulting,” says an insider.Healthy stock portfoliosFor their efforts, Mercerites are rewarded with a 401(k) and a stock purchase planthat “provides a minimum of 15 percent ROI, and in many years has provided over50 percent return,” according to one staffer. Another reports that “salaries are all thesame – no range – stifles the water cooler talk, which is great.” “Mercer also payssecond year MBA tuition as part of the signing package even if you were notpreviously employed at Mercer,” an insider says.Other perks of life at Mercer include “professional sports tickets, airline clubmembership, and a multitude of waived fees at cultural events around New Yorkthrough the parent company,” one insider reports. The 10/11 month program is alsoadored, as it “allows time for extended travel, business school applications, oranything else that does not fit nicely into a normal vacation allowance.” Others cite“paternity leave” and cell phone service among their perks. In New York City, theoffice “regularly holds social events, including cultural outings, sports teams, and in-office movie nights. The office also has a rotating artist program, where a set of wallsin the office are dedicated to a local artist who also provides a presentation to theoffice,” a consultant reports. The office itself isn’t too shabby, either, says acolleague – even “junior consulting staff have prime window views of the New Yorkskyline.” Boston’s Hancock Tower offices earn raves, too. Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 111
  • 119. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Mercer Management Consulting Meritocracy, thy name is Mercer “Meritocratic” is an oft-used phrase among staffers describing Mercer’s advancement and promotion policies. The firm is big on feedback and reviews, with “two exhaustive ‘career reviews’ each year, with a real focus on how to further develop individuals,” says an insider, adding, “promoting up rising stars (without need for b-school) is a major part of their retention strategy.” And promotion doesn’t follow a formal timeline, sources say, noting the firm “does not have the year-step- promotion that many other firms do, which is appealing to the strongest performers.” Another agrees that “promotion is merit-based – there is an accepted standard or ‘bar’ for each position, and when an individual demonstrates they can perform consistently at that level, they are promoted. No up-or-out policy.” “Typically, new consultants can be up for a promotion at 18-24 months of experience,” a colleague says. The meritocratic, nonhierarchical groove extends to relationships between junior and senior staffers, too, it seems: “Partners are extremely approachable and actually proactively make efforts to be inclusive of the broader team in conversations, meetings, casual interaction. They are also very focused on developing the junior staff on their teams,” an insider reports. Another agrees, “We work as a team (with little hierarchy) and serve CEOs and direct reports.” Mercerites enjoy a mix of official and unofficial training. “Mercer provides a great deal of responsibility to its employees on projects, which serves as the best training,” an insider says. But consultants aren’t left to fend for themselves: “the partner group works hard to provide mentoring and guidance to ensure that employees remain constructively challenged but do not struggle.” The firm’s official training is called “top-notch.” A Boston consultant says that “Each quarter all staff attend a day of training in the office. As you get promoted, even more formal training is required.” But a New Yorker counters that there has been minimal formal training during the past two years. A girls’ club The firm’s work-life balance policies have helped in its retention of women, insiders say. “The firm actively works to recruit women, with a majority of the (professional) N.Y. office staff currently represented by women,” a source says. “There is an active women’s group that meets frequently and a number of women partners.” A colleague reports, “Five years ago we started a ‘women’s group’ club in our office to address women’s issues in consulting. Today the men say that the women are the majority in CAREER112 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 120. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Mercer Management Consultingthe office (true) and the men need their own club.” Even so, the lifestyle remainschallenging, so the firm is still “struggling with recruiting and retaining women,”says another. The firm is receptive to minority hires, as well, while “gays, lesbians,and bisexuals are treated just like everyone else,” insiders report.Charity begins at homeMercer consultants are a community-minded lot, and many staffers take advantage ofthe firm’s nonprofit fellowships, allowing consultants to work at nonprofits for lesssalary. “The firm supports community involvement in a number of ways. First, thefirm will match contributions made to qualifying organizations. Second, the firmwill donate money to organizations where employees volunteer time. And third, thefirm and office fully supports consultants who want to engage in probono work andcharitable initiatives,” says a staffer. New York’s “community involvement team”“sponsors regular activities around the city and in the office, which have recentlyincluded NY Cares, tutoring, Valentine’s day cards for senior citizens, a Halloweenparty for underprivileged children and a Christmas toy delivery to a low-incomehousing project,” a Gothamite reports. In Boston, the firm “does volunteering at soupkitchens, etc. You’re expected to participate.” For more information on top consulting employers and consulting careers, go to the Vault Consulting Career Channel • Detailed 40-page employer profiles on top employers like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Accenture and more • Surveys of employees at hundreds of consulting firms • The only job board on the Web dedicated to consulting jobs – The Vault Consulting Job Board • Case interview guides and one-on-one case interview prep www.vault.com/consulting Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 113
  • 121. V A U L T 8 PRESTIGE Deloitte. RANKING 1633 Broadway, 35th Floor THE STATS New York, NY 10019 Phone: (212) 492-4500 Employer Type: Unit of Deloitte Fax: (212) 492-4743 Touche Tohmatsu www.deloitte.com CEO: Paul Robinson 2003 Employees: 17,415 (U.S.), 37,790 (worldwide) LOCATIONS 2003 Revenue: $3.35 billion (U.S.), New York, NY (HQ) $6.1 billion (worldwide) Offices in more than 40 countries UPPERS PRACTICE AREAS • Wonderful diversity programs Industries • Generous vacation time Consumer Business Energy DOWNERS Financial Services Healthcare • Stress of integration with Deloitte Manufacturing (accounting) Public Sector • Uneven work schedules Real Estate Technology, Media & KEY COMPETITORS Telecommunications Transportation Accenture Services Bain & Company Enterprise Applications Booz Allen Hamilton Finance Capgemini Human Capital IBM BCS Outsourcing Risk Management EMPLOYMENT CONTACT Strategy & Operations Technology www.deloitte.com/careers THE BUZZ WHAT CONSULTANTS AT OTHER FIRMS ARE SAYING • “Bona fide competitor” • “Accounting + consulting = problem” • “Lost their touche” • “Better quality of life” CAREER114 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 122. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Deloitte.THE SCOOPSeparation anxietyDeloitte’s consultants took a bumpy ride in 2003. In the post-Enron, post-Andersenera, Deloitte Touche Tomatsu made the seemingly prudent decision to separate itsconsulting practice from its accounting practice. Such a separation – undertaken byindustry peers such as those at Ernst & Young and KPMG – theoretically dispels thepossibility that a firm’s auditors might have an interest in boosting profits (aconsultant’s job), or that consultants might offer advice affecting accountingprocedures (also a no-no).In 2002, Deloitte announced plans to spin off its consulting wing under the nameBraxton, a process involving an extensive re-branding campaign. But the campaignnever came to pass. In March 2003, Deloitte revealed that it was scrapping the spin-off idea, citing the weak economy. The CEO of what was at the time DeloitteConsutling, Doug McCracken, resigned following the announcement. His positionwas filled by Paul Robinson, a 20-year veteran of the firm who formerly served asGlobal Leader of Deloitte Consulting’s Public Sector Practice.Re-branding, revisitedIn October 2003, the company reported that Deloitte Consulting and Deloitte ToucheTohmatsu would combine their operations into one business to be known simply asDeloitte, in order to reflect the “multidisciplinary” nature of the firm. Thus, the firmsknown in various national and global markets as Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Deloitte& Touche, and Deloitte Consulting, while retaining their local legal names, are nowsimply known as the brand “Deloitte.”The current structure puts Deloitte in an unusual position relative to its competitors– it’s the last of the so-called “Big Four” firms that maintains both an accounting anda consulting practice. Though Deloitte’s consulting practice serves a number of high-profile clients (it has served nearly one-third of the Fortune 500), some warycorporations, fearing harsh scrutiny under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, jumpedship when it became clear the break wasn’t going to take place. These includeGeneral Motors and auto retailer AutoNation, according to a July 2003 report inAccountancy Age. But Deloitte Consulting said its plan was to attract clients thatdon’t have business relationships with the auditing wing of its parent company. “Weaudit 25 percent of U.S. public companies, so the focus of Deloitte Consulting will Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 115
  • 123. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Deloitte. be on the other 75 percent. We feel pretty confident that we’ll be able to maintain independence between the two,” spokesperson Deb Harrington told Investor’s Business Daily in April 2003. An expanding presence Deloitte’s consulting practice boasts more than 37,000 employees in more than 40 countries. Areas of expertise include strategy, human capital, enterprise applications, outsourcing and technology integration, with clients in industries ranging from energy, to health care, to technology/media/telecom. Clients include heavy hitters such as Kaiser Permanente, Hewlett-Packard and Philip Morris. Two of its consultants, Stephen Pratt and Carl Steidtmann, were selected as Consulting Magazine’s most influential consultants for 2003. The firm consistently appears on Fortune magazine’s list of “100 Best Companies to Work for in America” (under the Deloitte & Touche name). In June 2004, reports indicated that the company planned to double its staff presence in India, to 2,000, mostly to support its outsourcing business. No bull The firm generated a lot of buzz in July 2003 with its introduction of software designed to strip clunky jargon from business communications. The “Bullfighter” application, designed (in Deloitte’s irony-laced words) to eradicate an epidemic of “repurposeable, value added knowledge capital and robust, leveragable mindshare,” works like Microsoft’s spell-check tool, suggesting replacements for clunky words and phrases. “If Corporate America wants to restore public trust, we need to start speaking and writing more clearly,” said Deloitte partner Brian Fugere. Hitting the books Deloitte’s consulting arm also offers plenty of research, in the form of surveys, reports and forecasts (often in conjunction with a university). Areas of interest include business, global strategy, economics, management techniques and public policy. Deloitte consultants have published influential books such as 2003’s The Innovator’s Solution, by Clayton M. Christensen and Michael E. Raynor. In 2003, the firm published a survey of CEOs regarding financial disclosure regulations and a study of U.S. global manufacturing operations, among other reports. Deloitte’s services also include “Citizen Advantage,” which helps local and federal governments deploy online solutions, such as a business compliance web site for the CAREER116 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 124. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Deloitte.U.S. Small Business Association, and a one-stop building construction approvalprocess for the state of Oregon.Archspinoff?Todd Lavieri, former head of Deloitte’s global manufacturing consulting practicearea, broke off from the firm in late 2003 after Deloitte declined to sell or spin off itsconsulting practice. He and other Deloitte consulting executives, with the assistanceof Lake Capital (a private equity firm that also funded Huron Consulting), foundedArchstone Consulting, based in Stanford, Conn. Archstone plans to expand to 100consultants over the next year by offering lower-priced strategy consulting services.Expansion in ChinaLike many other companies, consulting or not, Deloitte is seeking to expand inmainland China. Deloitte is tussling for business in the booming Chinese economywith fellow Big Four firms and with the U.S.-China Business Council, a purveyor ofconsulting services. One engagement accomplished by Deloitte in China involvedassessing the market for personal organizers for an American company that wishedto make and sell them in China. Deloitte consultants investigated Chinese trade fairsand discovered that the organizers were already manufactured and sold in thecountry. The American company, thanks to Deloitte, declined to enter the Chinesemarket.Bad gradesAt the request of the city of Atlanta, Deloitte’s consulting practice investigated theAtlanta public school system, publishing a 206-page report in 2004. The report wascritical of the Atlanta schools. Deloitte found that there was no relationship betweensmall class size and student performance in Atlanta – or between more expensiveteachers and higher performance. Deloitte also found that Atlanta employed 137people in its curriculum department as opposed to Washington, D.C., whichemployed 19 but had similar student results.Service and equalityDeloitte offers its employees the chance to make a difference outside of theconsulting arena. IMPACT, Deloitte’s global corporate citizenship initiative, fostersvolunteer efforts in local communities. On Global IMPACT Day in June 2003, more Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 117
  • 125. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Deloitte. than 15,000 employees in more than 70 cities worldwide dedicated time to community service. Diversity isn’t just a buzzword, either. Deloitte sponsors “affinity groups” dedicated to the topic, including separate groups for African-American, Hispanic, South Asian and gay, lesbian or bisexual employees. Under a formal program known as the Women’s Initiative, Deloitte offers networking events, career advice and mentoring. The initiative also calls attention to issues of concern to women such as breast cancer. For 10 years in a row and counting, Working Mother magazine has put Deloitte & Touche on its list of best companies for working moms. GETTING HIRED What to expect Deloitte’s consulting openings are listed along with the rest of the firm’s positions on the company’s web site. The site offers some information on consulting careers, but most of the career information provided relates to Deloitte as a whole. Though an insider reports that hiring “is becoming much more standardized across the firm,” others say “the process can be sloppy depending on the recruiter you are dealing with.” Recruiting approaches One source reports that Deloitte takes “two different approaches” with regard to recruiting. First, it recruits nationally at the top schools. When these coveted candidates are given a job offer, they may request which office they want to work out of, although the firm ultimately decides office assignments based on need. Once the firm has filled several slots with top-tier students, each local Deloitte office “then goes to fill gaps based on local schools. So Chicago will look at Notre Dame, University of Chicago and Northwestern.” However, one employee notes that “while Deloitte used to do a significant amount of on-campus recruiting, it has scaled down.” “Depending on the level you are coming in at you might have three to 12 interviews,” a consultant says. “The format has changed for b-schools recently,” says a colleague. “Now they often have two-on-one interviews; one resume scan and one case.” “I went through three rounds of in-person interviews … eight hours of meetings with CAREER118 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 126. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Deloitte.partners, senior managers, hiring managers and potential co-workers. Questionsreviewed my resume, my background, situations where I was challenged and how Iworked through it, leadership, mentoring, pressure and more,” says one successfulcandidate. Another source says interviewers pay close attention to candidates’resumes to “see how they performed, and what does this mean. They’re involved in20 organizations – is that good? Probably, if they’re active in 20, they’re not good inany.” A consultant hired at a more senior level praises, “The interview questionswere clever in that it was designed to get at my skills sets and not necessarily myknowledge.”Cracking the caseOthers report case studies in interviews, particularly for senior-level consultants. Atypical case might deal with a “fairly difficult client we’ve had,” such as one goingthrough an acquisition or financial difficulty, and asking the candidate “to analyzewhat could be the problem with this company, and what could be the way to addressthat issue.” Deloitte will have available “all the financials, and competitiveinformation – a ton of stuff,” but the candidates must ask for this specificinformation. “Your first question should be, why is this company coming undercompetitive pressure?” says an insider.Analysts typically face similar cases, but with more hand-holding. “We’ll tell you,they’re facing a problem because the product is commoditized. Say they’re sellingbars of soap. So we’ll ask, ‘Who do you think the competition is for bars of soap?’We’ll say, ‘Here are the major soap providers. Among these, which are the mostcompetitive?’” In sum, “we’ll talk you through it more.”To evaluate candidates’ performance on case interviews – which never involvebrainteasers – interviewers look at “creativity, at their approach to the problem, athow structured they are in understanding how to get the data, how to place that datain some meaningful framework, and what the conclusions are that the person derivesfrom that analysis,” an insider reports. Aside from case study performance, “fit isreally important – you have to do well on the case, but connecting with the folks hereis too,” says one consultant. Another consultant agrees that candidates must “fit withthe culture. The partners, especially, get really excited about the culture we used tohave and we’re trying to get back to – do you fit in, can you deal with clients, are youlaid back, can you speak your mind but in an eloquent way?” Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 119
  • 127. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Deloitte. OUR SURVEY SAYS Clockers It’s understandable that Deloitte consultants would need to blow off steam, given how hard they work – one insider says to expect a “very heavy workload (in terms of hours),” while another opines that “the hours are either extraordinarily low or catastrophically high.” “On the client site,” says a source, “you typically work 12 hours.” But we hear consultants “very rarely work weekends.” “If you have a dentist appointment or your wife has surgery, the firm is very flexible about those kinds of things. With regard to religious holidays, you tell [supervisors] ahead of time and you’re fine,” a source says. “As the recent years have been a consulting buyers’ market, clients are able to make demands that will limit the ability to really have significant work-life balance,” a weary consultant says. A colleague adds that “Hours vary significantly by project, but typically start at 8 or 9 [a.m.] and go through 8 or 9 [p.m.].” Hours also may vary by division – one source notes that “working as a strategy consultant in the financial services industry [practice] is probably the toughest thing you can do at Deloitte. The hours are grueling and the dues are very high.” But one thing insiders appreciate about Deloitte is the “wide variety of opportunities” regarding work engagements. Though “most of the revenue is driven by tech work,” “we’re trying to say we can bring both sides to the table with operational expertise.” Says one source, “In some firms, you’re tied from the beginning to a practice. Here, people will make an effort to switch you into a practice you’re no longer bored with.” Put on your traveling shoes Though most Deloitte consultants are satisfied with work-life balance, the “constant travel” takes a toll on some. Insiders report that travel “completely varies” from staying entirely in the office to traveling “80 to 100 percent of the week when on an out-of-town client.” While the “formal policy is four days a week out of town, that formal policy is sometimes not followed,” a source says. “On average,” sums up one source, “you’re out of the office 50 percent of the time.” However, another reports traveling “80 to 90 percent of the time. That’s pretty taxing. On the upside, you leave Monday morning and come back Thursday night, so it’s four nights at home, three nights away. You still see kids and family, which is good.” Traveling, notes one consultant, also “depends on what office you’re in. From the New York office there’s less travel, because a lot of the focus is on financial services.” CAREER120 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 128. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Deloitte.Pay to playHigh dues, it seems, are the price one has to pay for advancement at Deloitte. Oneinsider says that the “career track is slowing down” in a challenging businessenvironment for the firm; others complain of “mediocre opportunities foradvancement.” “It’s almost impossible to advance without an MBA,” anotherconsultant says. Utilization is a big factor in performance appraisals, sources suggest– one consultant reports that this is “frustrating” since “you’re always interviewingfor new projects the way most people interview for new jobs.” Insiders suggest thatpromotion schedules have been extended at Deloitte. “The timelines are beingextended to make it not as quick (years between promotion can be two to six years,where it used to be two to three.”According to another source, the firm has a “twice-yearly” review structure that“works very well” and “is recognized as one of the best review processes.” At thesemeetings with “a counselor who works with you to make sure your goals arerealistic” – a “partner or senior manager that you get to choose” – you set goals suchas management responsibility or new industries you want to work with. Thesecounselors also “collect feedback from internal projects and external projects to makesure you’ve made progress along those lines. You’re rated on a scale of 1-2-3 –exceeds expectations, meets expectations, below expectations. Based on that and onhow well you’ve progressed, you get insightful comments.” Also, consultants aregiven a coach, who is “typically one level above you and is more of an informalstrategizing source.”In the wake of BraxtonDeloitte is having a tough time shaking the legacy of its failed Braxton plan, insiderssuggest, with most agreeing that the “workplace environment has changed drasticallyover the last three years.” Says one consultant, “The culture has diminished over thepast several years as the winds were swept from the Braxton sails; however, I stillbelieve that it is one of the best consulting companies to work for in terms of culture.”Others are less optimistic, calling the culture “fairly cutthroat.” One world-wearyinsider warns that the firm “is not quite as ‘friendly’ and collegial as you might hopeor think. There are quite a few very bright, hardworking people and [it] can be a goodplace to work, but don’t let yourself to fall into buying everything that is being sold.”Another consultant speculates that “the reintegration of Deloitte Consulting coupledwith the constraints of Sarbanes makes its current business model a risky one.” Otherchanges at the firm, according to a consultant, include a “movement towardbecoming more of an IT shop,” adding that “the movement away from management, Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 121
  • 129. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Deloitte. for those of us who are MBAs from top schools and like to be intellectually [engaged]” is tough. The firm says that “plans to become considered more of a management strategy consultancy are high on leadership’s list of priorities.” Others are more positive about the changes. One consultant says that “morale depends which area of the practice you’re involved with. I can’t say people are as excited as they were before [the abandonment of Braxton] announcement, but people are moving forward, and clients are still with the firm.” Indeed, this source says that the firm may have “dodged the bullet by not [becoming Braxton].” And several insiders observe a “very collegial” corporate culture overall – it “can be too much so, depending on what you like,” says one insider. “Going to happy hour with colleagues is expected. Jokes, laughter prevail.” “It’s fun-loving, jokey, not your typical button- down stiff kind of culture,” says another source. The people are widely described as bright and relaxed. “Compared to other firms there’s still generally a spirit of collegiality,” says a consultant. “I’ve worked with guys from other firms, and they’re not as warm and loving.” The management matrix Aside from this “formal counseling system,” Deloitte is described as a “matrix organization, so you don’t have a boss per se – it depends on the project.” Indeed, “there’s nobody that I directly report to,” reports one consultant. “Everybody is on a first name basis” with higher-ups, says one source. “I can pick up the phone and call a partner, or go out and have a drink – there’s not a whole lot of hierarchy.” It seems that partners give underlings a great deal of autonomy. “Partners are always like, take a stab at it and bring it to me and let’s talk about it,” says one source. “Management is pretty hands-off unless they have to get involved – you’re incapable or you need help.” “It’s better to ask forgiveness, not permission” is an oft repeated rule of thumb. As for training, most sources agree that it’s unofficial and on-the-job – which at least one insider appreciates, “because it is usually knowledge in motion versus what you can find a book.” There is reportedly an “introductory training period for three days to a week, for every level, depending on the level; the amount of ongoing training varies significantly.” The introductory period (for campus recruits) includes “one week offsite, typically in Arizona or Florida, and that’s the intro to whatever it is you’re joining, like senior consultant life or analyst life. And it covers a lot of professional skills like leading a meeting.” CAREER122 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 130. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Deloitte.Bonus huntThere’s a bit of grumbling around salary due to the fact that “bonuses have not beenseen for several years, and [are] questionable in the near term.” An insider reportsthat “there are rarely raises from year to year,” and others report pay cuts in recentyears. Salaries are described as are “competitive, but not anything stellar.” Vacationallotments are fairly generous, however, with four weeks being average – the policyis actually called PTO (for “Personal Time Off” and rolls both vacation and sick daysinto a “use or lose” package); the company also provides a 401(k) match, accidentaldeath/dismemberment, long-term disability insurance, tuition reimbursement, anemployee assistance program, an employee-referral bonus, profit sharing, laptops,cell phones, tuition reimbursement, free snacks, gym membership discounts, apaternity leave policy and sports/theater tickets. Deloitte employees also participateeach year in Impact Day, a community-service oriented event with participation fromall the firm’s offices worldwide. As far as raises go, one consultant opines that “Thesalary review process is almost completely controlled by the group leader (partner)The review process is supposed to impact this but the reality is that the reviewprocess is for HR documentation.”Diverse DeloitteLike many of its big-league peers, Deloitte preaches diversity and gender equity –whether it lives up to these goals depends on your perspective. While some sourcesagree that “there’s tons of diversity,” others note “few minority practitioners, almostno partners.” Another consultant disagrees, saying Washington, D.C. “is one of thebest firms for diversity.” Women are well-represented, according to one insider, whonotes that the “firm is about 50/50 male/female, [and] partnership is probably 70/30male.” A source reports that thanks to the Women’s Initiative, “there are a fairamount of women partners and colleagues – overall, it seems like half and half.” Thefirm has a number of “affinity groups” including groups for Hispanics, AfricanAmericans, Asians, gay and lesbian, and working parents active both regionally andnationally. Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 123
  • 131. V A U L T 9 PRESTIGE Mercer Oliver Wyman RANKING 99 Park Avenue THE STATS Fifth Floor New York, NY 10016 Employer Type: Subsidiary of Marsh Phone: (212) 541-8100 & McLennan Fax: (212) 541-8957 President: John P. Drzik www.merceroliverwyman.com 2003 Employees: 680 2002 Employees: 425 LOCATIONS UPPERS New York, NY (HQ) 25 other offices worldwide • “Incredibly rapid responsibility” • Opportunities for international travel PRACTICE AREAS Actuarial DOWNERS Capital Markets Corporate Banking • “Beach time is unrewarding” Corporate Strategy • “A lot of risk work” Finance & Risk Insurance EMPLOYMENT CONTACT Retail Banking Please use the online application to apply. For additional questions KEY COMPETITORS please utilize the following: Booz Allen Hamilton U.S. and Asian Recruiting: Boston Consulting Group recruitingna@mow.com McKinsey & Company United Kingdom, France, Benelux, IBM BCS Italy, Iberia and Scandinavian Recruiting: recruitingwe@mow.com Germany, Switzerland and Austrian Recruiting: recruitingce@mow.com THE BUZZ WHAT CONSULTANTS AT OTHER FIRMS ARE SAYING • “Financial services experts” • “Too diversified now” • “Great firm!” • “Will the merger help or hurt?” CAREER124 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 132. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Mercer Oliver WymanTHE SCOOPOliver Wyman joins the Mercer clanIn April 2003, Oliver, Wyman & Company, the top consulting firm dedicated to thefinancial services industry, was acquired by Mercer Management Consulting, asubsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. Subsequently, Oliver Wymanwas combined with the financial services strategy practice (FIRE) of MercerManagement Consulting and the actuarial consulting (RFI) unit of Mercer Inc. Theresult: a financial services consulting powerhouse, addressing a range of strategy andrisk management issues for clients around the globe. A 2002 Kennedy Informationreport suggested that the firm is second in terms of market share behind McKinseyfor financial services strategy consulting.Oliver, Wyman was founded in 1984 by five consultants from Booz Allen Hamilton.The firm grew to more than 400 consulting professionals just prior to the Mercerdeal, which in turn created a total staff of 680 at 26 offices in 13 countries. MercerOliver Wyman’s clients represent 70 percent of the world’s top 100 financialinstitutions. The firm breaks its services down into seven sectors: corporate strategy,capital markets, corporate banking, retail, insurance, finance and risk, and actuarial.With the merger, the firms combined their key strengths – Oliver Wyman’sinvestment banking and capital markets expertise and the Mercer divisions’ strongpresence in insurance, investment management and retail banking.Good day, guten tag, bon jourMercer Oliver Wyman (MOW) has a distinctly European flavor. Of the firm’sstrategy consultants worldwide, 30 percent are from the U.K., 20 percent are fromGermany, 17 percent hail from elsewhere in Western Europe, 23 percent are from theU.S. and 10 percent are from other countries. The firm is headquartered in NewYork, with other major hubs in London and Frankfurt. It is increasingly developinga network of local offices to ensure that the firm stays close to its clients and localstrategy issues. This network includes offices in Paris, Milan, Madrid, Munich,Zurich, Boston, Toronto and the two newest offices in Stockholm (which opened inAugust 2003) and Australia (in May 2004).While the firm has had an office in Singapore since the 1990s, Asia is a key growtharea with plans for offices in China and Korea over the next few years. This planreflects the growing need for specialized financial consulting there. A Mercer Oliver Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 125
  • 133. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Mercer Oliver Wyman Wyman annual report issued in January 2004 gave Asia’s financial services companies top marks for their performance and shareholder returns. Strong financials Parent company Marsh & McClennan appears to be going strong, despite the fact that another of its subsidiaries, Putnam Investments, was caught up in the “market timing” allegations that affected many of its mutual fund counterparts in 2003. At the end of January 2004, Marsh & McClennan reported that its revenues were up 15 percent over the previous year (for a total of $12 billion in revenues for the year), with Mercer’s consulting arms also showing growth for the year. For its part, Oliver, Wyman was managing well before the merger, growing its revenue by 18 percent in 2002 and 20 percent in 2003 as MOW – one of the few management consulting firms to do so during notably rough economic times for the industry Three sisters In an interview with The Journal of Management Consulting in September 2003, John Drzik, leader of MOW, noted that the partnership between Mercer Oliver Wyman and two other Mercer consulting entities, organizational design and change firm Mercer Delta and Mercer’s HR and benefits practice, creates three “sister companies” that maintain their own specialties and cultures while serving the same client space. Drzik explained that, despite an environment of tighter budgets and cutthroat competition in consulting during the time of the merger, “it wasn’t the external economic pressures and client pressure on expenditures that made us get together.” Rather, each firm saw the merger as a way to provide a wider range of offerings in the same client space. “We discovered a tremendous amount of business that we can pursue jointly but not alone,” he added. This business includes engagements in change management and compensation and incentives projects, an area Oliver Wyman would have been unable to pursue on its own, Drzik said. Drzik described Mercer Oliver Wyman’s approach as both “outside-in” and “inside- out.” In the inside-out approach, the firm analyzes a client’s existing performance – “where and how the client is making money now” – and moves forward. With the outside-in approach, the firm assesses market dynamics and trends in order to develop a strategy. While the latter approach is fairly common, Drzik noted, the former – involving a sophisticated level of analysis and risk adjustment – are “a differentiating factor” for the firm. CAREER126 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 134. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Mercer Oliver WymanMaintaining buzzMercer Oliver Wyman has garnered attention since the merger with a variety ofwidely read research. In May and June 2003, financial headlines were abuzz with aMercer Oliver Wyman survey, produced in conjunction with online broadcasterCantos, indicating that “excessive remuneration” was a problem among fundmanagement firms. Other research released by the firm includes an analysis of theBasel II Accord’s effect on global banking, issued in November 2003; a report onconvergence trends between European banks and insurers, published in October2003; and a study produced with the European Mortgage Federation on the financialintegration of European mortgage markets, issued in September 2003.At the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2004, Mercer Oliver Wymanreleased its annual “State of the Financial Services Industry,” which valued theindustry at $6.7 trillion, exceeding its peak in 2001. The firm predicts the sector willtriple in value by 2013. Of course, Mercer Oliver Wyman’s strategy services couldhelp with this growth, a company press release suggested: “Provided that managerscan continue to adapt their business strategies to align with changing value migrationpatterns, we are confident that performance levels in the financial services sector willoutpace the overall economy,” Drzik said.Also in the report, the firm included a poll of the opinions of financial services CEOs.The poll was used to compile the CEO Growth Index SM (CGI), which mapsanticipated 12-month growth in risk-adjusted profit against underlying economicgrowth.Home-grown talentThe old Oliver Wyman was devoted to internal promotion, viewing all new hires aspotential partners. In fact, 36 of Oliver Wyman’s directors (including President JohnDrzik, who went on to head Mercer Oliver Wyman) were home-grown, having joinedthe firm as entry-level graduates from undergrad or graduate programs. Thatphilosophy remains at the core of Mercer Oliver Wyman’s career developmentstrategy. As of 2004, 42 percent of strategy consultants have a BA, 32 percent havean MA, 9 percent have an MBA, 16 percent have a PhD, and 1 percent have anothertype of advanced degree – the company notes these are mostly JDs, though it oncehad a brain surgeon on staff. Seventy percent of Mercer Oliver Wyman strategyconsultants joined the firm directly from academic programs, with Cambridge,Dartmouth, Harvard, ICADE, Imperial College, INSEAD, London School ofEconomics, University Bocconi, MIT, Northwestern, Oxford, Princeton, Technical Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 127
  • 135. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Mercer Oliver Wyman University Karlsruhe, UCLA, University of Muenster, University of Pennsylvania, University of St. Gallen, WHU Koblenz and Yale alumni among the majority. GETTING HIRED Meet the prez On its web site, Mercer Oliver Wyman explains that it hires both “consultants” and “actuarial consultants” as well as support staff. In the U.S., sources say the firm recruits from “mainly Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford and Wharton.” In Europe, schools include “London School of Economics, Oxford, Cambridge, Stockholm School of Economics.” The firm typically holds “two 30-minute interviews (one fit, one case) in the first round, six or so in the second (also about evenly split),” an insider says. Another reports, “I had eight 45-minute interviews spread over two rounds.” Be prepared to meet with anyone: “Interviewers are a mix of directors and consultants (of all levels), so you never know if your case will be with the president of the firm or a 24-year old junior consultant,” a colleague says. From Roman history to tennis matches Cases are described as “thought experiments,” says an insider, “and a lack of specific finance knowledge in them won’t necessarily set you back as long as you don’t freeze – the interviewer will typically help with the content as long as you can structure the framework.” “Some cases were business oriented, others more general,” another source reports. “All were lightly quantitative.” Example cases include: “Imagine you’re a general in the Roman Empire. Make the economic case for or against invading France. How does that change today?”; “If you had a chance to meet with the head of retail banking of Bank XXX, what would you tell him he should do to improve his overall business?”; “Which information would you ask for to review the profitability of a credit card division in a bank?”; “How many matches must be played in a tennis tournament with 16 people?”; and “What is the size of the profit market from ATM machines?” Jumpstart your MOW career Mercer Oliver Wyman offers an extremely selective internship program for rising seniors, putting interns to work as entry-level consultants on actual engagments. The CAREER128 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 136. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Mercer Oliver Wymanfirm receives over 800 applications for 15-20 positions annually. Exceptionalgraduate students are accepted on occasion as well.OUR SURVEY SAYSGo, team!Consultants at Mercer Oliver Wyman rave about the firm’s “friendly, easy-goingpeople,” “collegial, supportive” culture, and “entrepreneurial,” “meritocratic” ethos.“From the outside, you only hear about Bain’s team atmosphere, but I can’t imagineMOW is far behind, or behind at all, in terms of unity,” crows an insider. This unityis fostered by “International and local firm days, off-sites, and director staff dinners,”a source reports. Others love the firm’s “very rational approach to things – you cancome in and out as you like as long as you do whatever you have to. In this firmfocus is really on the output not on the input.” Mercer Oliver Wyman is “Probablythe most transparent and low-hierarchy firm in the business, with minimalbureaucracy,” an insider gushes. In addition to boasting “many intellectually andacademically challenging people,” the firm has “less of an MBA culture,” (thoughMBAs are welcome, too, if they prove themselves), a colleague observes. In short,cheers a loyal consultant, the culture is “unique and successful. If I start a firmmyself I will do it the same way.” As for the recent merger, a source says, “It’s greatto see the merger did not impact us economically or culturally. The firm really paidattention to integration and it worked.”Output, not “face time”You hear a lot from Mercer Oliver Wyman staffers about the focus on “output, notinput.” “The firm is very flexible about where you work and when so long as youget the job done,” an insider reports. “The firm talks about an average 55-hourworking week and really works hard to meet it,” says a consultant. A colleagueagrees, “The company puts a lot of emphasis on leaving its employees enough roomto enjoy their private life. Work hours are fair and weekend work is discouraged.”In New York, consultants “actively take one- to two-week vacations, leave at areasonable time on Thursdays and by 5 p.m. on Fridays.” Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 129
  • 137. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Mercer Oliver Wyman For the jet-set crowd The firm’s “generous” travel policies help ease the work-life burden even for those on the road. “Travel is a basic foundation, but the firm has a policy of bringing us back to the home office on Fridays. Or, if you’re too far from the home office, you can use the travel budget to fly someone to your location or use the money to go elsewhere,” says a consultant. And if you like international travel, you’ll love Mercer Oliver Wyman: “For projects in the U.S. you can always come back Thursday night, and for projects outside the U.S., the places we do work tend to be interesting places to be anyway – London, Singapore, Johannesberg, Rome,” though “anyone who wants to avoid international travel can also usually do so.” Reasonable schedules enforced Hours “vary considerably from week to week and project to project,” says a source, “but overall the mix is good and those who feel they’re working too much can usually get it corrected by the next project, if not during the course of the same one.” Says a consultant is Asia, “We have a policy that a consultant should not work more than 55 hours on average. Actions are taken if a project goes beyond that. Once my job manager noticed me working too hard, and then gave me off every Friday from noon onwards.” “Generally, hours are below 55, but there are the occasional spikes. If hours get excessive, partners can be penalized, sometimes monetarily. The firm is very sensitive to not having its consultants burn out,” another consultant says. A steep trajectory While Mercer Oliver Wyman consultants start at a salary level comparable to their peers, “our consultants’ trajectory is very steep, and directors earn an average of over $1 million a year,” an insider says. This may be thanks to the firm’s generous profit sharing policy: “The wealth the firm generates goes mostly to staff,” says a source. And travel can be rewarding, too: “Per diem rates are very generous, with some cities carrying rates equal to the after-tax base salary of first-year consultants,” a consultant reports. The company also offers a “very generous share purchase scheme, which is pretty much a minimum 20 percent return on investment guaranteed.” Says a happy consultant: “Even in the past three years when the consulting industry was basically tanking, OWC/MOW had solid increases and impressive year-end bonuses. The merger has lowered the bonus pool a bit, but not considerably (and we realize more benefits now).” CAREER130 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 138. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Mercer Oliver WymanDot-com coffeeAmong the firm’s benefits and perks, consultants praise the flexible travel policy,described above, which allows staffers on long trips to travel elsewhere or bringfriends and family to their work location. Insiders also praise the “generous perdiem,” “reimbursement for professional exams,” and the social perks like Fridayhappy hours and small group dinners with directors. In London, consultants enjoysnacks and a foosball table; New Yorkers like the free beer in the kitchen and “dot-com coffee machine” (whatever that is!). Those in the Big Apple enjoy the slick,“very New Economy,” “spartan” offices with “planed cement floors, no cubes – justopen bays.” When in the home office, Londoners enjoy “hot desking,” allowingthem to move around and plug in anywhere they want in the firm’s “funky newoffices.”No artificial boundariesThere’s room for rapid advancement at Mercer Oliver Wyman – if you want it.“Consultants can advance very quickly – a few have made director in as little as fiveyears out of undergrad, and many in six to seven years. You don’t need to be quitethat quick just to keep your job, though,” a source says. “There is a range ofsteepness in the curve. If you go fast, there won’t be many artificial boundaries. Ifyou go more moderately, no need to worry,” a colleague agrees. Since there are “notitles below partner,” a source explains, “every consultant can grow at their ownpace.” While “many young ‘superstars’ advance quickly,” an insider reports, “thefirm is also supportive of strong performers who are not quite superstars but clearlyadd value to our clients and the firm. My impression is that the firm’s first instinctis to support and develop its people rather than try to throw them out the door.”Support and development mostly comes in the form of mentoring – most training ison the job rather than formal, insiders say. “There’s some sort of remedial excel andfinance training for those who need it in the first week, but few really need it,” asource reports. “We have a stronger belief in the master-apprentice model thanmost,” a colleague notes. A consultant agrees, “Training is by the most part informaland on the job. Why waste time in boring training sessions where most people justsleep?” If anything, training is focused on the upper ranks at the firm: “Previouslythere has been very little management training, meaning that supervisors often do nothave the best management skill (they are promoted on their knowledge content).This problem is being addressed by a formal training program now,” says a Britishsource. Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 131
  • 139. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Mercer Oliver Wyman First-name management Management at Mercer Oliver Wyman is described as “completely accessible.” A consultant says that “most directors know the consulting staff on a first-name basis and vice versa,” adding, “I was particularly impressed by the director participation in recruiting activities. The president of our firm confided that he was disappointed that he had to miss the first round interviews at one of our target schools (his conflicting commitment was a presentation he had to give at the World Economic Forum in Davos!).” A colleague reports, “I feel like my project managers trust me. I am given a lot of responsibility (lead in meetings after a year, client meetings on my own with senior management, etc.).” In general, the numbers of women at the firm reflect those in other finance-related companies – that is, low, sources say, though “women who are interested in the field find the firm receptive,” a source says. “This is a very quantitative firm that hires mainly from quantitative academic disciplines; these are attributes that do not always appeal to women,” another consultant opines. However, a quantitatively-minded female staffer notes that “I have never felt that gender was an issue within my project teams.” Still, there are “only three female consulting directors out of 100,” an insider observes. As for minorities, while “the pool is small,” many cultures are reflected at the firm, “from Indian to Chinese to Arab.” The team in London, at least, is “not limited to the usual Oxbridge guys.” And sexual orientation is seen as “a private issue. No one cares about other people’s sexual preferences. Indeed, we have directors, consultants and support staff” who are gay, says a source. Time to help With their reasonable work-life balance, “the staff is well equipped with time and money to pursue community activities,” says a source, who adds, “this may change as we grow.” But most of this goodwill is self-motivated. Though “we do clothing and food drives around the holidays” as well as tutoring and other projects, “the firm takes the view that charities are a personal issue and should not be forced upon individuals,” an insider reports. CAREER132 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 140. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Mercer Oliver Wyman “The merger has lowered the bonus pool a bit, but not considerably.”— Mercer Oliver Wyman consultantVisit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at www.vault.com/consulting — withinsider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 133
  • 141. V A U L T Mercer Human 10 PRESTIGE Resource Consulting RANKING 1166 Avenue of the Americas THE STATS New York, NY 10036 Phone: (212) 345-7000 Employer Type: Subsidiary of Marsh Fax: (212) 345-7414 & McLennan Companies, Inc. www.mercerHR.com President and CEO: Daniel L. McCaw 2003 Employees: 13,100 2002 Employees: 13,200 LOCATIONS 2003 Revenue: $2.7 billion New York, NY (HQ) 2002 Revenue: $2.4 billion Offices in 142 cities worldwide UPPERS PRACTICE AREAS • Flexible schedules Benefits Administration Outsourcing • Stock purchase plan Communication • Employee Opinion Survey Research • Executive DOWNERS Rewards • Government Human Services • HR Service Excellence • • “Stiff” HR Technology • Health Care & • Slow promotions Group Benefits • Human Capital Strategy • International Employee KEY COMPETITORS Mobility • Investment • Legal • Mergers & Acquisitions • Aon Consulting Multinational & Global Issues • Hay Group Performance Measurement • Hewitt Associates Personal Financial Planning • Mellon Human Resources & Investor Retirement Benefits • Sales Solutions Effectiveness • Surveys & Towers Perrin Benchmarking • Talent Management Watson Wyatt Worldwide • Workforce Rewards EMPLOYMENT CONTACT www.mercerhr.com/joiningmercer.jhtml THE BUZZ WHAT CONSULTANTS AT OTHER FIRMS ARE SAYING • “Best in class for HR” • “Benchmark in their field” • “Huge scale” • “Too focused” CAREER134 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 142. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Mercer Human Resource ConsultingTHE SCOOPHuman interestMercer Human Resource Consulting takes up the mantle of human resources as itsbroad mission. Under this umbrella, the firm offers a range of services includingretirement, health and group, compensation, employee benefits, communication andhuman capital strategy consulting. It also specializes in administration outsourcingand investment consulting. The firm is one of several owned by Marsh & McLennanCompanies, Inc. (MMC) and one of four firms in Mercer Inc., which has about16,000 employees in 40 countries.Mercer Human Resource Consulting used to be known as William M. Mercer,Incorporated, but parent company MMC changed the firm’s name in April 2002 in aneffort to brand its consulting companies more consistently. Mercer InvestmentConsulting, Inc., the firm’s SEC-registered U.S. investment advisory practice, is awholly owned subsidiary. MMC has approximately 60,000 employees in more than100 countries.From humble beginningsThe firm dates its founding to 1937, when it was the employee benefits departmentof Marsh & McLennan, Inc. In 1959, the company took the name of “William M.Mercer” when MMC acquired William M. Mercer Limited, a Canadian firm foundedby William Manson Mercer in 1945. Bill Mercer might be one of the country’soriginal road warriors – after leaving his corporate job in 1945, he set out to start hisown consulting business in Canada, traveling in his mobile office (his car!) fromclient to client. “That entrepreneurial, client-focused consulting style is still presentat Mercer today,” the firm says. In 1975 Mercer became a wholly owned subsidiaryof MMC.A big familyMercer HR has grown exponentially through the years, largely due to a series ofmergers and acquisitions. One of its most recent acquisitions was of SynHRgy HRTechnologies, a leading provider of human resource technology and outsourcingservices to Fortune 1000 companies, in January 2004. Headquartered in Houston,Texas, SynHRgy added more than 375 employees to Mercer HR’s ranks. Theacquisition expands Mercer HR’s outsourcing offerings in the U.S. to include Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 135
  • 143. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Mercer Human Resource Consulting retirement and health and group administration, employee relations, absence management, payroll customer support, compliance, and data management. The former Administration practice is now known as Mercer Outsourcing, Powered by SynHRgy Technologies Mercer HR is part of MMC’s larger consulting subsidiary, Mercer Inc., which also includes Mercer Management Consulting, Mercer Delta Organizational Consulting, and NERA (National Economic Research Associates). In January 2004, Mercer Inc. completed a merger with Oliver, Wyman & Co., a financial services consultancy with more than 400 employees. The new entity, known as Mercer Oliver Wyman, operates independently in the Mercer Inc. reporting arm of MMC. Mercer HR’s size allows it to offer a wide breadth of services. A human capital strategy group, for instance, is devoted to helping clients organize their various HR efforts into sustainable, value-focused activities. Meanwhile, a global communications practice helps companies create internal web sites to communicate with their employees, shareholders and customers. Each of the firm’s teams is staffed with a principal, a project manager and a brace of interdisciplinary consultants, from economists to psychologists, to provide clients with the broadest view possible of their human capital landscape. Growing demand Mercer HR grew slowly throughout 2002 and into early 2003, following the tragic loss of 295 MMC-family colleagues in the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center and the slump in the worldwide economy. In June 2001, the firm laid off approximately 3 percent of its employees in the U.S. Another series of layoffs came in 2002. Demand for its services was strong in 2003, the company reported, as companies sought advice on responsible executive compensation, skyrocketing health care benefit costs, volatility in the pension arena and increased globalization among corporations. In 2003 Mercer’s overall consulting revenue grew by 15 percent – up from a mere one 1 percent increase in 2002 – primarily due to the impact of foreign exchange and acquisitions. Net income was $1.54 billion for the entire MMC group, up from $1.37 billion the previous year. Parent MMC also owns Putnam Investments, which in April 2004 reached settlement agreements with the SEC and the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the administrative and cease- and-desist proceedings focusing on market timing in Putnam mutual funds. CAREER136 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 144. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Mercer Human Resource ConsultingMercer HR added to its employee rolls globally in 2003 and early 2004, with senior-level appointments in the U.K., Ireland, Switzerland and other countries. In May2003, the firm hired Mark Borges, formerly with the Securities and ExchangeCommission’s Office of Rulemaking, Division of Corporation Finance, in itsWashington Resource Group. In the U.S., Mercer HR is headed by Daniel McCaw,who was named global president and CEO of both the U.S. and the global companiesin March 2002. Karen Greenbaum was named the U.S. firm’s president and chiefoperating officer in May 2002.In July 2003, Mercer HR announced the formation of a global technology andoperations practice (T&O), led by Bob Schuetz. T&O leverages the resources andcapabilities of Mercer’s HR consulting practice and other Mercer groups specializingin technology advice and software. The firm noted that companies around the worldspend about $45 billion annually on HR technology. Offering both advisory anddelivery services, the T&O practice’s staff are based in the U.S., U.K., Canada andGermany.Global growthMercer HR continues to expand around the world. In July 2003, the firm launchedan investment consulting practice in Frankfurt, Germany. The firm is building newU.K. headquarters in London’s St. Katherine’s Dock neighborhood. Construction ofthe new seven-story office complex began in January 2003 and should be completedin late 2004. In recent years, the firm has opened offices in Istanbul and Prague andpurchased Vienna-based Constantia Neuberger Bednar & Partner BesmbH, a benefitand retirement consulting firm. In December 2003, the firm acquired KPMG BenefitConsulting’s business in Geneva and Zurich, adding 24 employees to its Swiss team.And in November 2003, Mercer HR expanded its presence in Norway and Swedenwith the acquisition of Benefit Network ASA and Benefit Network Consulting AS’sconsulting, brokerage, administration, and communication business, includingBenefit Network’s Swedish subsidiary Pensionsservice AB. The agreement added 45Benefit Network employees to Mercer’s Norwegian and Swedish operations.Mercer HR continues to accept engagements around the world. In December 2003,the firm was appointed to provide pension administration services to the trustees offour pension plans covering about 40,000 members following the de-merger of SixContinents PLC to form Mitchells & Butlers PLC and InterContinental Hotels GroupPLC. In May 2003, the British media company Emap, with more than 5,000employees, selected Mercer HR to provide actuarial and investment consultingservices for its pension arrangements. Also in May, the firm was appointed by oil and Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 137
  • 145. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Mercer Human Resource Consulting gas developer Apache Corporation to provide pension and benefits advice following that company’s acquisition of BP Forties Oil Field. Other administrative engagements for Mercer HR in 2003 include the U.K. subsidiaries of German company Linde Group; oil and gas developer Perenco U.K. Ltd.; British home builder Barratt Developments Plc; Australian firm Foster’s Group Limited; and international aviation and materials technology giant BBA Group. Tools of the trade Mercer HR also provides clients with HR-related tools and databases. In October 2003, for example, the firm announced the creation of the Mercer Benchmark Database, a comprehensive source of pay data compiled from eight of Mercer’s leading compensation surveys. The database includes information on Mercer Benchmark Database positions in corporate marketing and communication; e- commerce; executive; finance, accounting and legal; human resource management; information technology; and logistics and supply chain management. The firm announced in November 2003 the availability of its Retire@Ease Planner, designed to help employees assess their current financial position and future requirements to secure a comfortable retirement. Meanwhile, in December 2003 Mercer HR introduced Healthconnect, a web-based portal designed to help British managers, HR and payroll departments, occupational health personnel and private health care providers track employees’ health conditions in order to introduce interventions early on and reduce work-related injury litigation. Drawing on its resources Mercer HR also produces research and surveys geared toward every type of HR- related topic imaginable, from cost of living to executive compensation. The firm’s investment consulting arm regularly produces a “Fearless Forecast” survey, in which it polls leading global investment managers on their predictions for the worldwide equity markets. The annual National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans reports on the average total cost of health benefits for active employees in the U.S. (naturally, costs went up in 2003 – but not as much as had been expected). Another survey released every April in conjunction with The Wall Street Journal tracks executive pay at Fortune 500 firms, while other annual surveys rank the world’s major cities by cost of living and quality of life. In October 2003 Mercer HR consultants Haig R. Nalbantian, Richard A. Guzzo, Dave Kieffer and Jay Doherty published Play to Your Strengths: Managing Internal CAREER138 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 146. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Mercer Human Resource ConsultingLabor Markets for Lasting Competitive Advantage (McGraw-Hill Trade), a bookpromising “a revolutionary way to get the facts needed to judge the return onworkforce investments and to give a company a significant competitive advantage.”In April 2004, The Harvard Business Review published “How Fleet Bank FoughtEmployee Flight,” an article about how Mercer HR helped the bank reduce employeeturnover.I want a new drug (cost)Mercer HR has also gotten into the pharmaceutical group purchasing game.Responding to employers’ concerns about rising drug costs, the firm has launched atleast eight drug-purchasing coalitions in the past few years. Companies participatingin the coalitions use their collective bargaining power to take on pharmacy benefitmanagers (PBMs). The PBMs then negotiate contracts for pharmaceuticals at adiscount. The system allows employers to control health care costs, with membersof one Fortune 100 group, the Northeast Pharmacy Purchasing Coalition, savingbetween 5 and 10 percent on drug costs in a year, the Journal reported.Bringing it all back homeAs might be expected from an HR-oriented consulting company, the firm takes itsemployee development and training seriously. Partnering for Success (PfS) is aworldwide performance and development program that aims to provide a consistentway for Mercer’s employees to set goals, get feedback, plan their careers and“achieve appropriate rewards,” according to the company. At the start of eachperformance planning cycle, Mercer HR employees meet with their assigned Careeror Performance & Development Advisor (usually their supervisor) to set annualperformance goals and career development goals. Reviews take place at mid-yearand year-end.GETTING HIREDProfiles in courageMercer HR requests that interested applicants register at the company’s web site byfilling out a personal profile. Once a personal profile is submitted, the candidate willreceive e-mail notifications of opportunities that are posted that match the candidate’sindicated preferences. Candidates always have the opportunity to view current Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 139
  • 147. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Mercer Human Resource Consulting global openings and post for those that they are interested in. The careers page includes personal profiles of employees, to show potential hires what sort of people they’ll be working with. In addition, you can find out more information on the different locations, the different areas of work that they provide to their clients, and even how to learn and grow at Mercer. Insiders report that there are usually two or three interviews, and a “psychological assessment” for senior hires. OUR SURVEY SAYS By the book When you work for an HR consulting firm, you expect things to be run by-the-book. That seems to be the case with Mercer Human Resource Consulting, which one consultant describes as “stiff and risk-averse – very ‘political.’” On the bright side, it is possible to be an HR consultant and still be human – the company is flexible about working from home, and an insider notes that “Good work life balance is possible [with] part-time work, a workplace at home, [and] flex time.” “The possibility to compensate for extra time worked in free time” also earns praise from an insider. Results-oriented As for advancement, a consultant reports that “Promotion depends on your results, not very quickly and certainly not automatically.” A colleague agrees: “Advancement is based on proven qualities, not diplomas.” The company’s approach to promotion is described as “variable.” Mercer HR employees get to participate in the firm’s stock purchase plan, in which they can buy shares at a 15 percent discount. In addition, they get a company match on the stock investment plan and a pension plan. The company also offers domestic partner benefits. The company’s flexibility about schedules and work hours is also cited as a perk. The offices are not – a U.K. employee declares, “I can barely see daylight!” – though this certainly could be a location-specific complaint. On average, Mercer HR consultants report working between 45 and 55 hours per week. CAREER140 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 148. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Mercer Human Resource Consulting“Advancement is based on proven qualities, not diplomas.” — Mercer HR consultantVisit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at www.vault.com/consulting — withinsider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 141
  • 149. V A U L T 11 PRESTIGE A.T. Kearney RANKING 222 West Adams Street THE STATS Chicago, IL 60606 Phone: (312) 648-0111 Employer Type: Independent www.atkearney.com subsidiary of EDS Ticker Symbol: EDS (NYSE) CEO: H.L. Henner Klein LOCATIONS 2003 Employees: 4,000 Chicago, IL (HQ) 2002 Employees: 5,000 60 offices worldwide in 35 2003 Revenue: $857 million countries 2002 Revenue: $1.08 billion PRACTICE AREAS UPPERS Aerospace and Defense • “An amazing exposure to a wide Automotive range of industries” Communications and Media • “Interesting, strategic and high Consumer & Retail impact engagements” Financial Institutions Government DOWNERS High Tech and Electronics Pharmaceuticals/Health Care • Understaffing means long hours Process Industries • “Uncompetitive total compensation Transportation package” Utilities KEY COMPETITORS Bain & Company Boston Consulting Group Booz Allen Hamilton McKinsey & Company EMPLOYMENT CONTACT A.T. Kearney 222 West Adams Street THE BUZZ Chicago, Illinois 60606 WHAT CONSULTANTS AT OTHER FIRMS ARE SAYING Phone: (312) 648-0111 Numerous international hiring • “Strong in strategic sourcing” contacts; check A.T. Kearney’s web • “Down in the weeds, tactical” site for regional information. • “Staid” • “Influenced by EDS” CAREER142 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 150. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms A.T. KearneyTHE SCOOPChicago hopeFounded in 1926, A.T. Kearney is a respected name in management consulting –much like its distant relative McKinsey & Company, from whom it split way back in1939. A.T. Kearney’s self-proclaimed focus is on “CEO-level concerns” such asglobalization, mergers and leadership, and the company has experience working inthe highest levels of both the private sector and government. Today, Kearney is anindependent subsidiary of Electronic Data Systems (EDS).Chicago-born and raised, A.T. Kearney didn’t even have a second location until 1961.The firm’s first international office was opened in 1964 in Düsseldorf, and today thecompany has 60 offices in 35 countries worldwide staffed by over 4,000 employees,of which approximately two-thirds are consultants. A.T. Kearney earned revenues of$857 million in 2003, a smidgen down from just over $1 billion the previous year.A tale of two consultantsAndrew Thomas Kearney was one of the first partners to join management professorJames Oscar McKinsey’s fledgling Chicago consultancy in 1926. Before joiningwith McKinsey, Kearney made a name for himself by helping dairy farmers boosttheir milk sales while a student at Pennsylvania State University in 1916; joining thefaculty of his alma mater; and later serving as director of commercial research atSwift & Co. In its early years, the firm emphasized accounting and budgetarycontrols. When the firm split in 1939, Kearney retained the Chicago branch, whichhe renamed after himself.The firm quickly built a name for itself. One of A.T. Kearney’s first assignments wasan extensive study of the organization of U.S. Steel, an analysis which resulted in themerger of several subsidiaries – the first step in the creation of modern-day USX.Cincinnati-based supermarket chain the Kroger Company also retained A.T. Kearneyearly in the 1930s, and it extended over 60 different assignments through the early1980s. Other significant clients in the 1930s and early 1940s included Armour, theChicago meat-packer; United Parcel Service; Allis-Chambers, a heavy equipmentservice firm; and Borg-Warner Corporation, a large Chicago manufacturingcompany. Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 143
  • 151. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms A.T. Kearney A man with a mission During Word War II, Kearney showed his civic-minded side, providing consultation to the U.S. War Production Board for the fee of a dollar a year. In 1945 President Roosevelt personally asked Kearney to lead a mission to China to assist the Chinese government in improving its war efforts. After spending six months with his staff in China, Kearney earned a U.S. Medal of Freedom and a Chinese Victory Medal for his efforts. A few years later, he traveled to Germany to study that country’s industrial recovery. In 1962 Kearney was succeeded by Jim Phelan, who began to expand the firm. By 1970 A.T. Kearney had opened nine offices in the United States, as well as offices in London and Düsseldorf, and the Tokyo office opened in 1972. Kenneth Block succeeded Phelan. In 1983 Fred Steingraber was elected CEO and served 18 years in that capacity. Strange bedfellows A.T. Kearney’s acquisition in 1995 by EDS was preceded by an odd courtship. The Plano, Texas-based EDS was only recently detached from parent company General Motors in 1995, and its consulting arm, created in 1993, was hemorrhaging money (in 1994, the year of the merger proposal, EDS Consulting lost $22 million). A.T. Kearney, on the other hand, was in the midst of a healthy expansion, having registered double-digit growth every year for the previous 12 years. Additionally, Kearney’s geographic and industry reach would allow EDS to establish the high-level client relationships it needed to succeed. EDS originally approached Kearney with a proposal for a joint venture. But the CEO of Kearney, Fred Steingraber, informed EDS that it was approaching the consulting industry incorrectly; the right path toward success required a high-profile brand name, a clearly structured partnership among consultants, and a structured reward mechanism for shareholders. Instead of taking his advice and moving on, as Steingraber had anticipated, EDS made another proposal – would A.T. Kearney consider a merger instead? Thus the two rode off into the Plano sunset, with Kearney moving its headquarters south from Chicago shortly after the deal. (A.T. Kearney’s headquarters has since returned to Chicago.) EDS laid out approximately $112.7 million in cash and issued $162.3 million in short- and long-term notes to A.T. Kearney’s partners. The terms of the agreement also included a stock grant of around 6.6 million shares of GM, which will vest over a 10-year period for select A.T. Kearney personnel who remain with the EDS-owned firm. CAREER144 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 152. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms A.T. KearneyThe incongruity between the two companies – one invested in high-levelmanagement and strategy, the other in IT – actually was an asset, in Steingraber’sview. IT was becoming increasingly necessary for large corporations, and it didn’thurt that EDS was a large company with deep pockets. As Steingraber saw it,working with EDS would allow A.T. Kearney to develop in-depth informationtechnology expertise, thus giving it the capability to follow through fromtechnological strategy to implementation, while the computer company’s cash wouldalso boost Kearney’s infrastructure capabilities.Marriage counselingSince then, Kearney has attempted to operate as a distinct entity from its parentcompany. But the sometimes-rocky relationship came to define the atmosphere at theconsulting firm for the past few years. Several articles on Kearney during 2003 quoteanalysts using a troubled marriage metaphor to describe the situation – andrecommending, as the country song goes, D-I-V-O-R-C-E. Most observers say theclash between the 130,000-employee IT behemoth and the relatively modestmanagement consulting firm has been primarily one of cultures. As The New YorkTimes put it in an August 2003 article, “EDS is a top-down corporation where thechief executive issues orders, while Kearney is a partnership where ideas filter upfrom the bottom.”Senior leadership at EDS seemed to send mixed messages about Kearney’sindependence. According to the same Times article, former EDS CEO RichardBrown once referred to the consulting firm as a “Trojan horse” for the pushing ofEDS services into the offices of Kearney’s clientele. And according to an August2003 BusinessWeek article, consultants were penalized for not meeting EDS’s “cross-selling” numbers – essentially, sales quotas for EDS.Things got really ugly when the tenures of Richard Brown, as CEO of EDS, andDietmar Ostermann, named Kearney CEO in 2000, coincided with an overall slumpin the consulting market and the economy in general. It was around that time thatKearney officers saw their bonuses and other perks slashed by the parent company,reportedly because of the aforementioned failure to meet sales goals. In earlyJanuary 2003, Kearney earned the dubious honor of being named the most stressfulplace to work by Consulting magazine. BusinessWeek reported in February 2003 thattop consultants were working with attorneys to negotiate their departures, and aKennedy Information analyst told BusinessWeek, “EDS has driven this great firm intothe ground.” Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 145
  • 153. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms A.T. Kearney Restoring independence A change in leadership at EDS in March 2003 began to turn things around at Kearney. EDS’s new CEO, Michael H. Jordan, was a McKinsey consultant for 10 years, and is seen as respecting the firm’s desire for independence. His actions bear this out. Within months of taking over at EDS, Jordan had restored the bonuses, perks and autonomy Kearney officials had been denied, and declared that Kearney would function as an independently-run subsidiary of EDS, rather than as a “line of business” in its portfolio. Kearney’s leadership changed in 2003 as well. During the merger with EDS in 1995, Kearney was headed by Frederick Steingraber, who was sued by EDS in August 2002 following his departure for allegedly putting $100,000 worth of personal expenses on the company tab. Steingraber shot back with a suit of his own, accusing EDS of cooking the books. Both suits have been settled out of court. After Steingraber left, Ostermann took over until his three-year term expired in November 2003. The general consensus was that Ostermann fought as much as he could for Kearney’s autonomy, even making plans to move the firm’s headquarters from Texas to New York in 2003, but that ultimately his hands were tied by the parent company. As of December 2003, Kearney had a new chief, H.L. Henner Klein, a vice president based in Brussels and Chicago, with Chicago once again serving as worldwide headaquarters. As a veteran of Kearney before the EDS acquisition – he joined the firm in 1982 – Klein is seen as someone who can restore autonomy. The new CEO told The New York Times in October 2003, “Our first priority is that A.T. Kearney wants to be the trusted adviser and has to be neutral and has to do what is in the interest of its client.” Klein continues to be based in Brussels, but also keeps an office in Chicago. Still, observers say that Kearney’s relationship with EDS is tricky. Kearney says on its web site that “when clients seek our help with technology implementation, Internet applications and Business Process Management, we are able to combine EDS’s deep technological resources with our own core strengths in strategic consulting.” Still, in late 2003, buzz on Wall Street was that EDS was looking to re- focus on its core IT business, maybe even to the point of divesting itself of Kearney. BusinessWeek reported in August 2003 that some Kearney execs were interested in making the buyback from EDS. CAREER146 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 154. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms A.T. KearneyTangible resultsKearney places an emphasis on delivering tangible results for its clients, whichinclude companies in aerospace and defense, the automotive industry,communications and media, consumer industries and retail, financial institutions,government, high tech and electronics, pharmaceuticals and health care, processindustries, transportation and travel, and utilities. Kearney’s top brass are activelyinvolved in every engagement, and the firm encourages a “working partnership”approach. More than 90 percent of its engagements are with repeat clients. Thetypical client is a large corporation with around $2 billion in annual revenue.While the firm keeps its clients close to the vest, The New York Times reported inAugust 2003 that Kearney and EDS had signed a five-year IT services contract withAltria, a deal worth millions of dollars.Still going globalIn March 2004, Kearney officials squelched rumors that the firm was going to pullout of India. In fact, Business Line reported, the firm’s cup runneth over in the region.It has recruited as many as 12 local consultants in the region in one week to keep upwith demand. The firm also has scored wins in the Czech Republic. In December2003, Kearney won a bid to work with the country’s leading telecom carrier on acost-reduction strategy, and in May of that year, Kearney was selected to advisepower company CEZ on its merger with regional distributors.Reading, writing …The firm keeps itself front and center in the production of research and books.Widely-cited research and reports issued by the firm in 2003 and early 2004 includean annual Globalization Index, measuring global economic integration, producedwith Foreign Policy magazine; a report on strategies for successful implementationof radio frequency ID tags by retailers; and a study of efforts to make governmentagencies more effective. In December 2003, Kearney announced that it waspartnering with the Institute for Supply Management to create the A.T. KearneyCenter for Strategic Supply Leadership (CSSL) @ISM, intended to serve as “acatalyst for new thought in the field of supply management.” January 2004 saw thepublication of STRETCH! How Great Companies Grow in Good Times and Bad, byKearney VPs Graeme K. Deans and Fritz Kroeger.Kearney also maintains a thought leadership position by hosting a thrice-yearly CEOretreat with its Global Business Policy Council, off-the-record meetings that bring Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 147
  • 155. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms A.T. Kearney together around 50 CEOs and other leaders for discussions of business issues and trends. The events are held around the globe, with the most recent taking place in Miami, Rio de Janiero, Berlin, Vancouver and London. eBreviated sourcing A.T. Kearney rolled out Procurement Solutions in December 2001, a global business- to-business service built around Kearney’s eBreviate e-procurement technologies. Kearney describes eBreviate as “web-based technologies that enable every step of the strategic sourcing process including supply market analysis tools, sourcing management tools and Internet negotiation tools.” The application allows businesses to better manage their strategic sourcing needs; this includes B2B auctions, leveraging a company’s buying power and various sourcing management tools. In March 2003, technology leader NCR employed A.T. Kearney Procurement Solutions to provide a full suite of eSourcing services and products over a two-year period. And in April, the Florida Power & Light Company signed an unlimited-use contract. In April 2003, EDS and Kearney announced plans to launch a new eSourcing software solution, integrating the latest version of eBreviate with Teamcenter, EDS PLM Solutions’ flagship lifecycle management product. GETTING HIRED Get your cases in order According to insiders, the firm recruits from “most of the top 10 business schools, as well as a few lower ranked but local schools.” “In 2003 we recruited at approximately 20 different campuses across the U.S. and Canada for our North American practices,” says a consultant. Sources say the interview process may comprise up to eight rounds, with a number of case interviews in the mix. “Cases are developed by the individual interviewers based on their personal work experience,” an insider reports. These are described as “typical business cases: falling profits, new market entry.” Another insider mentions the existence of a “‘presentation’ case in the second round where applicants are given a case and 30 minutes to prepare a presentation on the solution – which has to be given to a consultant audience.” CAREER148 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 156. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms A.T. KearneyOUR SURVEY SAYSChange is goodAT Kearney’s merger with EDS brought some changes – and change is good, mostinsiders say. “The company culture is going through a state of change, for the better,”says a source. “The merger with EDS, though successful, resulted in a distinctculture change. The initial strategy was to integrate the two companies, with ATKtaking a lead role. More recently, ATK has been given the clearance to take more ofa separate position.” A colleague agrees: “Significant strides have been made, andare continuing, to re-instill a firm identity and culture – noticeable differences haveoccurred, which is a very welcome and encouraging sign.” Says another consultant,“‘Corporate controls’ that were put in place under EDS made life a lot less pleasanta few years ago, but most of these have been released in the meantime.”Consultants at Kearney have mostly warm words for their co-workers, describing thefirm’s culture as “very collegial, friendly and noncompetitive,” with “incrediblyapproachable” people. A consultant attests that “Kearney is quite competitive,” butadds that “the people are great to work with. I enjoy an evening out with these folksas much as I enjoy working with them.” Another reports, “The culture within theoffice and the project teams is fantastic. I love the people I work with.” However,this source says, “Sometimes [A.T. Kearney] doesn’t manage internalcommunications well, which creates unnecessary problems.”Understaffed, overworked?How’s work-life balance at the firm? Depends on who you ask. “I have successfullymaintained a good balance without slowing or hurting my career,” says oneconsultant. Another reports that “Work-life balance is difficult to attain at ATK,”especially for junior staffers. “Many projects are currently understaffed.” Anassociate agrees, “The firm is trying to better manage this aspect, yet the reality ofclient work contradicts this balance, particularly given we are so busy, and do nothave the required staff to meet all of our client demands.” But a colleague maintainsthat “weekends are very well protected as personal time. Of course with a high-valueconsulting career, a consultant will have to make difficult choices on weeknightsabout how to balance work and personal commitments.” Work hours are describedas “typical” for consulting – that is, pretty grueling. One insider observes, “Whilewe now have more business, we need more staff, which is creating a short-term spikein our hours.” Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 149
  • 157. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms A.T. Kearney Fridays in the air The balance gets challenging for consultants who have to travel regularly – which is par for the course at A.T. Kearney. “Working in multiple geographies (Europe, U.S., Asia) at the same time, makes it hard – travel is a killer,” sighs an insider. “Travel is a necessary element of my firm’s business model – we try to differentiate ourselves by working directly with our clients, which necessitates us traveling to and working at the client site,” a colleague reports. “The Monday to Thursday travel schedule becomes a routine, and really isn’t a problem for getting work done; you become very efficient with your time, and selective on the tasks you undertake,” says another. While Monday through Thursday is the stated norm, another consultant reports, “I have been lucky in getting back on Fridays, but I know a bunch of my colleagues leaving Sunday night and getting back Friday night.” “Fridays are the challenge,” a consultant confirms. “The firm has a ‘Fridays in the office at home’ policy. But, clients seem to want to schedule meetings on Fridays anyway.” Bonus potential The EDS deal affected compensation at the firm, and some grumbling has resulted. “The firm used to have a great executive retirement plan, but it was replaced with EDS 401(k) matching and EDS pension plan, which are not nearly as lucrative. Rumor has it that the plan is coming back, but it has not been confirmed,” says an insider. Another confirms that A.T. Kearney staff get “some EDS stock options.” But EDS has “really hurt the bonus potential,” says a consultant. A colleague notes that, “My target bonus for this year is reasonable, but the firm has not paid bonuses at target levels, if paid at all, over the past few years. So there is a bit of a trust issue around it.” “Bonuses have been nonexistent or minimal in the past few years,” a colleague confirms. The firm notes that in 2004, all 2003 bonuses were paid to all eligible consultants. As for benefits, consultants proclaim themselves impressed with the “free cell phones,” “three large office social events per year,” “frequent flyer miles,” and “lenient” travel expenses. “You are well taken care of when you are on the road. The firm is very classy about how it treats people’s expenses,” says a consultant. Another loves the “six weeks paid leave for child care, per year, for any consultant”; the company also reportedly gives six weeks’ paternity leave after three years of service. “We have phenomenal offices,” an insider exults. “Our Atlanta office is designer showcase quality, and isn’t even the nicest in the firm.” CAREER150 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 158. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms A.T. KearneyGrassroots trainingThe firm reportedly offers “a mix of formal and informal training.” A consultantnotes that “there has been a lot of grassroots activity lately, with senior consultantsdeveloping and providing training to junior consultants at the office level.” Saysanother insider, “Training has been largely ignored; most learning occurs informallythrough networked relationships. This is undergoing a significant change as well,with a meaningful budget and resources being dedicated to training.” The ratio offormal to informal training is “balanced, but does rely on the consultant and his/hermentor to proactively plan and schedule,” an insider reports.As the economy has slowed, so has the rate of advancement at the firm, insiders say.“Promotions have lengthened in recent years due to a slowdown in natural attrition,”adds a source. On average, the advancement rate is two to two and a half years asassociate, three to four years as manager, but “associates can be promoted in as littleas 18 months,” says one source. Promotion is generally perceived to be“development-oriented,” rather than up-or-out: “There will be ample opportunity toidentify improvement areas and review your progress,” a consultant reports.However, cautions a colleague, “if measurable progress is not being made with theexpectation to perform at the next level, then the consultants will be ‘out-counseled.’” A.T. Kearney is forecasting an 8 percent increase in training investmentfor 2004.In touch with the topExperiences vary when it comes to interaction between consultants and seniors at thefirm and client sites. Says one associate, “at my level, we typically deal with low-level purchasing people, and rarely if ever get access to top-level execs.” But anothergushes, “I have gained truly remarkable exposure to client senior executives; as anassociate I have been trusted to have one-on-one discussions with the COO of ourFortune 500 client.” The associate adds, “[I] was the main person responsible for themanaging components of the merger integration, and was given the opportunity todiscuss all of this with the COO. This is representative of my other engagements aswell – great client interaction at a very early stage.” At least one A.T. Kearney staffer“would like to see senior consultants held more accountable for staff morale andwork-life balance.” Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 151
  • 159. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms A.T. Kearney Open arms The firm is described as “receptive” to women, though it’s still ramping up. “We have always done a good job bringing women into the firm at the BA and associate levels, but our retention has been poor beyond the manager level,” says a consultant, adding, “we have implemented a variety of women’s networking and mentoring programs to improve their long term success within the firm.” A colleague reports, “The firm is certainly receptive – I am a man, and my mentor is a woman who is very senior within the firm.” But women are still thin at the upper echelons, as are minorities, insiders say: “We have great diversity at the lower ranks, but not quite as good yet at the senior ranks,” a source reports. “Asians and Indians do quite well here and have few apparent barriers, but we have not done as well with African Americans and Hispanics.” Others, however, argue that “if any, there are more minorities coming in than Caucasians,” and that there is “strong representation of minorities throughout the consulting ranks.” Gay and lesbian staffers are welcome at the firm, though they may “prefer a lower profile, particularly with clients who can be unpredictable,” one source observes. As for community involvement, “There are too many to list,” says a consultant. “There are things sponsored globally, nationally and locally. The local community involvement is generally the best supported and most rewarding.” Another agrees that “Charities and community involvement are big in ATK and the senior leaders take it very seriously.” “Our office sponsors a family at Christmas, [and] is involved in the United Way each year, [and] some pro bono work,” says another source. Two women officers have recently been elected by their peers to the Officer Leadership Council. CAREER152 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 160. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms A.T. Kearney “Our Atlanta office is designer showcase quality.” — A.T. Kearney insiderVisit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at www.vault.com/consulting — withinsider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 153
  • 161. V A U L T IBM Business Consulting 12 PRESTIGE Services RANKING Route 100 THE STATS Somers, NY 10589 Phone: (800) IBM-7080, ext. BCS Employer Type: Business unit of IBM www.ibm.com/services/bcs Global Services Ticker Symbol: IBM (NYSE) Managing Partner: Virginia Rometty LOCATIONS: 2003 Employees: 55,000 Somers, NY (HQ) 2003 Revenue: reported as part of Serving customers in 160 countries IBM Global Services, which recorded $42.6 billion in revenue SERVICES UPPERS Application Innovation Services Business Transformation • Terrific flexibility and control over Outsourcing career destiny Customer Relationship Management • Juicy employee stock purchase Financial Management Services plan Human Capital Management Solutions DOWNERS Strategy and Change Supply Chain Management • “Virtualness” can decrease sense of community • PwCCers still adapting to IBM culture. KEY COMPETITORS Accenture Booz Allen Hamilton Capgemini Deloitte BearingPoint McKinsey & Company THE BUZZ EMPLOYMENT CONTACT WHAT CONSULTANTS AT OTHER FIRMS ARE SAYING www-1.ibm.com/employment/ • “Great respect, but too big for Phone: (800) IBM-7080, ext. BCS their britches” • “Slow and complex” • “Consistent leader in innovation” • “Worth the investment” CAREER154 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 162. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms IBM Business Consulting ServicesTHE SCOOPBig Blue consultingIBM Business Consulting Services (BCS) has consultants and professional staff inmore than 160 countries around the world, making it one of the largest organizationsof its kind. The management and strategy arm of IBM’s Global Services division,BCS was formed in October 2002 following the integration ofPricewaterhouseCoopers’ consulting business, PwC Consulting, into IBM. WithIBM’s $3.5 billion purchase of PwC Consulting, nearly 30,000 PwCC consultantsjoined 30,000 IBM consultants to create a new (really) Big Blue entity.Monday blues for PwCCIn January 2002, PricewaterhouseCoopers announced its intention to file for a publicoffering of its consulting business, PwC Consulting. The IPO never came to fruition,nor did an attempt to re-brand PwC Consulting under the risible name “Monday”succeed. Ultimately, IBM formally announced its acquisition of PwCC in July 2002.Industry analysts have closely watched the deal. IBM’s fourth-quarter 2003 earnings,issued in January 2004, suggested that BCS still has room to grow. But with businessprocess outsourcing expected to increase at a rapid clip over the next decade, analystspredict that BCS’ strengths in this area, as well as its IBM-fueled abilities in the ITsector, will see it through.Deep BlueIBM BCS brands itself as an organization that goes “deeper,” touting its ability topenetrate a range of markets on a variety of levels. While the group offers distinctstrengths in technology, thanks to its high-tech parentage, it also brings PwCC’straditional consulting skills to the mix. In addition, BCS is building strength in themanaged operations arena, with its Business Transformation Outsourcing (BTO)services. Virginia “Ginni” Rometty, the IBM veteran who heads the division,describes BCS as “a new kind of partner, one that can engage effectively with thesenior business executives and the senior technology executives of an organization,and with every layer in between.”After the acquisition, Rometty named three PwCC regional directors as herimmediate deputies, bypassing several senior IBM people. She also launched an Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 155
  • 163. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms IBM Business Consulting Services aggressive “win-back” program designed to draw former PwCC clients into the BCS fold. At your service With its combination of tech know-how and consulting savvy, IBM BCS has become known for its work with corporate giants on customer service solutions. In February 2004, Sprint selected the group to implement its new customer service strategy. Under the terms of the five-year, multi-billion-dollar agreement, IBM BCS provides ongoing consulting support for all Sprint customer service processes, helping to enhance the phone company’s customer self-service tools transform its agent systems and call routing technology. Says one insider, “The difference with IBM BCS is that we can really do strategy plus technology. We can really sit with a client from conception through implementation. Unlike some other firms that just do front-end strategy, we have to live with the results.” Also in February 2004, JetBlue Airways unveiled a new self-service program developed in partnership with IBM BCS, featuring newly designed kiosks allowing customers to check in, change seating assignments, obtain boarding passes and more. IBM works with a number of other airlines on self-service solutions, including Air Canada, Alitalia, British Airways, United Airlines, US Airways, Southwest Airlines, KLM Airlines, Japan Air Lines, Gulf Air and Air New Zealand. In September 2003, the group teamed up with the California State Auto Association (CSAA) to help optimize customer service. Other notable engagements for the group in 2003 included an agreement to provide strategic, financial, management and IT services to ChevronTexaco Corp.; an agreement to upgrade the online services of Australia’s Commonwealth Bank; an agreement to implement a new group sales and event management solution for Marriott International, Inc.; a major IT and consulting services agreement with European paper company M-real; a $5 million contract for system maintenance for SUBMEPP (Submarine Maintenance Engineering, Planning and Procurement), an office of the Department of the Navy; and a deal to help paper-goods giant Georgia Pacific build a radio-frequency ID tag system for its products. The strict requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act led many companies to spruce up their compliance programs, and IBM BCS took advantage of this opportunity in 2003. In October of that year, the group announced an increased commitment to helping firms address regulatory compliance requirements, with new offerings derived from IBM’s business consulting and IT services. IBM BCS worked with CAREER156 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 164. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms IBM Business Consulting Servicescompanies including ChartOne, i3 Archive, National Account Service Company,JPMorgan Chase and ViewPointe Archive Services to help speed up systems thatprotect, manage, retain and access digital assets.Masters of all tradesIBM BCS isn’t shy about sharing – and publishing – its expertise in a broad range ofindustries. In November 2003, the group issued a new global survey of more than450 chief financial officers, illustrating that many CFOs were unprepared for the newbusiness dynamics affecting their departments. In September 2003, IBM BCS issuedits Retail CIO Survey, tracking IT spending among leading retail companies. August2003 saw the publication of a BCS report examining the volatile state of theelectronics industry. In May of that year, the group published “Pharma 2010: TheThreshold of Innovation,” a report suggesting a new business model for thepharmaceutical industry.Building outsourcingSome major organizations decided to sample IBM BCS’s business transformationoutsourcing (BTO) services in 2003. In October 2003, BCS announced a $400million human resources outsourcing deal with the Procter & Gamble Company,involving the support of nearly 98,000 P&G employees. In August of that year, BCSannounced that United Technologies Corp., the nation’s 49th-largest corporation, hadre-upped its BTO contract, originally signed in 1998. BCS also announced BTOdeals with technology distributor Avnet as well as Mitsui Insurance and GoodyearDunlop. The deals built on earlier wins for BTO services, including a contract withRaytheon in July 2003. In September 2003, Bank Urquijo, one of Spain’s leadingbanks, engaged BCS to manage and operate the bank’s back office processes for a10-year period, an engagement expected to contribute productivity improvements ofmore than 30 percent.As with other large consulting firms, including Accenture and the consultingbranches of American Express and GE, BCS is situating a growing portion of itsoutsourcing business in India and other emerging markets. More than half of IBM’semployees work outside the United States, with nearly 60 percent of revenue comingfrom non-U.S. operations. While IBM has had operations in India since 1951, thecompany says that it is making an investment in one of the fastest-growing countriesin the world, and in the emerging market for business process transformation, whichis central to the strategy that IBM calls “on demand.” Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 157
  • 165. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms IBM Business Consulting Services GETTING HIRED Service with a smile At BCS, there are six main services functions: Strategy and Change, Application Innovation Services, Customer Relationship Management, Financial Management Services, Human Capital Management and Supply Chain Management. According to insiders, your services alignment would be Strategy and Change, for example, with specialization by industry (financial services, distribution, industrial, communications, etc.) “You are hired into a practice area,” notes a consultant. “Throughout the interview process we gauge interest levels and business expertise in a specific industry or practice.” Movement among practices areas is fairly fluid at BCS. Adds another consultant, “When we look for hires, we are looking for well-rounded people. We look at undergrad performance for both undergrads and MBAs, though obviously it is more secondary for MBAs. We want community involvement – preferably in a professional organization or in athletics. We are also looking for leadership – someone who holds rank.” For the first round, “we tend to keep our case studies general, not doing one that maps to a sector. We also do a fit interview. Then we invite good candidates to one of the offices. For the second round, we generally peg them to a sector. If for some reason we peg them to financial services and they want communications, for example, we can usually accommodate them but it’s really [based on] supply and demand.” OUR SURVEY SAYS History lesson The legacy of the acquisition of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting – responsible for the inclusion of IBM BCS in this guide – seems to be a moot point, according to IBM BCS insiders. “Culturally there has been an adjustment,” says a senior consultant who started with PwCC. “It was a shock to PwCC folks.” Indeed, some of our contacts gripe about the change, noting the “culture shock.” However, one sage consultant points out that as far as the acquisition goes, “now it is status quo. People who come into the company don’t experience anything different.” CAREER158 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 166. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms IBM Business Consulting ServicesBalancing life and workIBM BCS insiders cite the eternal struggle of balancing a life outside work with,well, work. However, our contacts say that IBM is a large enough company to allowflexibility where it is needed. “IBM has an appreciation for balancing life with work.But while there is some flexibility, the client comes first. So if you need to be in theclient site 50 hours a week, you are there. But if you need to work out hours that aremore flexible, so you come in Monday night and leave on Friday [instead of Sundaynight through Thursday], that’s OK. You can also ask to be placed on an internalproject,” says a consultant. IBM BCS is also said to be very flexible withtelecommuting.”The weekly work weekSo what are those hours, anyway? They vary, but for most consultants they seem tohover between 50 and 60 hours a week. Of course, any schedule “depends on whoyour client is. [For my last client] I worked 50 hours a week. It is very rare to workonly 40 hours a week unless you are working for a public sector client who demandsthat kind of work week. Eighty hour work weeks are more of the exceptionnowadays but they do happen,” says a senior consultant. Weekend work “is notuncommon,” though, says one consultant, “part of the reason for that is flexibility. Ican make an appointment on Friday afternoon and then work on the weekend.”Another consultant claims that weeks of “60 to 70 is more common. I often put [in]a half day on weekends. I would say that about 15-20 percent of consultants do a halfday on weekends.”VirtualnessMany IBM consultants say one of the pervading senses of IBM is size, both for goodand less good. One former PwCCer says, “There is a sea of virtualness that IBM has.Sometimes you can be a bit lost in the ocean.” Agrees another consultant, “IBM BCSis a complicated and huge organization. Navigating your career is labyrinthian.IBM is like a small country. There is a sense of overwhelming scale.” The company“encourages mobility,” and nearly all co-workers communicate mainly by phone, e-mail, instant messaging and the company intranet. One consultant notes that allIBMers have “a serial number,” as in many large corporations.The size of IBM BCS also brings many opportunities. “You can always find outabout training and learning on the company intranet. Also, there is a very decentinternal job listing site that you can look at and apply for positions within the Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 159
  • 167. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms IBM Business Consulting Services company. You are not doted on because IBM is such a big place.” Agrees another insider, “At a place like PwCC, if you decide you don’t want to be a consultant, you leave. At IBM, you are in the microcosm of an economy. You can find ways to reinvent yourself that don’t involve leaving.” IBM BCS features “a resource deployment manager who matches consultant skills with opportunities. One of the benefits of being IBM is that we can be more flexible. For example, we have an internal practice called SCIP, or Strategic Change Internal Practice. It’s just like a sector. We also sometimes lend out people to an internal project temporarily, for example, if they just had a baby and need to not travel for a while.” Also, mentors alleviate some of the virtualness. “We have a very formal coaching program specific to IBM BCS. You have an individual who is specifically your coach, an assigned mentor. You are their protégé. You also have a day-to-day mentor on any given project.” Community caring IBM is proud of its community activities, say consultants. “We participate in New York Cares in New York. You can donate a certain percentage of your salary. The company takes pride in how many people donate. If you donate more than one percent, you get a note from [CEO] Sam [Palmisano].” Training days While training has been mainly intranet-based for the past few years, say insiders, good old fashioned internal conferences are back in fashion. “We used to have a lot of training before the collapse. It has been coming back in 2004. The training sessions are usually two days. They’ve been in Stone Mountain, Ga., Dallas and Orlando, for example.” In the first quarter of 2004, nearly 17,000 BCSers participated in either online or face-to-face training. At the office For those IBMers not working at the client or at home, offices are said to be “formal” but “not Dilbert cubes.” “Our main hubs are New York, Metro D.C., Cambridge and Chicago, Charlotte is something of a minihub,” notes one consultant. Dress is “business casual,” but client-dependent. CAREER160 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 168. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms IBM Business Consulting ServicesPay dayWhile most IBM BCS hires get a signing bonus, “once you are here you getperformance pay, which is based on how you do personally and how the businessdoes. You are graded by your manager and by practice leadership.” IBM offers otherfine moneymaking opportunities, such as “employee stock purchase discounts. Youcan spend 10 percent of your salary toward cheap stock.” Another consultant notesthat “there are additional options based on whether you are identified as a leader. Noteveryone gets them.” For more information on top consulting employers and consulting careers, go to the Vault Consulting Career Channel • Detailed 40-page employer profiles on top employers like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Accenture and more • Surveys of employees at hundreds of consulting firms • The only job board on the Web dedicated to consulting jobs – The Vault Consulting Job Board • Case interview guides and one-on-one case interview prep www.vault.com/consulting Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 161
  • 169. V A U L T 13 PRESTIGE Accenture RANKING 1345 Avenue of the Americas THE STATS New York, NY 10105 Phone: (917) 452-4400 Employer Type: Public Company www.accenture.com Stock Symbol: ACN (NYSE) Chairman: Joe Forehand CEO: Bill Green LOCATIONS 2003 Employees: 83,000 New York, NY (HQ) 2002 Employees: 75,000 More than 110 offices worldwide 2003 Revenue: $11.8 billion 2002 Revenue: $11.57 billion PRACTICE AREAS UPPERS Business Consulting Service Lines: Customer Contact Solutions • “Financially sound, good Customer Relationship Management reputation” Finance & Performance • Sensitive to women’s work issues Human Performance • Terrific work from home policy Management Strategy & Business Architecture DOWNERS Supply Chain Management Technology Research & Innovation • “Hierarchy, not growing or Procurement Solutions mentoring people, everyone is out for themselves” Operating Groups: • “No raises or bonuses” Communications & High Tech • “The sense of community fails as Financial Services people work more from home” Government Products Resources KEY COMPETITORS Capgemini Deloitte IBM BCS McKinsey & Company THE BUZZ EMPLOYMENT CONTACT WHAT CONSULTANTS AT OTHER FIRMS ARE SAYING • “The benchmark in their field” careers3.accenture.com/careers/global • “Goes to lengths to please shareholders” • “Excellent training” • “Doesn’t take strategy seriously” CAREER162 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 170. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms AccentureTHE SCOOPAccent on sizeAccenture, which employs more than 83,000 people in 48 countries and posted netrevenues of more than $11 billion at the end of fiscal year 2003, is a huge andpowerful consulting firm. The firm serves 87 of the Fortune Global 100, more thantwo thirds of the Fortune Global 500, and government agencies in 24 countries.Accenture’s scale is impressive. The business is structured around five operatinggroups (Communications & High Tech, Financial Services, Government, Productsand Resources), overseeing 18 industry groups serving clients in every majorindustry. The firm’s “capability groups,” Business Consulting and Technology &Outsourcing, host a range of offerings, including customer RelationshipManagement, Finance & Performance Management, Human Performance, Strategy& Business Architecture, Supply Chain Management, Technology Research, GlobalTechnology Solutions, and Outsourcing & Infrastructure Delivery, among others. Itseight Business Process Outsourcing units – four of which are industry-specific andfour of which are cross industry – deliver outsourced business services to clients inutilities, government, financial management, airlines, insurance, and more. Thefirm’s huge staff and wide range of experience enables it to bring both focus andmassive manpower to any consulting task.Accenture still takes pains to distance itself from its distant relative, the ill-fatedArthur Andersen. After Accenture, then known as Andersen Consulting, successfullypetitioned to break away from then-sibling company Arthur Andersen following alengthy arbitration process, the firm re-named itself Accenture as of January 1, 2001.Today’s Accenture bears no relation to the troubled Arthur Andersen. In fact,Accenture has been ranked the 52nd most valuable global brand by BusinessWeek,and Fortune magazine has named Accenture the third “most admired” company in itsindustry in the U.S.The firm boasted a successful 2003, an achievement to be proud of in a tougheconomic environment. Revenues before reimbursements grew 2 percent year-over-year, and Accenture earned $16.1 billion in new bookings. Revenues wereparticularly strong in the Government unit, which earned $1.58 billion, up 20 percentfrom fiscal year 2002, and Communications & High Tech, at $3.29 billion, up from$3.18 billion for fiscal year 2002. Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 163
  • 171. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Accenture Hands across the world If you go to work for Accenture, you’ll have colleagues all over the world. More than half of all the company’s revenue comes from its operations outside the U.S. During fiscal year 2003, revenues grew most in the EMEA group, comprising Europe, the Middle East and Africa, up 8 percent over 2002. Revenues grew by 2 percent in the Asia Pacific region, while the Americas reported a 2 percent loss. In fact, while it claims to have to no corporate headquarters, in February 2001 Accenture became the first professional services firm to incorporate its official residence in Bermuda. A relative lack of business rules and regulations, along with no income or capital gains tax, have drawn many corporations to the scenic island – though Accenture says that it has never been a U.S.-based or -operated organization and has never operated under a U.S. parent organization. With more than half of its 2,500 partners non-U.S. citizens, it says that, after considering a number of options, as a cultural matter it chose the neutral location of Bermuda for its post-IPO parent company. Accenture also owns an operating company in Luxembourg, another tax haven. Those pesky feds Accenture was one of the U.S. government’s largest contractors in 2001, with $279 million in federal contracts. A report by the Associated Press in May 2003 found that Accenture received $440 million in federal contracts between October 1, 2001, and September 30, 2002, mostly from the Transportation Security Administration. For that reason, Accenture’s island address caught the attention of some members of Congress. In October 2002, the U.S. General Accounting Office named Accenture, along with three other non-U.S.-based companies, in a report that raised eyebrows about these companies’ large contracts with the federal government. In response to the report, Congressional Democrats introduced legislation barring companies that had “expatriated,” or relocated to more business-favorable nations overseas, from winning federal contracts. (The legislation, tacked on as an amendment to bills in 2002 and 2003, hadn’t made it to President Bush’s desk as of 2004.) In any case, while the GAO found the three other companies named in the report (including Bermuda-based Tyco International) to have performed “corporate inversion,” whereby a company moves from the U.S. and reincorporates in tax havens, the report didn’t make that accusation stick to Accenture. So it seems that even if such legislation were to pass, Accenture could make a case for not being covered by it. CAREER164 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 172. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms AccentureBy the people, for the peopleAccenture’s own research indicates that government outsourcing has a promisingfuture, both in the U.S. and abroad. According to a survey released by the firm inMay 2003, nearly 90 percent of government executives outsource activities that are“important or absolutely critical” to their mission of citizen service delivery. InNovember 2003, Accenture won two new contracts, collectively valued at up to$38.4 million, to overhaul and integrate business systems for the U.S. Army and theDefense Logistics Agency. On a more local level, in May 2003, Accenture helpedroll out a 311 help line for residents of New York City. The information hotline wasdesigned, built and deployed through a joint venture between the firm and the city.Worldwide consultingOverseas, the firm’s government-related contracts took a number of forms. In July2003, the company signed a more than $40 million-contract to provide the city ofCopenhagen, Denmark, with outsourced payroll and other human resources services.In March 2003, the Bundesanstalt fur Arbeit, Germany’s federal labor office,awarded Accenture a five-year contract worth approximately $50 million to design,build and operate a job portal to link employers and job seekers with officials atGermany’s labor office via the Internet. In September 2003, Accenture andMicrosoft announced plans to introduce an enhanced version of the AccentureeGovernment Accelerator, designed to help governments speed up the rollout of newelectronic services. The two companies planned to market the solution in at least 14countries. And in June 2003, the firm launched a new business called AccentureeDemocracy Services, focused on delivering comprehensive services to electionagencies around the world. This new unit expanded upon Accenture’s previous workin the elections arena, including the development of Florida’s Central Voter Database(CVD), which was used during the 2002 midterm elections. In December 2003,Accenture scored a contract worth more than $1.7 billion to help the UnitedKingdom’s National Health Service improve health care for patients in EasternEngland, following a win of a similar contract for Northeast England.Doing business overseas comes with some unique issues. In July 2003, Accenturereported that it was conducting an internal probe into the possible bribery of foreignofficials in the Middle East. The probe was undertaken voluntarily, and the firminformed the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justiceabout its investigation. Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 165
  • 173. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Accenture The tech boom continues, at least for Accenture Accenture continues to derive a steady stream of business from tech-related engagements. In 2003, for example, the firm signed an agreement with SAP AG to deliver IT solutions for banks and insurance companies worldwide (in September); a deal to deliver instructor-led training on a comprehensive portfolio of Sun Microsystems technologies to Sun’s customers in the U.S. and Europe (also in September); and an agreement to provide bank card giant Providian with technology application development and maintenance services (August). Also during 2003, Accenture signed up 60 customers, including Hewlett-Packard, Sony Corp., Texas Instruments, and Fujitsu to help offload spare and close-out products on online supersite eBay. Accenture collects an average of 10 percent of transaction fees for the deals, according to a December 2003 article by Reuters. Other significant 2003 engagements included an $80 million outsourcing agreement with Southern Company Gas, and a 10-year contract to help the California State Automobile Association upgrade its human resources and financial management systems. In June, the firm completed a major agency-wide financial systems upgrade for the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA). In March 2003, Wyeth hired Accenture to manage its pharmaceutical data operations for clinical trials. As for research, the company in January 2004 launched, with the Vanderbilt Center for Better Health, a research-based effort aimed at facilitating information flow in the global health care industry. In April 2003, Accenture announced that it had become the co-publisher of the Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, a quarterly publication produced by Stern Stewart. The first issue focused on the ways corporations are using the “real options” method of valuing strategic investments. Outsourcing outruns consulting It’s possible to imagine an Accenture that in a decade will have very little to do with the world of traditional consulting. The company says it wants to continue to grow its consulting business, asserting in its 2003 annual report that it wants to achieve double-digit growth in this area over the next three years. Fast-growing areas for the firm’s consulting services include supply chain, customer transformation, security, IT optimization, and finance and performance management. At the same time, David Hunter, CEO of the Asia-Pacific region, was quoted in a November 2003 Business Daily Update article as suggesting that outsourcing is expected to replace management consulting as Accenture’s core business globally after 2007. The numbers seem to back this up: While consulting contributed 84 CAREER166 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 174. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Accenturepercent of Accenture’s revenues in 2000, by 2003 that number had dropped to 70percent. Meanwhile, the percentage of revenues derived from outsourcing grew from16 percent in 2000 to 30 percent in 2003, a 37 percent increase in just three years.When the firm cut 1,000 managerial positions worldwide in September 2002, itsimultaneously announced plans to hire as many as 8,000 employees to bolsteroutsourcing capabilities.Asian invasionChina is expected to be the “growth leader” for the company, Asia-Pacific chiefHunter has said. Contracted sales in China grew by more than 700 percent duringfiscal year 2003, according to the Business Daily Update. As many of China’s state-owned businesses undergo reforms, Accenture has stepped up to manage the process,contracting, for example, with the Bank of China and China Mobile. It also countsChina’s four telecom carriers as clients.India is another hot spot for the company. Accenture opened a software developmentcenter in Bangalore, India in October 2002, becoming one of many consultancies toexpand its Indian operations in recent years. The Times of India reported inSeptember that the firm’s workforce in India doubled in the six months between Mayand December of 2003. Another report indicated the firm was hiring 200 people aweek in the region. Much of this hiring is in support of the company’s boomingoutsourcing business, which accounts for most of the positions.Time to trainAccenture boasts that it spent $391 million on training during fiscal year 2003. Newanalysts typically spend two to three weeks at Accenture’s gigantic main trainingfacility, in St. Charles, Ill., developing team-building and management skills. Thesystem enables Accenture to offer standardized solutions and encourage consultantsfrom disparate offices and backgrounds to work well together. This program, saysone insider, “is intense and no joy-ride, and lasts about 12 hours a day for a week totwo weeks.”After their time at St. Charles, Accenture professionals can access the company’smore than 4,000 classroom, computer-based and Web-enabled training programs viaa Web-based learning portal. Training for new graduates also occurs under the aegisof Accenture’s Professional Development Program (PDP), which lasts for 18-24months. Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 167
  • 175. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Accenture In November 2003, the firm announced plans to open a second training center in Dalian, in Northeast China’s Liaoning Province, by 2006. Asia-Pacific chief Hunter predicted that the center, which will offer business training in Japanese, Korean, Chinese and other languages, would employ at least 3,000 people by 2006. Trimming from the apex of the pyramid Accenture laid off about 760 employees, or 1 percent of its workforce, in March 2003. Most of these cuts affected mid- to high-level managers. The job trim was handled by regional managers, and recruitment continued apace. During the turbulent year of 2001, Accenture, like many of its peers, had to resort to staff cutbacks, though it offered many of its employees flexible leave options as a way of softening the blow. New blood at the top Accenture CEO Joe W. Forehand came on board in November 1999, when he was named successor to George Shaheen (who bolted for the ill-fated Internet grocery service Webvan) as CEO and managing partner. Less than two years into his tenure, Forehand was named the Most Influential Consultant by Consulting magazine. Soon after taking the position, Forehand created an expanded office of the CEO, which initially included Chief Operating Officer Stephan James as sub-leader of the company’s Group Chief Executives. The pair expanded to become a triumvirate in March 2003, with the addition of William Green. Green took on the title of COO – Client Services, while James’ position was renamed COO – Capabilities. At the same time, Accenture announced the creation of a new position, CEO – Business Process Outsourcing, reporting to Forehand. The first titleholder is Jackson Wilson, the firm’s Corporate Development Officer. In April 2004, Accenture announced that William Green would become Accenture’s CEO in September 2004. Forehand will remain chairman. Tiger in the tank In October 2003, the firm launched a $75 million ad campaign featuring golf icon Tiger Woods, with the new tag line “High Performance Delivered.” The integrated campaign included print, cable and network TV advertising in 27 countries as well as display ads in airports. Some critics carped that hiring a golf pro (for a reported $6 million fee) was a bit of a stretch for what was essentially a business-to-business campaign. The first TV spots happened to air during the broadcast of Woods’ CAREER168 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 176. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Accenturewinning performance in a PGA Tour championship, which illustrated the tag linenicely.Corporate citizenryAccenture says that it has made an effort to distinguish itself in the areas of workforcediversity as well as good corporate citizenship. In 2003, the company was honoredwith the Catalyst Award for its innovative approaches to recruiting and advancingwomen. Working Mother magazine recognized Accenture as one of the “100 BestCompanies for Working Mothers.”When Accenture made its initial public offering in 2001, its partners made asignificant endowment of Accenture shares to fund a global giving program. In 2003,the firm founded the Accenture Corporate Citizenship Council to focus its charitableactivities. Accenture employees around the world have been involved in projectsincluding an HIV clinic for children in South Africa; the Special Olympics WorldSummer Games in Ireland; business training for young Nigerian professionals; website development for teachers in Brazil; and school improvement projects inPhiladelphia.GETTING HIREDOn the spotAccenture, from all reports, puts its potential hires through a thorough recruitingprocess. One campus hire says he received three rounds of interviews. “The firstinterview discussed the resume. Other questions included, ‘Why do you want towork for Accenture?’ and Why consulting?’ This interview is short and just checksto make sure that you are who you say you are and to make sure you have thepersonality to work for Accenture. The second interview was behavioral. Questionsincluded: ‘Tell me about a time when something did not go your way?’; ‘How didyou deal with this?’; ‘What was the result?’ The third interview was a visit to theoffice. There was an office tour and then interviews with a partner. I got my offerduring the office visit.”One insider reports having “five interviews before getting [the position].” Anothersays the hiring process is a “two-half day procedure that takes you through a seriesof interviews and special tests to assess your ability to be a good consultant.” Prepare Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 169
  • 177. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Accenture to be challenged, insiders say: “The hiring process is extremely rigorous with multiple interviews and testing,” says a Canadian insider. OUR SURVEY SAYS Accentuate the positive For the most part, Accenture insiders describe their company as a go-getting, fast- paced culture – the firm is “competitive, but [has a] strong focus on teaming,” says one consultant. Another describes the culture as “proactive,” adding, “people are responsive, they get things done quickly and accurately; great teamwork even if you are approaching someone you don’t know for info.” “Flexible,” “entrepreneurial,” “constantly moving,” and “supportive” are other terms used to describe the culture. “Accenture is truly interested in the individual’s success. They give you the ability to manage your own career,” a consultant reports. A colleague says, “Our people are smart and dedicated. While it’s a bit competitive at times, I find for the most part people are straight-shooters and willing to help. I have met some outstanding people here.” “The most common theme when asked about the Accenture culture is “It depends,” summarizes one insider. “In the office where I work (relatively small) there is a great camaraderie among the employees. While company-sponsored social activities have been limited in recent years, we are starting to bring back such events as comedy club attendace, partially-sponsored office trips, diversity and women’s forum dinners and happy hours, and so on.” The home office Accenture consultants cheer the company’s work-at-home policy. Says one insider, “My firm is extremely encouraging with regard to a flexible work schedule. As long as the work gets done well and on time, it doesn’t matter where I am or when I do it.” Flexibility is the name of the game at the firm: “Flexible work arrangements are a priority at Accenture,” writes a consultant. “My entire group takes advantage of flex days – I get every second Friday off!” “My company does an exceptional job of allowing its employees to maintain a work-life balance,” says another. “I feel that I have the responsibility/flexibility to manage my hours.” Insiders have few complaints about travel – one says that consultants travel “much less the last few years due to budget restrictions.” CAREER170 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 178. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Accenture“Real-time” promotionAccenture’s flexible approach is represented in its promotion and advancementprocesses, too. “It is up, it is sideways, it is diagonal. Accenture gives you a greatdeal of freedom to move around in the organization,” one consultant confides.Insiders say that Accenture’s different workforces each have a different approach topromotion and advancement. Says one consultant, “In my organization withinAccenture, we work on a real-time promotion process. If there is a business need,you can be promoted, as long as you have the necessary skills for the position.”Another consultant notes that the creation of different workforces “has moved usaway from a pure up-or-out career model.” A colleague agrees that Accenture is “notup or out – people can stay at a level for years if they choose.” Still selectivity “varieswith external market factors,” a consultant notes. “When times are tight, morescrutiny is put on those that are viewed as not performing.” Some consultants claimthat there is a “lack of career framework at higher levels.”Salary carping, perk approvalAccenture consultants render a mixed verdict on compensation: salaries get athumbs-down, while the perks get thumbs up. This state of affairs may have to dowith becoming a public company, says one insider: “When we were private, peoplehad very large salaries but no stock or bonuses. Now we have to become marketrelevant, which means base pay has to decrease to accommodate increases inbonus/variable pay.” Another says that “raises have been minimal in the past fewyears, expectedly so given the market, but [they] had been quite generous in previousyears.” Employees “receive restricted share units based on our progress throughoutthe year and have the option to participant in a profit sharing program,” a consultantreports. Others complain that “the salary is in the lower range of the industryaverage.”Insiders consider the work-from-home option and generous vacation time to beamong Accenture’s best perks – though as for the latter, “it’s sometimes difficult tofind the time to take time off,” says one consultant. “Many of [the] perks havedisappeared with economic downturn and IT industry shifts,” comments another.Some that remain include “renting out a six flags amusement park once a year,”according to a Chicago employee, and “mini-office parties (pot luck lunches,afternoon wine and cheese, etc.)” in Canada. One insider, however, carps that whileworking from home may mean more flexibility, “the sense of community fails aspeople work more from home.” And some budding conspiracy theorists grumble Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 171
  • 179. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Accenture about “very limited space due to closing of offices” – perhaps to encourage more Accenture-ites to work from home. Supervision and training Most Accenture consultants say they are pleased with their relationships with higher- ups. “Communication is very open here and people are given great opportunities to build relationships and get experience with top level management,” raves one consultant. Another consultant agrees that “Partners and associate partners are very responsive to your needs.” At the same time, consultants note that “there is very little mentoring here.” Says one insider, “Training has devolved for my workforce into an annual meeting.” There’s “not a lot of formal training available anymore,” a colleague reports. Focus on women Taking a cue from other top consulting firms like Deloitte, Accenture has set up initiatives for women in the workplace, insiders say. For instance, an insider reports, “The company has set up a committee called ‘Great Place to Work for Women.’ This committee deals with everything from flexible work arrangements for mothers to overall skill development. A branch of this committee is a local Women’s Networking Forum in each city – the Forums organize events that allow women the chance to meet and network with other women in the company.” Says another Accenture consultant, “While there are very few women in top management positions, I am lucky to work with some of the best.” As for minorities and gays and lesbians, insiders had no problems to report, with one noting that “everyone has the same opportunities to advance.” Charity at home Community involvement at Accenture runs the gamut from United Way and Junior Achievement through walkathons and clothing drives. Many initiatives are handled on the local level through individual offices, insiders say. “After September 11, for example, Accenture built the IT infrastructure to support the center [for] surviving families,” reports one consultant. Another insider says that “a new Corporate Citizenship Council was formed in the fall. The CCC’s role is to seek out new charity initiatives and to provide additional funding for existing and new activities on both a local and national level.” CAREER172 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 180. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Accenture “Flexible workarrangements are a priority at Accenture.” — Accenture consultantVisit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at www.vault.com/consulting — withinsider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 173
  • 181. V A U L T 14 PRESTIGE Towers Perrin RANKING One Stamford Plaza THE STATS 263 Tresser Blvd. Stamford, CT 06901 Employer Type: Private Company Phone: (203) 326-5400 Chairman & CEO: Mark V. Mactas www.towersperrin.com 2003 Employees: 8,300 2003 Revenue: $1.5 billion LOCATIONS UPPERS Stamford, CT (HQ) 77 additional offices worldwide • Minimal travel • Rapid advancement PRACTICE AREAS DOWNERS Benefits Administration Employee Benefits • Poor communication from Executive Compensation management Financial & Insurance Management • Low or no bonuses Consulting Human Resources Consulting KEY COMPETITORS Reinsurance Hewitt Associates Mercer Human Resource Consulting Watson Wyatt Worldwide EMPLOYMENT CONTACT careers.towers.com THE BUZZ WHAT CONSULTANTS AT OTHER FIRMS ARE SAYING • “Knowledgeable” • “Very friendly and polite and professional” • “Canned solutions” • “More concerned with money than employees” CAREER174 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 182. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Towers PerrinTHE SCOOPHR pioneersTowers Perrin (or Towers, Perrin, Forster & Crosby, as it was known back then)opened for business in Philadelphia in 1934 with 26 employees. Today, the firmboasts more than 8,000 employees, in 78 offices in 24 countries, with 2003 revenuesof $1.5 billion. Specializing in human resources, consulting and administrationservices, reinsurance, and risk management and actuarial consulting (under theTillinghast name), Towers Perrin serves three-quarters of the Fortune 1000, alongwith nonprofits, governments, educational concerns and private companies.The firm’s HR roots run deep. Back in 1917, H. Walter Forster, a founder of the firm,developed the first private pension plan, for Union Carbide and Carbon Corporation.Other notable Towers Perrin innovations include the publication, in 1949, of its firstpension tax manual, which since became a standard reference source for the IRS, andthe production, in 1959, of the first personnel manual featuring formal benefitsdescriptions for corporations’ employees. The firm broadened its offerings in the1960s, introducing compensation and organization consulting services; its 1983merger with strategy and management consulting firm Cresap, McCormick and Pagetled to the creation of a new general management services division. Following a 1986merger with Tillinghast, Nelson & Warren, the firm simplified its name to TowersPerrin in 1987.Recent business activity includes the acquisition in 2000 of Pegasus, a designer ofreinsurance products; the acquisition of British reinsurance and insuranceintermediary and consultancy Denis M. Clayton & Co., Ltd. in 2002; and theacquisition in 2003 of Delphi Consultants, specializing in SAP implementation.Divide and conquerTowers Perrin organizes itself into three practice areas. Its HR Services businessprovides consulting and administrative services in areas like employee benefits,compensation, communication, change management and employee research. In July2003, the firm launched Executive Compensation Resources (ECR), a new unit underits executive compensation consulting practice, specializing in data collection,analysis, research and information services. In the reinsurance division, TowersPerrin works on reinsurance intermediary services and program review; claimsmanagement and program administration; catastrophe exposure management; Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 175
  • 183. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Towers Perrin contract negotiation and placement; and market security issues. The Tillinghast business provides global actuarial and management consulting to insurance and financial services companies, advising other organizations on risk financing and self- insurance. Towers of data Towers Perrin produces a steady stream of research, including analyses of pension plans, surveys on the design of employee benefits, and studies of employees’ work ethics and attitudes toward their jobs. The firm also produces Towers Perrin Monitor (a monthly news summary for clients), Perspectives (occasional opinionated dispatches on recent events), and a news digest on developments affecting HR policy and strategy. Its consultants wind up on bookshelves, too – in February 2004, Towers Perrin principal Richard N. Ericson published Pay to Prosper: Using Value Rules to Reinvent Executive Incentives, a book offering solutions to the questions surrounding executive pay. The firm also has produced Web-Based Human Resources, a how-to book on implementing and maximizing HR software and hardware; and Making Mergers Work, which covers HR’s role when a company is undergoing a merger. In February 2004, Towers Perrin began mulling options for its Philadelphia offices once a lease expires in 2006. Some of the 1,400 jobs in the firm’s hometown location might be moved to Chesapeake, Va., said company officials, who hope to put pressure on Philadelphia and the state for tax incentives to stay. The perils of pensions Towers Perrin’s pension expertise makes it vulnerable to trouble in the pensions game, a murky world where pensions are calculated according to complicated formulas having to do with a company’s performance. As the economy headed south after 2001, the firm increasingly found itself in and around courtrooms. In August 2003, the firm was hit with a class action suit by former employees of trucking company Consolidated Freightways Company, Inc., charging that Towers Perrin’s actuarial advice had caused CFC’s pension plan to become underfunded, costing retirees million in lost pension benefits. The suit was dismissed by a federal judge in November 2003, however, on the grounds that the retirees first needed to see if the federal government would intervene in the case. The plaintiffs pledged to appeal. And in March 2004, the Houston City Council hired rival HR firm Mercer Human Resources Consulting to assess more than $1.5 billion in shortfalls in municipal police and pension funds formerly managed by Towers Perrin. Though the firm was CAREER176 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 184. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Towers Perrinnot entirely blamed for the pension mess, it gave up its position as actuary for themunicipal employees fund.The DOJ takes a lookTo make matters worse, in May 2004, the Justice Department conducted aninformation request of actuarial consulting firms, the trade journal Pensions &Investments reported. In a March letter to firms including Watson Wyatt & Co., TheSegal Co., Aon Corp. and Towers Perrin, the DOJ said it was investigating“anticompetitive agreements or understandings relating to contract terms andconditions among providers of actuarial consulting services.’’ According to Pensions& Investments, the DOJ is investigating whether large damage awards in lawsuitshave led to a conspiracy among the firms to limit damages by forcing pension fundsto accept caps or limits on liability.Across the pond, Towers Perrin found itself on the defensive in October 2003 when,according to the Guardian, it faced heat for designing a controversial salary plan atGlaxoSmithKline – a plan, protestors charged, larded with overpayments for execs.The firm met with 15 of Britain’s most powerful institutional investors and theAssociation of British Insurers to begin addressing investors’ concerns over bonusschemes, so-called “golden handshakes,” and other boons for top company brass.But Towers Perrin has scored some wins in recent years, as well – in April 2003, thefirm was selected to consult on a $250 million superannuating fund for tech giantEDS. And in August 2003, Nigel Bateman, head of the firm’s U.K. global consultingpractice, was appointed chairman of the International Employee BenefitsAssociation. In that same year, Managing Director Don Lowman was selected byConsulting magazine as one of the top 25 consultants in the world.GETTING HIREDHR hiring from the expertsAccording to Towers Perrin, the firm looks for people who can manage multiple tasksand competing priorities, who like a fast pace and adapt easily to change, and“understand that there’s more than one way to accomplish almost anything.” If thatisn’t enough, the company maintains a comprehensive list of “key skills andcharacteristics” on its detailed career pages on the Towers Perrin web site. Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 177
  • 185. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Towers Perrin The firm maintains a searchable job database online; it also recruits at many universities, all of which are listed on the web site. But insiders say the firm can be somewhat selective, depending on the line of business you wish to enter. “Executive compensation, change management, etc., tend to recruit at better (i.e., Ivy or equivalent) schools,” says one source. “I went to a small liberal arts school and ended up here through an alumni contact who works here and had to fight very hard to get me an interview. Top performers can come from many places and TP should be more willing to review nontraditional candidates,” says a colleague. A range of interviews Recruits have their first interview on campus; the initial session is a behavioral interview, which, says one insider, “feels a lot like psychoanalysis, but it can be quite revealing as far as a candidate’s mental stamina is concerned.” In the second round, candidates spend a day at a local office. The firm conducts three types of interviews, depending on position: experiential interviews (who you are and what you’ve done), hypothetical-situation interviews (how you would respond in various working situations) and case studies (you’ll be asked what factors the client should consider, what facts you’ll need, alternative approaches, your evaluation and prescription and potential obstacles). One successful candidate reports, “I interviewed with roughly 10 people, ranging from future colleagues (people at my level) all the way up to the regional leader, over a period of about three months. The interview process was fairly laid back – I was not asked the same tough case study questions that I faced at other consulting firms. Many of my interviews were over lunch. I was asked questions about my experience, how I created value for my previous employer, what my job responsibilities were, what I liked and disliked about my previous job, how my skills were a good fit for Towers Perrin, why I was interested in working for Towers Perrin, and so on.” Patience is a virtue Candidates should prepare for the long haul – in some cases, up to six interviews may occur before the company extends an offer. Says one insider: “At one point, I was told I was going to receive a job offer, and then suddenly I was asked to go through additional interviews. I’m not sure why that happened, and I was very frustrated about it at the time. Also, it often took days (sometimes weeks) for me to hear from people about ‘next steps,’ additional interviews, etc.” The source adds, “After I joined Towers Perrin, I learned that that’s part of the culture. Frankly, people are so CAREER178 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 186. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Towers Perrinbusy with client work that they have little time to follow up with job candidates. Itcomes across as rude, but I think it’s honestly unintentional. When I startedinterviewing people for a job in my group, I realized I became guilty of the same badbehavior that had frustrated me as a candidate.”The source concludes: “A piece of advice for people interviewing with the company:Don’t be afraid to be proactive. If someone doesn’t call you, call them. Theyprobably are not avoiding you – they’re just busy. If they’ve decided not to offer youa job, they’ll tell you. If they don’t call, it simply means they haven’t made a decisionyet, or they are talking about next steps.”OUR SURVEY SAYSA clubby TowerTowers Perrin, sources say, is a “fast-paced firm filled with very intelligent people,though sometimes people can forget that work can be fun or should be fun.” It’s a“great learning experience” and “very intense.” Says one insider: “The culture istypical of professional services – focus on specialization during the early career andaccept increasing responsibility as you become more successful and experienced. Asa private firm, the atmosphere is somewhat ‘clubby’ and elitist particularly in somepractice areas. Mid-career hires often struggle to adapt and most people in keymanagement roles can be linked to a mentor in a position of authority.” Those whostart at the bottom rung of the ladder, another insider reports, will find thatopportunities for associates are “vast … my first year at Towers was a bit slow, butnow I am swamped. I am getting great experiences on many types of projects.” Butone consultant grumbles that “recent changes in leadership and companyrestructuring [are] making the place feel unstable.”You can expect to work hard at Towers, with the work-life ratio tipped toward theformer, a source warns: “If you have no family or others who depend on you, thework environment will suit you.” Still, travel is quite minimal at the firm, and manyemployees don’t travel at all, though “travel requirements vary depending on line ofbusiness.” Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 179
  • 187. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Towers Perrin Ps and carrots As for advancement, a source explains, “Each position is assigned a P grade. Associates are P1-P5; consultants are P6-P9 and above. People at P9 and above are usually principals or on the ‘principal track.’” The source reports receiving a promotion of “roughly one ‘P’ grade each year to one-and-a-half years.” “Your billable hours and knowledge get you through the P1-P4 levels. Your actuarial exam progression or post-graduate degree plus industry knowledge get you to the P5 (bonus eligible) level and above (P6) is consultant,” reports another. But others report that promotion is all about connections: One insider advises, “There are plenty of opportunities for advancement, but you must take lots of initiative and hitch your wagon to a rising star if you want to capitalize on them.” Faulty Towers management? Ask around, and you’ll hear a bit of grumbling about management at Towers. “Quite frankly, they seem to put people in charge who are out of touch with long-term views,” says a source. Communication from the top seems to be an issue: “E-mails go out talking about [how] ‘changes are coming’ and vague explanations of realignment, yet no one will provide answers. Leadership is not as strong as they think – a company-wide survey was completed, and answers were ‘shocking’ to upper management. Scores were low in communication. Shocker!” Another source puts it more mildly: “You learn your job from very intelligent and capable people but sometimes their communication skills may not be the best.” Complaints about the management extend into discussions of salary, as well. “The disparity of income is a huge issue – principals make significant sums of money,” an insider reports. “This disparity has become a bigger issue as merit budgets have shrunk (consultants received 0 percent to 3 percent pay raises in 2004).” The source adds, “People at non-principal levels are feeling as though the company is ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ – and Paul isn’t some guy down the street, he’s sitting in the office right next door. It doesn’t feel fair, and it’s terrible for morale.” Says a colleague, “Bonuses are determined before performance management is completed, so they really don’t use your scores to determine your raises and advancement.” Others report that pay cuts instituted two years ago have not yet been reinstated. The company reportedly provides a 6 percent 401(k) match, and three to four weeks of vacation a year (“if you can use it,” one insider snits). CAREER180 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 188. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Towers PerrinRoom to growDiversity got low marks from our respondents, who described it as “basicallynonexistent.” “The hiring process focuses heavily on ‘fit’ and strong relationshipsappear to be the most critical element of advancement beyond the pre-principal level.Women have made some breakthroughs, but minorities have few role models,” asource says.Insiders report plenty of community service, including volunteer projects with “paidleave to conduct volunteer work,” “regional community involvement,” and“supporting charities and employees who are raising money for charities like cancerand the heart association.” For more information on top consulting employers and consulting careers, go to the Vault Consulting Career Channel • Detailed 40-page employer profiles on top employers like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Accenture and more • Surveys of employees at hundreds of consulting firms • The only job board on the Web dedicated to consulting jobs – The Vault Consulting Job Board • Case interview guides and one-on-one case interview prep www.vault.com/consulting Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 181
  • 189. V A U L T Roland Berger Strategy 15 PRESTIGE Consultants RANKING Arabellastr. 33 THE STATS 81925 Munich Germany Employer Type: Private Company Phone: +49-89-92 30-0 Speaker of the Executive Committee: Fax: +49-89-92 30-8202 Dr. Burkhard Schwenker 2003 Employees: 1,700 350 Park Avenue 2002 Employees: 1,700 30th Floor 2003 Revenue: >$625 million New York, NY 10022 2002 Revenue: $396.3 million Phone: (212) 651-9680 Fax: (212) 756-8750 www.rolandberger.com UPPERS • Powerful firm in Europe with lots LOCATIONS of international exposure Munich, Germany (HQ) New York, NY (U.S. HQ) DOWNERS 34 offices worldwide • Increased scrutiny of public contracts in Europe COMPETENCE CENTERS Functional: Corporate Strategy & KEY COMPETITORS Organization • Information A.T. Kearney Management • Marketing & Sales • Bain & Company Operations Strategy • Restructuring Boston Consulting Group & Corporate Finance McKinsey & Company Industry: Automotive • Chemicals & Oil • Consumer Goods & Retail • EMPLOYMENT CONTACT Engineered Products & High Tech • Financial Services • InfoCom• U.S.: Pharma & Medical Devices • Public Ms. Watson Services & Health Care • Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Transportation • Utilities 350 Park Avenue, 30th floor New York, NY 10022 Phone: (212) 651-9682 THE BUZZ WHAT CONSULTANTS AT OTHER FIRMS ARE SAYING Fax: (212) 756-8750 E-mail: • “Becoming stronger and stronger, us_recruit@us.rolandberger.com not only in Germany” Outside the U.S.: • “Pretentious, provincial” See international recruiting contacts • “Deep pockets” at: www.rolandberger.com • “Automotive guys” Online applications accepted only. CAREER182 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 190. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Roland Berger Strategy ConsultantsTHE SCOOPEuro-style consultingThe largest consultancy of European origin, German powerhouse Roland BergerStrategy Consultants has enjoyed a growth rate of more than 18 percent per year sinceits founding in 1967. The firm serves 30 percent of the Global 1000, and more than40 percent of the leading companies in Europe. In Germany, the firm advises around90 percent of the country’s top 50 manufacturing and trading firms, as well as 60percent of its banks and insurance companies. According to consulting research firmLuenendonk, Roland Berger ranked second in Germany in terms of revenue in 2002,at $396.3 million; only McKinsey & Company ranked higher.Roland Berger has nearly 1,700 employees in 34 offices scattered throughout Europe,Asia, and the Americas. Its U.S. offices are in San Francisco, Detroit and New York.The firm’s Amsterdam office opened for business in 2002. In September 2003, thefirm opened its newest office in Zagreb, Croatia.Centers of competenceThe firm organizes itself into global “Competence Centers,” designated by industryand function, which interact to provide value to clients. Functionally, the firmprovides corporate strategy and organization; information management; marketingand sales; operations strategy; restructuring and corporate finance. Industrycompetence centers include automotive, chemicals and oil, consumer goods andretail, engineered products and high tech, financial services, InfoCom, pharma andmedical devices, public services and health care, transportation, and utilities.The firm Roland Berger is inextricably linked to the name and persona of its founder,Roland Berger, confidante of Germany’s leading politicians and a powerful figure inhis country. Berger, a businessman and former consultant at the Boston ConsultingGroup, founded his consulting firm as a one-man show in Munich in 1967, when hewas just 30. The firm had expanded overseas by 1976 with the opening of its SãoPaulo office. By 1987, the firm’s success had attracted the attention of DeutscheBank, which purchased a majority of shares, leaving decision-making power in thehands of Berger and his partners. The partners orchestrated a buyout of the bank’sshares just a few years later. Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 183
  • 191. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Friends in hohen places Berger’s influence in Germany is strong; he’s a big proponent of privatization, and the firm has been involved in the privatization of a number of local, state and federal utilities and services. In fact, Berger is so close with German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder that he gets to address the chancellor with the informal “du,” rather than the formal “Sie”; Berger also was asked to serve as Schroeder’s finance minister (he declined – presumably, consulting pays better!). This, in addition to his close relationship with the Bavarian premier has raised eyebrows in Germany, a country whose citizens are increasingly suspicious of what they call “Germany Inc.,” a term “used to describe the chummy ties between politics and business,” according to a February 2004 Wall Street Journal article. A troubled economy and federal budget has led to more scrutiny of government funds in the country, and those who are looking aren’t happy with what they’re turning up. Consulting as a whole is suffering an “image problem” in Germany lately, especially with respect to public contracts, a source told the Journal. Though these public sector contracts are perfectly legal, the Journal reported, opposition parties and the media have been questioning the way they are awarded, as well as their necessity (though Berger was at the center of the controversy, other consulting giants like McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group are taking the heat, too). In any case, Roland Berger has taken a back seat position at the firm since July 2003, when he moved to the company’s Supervisory Board and put control in the hands of the Executive Committee made up of four members, Burkhard Schwenker, António Bernardo, Thomas Eichelmann and Martin Wittig. Vroom, vroom Perhaps unsurprisingly for a German company, the firm has strong ties to the auto industry at home and in the States. In March 2004, Roland Berger presented a study at the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress in Detroit, which got a lot of buzz in the automotive press. The study, produced in cooperation with the Original Equipment Suppliers Association, outlined global success strategies for automotive suppliers, indicating that North American suppliers are under increasing pressure to take their production offshore. In early 2003, the firm drew up a restructuring plan for Washtec, a German company specializing in vehicle cleaning technologies. A January 2003 study pinpointed China as the world’s fastest-growing car market, projecting that new car sales in China would soon exceed two million a year. And in CAREER184 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 192. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Roland Berger Strategy Consultantslate 2002, the firm looked into Fiat Auto’s layoff plans at the behest of the Italiangovernment, which was trying to find a layoff alternative that would please both Fiatand trade unions.An eye on AsiaIn August 2003, Roland Berger issued a report on the consulting market in China,claiming that it would be among the top ten worldwide by 2020, with a yearlyincrease of 31 percent from 2004 through 2010. Another report, conducted with theGerman chamber of commerce and released in November 2003, found that 94percent of German companies doing business in Japan were turning healthy profits.Scholars and MBAs togetherRoland Berger loves its academics. While 16 percent of its consultants have MBAs,around 20 percent of its consultants boast PhDs. The firm (emphatically) states thatconsultants don’t need to have business degrees; about 50 percent of its consultantshold a degree in a field other than business. That doesn’t mean MBAs areunwelcome, of course; in fact, MBA activities are coordinated on a corporate levelby the firm’s MBA Relations department.The company has also formed an “Academic Network,” consisting of 15 Europeanbusiness schools whose representatives meet regularly – including Roland Berger’sown internal PhD and MBA programs. The firm also sponsors the Roland BergerChair for E-Business and Information Technology” at INSEAD and the Internet-based Information Systems (IBIS) chair at Munich’s Technical University.Getting startedAll new consultants participate in a two-week “kickoff” event at an exclusiveEuropean location, involving training and social events with peers, Roland Bergerpartners and external trainers. After that, new hires are immediately put to work ona project.In addition, the firm encourages its own consultants to continue their education; itsponsors potential consultants to do their MBAs and PhDs.Students around the world can benefit from Roland Berger’s knowledge, too, througha three-day consulting workshop, known as “topics,” that lets those interested inconsulting solve real cases with a real Roland Berger client in a fun environment (in2004, the event will be held at Lake Maggiore, Italy). Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 185
  • 193. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Partners in progress Mentoring is a key part of the learning process at the firm. New consultants get to choose a partner to be their mentor, with whom they meet regularly to talk about seminars, future projects, and develop articles and studies. The mentor also helps define the annual goals that make up the company’s review process, which take place semi-annually. Each project receives its own evaluation, including a “bottom up” review of the project manager’s performance. Roland Berger is also big on pro bono: Along with other companies, it sponsors the STEP 21 network, through which 30,000 young people in Germany, Austria and Switzerland come together to exchange and implement ideas through projects like antiviolence seminars, theater troupes and campaigns against right-wing extremism. The company also participates in “Days of Care,” a volunteer-oriented project; in 2003, staffers helped build a children’s playground outside a center for asylum seekers in Munich. An international playground If you’re looking for an international experience, Roland Berger may be able to help; two thirds of its projects are staffed across national borders, and the firm offers an International Staff Exchange Program, with the opportunity to work in an international office for two years or more within the context of an international assignment. After two years of service, consultants may also take a sabbatical. GETTING HIRED Continental entrepreneurs wanted Roland Berger is looking for applicants with good analytical and conceptual abilities, creativity, team spirit and strong communication skills. Grades should be “well above average,” though your major is “of secondary importance only.” The company also looks for candidates who can perform well in an international and entrepreneurial environment. Applying online is your best bet for fast turnaround, the company says. Offices that aren’t yet linked to the online application form provide e-mail addresses to which candidates can send resumes. Offices have minor differences in the way they handle hiring, but each of them is expected to respond to candidates within two weeks. CAREER186 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 194. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Roland Berger Strategy ConsultantsJunior consultant and consultant applicants should contact Roland Berger four to ninemonths before graduation, while interns and summer associates should get in touchthree months ahead of time. One insider notes that the firm is increasingly targetingMBAs from top programs to fulfill a demand for more seasoned consultants.As for the interview process itself, one insider says it involves “three to fourinterviews of increasing technical difficulty, e.g., the first one might include statisticsexercises, NPV, etc.; the second interview include a couple of case studies; while thethird and fourth test general economic/market/industry understanding and thinkingand also compatibility with the firm.”OUR SURVEY SAYSAll about the partnersInsiders call Roland Berger’s culture “partner-based.” “Every partner [manages] agroup of consultants,” explains an insider. As for those partners, there’s reported ahigh degree of variability – some are excellent mentors and leaders, granting the rightmix of firm guidance and laissez-faire for personal growth – some are merelydemanding.” Demanding or not, reviews are conducted at the end of each project,with partners evaluating their consultants – and vice versa.Ladder scaling As far as advancement for those who yearn to be partners themselves, advancementis said to be “strictly up or out for the first few years. Afterwards, [the] career pathdepends on individual skills and capabilities. On average it takes three years to gofrom consultant to senior consultant.” The still-wobbly economy, notes oneconsultant, “puts substantial pressure on the partners. However, good people willprogress, even under the difficult circumstances of today.” Still, a few consultantspoint out the existence of “internal competition” and “rivalry” for said advancement.Another way to move up, aside from doing good work and competing internally?Sophistication. Says a consultant, “We try to get the best and most worldlycandidates. Most of our projects work in or with foreign clients, therefore it is crucialthat our consultants think beyond the U.S. borders. Promotion is a factor of personalperformance and business requirements.” Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 187
  • 195. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Melting pot Roland Berger says its consulting staff is about 17 percent women, with this figure rising to 30 percent in some “Competence Centers.” Female representation is said to be “better in the U.S. then in Europe (Germany in particular.)” Still “there’s always a good mix on projects.” As far as ethnic diversity goes, Roland Berger has a head start. “We are one of the best melting pots around. Working with so many international clients it works to our advantage to have a high level of diversity.” On the clock The firm says that its consultants average 55 hours a week – “weekend work is not on the agenda.” There are “no set rules” for how many days consultants spend traveling or with clients; in general, the firm maintains a Monday through Thursday client schedule, with Fridays in the office. However, one consultant contends that weekend work depends on the partner one works for – consultants might find themselves working “four weekends or none.” Other insiders say that a “12 hour day” and workweeks of 60 to 70 hours are not unheard of. As for travel, Roland Berger consultants say they spend between two and five days on the road. Depending on location, notes one consultants, numerous day trips may be required. “Some day trips are tiring, but I am very much used to it. In addition, I quite like traveling so I do not feel it is a burden,” says one consultant. Training time Roland Berger consultants have nice things to say about training, “which is held globally – a huge networking factor.” The firm is said to offer a “good mix of internal and external trainers (covering both theory and practice).” One New Yorker notes dryly that training is well-received “when available in English.” The firm also fosters “mentor/mentee relationships” between partners and more junior consultants. CAREER188 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 196. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Roland Berger Strategy Consultants “We are one of the best melting pots around.” — Roland Berger consultantVisit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at www.vault.com/consulting — withinsider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 189
  • 197. V A U L T 16 PRESTIGE The Gallup Organization RANKING 901 F Street, NW THE STATS Washington, DC 20004 Phone: (877) 242-5587 Employer Type: Private Company or (202) 715-3030 President and CEO: James Clifton Fax: (202) 715-3041 2004 Employees: 1,600 www.gallup.com 2004 Revenue: $200 million (estimated) LOCATIONS UPPERS Washington, DC (HQ) 40 offices in 20 countries • Pay for performance can be rewarding • “Belief in talent and performance – KEY INDUSTRIES not age and tenure.” Automotive Business Services DOWNERS Education Financial Services • Confusing compensation plans Health Care • Increasing bureaucracy Hospitality Retail KEY COMPETITORS Gartner Hewitt Associates Towers Perrin Watson Wyatt Worldwide EMPLOYMENT CONTACT Sarah Van Allen E-mail: sarah_van_allen@gallup.com www.gallup.com/careers/ THE BUZZ WHAT CONSULTANTS AT OTHER FIRMS ARE SAYING • “Solid results; solid methodology” • “Highly rated in a narrow field” • “As if there’s a magic 12 questions?” • “Market research, not consulting” CAREER190 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 198. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms The Gallup OrganizationTHE SCOOPMore than a pollsterGallup’s public opinion polls are familiar to just about anyone with a TV or radio –but its influence in the field of management consulting is just beginning to gainrecognition. Having studied human nature and behavior for more than 70 years,Gallup is ideally suited to help organizations and individuals maximize theirperformance, according to the company. Polls aside, all signs point to Gallup’scontinued investment in consulting – in 2002, Gallup derived just 3 percent of itsrevenue from polling activities; the rest comes from its research-based consulting andtraining business.Gallup employs 2,000 people to deliver advisory services and development programsat client sites, online, at its Gallup University campuses and in more than 40 officesin 20 countries worldwide. Gallup employees include specialists from fields such aspsychology, sociology, management and economics. In recent years, the firm hasestablished a new headquarters in Washington, D.C. and continued to raise its profileoutside of the polling arena.The firm helps organizations devise and implement an effective organizationalperformance strategy; provides executive performance coaching for senior leaders;helps measure and improve customer and employee engagement; helps recruit andhire world-class performers; teaches all employees to identify, deploy and developtheir strengths; helps create an objective and easy-to-use performance appraisal andreview system and an effective succession planning system; helps design aperformance-based compensation system for all roles; and increases sales forceeffectiveness. Industries served include automotive, business services, education,financial services, health care, hospitality and retail.From product to presidential preferencesDr. George Gallup, formerly with the New York advertising agency Young &Rubicam, founded his public opinion polling organization in 1935. The company’sfocus shifted from quizzing consumers about their product choices to inquiring aboutother issues, like politics. In 1936, Gallup got its big break when it correctlypredicted Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidential election victory over Kansas governorAlfred Landon, contradicting the opinion of the nation’s leading poll at the time, theLiterary Digest. Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 191
  • 199. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms The Gallup Organization Major newspapers soon regularly picked up Gallup’s polls. In the late 1930s, the organization set its sights on another target – Hollywood. Gallup, along with his vice-president David Oglivy – who would later go on to found the Oglivy advertising agency – essentially invented the practice of using scientific market research to produce movies, testing story lines and other elements on audiences before release. Soon, the company was tapped for opinion polls in foreign countries. Gallup’s most prominent slip-up was its 1948 prediction that Thomas Dewey would defeat Harry Truman in the presidential election – a mistake that was duplicated by many newspapers and political pundits. But Gallup used this embarrassing setback to further refine his methods, and the company managed to survive with its reputation intact. George Gallup died in 1984, passing the company into the hands of his two sons, Alec and George Jr. In 1988, the brothers sold the firm to Nebraska-based Selection Research Inc. (SRI). Both Alec and George Jr. remained with the company, and SRI opted to retain the better-known Gallup name for the newly combined organization. Selection Research, which was founded by current Gallup CEO James Clifton’s father, Donald Clifton, specialized in conducting personality profiles that are used during the hiring process to analyze the potential “fit” of prospective employees within an organization. The merger with SRI marked the beginning of a period of rapid growth for Gallup – one that would see business and professional services gain increased emphasis. In September 2003, Donald Clifton, who founded SRI in 1969, died at age 79. He received a lifetime achievement award from the American Psychological Association, who called him “the father of strengths-based psychology and the grandfather of positive psychology.” Follow the Path Gallup says it differs from traditional management consulting firms. “While other consulting firms concentrate on providing organizations with two solutions – reducing costs and building or re-engineering systems,” Gallup says, “we focus on helping organizations grow by creating new customers and building powerful workplaces for talented employees.” Gallup bases much of its strategic advice on “The Gallup Path,” an organized approach to performance enhancement, created by CEO Jim Clifton. The path proceeds in logical steps, first by identifying a company’s strengths, making sure the right people are in the right jobs and hiring great managers. This in turn, according CAREER192 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 200. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms The Gallup Organizationto the Path, leads to engaged employees, who inspire engaged customers, whichdrives sustainable growth, leading to profit and, ultimately, stock increases.The firm also touts a “new model” for business success, outlined in the book FollowThis Path, by Curt Coffman, Gallup’s global practice leader for managementconsulting, and Gabriel Gonzalez-Molina, Gallup’s global practice leader for Galluppath management. According to the authors, today’s businesses must learn to thrivein “an emotion-driven economy.” Strong organizations connect to their customers onan emotional level, they argue, creating clients who aren’t just loyal, but“emotionally engaged.”Media mavenThe company plans to grow as a publishing and media force, The New York Timesreported in July 2003. “Having tasted publishing success, Gallup is eager todistribute more of its market research, polls and management ideas itself, rather thanrelying on newspapers and television networks as intermediaries,” the Times said.Gallup is the name behind two influential business books: First, Break All The Rules(1999) and Now, Discover Your Strengths (2001). In January 2003, the companybegan charging $95 a year for its previously free flagship online publication, TuesdayBriefing, and as of the summer of that year, the firm had managed to retain 34,000paying subscribers. Gallup’s online management publication, the GallupManagement Journal, offers case studies, management research, and perspectivefrom Gallup experts on employee management-related topics.On the summitGallup also offers regular summits that aim to introduce business executives,managers, and sales professionals to the firm’s research discoveries and bestpractices. Previous summits have covered “congregational engagement,” “world-class sales,” “talent-based hiring” and “growth strategies.”Gallup University is the firm’s virtual and physical outlet for the training anddevelopment components of its performance management solutions. The firmopened a corporate training campus in Omaha in August 2003 – a location choiceinfluenced by CEO Jim Clifton’s ties to the state. Classroom courses are also held inWashington, D.C., and Irvine, Calif. The university provides online training throughthe Gallup University web portal, which provides access to self-paced e-learning Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 193
  • 201. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms The Gallup Organization courses, reports and other learning resources. Gallup has teamed up with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to offer an MBA/MA in Executive Leadership. In December 2003, Gallup made a splash in the East, opening the first Asian campus for Gallup University in Singapore, the Asian regional hub for the firm. The firm doubled its staff in Singapore during 2003, and Christopher Stewart, regional managing partner, told the Business Times Singapore in October 2003 that growth would skyrocket in the region during the next few years. He added that the firm chose Singapore in part because of its strong intellectual property regulations. In August 2003, Gallup received the International Headquarters Award by Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB) for its commitment to make Singapore its regional hub for knowledge-driven activities. Driven toward diversity CEO Clifton told the Omaha World-Herald in August 2003 that Gallup “looks like the United Nations” and has one of the highest percentages of women in executive roles of any large U.S. company. Referring to the Silicon Valley’s acceptance of Indian software engineers during the late 1990s tech boom, he said, “You can be Indian, you can be gay, you can hardly speak English. They don’t care. We have to have an attitude like that, where we can accept a broad group of people. We have to base how we receive them on their value.” As might be expected, Gallup describes its workplace as unique, with an emphasis on personal development. Gallup says the majority of its associates receive a base salary as well as goodies from Formax, Gallup’s pay for performance system that is based on individual productivity and contribution. The company also offers a 50 percent tuition reimbursement for eligible associates pursuing advanced degrees. GETTING HIRED Log on Think a performance-measuring firm like Gallup would let you get away with slipping a resume in the mail? Fat chance. Gallup insists that interested applicants apply online through its career web site, where an online assessment tool helps Gallup learn about candidates’ talents and potential. “We use rigorous psychometric CAREER194 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 202. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms The Gallup Organizationtesting to ensure that we get right fit talent. We go through thousands of interviewsbefore we find a match,” says an insider.The online assessment tool consists of 180 items, each containing a pair of differentpotential self-descriptors, such as “I read instructions carefully” versus “I like tojump right into things,” represented at opposite ends of a continuum. Respondentschoose the statement that best describe themselves and indicate to what extent it isdescriptive. The fun part: You’ve only got 20 seconds before the system advances tothe next item.Profiles of successAfter receiving the assessments, Gallup analysts compare them with “profiles ofsuccess” for positions within the organization. “All candidates for Gallup careers areinformed of their application status via e-mail messages,” the firm says. The next stepis telephone and face-to-face interviews, which can vary from as few as three to morethan five depending on the position, insiders say. A consultant acknowledges, “It isdefinitely a little different!”Recent or near-grads interested in consulting may start on the Emerging LeaderAssociate Consultant career path, which consists of an initial phase of intensivelearning and training followed by a full-time position with the firm.The web site also provides information about campus recruiting, including a “meetyour recruiter” tool that provides profiles (and photos) of recruiters organized bystate. As for schools, “we are not bound by any particular schools. We search fortalent – period,” one consultant says. Insiders also say that a lot of hiring at thecompany takes place through referrals.OUR SURVEY SAYSUp with peopleGiven Gallup’s emphasis on the “right people in the right roles,” it’s no surprise thatthe company’s culture gets generally high marks from consultants. “Gallup is a greatplace to work because everyone has tremendous talent and is positioned to use theirtalents on a regular basis,” one says. Consultants applaud their “upbeat,” “energetic,”and “positive” colleagues. Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 195
  • 203. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms The Gallup Organization Still, one consultant worries that a recently tightened dress code and cutbacks in flexibility mean the company is trying to “look more ‘corporate’” to the outside world, and another writes, “Our culture is very positive, but you are not encouraged to think outside the box very much. Don’t rock the boat.” Another grumbles, “The company believes so strongly in providing employees with recognition, that at times it can seem patronizing.” It’s up to you Work-life balance at Gallup is, to a certain extent, entirely up to staffers. Consultants get paid based on how much time they put in and the results they produce – a “pay for performance structure. As one consultant explains, “you determine how much you want to work, your resultant compensation, and how you want to balance work and your life outside work.” Another insider reports, “We are given the latitude to take on as much or as little work as we desire. It is a personal choice, for the most part, if your work carries over into the weekend, or late hours.” In fact, this flexibility extends to vacation, sick and personal days, too – there are no official “days” for these purposes, insiders report. “We decide how much time to spend away, and make sure we have coverage for handling the work. We are paid by productivity, so when we are working, we are compensated, and when we are away, we know that we are not collecting pay,” explains one consultant. We are family The “excellent on-site daycare” provided by the company also helps with work-life balance, many consultants report. “Gallup is an extremely family-friendly company for working consultants,” says an insider. This family-friendly attitude is reflected in the positions of women at the firm, as well: “Having a woman COO makes our culture strong in this area,” says one insider. “We far exceed most organizations in terms of creating a great place to work and excel for women,” says another. Gallup has a decent track record with minorities, as well, insiders suggest. A couple of consultants in the Omaha office worry about a “don’t ask/don’t tell” policy with respect to gay, lesbian and bisexual employees: “A few too many jokes around the water cooler,” says one. The consultants insist this has nothing to do with company policy, but may be a function of the office’s location and culture. Gallup-ers suggest that travel, for most consultants, is lighter than at comparable firms. But the company encourages longstanding relationships with clients, so travel CAREER196 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 204. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms The Gallup Organizationrequirements – and workload – can vary widely from one consultant to the next.“Client engagements can last for years,” reports one consultant, “and if therelationship with the client is healthy, people are encouraged to remain with theirexisting clients and help build the account.”Flat, empoweringUnderstandably – since it’s gone to such lengths to place consultants in the rightpositions to begin with – Gallup doesn’t practice a traditional form of up-or-out whenit comes to progress within the firm. “We have a flat hierarchy with no ‘promotion.’Consultants advance through creating opportunities for themselves with clients,”says one insider. “Gallup is a very flat organization, and really empowers its people,”a colleague says.Another explains, “One of Gallup’s missions is helping clients select the right peopleand position them properly, and we definitely practice what we preach. The key isn’tthe higher the better. The key at Gallup is positioning associates so they can be thebest they can be within their particular role.” The consultant adds, “At Gallup, youare given ample opportunity and are able to advance as quickly as you want, but thekey is positioning you properly in the first place.” “People just seem to blossom herebecause they are always so well cast into their roles,” a colleague says.At the same time, however, the company does require consultants to demonstratecertain skills before advancing within the company, by earning certification, which isrequired for progress. “Levels of certification are achieved based on milestonesreached for major performance metrics,” an insider reports. “The firm does not havea standard for promotions. Certification is required to advance levels,” another says.This certification doesn’t seem to be based on formal training, which is minimal atthe firm. “Most training is unofficial and done through mentoring,” a consultantreports, while another says that “training for new hires in the last two years has gottenmuch better and more formal.”Gallup-ing generosityAs for benefits, insiders cheer the firm’s 401(k) matching and stock purchase options,but what they really love is the on-site gym with its own free personal trainer. Inaddition, “all of our offices are extremely nice,” an insider reports. Says another,Gallup’s new headquarters in Omaha “literally is a ‘mansion on the river.’A beautifulplace to come to work every day, cafeteria, atrium, childcare and workout facility allon site.” Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 197
  • 205. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms The Gallup Organization Gallup’s Community Builders organization, which allows individual offices to raise cash from consultants and direct it toward causes of their choosing, is a big hit among Gallup-ers. “We have a broad understanding that involvement be geared toward children, education, and positive development,” says an insider. “Employees donate from their paycheck each month, and their contributions are matched by the company,” a consultant reports. For more information on top consulting employers and consulting careers, go to the Vault Consulting Career Channel • Detailed 40-page employer profiles on top employers like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Accenture and more • Surveys of employees at hundreds of consulting firms • The only job board on the Web dedicated to consulting jobs – The Vault Consulting Job Board • Case interview guides and one-on-one case interview prep www.vault.com/consulting CAREER198 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 206. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms The Gallup Organization “The company believes so strongly in providing employees withrecognition, that at times it can seem patronizing.” — Gallup insiderVisit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at www.vault.com/consulting — withinsider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 199
  • 207. V A U L T 17 PRESTIGE The Parthenon Group RANKING 200 State Street THE STATS Boston, MA 02109 Phone: (617) 478-2550 Employer Type: Private Company Fax: (617) 478-2555 CEO: Bill Achtmeyer www.parthenon.com 2003 Employees: 150 2002 Employees: 150 LOCATIONS UPPERS Boston, MA (HQ) San Francisco, CA • Paid MBA for entry-level London consultants PRACTICE AREAS DOWNERS Principal Investing • Limited choice of office location Strategy Consulting KEY COMPETITORS Bain & Company Marakon Associates Mars & Company McKinsey & Company EMPLOYMENT CONTACT E-mail: recruiting@parthenon.com THE BUZZ WHAT CONSULTANTS AT OTHER FIRMS ARE SAYING • “Among the best of the boutiques” • “Intense people” • “Quick and dirty analysis” • “Ultimate social work environment” CAREER200 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 208. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms The Parthenon GroupTHE SCOOPQuality, not quantityParthenon might be the classic boutique consulting firm. Founded in 1991 by twoex-Bain consultants, Bill Achtmeyer and John Rutherford, the company hasintentionally stayed small. Holding steady at an exclusive 150 employees for the lastfour years, Parthenon only recruits from a handful of top schools. The firm takes asimilarly selective approach in its engagements, which include top corporations suchas Anheuser-Busch, American Express, Invensys, Starwood, McGraw-Hill and eBay.Aside from these notable companies, Parthenon also advises entrepreneurs in fieldsincluding health care, real estate, automotive and education.The firm uses fact-based analysis to identify and implement cost reduction andrevenue enhancement opportunities for clients. Applying trend identification, newcustomer behavior analytical tools, “brain walking” workshops and scenario-basedthinking, Parthenon helps clients generate new ideas for growth. Parthenon alsohelps clients with mergers and acquisitions, advising corporations and investmentfirms through M&A planning and implementation.Parthenon also works on private equity issues, employing a team whose backgroundsinclude operations, marketing, accounting, law and strategy consulting. Two formerdivisions of the Parthenon Group, IGS (Investor Group Services) and ParthenonCapital, still work closely with the consultants. IGS does due diligence research forprivate equity firms, while Parthenon Capital is a venture-capital-like investmentfirm.A stake in successParthenon differentiated itself from the pack early on by becoming one of the firstfirms to accept risk-based fees for its work. Executives may purchase shares of clientcompanies an equity program, which means consultants literally have a stake in howeffective their advice is. “Unlike some other firms, consulting for equity is not anovelty for Parthenon – it is part of our core business and values,” the company says.In addition, many projects include a “success fee” payable upon completion.Intellectual capitalParthenon has its share of think-tank types on board. The group’s Edupoints andParthenon’s Perspective divisions focus on education and macro-economics, Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 201
  • 209. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms The Parthenon Group respectively. Economist Roger Brinner of Parthenon, working with his wife, Joyce Brinner of Global Insight, serve as consultants for state budget officers nationwide, and produce reports such as “Fiscal Recovery in California,” issued in June 2003, and “Fiscal Recovery for the States: Basic Facts and Good Strategies,” released in April 2003. In March 2003, Roger Brinner spoke at BusinessWeek magazine’s CFO-CIO Forum, alongside notables including Florida Governor. Jeb Bush, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Richard Holbrooke and former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley. Parthenon senior partner Christopher T. Jenny also hobnobs with high-powered officials, having been named in March 2003 to President Bush’s President’s Export Council, the premier advisory committee on international trade. In October 2003, Parthenon, along with Lake Snell Perry & Associates, issued research conducted for the nonprofit organization Jobs for the Future. Two reports that included an analysis of graduation data and a study of public perceptions of the need for higher education were released at “Double the Numbers,” a national conference focused on improving underrepresented students’ access to higher education. Picking its battles Parthenon’s San Francisco office earned the firm a lot of buzz in 2001 and 2002, when it was enlisted to help a Hewlett-Packard board member oppose the company’s proposed merger with Compaq. The conflict turned into the largest proxy battle in history, and although Parthenon’s client’s side lost, the group’s performance was well-respected. Reaching out Parthenon Group’s Charitable Contributions Committee helps organizations in Boston, London, and San Francisco. The firm also offers pro-bono consulting work. Major causes supported by the firm include education, arts, domestic violence and homelessness. CAREER202 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 210. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms The Parthenon GroupGETTING HIREDJoin the clubIf you want to work for Parthenon, expect to wind up in Boston, London or SanFrancisco – as of February 2004, the firm said it was focusing on growing the lattertwo offices, rather than opening any new ones. Fourteen percent of Parthenonconsultants are partners, 50 percent are principals and 36 percent are associates. Thefirm characterizes its structure as “flat,” with “few policies.”Parthenon recruits on-campus at Ivies and schools such as Darmouth/Tuck,Harvard/Harvard Business School, MIT/Sloan, Penn/Wharton, Stanford/StanfordBusiness School, INSEAD and the London Business School. It also considers thosealready in the workplace for principal positions. Principals can expect to spend fiveto seven years in that position before being promoted to partner. New employees canexpect a signing bonus, along with an annual bonus and salary. Parthenon typicallyassigns consultants to two cases at once.To apply, submit a cover letter, resume, relevant test scores and unofficial transcriptto the following: Boston associates, Sara Yablon, recruiting@parthenon.com; Bostonprincipals, Eileen McBride, recruiting@parthenon.com; London associates andprincipals, Kate Nicholson, recruiting@parthenon.co.uk.Once accepted, associates are trained in classes with Tuck and Harvard BusinessSchool professors. Parthenon covers business school tuition for associates promotedto principal who return to Parthenon after graduation. Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 203
  • 211. V A U L T 18 PRESTIGE Marakon Associates RANKING 245 Park Avenue THE STATS 44th Floor New York, NY 10167 Employer Type: Private Company Phone: (212) 377-5000 CEO: Ken Favaro Fax: (212) 377-6000 2003 Employees: 300 (estimated) www.marakon.com 2002 Employees: 326 LOCATIONS UPPERS New York, NY (HQ) • High-level client access from early Chicago, IL on San Francisco, CA • Compensation indexed to bigger London top-tier firms Singapore DOWNERS PRACTICE AREAS • “No name recognition (can hurt Executive Education and Training getting new clients)” Strategy • Big firm bureaucracy in spite of our Mergers and Acquisitions small firm size” Organic Growth Productivity (cost, capital and KEY COMPETITORS investment) Top Management Decision Making Bain & Company and Execution Boston Consulting Group McKinsey & Company Monitor EMPLOYMENT CONTACT All applicants should fill out a form at www.marakon.com/careers THE BUZZ WHAT CONSULTANTS AT OTHER FIRMS ARE SAYING • “Deep client relationships” • “Tough service to sell” • “Deeply mysterious” • “Good balance of strategy and execution” CAREER204 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 212. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Marakon AssociatesTHE SCOOPLow profile firm, high-level clientsFounded in 1978 in San Francisco by three execs from Wells Fargo and adistinguished finance professor, Marakon has kept a low profile over the years – butit’s happy that way. With a staff of approximately 300 people in offices in Chicago,New York, San Francisco, London and Singapore, Marakon aims to serve the top ofthe heap – working not only with Fortune 500 companies, but specifically with the“big Cs” of those companies, like the CEO, CFO and COO. The firm, which theEconomist magazine once wrote “has advised some of the world’s most consistentlysuccessful companies,” claims most of its clients are Fortune 200 and FTSE 100companies. In 2004, trade publication Consulting dubbed Marakon co-founder JimMcTaggart one of its “Top 25 Consultants.”The firm’s client list (past and present) includes business luminaries like Alcan,Barclays, Boeing, BP, Cadbury Schweppes, Cardinal Health, Dow Chemical, Gilletteand Prudential plc. The company earns about 40 percent of its revenues fromfinancial services, with another 15 percent from in consumer products and 15 percentfrom health care, a sector where Marakon did no business in 2001. Other industriesserved by Marakon include energy and utilities, manufacturing, retail/wholesale andmedia/telecommunications.It’s all about valueMarakon consultants take pride in being generalists, focusing on the ways they candeliver long-term value to clients in nearly every industry. In fact, the firm’sfounders coined the terms “value-based management” and “managing for value.”Marakon’s early work focused on showing companies how to find intrinsic value –where they were creating and destroying it – in their portfolios and on applying newperformance measures like “economic profit.” While this focused fueled the firm’sgrowth throughout the 1980s, Marakon found that clients needed guidance onmapping the economic terrain laid out by forward-looking investments, so in the late1980s the firm broadened its practice to tie strategic planning to capital investmentplanning – “value-based management.” Marakon then realized that manycomponents, including resource allocation, performance management and executivecompensation, had to be linked to strategy approval to make strategic planning trulywork. So in the 1990s, the firm renamed its approach “managing for value,”signaling an expanded focus on leadership and organizational effectiveness as well Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 205
  • 213. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Marakon Associates as strategy and finance. In 2004, Marakon began to take a few baby steps away from its generalist approach, offering discrete services such as organic growth, decision making and execution, and executive education and training. Hiring heats up Marakon has an impressive record of growth – since its founding, the firm’s revenues have grown at a compound annual rate of over 25 percent, while headcount has grown over 10 percent annually. The firm wasn’t immune to the economic downturn, however, and its total staff count has declined in recent years – though revenue grew by 15 percent in 2002. A March 2004 article in Crain’s Chicago Business indicated that the firm had resumed making campus visits after putting them on hold since 2001 – the firm intended to hire up to 13 MBAs that year. A senior manager and head of North American recruiting described Marakon’s outlook as “bullish.” The firm is exploring opportunities to open a new office in continental Europe, possibly in Munich. The company also signaled plans to grow its business in the U.K./Europe in November 2003, when it hired PR firm Hogarth Partnership to raise its profile among U.K. and European companies. Advising the advisors In November 2002, the firm formed a Board of Advisors consisting of five eminent business leaders: Sir George Bull, chairman of J. Sainsbury, former chairman of Diageo and former chairman and CEO of Grand Metropolitan; Arthur Martinez, former chairman and CEO of Sears Roebuck; Sir Brian Pitman, former chairman and CEO of Lloyds TSB Group; Lewis Platt, former chairman, president and CEO of Hewlett-Packard and former CEO of Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates; and Frank Zarb, former chairman and CEO of the National Association of Securities Dealers and the Nasdaq Stock Market. In addition, it has engaged Chris Jones, former chairman and CEO of advertising giant J. Walter Thompson, as a senior advisor. Marakon alumni have gone on to great things, too: Last year, former partner Eric Armour joined Gillette as president of its Braun subsidiary in Germany. In February 2004, another partner, John McDermott, became head of Corporate Strategy and Alliances at Xerox, while alumna Ann Sarnoff was named COO of the WNBA. Earning their keep Typical Marakon client engagements run long – an average of two years or more – and in any given year, Marakon will have 12 to 18 engagements. Consultants usually CAREER206 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 214. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Marakon Associatesare staffed to one client at a time, and everyone, from associate to managing partner,is expected to put in significant time on client engagements. CEO Ken Favaro hassaid that half of his time is billable. With about 25 partners, who have an average of15 years experience at the firm, Marakon offers clients a broad spectrum of expertise,from newcomers to veterans. There are four steps in the career chain at Marakon –associate, consultant, manager and partner. The Associate Consultant CareerProgram supports two career paths: internal advancement to consultant or preparationfor business school. Several Marakonites are sponsored at top schools each year; thefirm also has a program to allow consultants to work for six months in nonprofitorganizations, and to take a sabbatical after one year.Back to schoolIn November 2003, the firm announced a strategic partnership with the KelloggSchool of Management at Northwestern University. The two entities began workingtogether in 2002, when Marakon undertook a pro bono study of the business schoolmarket to help Kellogg strengthen its top-tier position. Since many past and presentMarakon consultants have graduated from Kellogg, the firm wanted to givesomething back to the school, Marakon said.As for its own schooling, the firm provides two major types of training to consultants– on general business principles, like finance, strategy and structure, and onconsulting skills, like communications and hypothesis testing. New Marakonites getmore than 150 hours of formal training in the first 15 months. The review processoccurs annually, and all consultants get to provide upward feedback.Open to the communityPro bono and community-focused projects are big at Marakon; the firm has providedservices to the National Museum of Science and Industry in London and the BatteryDance Company in New York, and has participated in activities like mentoringteachers and students at local schools, officiating at the Special Olympics, gardeningin Central Park and volunteering at soup kitchens and nursing homes.Women make up about 20 percent of all consulting staff, and 10 percent of managingand partner staff at the firm, which sponsors yearly events like the Marakon Women’sConference to help female employees develop networks and share ideas within andacross offices. Last year, Barbara Ryan, a leading pharmaceuticals analyst withDeutsche Bank, and Alexis Gelber, former managing editor of Newsweek Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 207
  • 215. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Marakon Associates International and director of Newsweek’s special projects, participated as guest speakers at the event. Kontes checks out On March 1, 2004, co-chairman and co-founder of Marakon Peter Kontes retired from Marakon after a tenure of 25 years at the relatively young age of 57. He remains chairman emeritus of Marakon. Kontes, who had been mulling retirement for several years prior to his announcement, intends to pursue other professional and public service opportunities outside of consulting. Conglomerate fan Think those big, unwieldy conglomerates are doomed to fail under the weight of their mismatched parts? Well, Marakon disagrees. A global study by Marakon published in September 2003, snappily entitled “Conglomerate Discount or Premium? How Some Conglomerates Create Exceptional Value,” revealed that conglomerates that keep a keen eye on financial management routinely outperform regional market indexes. A similarly contrarian piece of research on mergers and acquisitions appeared as the cover story in the January/February 2004 issue of Strategy & Leadership. Entitled “Making M&A Pay: Lessons From the World’s Most Successful Acquirers,” it pointed out that although most acquisitions destroy shareholder value for the acquirer, many top-performing companies are unusually acquisitive. GETTING HIRED Intellectual curiosity a must Prospective Marakonites shouldn’t neglect the firm’s web site, which contains detailed advice on the interview process and what Marakon is looking for in employees (which includes intellectual curiosity and the ability to understand complex problems). The firm wants to see that candidates are curious about issues and ideas not directly related to their own experience, are good listeners, and can put forward structured, persuasive arguments. Other key qualities are professionalism, honesty and maturity. Case studies are a big part of Marakon interviews – again, don’t miss the firm’s list of tips for handling these questions. CAREER208 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 216. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Marakon AssociatesMarakon recruits from major business schools, including Wharton, Kellogg,Stanford, INSEAD and LBS, and undergraduate campuses, including Penn, Duke,Northwestern, Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge and LSE.Nail the caseSources tell us that there are usually two rounds of interviews, with a case and fitinterview each round. These are “generally with managers or senior managers,” aninsider says. Another reports that “the firm’s hiring process is quite rigorous; after aresume screen in which the candidate is compared amongst his/her peer group, thecandidate must successfully complete two interviews in a first round and fiveinterviews in a second round. The interviews generally test ‘fit’ with the firm andanalytic skills.” “We now ask MBA candidates to give a presentation too, which isslightly different from our competitors,” says a colleague. “The cases are developedlocally based on real experiences,” notes a source – another consultant says you canexpect “very few ‘how many lightbulbs are there in the U.K.’-type questions,”adding, “You have to nail the case.”OUR SURVEY SAYSMind the gapA spirit of “relaxed professionalism” prevails at Marakon, though sources also sayit’s “a bit hierarchial.” “There is incredible camaraderie among the consultants.However, there is a gap in connecting with partners,” a consultant reports. Anothersays that “Marakon partners have invested a lot of time and money lately in trying toboost company connectivity and local office morale (which had been suffering a bitover the last few years). Events such as weekly partner lunches, impromptu officesocial events, and the worldwide Consultant/Associate Consultant (CAC)Conference are helping bring the firm closer together.” “The people I work with arefantastic: energetic, brilliant, caring and highly motivated,” reports a colleague.As for work hours, sources report around 65 per week, though “there is a genuinecommitment from the firm to enable you to manage your time to get the balance youneed.” Another reports that he has “considerable flexibility about when and where Iwork, although the volume is high.” This is because “working for the C-level clientsis highly demanding. In the midst of the project the hours are long and stress levelcan be high,” a source says. But “time and place worked (home versus office) are Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 209
  • 217. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Marakon Associates completely flexible – as long as the necessary work gets done.” A colleague agrees, “There is no pressure for face time, which means if you are lucky enough to have a light week, you aren’t expected to sit around the office.” “This is not a lifestyle job, but it’s not insane either. I see many of my clients working equally long hours, but I spend more nights away from home,” a consultant reports. “Partners and managers tend to work on the weekends and that usually trickles down to the consultant and associate consultant ranks,” says a staffer. Finding a balance Still, Marakonites see the firm making an effort on their behalf: “The new ‘10 & 2’ policy, for example, allows people to work 10 months and take a two-month sabbatical (with benefits),” a consultant says, adding, “on client projects, work-life balance is really driven by the managers and partners, which will vary team by team, but for the most part, they care about avoiding burning out teams.” In fact, the source adds, “On the occasion where a team has been working and/or traveling very hard, partners may hand out ‘comp’ vacation days and/or schedule team outings as a reward for pushing hard. I was on a case which required bi-weekly flights to Europe, and received six comp days in three months!” Travel is indeed heavy, but a source says that “One of the best policies Marakon has instated is the three-day travel model. The hours are hard, but the peaks and troughs are manageable and usually pretty predictable. Weekends and vacations are respected.” “Travel is definitely a part of the job, given that we only have three offices in North America,” says a colleague, who adds: “The firm’s stated desire is for three days away and two days in the home office; some cases have met this goal while others have not. Generally, the firm is good about limiting travel to a city not more than three hours by plane, although there are exceptions.” And since the firm has a global reach, “if you want to travel internationally, the options are available, but if you don’t want to, you won’t be forced to, either.” Alternative paths As for promotion, “consultants advance at the speed they are capable of,” says a source. Another consultant agrees that “up-or-out is not as strong as it used to be, to allow people to pursue different internal career paths.” A colleague affirms that “we are in the process of establishing alternative career paths and becoming more focused on development rather than evaluation.” As part of this change, sources describe a new “Alternative Approaches to Development Program (AAD), which aims to CAREER210 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 218. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Marakon Associatesprovide work-life flexibility and improve diversity.” Because of this, a source says,“I think forced attrition will be extremely rare going forward. AAD willfundamentally change our review process in the spirit of making it moredevelopment-oriented and less evaluative.” Says a colleague, “but the intention isthat people will be able to develop to their full potential as consultants. We’ll haveto see how this works in practice.” “Promotions have typically occurred every twoand a half to three years,” says a source, though a colleague says “making managerand partner [is] very difficult.” Another reports that “I moved from undergraduateentry level to manager in four years.” The firm notes that the AAD has since beenrenamed the Marakon Development Framework, or MDF.Meet the chiefsSince Marakon specializes in the upper echelons of management, sources say, “onething Marakon has is incredible access to decision-makers. Most of our projects areCEO or CFO led.” A colleague agrees that “because our relationships are usuallyCEO/CFO level driven, people tend to interact with very senior clients more oftenand earlier in their careers than other consulting firms.” “Our client impact and theexposure consultants have to senior clients is second to none in the industry,” saysanother. “The fact that I was able to be involved in presenting to the CEO of one ofthe top 40 largest companies in the world less than two years out of university wasdefinitely a great learning experience,” a junior staffer raves. As for its own topbrass, “Marakon has a wide range of managers – some great, others not.” “Marakonis a relatively formal place and at times can be hierarchical despite its small size,”says a colleague.Benchmarking salariesCompensation includes profit sharing; alas, this only happens “when we hit ourtargets as a firm: we received two payouts in 2002, but none in 2003,” says a source.When profit sharing occurs, “some is paid in that year, and other parts are vested,” acolleague notes, adding that there’s “exceptional profit sharing when targets aresubstantially exceeded.” “The firm aims to pay at the top of the market and as aresult tends to pay as good or better than its competitors (McKinsey, Bain, BCG),”another insider says. “The firm actively benchmarks against other top tier competitorfirms and sets compensation levels to be competitive for top talent. Periodic reviewsof compensation competitiveness can result in adjustments across levels, however noemployee’s potential compensation is ever reduced,” a consultant explains. Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 211
  • 219. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Marakon Associates The world’s best offices Many of Marakon’s perks involve socializing: “Every quarter we do a fun event (e.g., sailing),” says a consultant. “Marakon does have a great office culture for recently graduated undergrads or MBAs; this includes frequent social gatherings and heavy involvement in community activities. The firm also does have a fun holiday party,” a colleague notes. Another consultant says she enjoys the “chance to transfer internationally. I took up the opportunity to move to London for three months last year (apartment and per diem paid for by the firm), which was great from both a professional and personal standpoint! A fellow AC did a similar stint in Singapore, and another recent option has been to work with our Brazil team.” In addition, says a colleague, “our offices are in the most prestigious locations within their respective cities” – including the top floor of a Park Avenue building, a lake view office in Chicago, and on Trafalgar Square in the heart of London’s West End. Offices also feature “great connectivity,” “good technology,” and “a large amount of space per person.” Marakon training Marakon’s initial training is described as “probably the best training program around for entry level analysts. We receive over 200 hours of formal training in the first 12- 15 months, including worldwide training where we spend a week each year with our peers from the other worldwide offices.” “And it keeps going,” a manager says. “I’m in year six, and still get five to seven days of full-time training.” Staffers reportedly get an annual training budget of $5,000. Aiming for diversity As for women and minorities, the firm is “receptive, but not very successful. Trying extremely hard to get this right,” a source says. “The poor representation of women in the firm’s partner and manager ranks speaks for itself. However, career management for women has been made one of the firm’s top priorities and there is a lot of work going into to understanding and addressing issues faced specifically by women at Marakon,” a colleague reports. Another insider says that “the firm has not done a great job attracting and retaining minorities in the past, but I have noticed that recent classes have been much more diverse.” To assist in developing and implementing a firmwide diversity strategy, Marakon formed a Diversity Advisory Council in 2003. Among its members: Debby Hopkins, chief operations and technology officer at Citigroup; John Buchanan, former CFO of BP; Mike Cook, former chairman and CEO of Deloitte & Touche; and Bob Stack, chief HR officer at CAREER212 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 220. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Marakon AssociatesCadbury Schweppes. Sexual orientation is “not an issue,” sources say; there’s an“openly gay managing partner,” and “several openly gay employees.”Proud of pro bonoMarakonites are proud of their firm’s commitment to community involvement. “Wehave a community service team in every office. Our New York office alone typicallysponsors or participates in a dozen or more community service activities every year.We also do pro bono work from time to time,” says a consultant. “Marakon in theCommunity has relationships with local schools, helping them out a few times eachyear with tutoring, painting, and so on. Some employees have a Partners inLeadership Program with local head teachers,” another source reports. Consultantsalso describe other pro bono work, including work with Habitat for Humanity, JuniorAchievement, running marathons for causes like breast cancer and other projects. For more information on top consulting employers and consulting careers, go to the Vault Consulting Career Channel • Detailed 40-page employer profiles on top employers like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Accenture and more • Surveys of employees at hundreds of consulting firms • The only job board on the Web dedicated to consulting jobs – The Vault Consulting Job Board • Case interview guides and one-on-one case interview prep www.vault.com/consulting Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 213
  • 221. V A U L T 19 PRESTIGE BearingPoint RANKING 1676 International Drive THE STATS McLean, VA 22102 Phone: (703) 747-3000 Employer Type: Public Company Fax: (703) 747-8500 Ticker Symbol: BE (NYSE) www.bearingpoint.com CEO: Rand Blazer 2003 Employees: 15,000 2003 Revenue: $3.13 billion LOCATIONS McLean, VA (HQ) UPPERS 162 offices worldwide • “Stability of management” • “Challenging work” PRACTICE AREAS Broadband Solution Centers DOWNERS Customer Relationship Management Emerging Technology – Mobile • “Worthless stock options” Solutions • Frozen bonuses Enterprise Solutions Government, Education and Health KEY COMPETITORS Care Solutions Homeland Security Accenture Infrastructure Solutions Capgemini Integration Services Deloitte Managed Services IBM BCS Strategy & Business Process Services EMPLOYMENT CONTACT Supply Chain Management Recruiting inquiries: us- consultrecops@bearingpoint.net bearingpoint.recruitmax.com/eng/can didates/default.cfm THE BUZZ WHAT CONSULTANTS AT OTHER FIRMS ARE SAYING • “Reasonable hours, less pay” • “School bus staffing” • “Trending well” • “No real brand identity” CAREER214 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 222. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms BearingPointTHE SCOOPConsulting for the governmentBearingPoint, spun off from Big Five firm KPMG in January 2000, is based inMcLean, Va. – and its ties to the government reflect its suburban Washington, D.C.location. It helps Global 2000 companies, medium-sized businesses, governmentagencies and other organizations with business and technology strategy, systemsdesign, applications implementation, network infrastructure, and other capabilitiesdesigned to generate revenue and reduce costs for clients.BearingPoint (the name, in case you’re curious, refers to “setting direction to an endpoint,” according to the company) organizes itself around four industry-focusedbusiness units: communications and content, financial services, consumer, industrialand technology, and public services. Of these four, public services – which handlescontracts with state and federal governments – is the largest and most profitable,contributing about $1.09 billion to the company’s $3.13 billion in revenues in fiscal2003 (revenue for the firm as a whole skyrocketed during 2003 compared to 2002,up 32.6 percent from $2.37 billion). In contrast, communications and content,vulnerable to the malaise affecting the telecom industry, saw its revenues decline forFY 2003 by 25.9 percent, to $350.7 million.Worldwide wins“Globalization” was the buzzword for the firm between fiscal years 2002 and 2003.(In February 2004, BearingPoint announced that it would be changing its fiscal yearend point to December 31, as opposed to June 30, to better reflect its business cycleand be more consistent with the norms of most public consulting companies. Thefirm’s 2003 annual report, however, still reflects the fiscal year ended in June 2003.)In 2003, BearingPoint celebrated its wins in the globalization sphere, includingacquiring and integrating KPMG Consulting AG in Austria, Germany andSwitzerland (a deal completed October 2002), along with other consulting firms inthe U.S., Brazil, Spain, France and Japan; developing its AnyShore delivery model toenhance competitiveness in global markets; scoring major contracts to deliverservices in Afghanistan and Iraq; and opening a Global Development Center inShanghai.Since its transformation to BearingPoint from the former KPMG and officialrebranding in October 2003 (the firm now has no business relationship with KPMG), Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 215
  • 223. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms BearingPoint the company has made some aggressive moves, most notably its May 2002 acquisition of most of Andersen’s global consulting operations (including those in the United States), a deal reportedly worth up to $284 million. The deal increased the firm’s global workforce to more than 16,000 employees. Later that year, the firm entered into definitive agreements to acquire the independent consulting units of member firms of Andersen Worldwide Société Cooperative in Japan, Norway, Finland, Switzerland and Sweden. It also acquired significant portions of the consulting units of Andersen’s member firms in Australia, Hong Kong and China. Euro expansion BearingPoint’s global ambitions are obvious from a glance at its revenue by region between 2002 and 2003. In 2002, North America contributed 92 percent of the firm’s revenue; by 2003, this percentage fell to 71 percent. Meanwhile, revenues from elsewhere in the world, primarily Europe, the Middle East and Africa (the “EMEA” in BearingPoint parlance) expanded from a mere 1 percent in 2002 to 18 percent in 2003. Asia Pacific and Latin America, with relatively modest, but growing, contributions, are the other slices that make up the firm’s geographical pie of profits. Perhaps the most significant area of growth for the company between 2003 and 2004 was in India and China, where BearingPoint launched aggressive growth initiatives. In February 2004, the firm opened a software development and management center in Chennai (formerly known as Madras), and planned another in Bangalore, to take advantage of cheaper labor. The company said it wanted to boost its headcount to 2,000 in India. Analysts hailed the move, noting that it would help BearingPoint keep up with competitors like Accenture and IBM, which started expanding in Asia much earlier. In a research note, Adam B. Frisch, an analyst for UBS AG, said the Indian office “addresses a very exposed flank” for BearingPoint, suggesting that the lack of a presence in India had made the firm less competitive. The Chennai center, initially supported by Covansys Corp., an offshore outsourcing pioneer, is designed to do the same sort of work performed at the company’s outsourcing center in Shanghai. As for China, CEO Randolph Blazer was quoted in October 2003 as saying that China was the next hot region for BearingPoint. The Chinese market, he suggested, is hungry for consulting services during a time of economic expansion. In addition to its Shanghai headquarters, BearingPoint has offices in Beijing and Guangzhou and was reportedly establishing an office in Chongqing Municipality. The firm was expected to employ 1,000 people in China by mid-2004. CAREER216 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 224. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms BearingPointIn March 2003, the form won its second major contract to provide services inAfghanistan. The three-year, $39.9 million contract from the United States Agencyfor International Development (USAID) is designed to help the war-torn country’sgovernment implement policy and institutional reform measures. The agreementincludes an option for another two years, for a total award of $64.1 million. Thefirm’s first major contract in Afghanistan, an upgrade of the country’s accountingsystem awarded in January 2003, was financed by the World Bank.Iraqi intrigueWith international deals, sometimes there’s international intrigue. WitnessBearingPoint’s July 2003 contract with the U.S. Agency for InternationalDevelopment (USAID) to provide services in Iraq. The $9 million contract, intendedto “facilitate Iraq’s regional and international economic integration, stimulate thecountry’s international trade engagement and increase employment and broad-basedprosperity,” apparently raised eyebrows at USAID some months later. According toa widely circulated Knight-Ridder article in March 2004, a draft memo by USAID’sinspector general took the agency to task for apparently giving BearingPoint acompetitive advantage in its bid for the contract.The memo charged that BearingPoint “spent five months helping USAID write thejob specifications and got permission to spend money to train employees to work inIraq long before the contract went out for public bid,” while competing firms got onlya week to produce their own bids for the job (only one other firm, Booz AllenHamilton, placed a competing bid). According to InformationWeek, BearingPointactually landed the engagement earlier in 2003 but the contract was rescinded aftercompetitors protested that it wasn’t made available for public bidding. But while thefirm’s involvement “creates the appearance of unfair competitive advantage in thecontract award process,” IG Bruce Crandlemire wrote, the deal seems to be legal.And a senior USAID official told the Knight-Ridder reporter that “the finalspecifications for the contract bore little resemblance to those BearingPoint hadwritten.” And the fact that BearingPoint is a major contributor to the Bush campaignhasn’t gone unnoted in the press – according to the watchdog group the Center forResponsive Politics, BearingPoint and its employees have given more than $117,000to the 2000 and 2004 Bush election campaigns, while the Center for Public Integrityputs this number at more than $4 million. Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 217
  • 225. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms BearingPoint Florida heat The draft memo got a lot of press partly because of the scrutiny BearingPoint received in 2003 over other deals. According to the same Knight-Ridder article, a $3 million contract was withdrawn in Florida after BearingPoint took heat from critics with similar charges to the USAID official’s – namely, that the firm had helped draw up the specs for the very contract it bid on. In both cases, the company denied any wrongdoing. An $80 million IT deal with Florida’s State Technology Office was also withdrawn in March 2003, after critics carped about the company’s close ties to Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Upsizing, downsizing With its acquisitions and ambitious growth, BearingPoint managed to amass a staff of more than 16,000 in its first year as a company. But that figure has fluctuated since then – in December 2002, the firm announced a restructuring of operations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (formerly KPMG AG) that included a workforce reduction of 700 people, a downsizing that had been accounted for in the KPMG AG acquisition deal. Excess capacity led to another round of layoffs, in January 2003, when between 450 and 500 consultants in North America and the Asia Pacific region got their walking papers. And in August 2003, Blazer told analysts the firm would lose 275 employees during the quarter and trim its office space by 22 percent during 2004. The layoffs were expected to cost the firm $15 million to $18 million in the first quarter due to severance payments, though they were expected to save the company even more over the long haul. Employees learned from a memo in July 2003 that they wouldn’t be getting bonuses that year. Getting its bearings In August of that year, BearingPoint was forced to restate its earnings for the first three quarters of fiscal 2003, cutting profits by $10.8 million. The firm pinned the glitch on complications associated with its many acquisitions through the year – basically, BearingPoint had undervalued some of its customer contracts and relationships by $20 million. On hearing the news, investors and analysts scrambled, sending the company’s stock plummeting 23 percent. Then came the inevitable – a rash of class-action lawsuits filed by shareholders against the firm, beginning in September. BearingPoint said it would vigorously defend itself against the allegations, which it said were without merit. At least the firm found itself in good company – in 2002, securities class actions grew 31 percent CAREER218 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 226. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms BearingPoint– to 224 from 171, according to a study by Cornerstone Research and Stanford LawSchool reported in The Washington Post. All told, this figure is higher than theaverage number of class-action suits filed over the past seven years. But an earlierclass-action suit wound up costing the company some serious cash in April 2004 –The Wall Street Journal reported that BearingPoint and KPMG had agreed to eachpay $17 million to settle a suit, also involving PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst &Young LLP and Capgemini, that accused them of overbilling clients for travelexpenses. The settlement wasn’t expected to affect earnings.Also in September 2003, a PricewaterhouseCoopers audit found “materialweaknesses” in BearingPoint’s accounting for the fiscal year ended June 30, mostlyrelated to the firms’ businesses in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, according to afiling with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The problem arose from theintegration of the accounting systems for its acquisitions, the firm said. The hiringof a new chief financial officer (Robert S. Falcone, formerly with Nike, wasappointed CFO in March 2003) and a change in corporate controller also contributedto the problem, BearingPoint said.A clean slateThe time was ripe to bring out the big PR guns – and that’s just what BearingPointdid in September 2003, when ad agency Arnold Worldwide unveiled a new campaignemphasizing a message of objectivity. The campaign, which ran in publications suchas Time, Forbes and The Wall Street Journal, showed financial images like stock-price charts lacking numbers and other data. The images, meant to represent a “cleanslate,” suggest the need to avoid preconceived notions and bias, and highlightBearingPoint’s objectivity for its clients, the ad agency explained.Goverment consultingState and federal engagements have continued to play a major role in BearingPoint’sbusiness, despite their attendant scrutiny. In October 2003, the firm teamed withMassachusetts to launch a new Web-based system for the online procurement ofgoods and services by all levels of government in the Commonwealth, along withpublic schools. In September of that year, the firm announced a $16 million deal toprovide the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development withbusiness process redesign and technology modernization services. And in December2003, BearingPoint won a $13.8 million contract to help the Port Authority of New Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 219
  • 227. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms BearingPoint York and New Jersey to improve port security by providing project management services for the Port Authority’s Operation Safe Commerce “Megaport Project.” Military minded Military engagements in 2003 included an August contract with the U.S. Navy to facilitate the interoperability of four Navy supply systems, a deal worth $17 million; an April 2003 deal with ERP provider Open Text Corp. to customize and deploy a worldwide training portal for 42,000 Army medics; and the successful implementation in 2003, with the Informatica Corporation, of a data integration solution for the U.S. Air Force. In other federal news, BearingPoint was tapped in July 2003 to update the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Smart Card Policy and Guidelines Handbook. In January 2004, the firm announced it had helped the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) make significant progress in developing a new financial management system. And in August 2003, the Department of the Interior selected BearingPoint to oversee its Financial and Business Management System, a contract for up to ten years. Up, up and away On the civilian front, in October 2003 BearingPoint signed a six-year managed services outsourcing contract to implement, manage and staff an invoice management service launched by the International Air Transport Association for the air travel industry. The service, IATA InvoiceWorks, gives airlines and their partners an online way to perform electronic invoice processing. The deal secured BearingPoint’s relationship with the air travel industry – in June 2003, the largest aerospace company in Europe and the second largest globally, hired the firm to provide strategy, management and IT consulting. In January 2004, BearingPoint and George Washington University launched the Center for Innovation in Public Service, to be housed in GW’s School of Public Policy and Public Administration. The new think tank aims to publish independent research, white papers and case studies, and provide information exchange forums for leaders and managers in public and nonprofit organizations. CAREER220 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 228. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms BearingPointHire awayThe firm announced a number of notable hires in 2003 and 2004, including MarkGembicki, managing director for critical infrastructure protection with the homelandsecurity practice, formerly with Deloitte & Touche; Jose Garcia, appointed vicepresident and managing director of business development for state and localgovernment, education and commercial health care, formerly with Oracle; and BobHickes, director of homeland security for state and local government, formerly thePennsylvania State Police Deputy Commissioner of Staff.Bye, bye, birdieBearingPoint also earned brownie points with charities. In January 2004, forinstance, the firm announced it would match dollar-for-dollar pro golfer PhilMickelson’s offer to benefit the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, the Tampa,Florida-based organization dedicated to funding college educations for the childrenof Special Operations personnel killed in operational or training missions. Mickelsonplanned to donate $100 for every birdie and $500 for every eagle he scored on tourthat season under the “Birdies for the Brave” program. In November 2003,BearingPoint staffers across the country participated in a national day of servicesponsored by the Points of Light Foundation & Volunteer Center National Network.GETTING HIREDIt’s who you knowBearingPoint offers a searchable job system on its web site, including a “careernetwork” that allows registered candidates to receive e-mail notification of newpositions that match their interests. An insider tells us that “hiring is done throughnetworks – consultants find other consultants.” “We pride ourselves on hiringexperienced personnel from industry,” another consultant says.While the interview process is “not exactly informal,” a source reports, “to myknowledge we’ve never used any special tests or other techniques to cullinterviewees.” Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 221
  • 229. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms BearingPoint OUR SURVEY SAYS Culture in progress What’s the culture like at BearingPoint? Depends on who you ask. One source tells us that the culture is “well developed and well communicated.” But another gripes that there’s “no loyalty from [the] company in case of lower utilization” – obviously reflecting some bitterness about the firms’ recent layoffs. “Management is completely out of the loop in terms of company culture,” an insider says. But a co- worker reports that colleagues still make it all worthwhile, commenting, “I trust the people. They’re competent, qualified, and I love working with them.” Another says, “I trust BearingPoint. I keep returning to this point over and over again when faced with career decisions. Do I continue to entrust my career to these people? I always come up with a ‘yes.’” Integrating the world BearingPoint consultants reportedly put in up to 30 weekends a year – obviously, with a company this big, experiences will vary. On average, sources report working around 60 hours a week. “I can work from home,” one consultant reports. “If I’m not at a client site then I do not need to go into the office except for supplies.” A manager assesses his schedule as follows: “Work hours are scheduled from 8:30 – 5:00 p.m. and adherence to this varies greatly depending on the work. For example, if I am staffed on a long-term assignment, I can usually control my hours except for peak or crisis times. Work on proposals can really get away from me. Working on multiple smaller projects are more difficult to control and can result in regular overtime. business development work requires full-on attention. Due to rather short turn-around times at government and the amount of work involved, a big proposal can demand late nights, weekends and even all-nighters.” There were no complaints about the travel load, though one consultant says that “we are still figuring out how to be a worldwide firm. I’ve worked in 10 different offices this past year … but I’ve not had a badge that works in all of them! I keep having to get and turn in badges because we’re not fully integrated world wide yet.” Still, BearingPoint offices are said to be “very nice,” though at the client “government office space lacks many of the basic necessities.” CAREER222 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 230. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms BearingPointLooking upwardMost sources say BearingPoint isn’t an up-or-out firm. One consultant describes thecompany as “balanced” regarding advancement, noting that “one can [move up] ifone wishes or one can remain out of management.” Another reports: “Our policy isnot up-or-out. However, we don’t have in place the right financial and policyincentives.”Holding out hopeAs for those financial incentives, our sources griped about BearingPoint’s “worthlessstock options.” “BearingPoint has not yet decided what its long-term compensationplan is, or if they have, they haven’t come out with proper expectation setting yet,”says one source. “There’s still the hope and expectation that we’ll get the traditionalconsulting bonus,” which the source says “hasn’t materialized for the last two years.”Other insiders cite happy hours, concierge service, personal days and a 401(k) asperks. Training is “improving,” sources say, with online resources “making it easierfor everyone.” Offices could use a makeover, though, insiders complain: “We are nolonger an audit/tax firm. Our physical infrastructure does not recognize that. Wedon’t have enough connections, we don’t have wireless hotspots, we don’t haveenough meeting rooms, we don’t have enough whiteboards or projectors.” Onesenior consultant thinks his firm has plenty of potential – which it needs to realize.He says the firm needs to assess its competitive position. “We haven’t figured outhow we’ll survive as the smallest of the big consulting companies. We need astrategy to preserve the good thing we’ve got going right now.” Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 223
  • 231. V A U L T 20 PRESTIGE L.E.K. Consulting RANKING 28 State Street THE STATS 16th Floor Boston, MA 02109 Employer Type: Private Company Phone: (617) 951-9500 Co-Founder and Chairman: Iain Evans Fax: (617) 951-9392 2003 Employees: 505 E-mail: info@lek.com 2002 Employees: 505 www.lek.com UPPERS LOCATIONS • Frequent fast-track promotions Boston, MA (HQ) • Very flexible comp time 16 offices worldwide DOWNERS PRACTICE AREAS • Elusive partners Business Strategy • Sometimes brutal hours Mergers and Acquisitions Shareholder Value KEY COMPETITORS Bain & Company Boston Consulting Group Marakon McKinsey & Company EMPLOYMENT CONTACT Tracy Amico E-mail: t.amico@lek.com Phone: (617) 951-9500 Fax: (617) 951-9392 THE BUZZ WHAT CONSULTANTS AT OTHER FIRMS ARE SAYING • “Analytic hard workers” • “Prescribe color of socks in their contract” • “High quality quantitative work” • “Face time city” CAREER224 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 232. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms L.E.K. ConsultingTHE SCOOPGetting bigger every yearL.E.K. Consulting recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, and has grown from itsrelatively humble beginnings as a small strategy consulting firm started by three ex-Bain Consulting partners to a company with 500 employees in 16 offices across fourcontinents. The firm began as LEK Partnership in London in 1983, and becameL.E.K. Consulting ten years later when it merged its U.S. operation with anotherconsultancy, The Alcar Group.L.E.K. undertook a self-branding study several years ago, which led to the adoptionof a consistent worldwide name and logo, a comprehensive web presence and theaddition of periods in “L.E.K.” (“We didn’t want to be called ‘LEK,’” quips oneexecutive.) Today, L.E.K. derives 90 percent of its business from repeat clientele orclient referrals, so the rebranding must have worked.The big threeL.E.K.’s work typically falls under one of three major business lines: businesssstrategy development, mergers and acquisitions support and value management.The business strategy practice, which accounts for about 40 percent of the firm’swork, assists client senior management in developing high-level corporate andbusiness strategies, assessing markets, identifying customer needs, analyzingcompetitive threats, investing in novel technologies, and expanding new geographies.The merger and acquisition practice, about 35 percent of L.E.K.’s business, works toidentify and to execute transactions by developing a reasonable rationale for a deal,assessing the underlying value of potential candidates, preparing commercialarguments, and planning the integration following completion. As a firm, L.E.K.provides assistance to more than 100 transactions annually for both corporate clientsand over 75 private equity and investor groups.L.E.K.’s value management practice, about 25 percent of its overall business, helpsexecutives understand where value is being created and destroyed across theorganization. Projects include value driver identification, capital and resourceallocation, market expectations analysis and performance measurement.L.E.K. works in many industries across these three business lines, including lifesciences, consumer products, health care services, retail, media and entertainment, Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 225
  • 233. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms L.E.K. Consulting high technology, energy, industrial products and transportation services. For example, in the biotech arena, L.E.K. coauthored a report on the state of the biotech industry for the New York Biotechnology Association in 2004. The once-again SARS-free skies In 2003 Singapore Airlines, the second largest airline in the world by market capitalization, hired L.E.K. to evaluate its business processes and review its entire organizational structure, with the goal of increasing Singapore Airlines’ competitiveness in the airline industry. According to August 2003’s issue of AirTransportWorld, Singapore Airlines took a big hit to its profitability as a result of last summer’s SARS outbreak. L.E.K.’s work with this client covered the entire organization and after a successful four month diagnostic phase, the airline signed L.E.K. onto an eight-month implementation phase. The L.E.K. way, young grasshopper L.E.K. promotes an image of working on the nuts-and-bolts, number-crunching level of a case, a fact it likes to emphasize when trying to differentiate itself from the competition. The company is also flexible and sensitive to clients’ time requirements – L.E.K. averages significantly less time per assignment than other firms (and it expects its associates to be flexible as well). Nevertheless, L.E.K. prides itself on being a firm of strategy experts, not industry experts, and places a premium on associates’ ability to adapt, rather than their ability to absorb knowledge of a given industry. In all, L.E.K. claims 20 separate industry sectors as areas of expertise. The Boston/London axis More than half of all L.E.K. consultants are based in the firm’s Boston and London offices. The firm is unusually flexible in its international assignments, and employees can switch easily between offices for either short-term “swaps,” typically lasting six to 12 months, or permanent transfers, depending on preference. More than a third of L.E.K. consultants have worked in two or more branch offices. L.E.K. consultants do travel frequently, but perhaps not as much as the industry standard. And the trips they do make tend to be short in duration – on average one day per workweek – with associates traveling even less. The firm does not require its consultants to specialize in a particular practice area, though generally they gravitate to two or three preferred industries. Associates CAREER226 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 234. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms L.E.K. Consultingtypically return to graduate school, while consultants – those with MBAs oradvanced degrees – can expect to become managers within two to three years.Extracurricular activitiesL.E.K. publishes a quarterly newsletter, Shareholder Value Insights, written bypartners at the firm. It also collaborates with The Wall Street Journal on the annualShareholder Scoreboard, a special feature that ranks companies by shareholderreturns. L.E.K. publishes a similar scorecard with the National Business Review ofNew Zealand, The Australian of Australia and The Bangkok Post of Thailand. L.E.K.is also presents at and sponsors many industry events including BiotechnologyIndustry Organization (BIO)’s annual conference.Booking a ticket to AsiaThe last few years have seen a number of expansions by L.E.K. In 2003 L.E.K.established an office in Tokyo by acquiring Acumen Japan, a consultancy led byformer L.E.K. consultants. In 2000 the firm opened an office in San Francisco, itsfourth in North America, and it acquired Alliance Asia Pacific, a China-basedaffiliate. The Beijing and Shanghai offices offer services throughout China, HongKong and Taiwan and work closely with L.E.K.’s Bangkok and Singapore offices.The firm says it plans continued expansion in the region.Meetings of the mindsL.E.K. emphasizes the day-to-day involvement of its 65 senior partners, who spend70 percent of their time in daily contact with the rest of the firm. L.E.K. alsopromotes senior and junior staff interaction through regular professional-development sessions that cover analytical concepts, management techniques andproject reviews. An open-door policy at L.E.K. encourages sharing ideas andassistance, and also fosters mentor relationships between associates and consultants.These mentors provide career support and guidance, as well as a forum for discussing“non-casework issues.” Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 227
  • 235. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms L.E.K. Consulting GETTING HIRED Just how many cell phones are there … The hiring process at L.E.K. is relatively straightforward (for consulting, that is). As one associate describes, “Most applicants will face three or four rounds of interviews with junior employees that usually entail case questions or market sizing problems. Final rounds usually are conducted by VPs and center mostly around fit and personality.” Applicants can expect two case questions per interview, and “lots of market sizing questions.” One associate recalls that he was asked to estimate the size of the cell phone market in Spain. Recruiting is done at the Ivy Leagues and top schools such as the University of Chicago, Berkeley, Caltech, Wellesley and UCLA and several regional schools like Boston College. “Hiring is very selective. As a small company we can be very selective because each starting class is relatively small. We look very closely at quantitative abilities, creativity, and oral communications” notes a consultant. “The process is extensive in that you meet a good number of people within the firm by the end.” Insiders advise that true L.E.K. fans are more likely to get the nod. “Make sure you can talk about L.E.K. when you give the reasons why you want to work here.” OUR SURVEY SAYS Colleagues and friends The culture at L.E.K., according to the majority of survey respondents, is collegial, social and fun, where staffers generally seem to really like each other. According to one associate, “The culture can’t be beat. L.E.K. is a friendly, noncompetitive environment. Socializing definitely happens outside of the office.” Another adds, “I am happy to call any of my co-workers my friends.” Another associate, who states, “The people are the reason to join. You really want to spend time with your co- workers outside of the office,” echoes this feeling. One consultant sums up the general mood: “Great camaraderie. Year in and year out, we have great people to work with and learn from.” However, respondents do draw a distinction between associates and consultants and the partners at the firm. “The culture promotes very hard work. It is set by the CAREER228 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 236. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms L.E.K. Consultingyounger associates and consultants, rather than by partners, who are usually out ofthe office selling work.” Another respondent echoes the observation that “some ofthe partners are so busy that you don’t see them very much.”This collegial atmosphere fosters interaction among employees of all levels, and ingeneral, respondents reported good working relationships with their managers andwith clients. As one associate says, “Top level management is accessible toassociates in team meetings and interested in the input of everyone on the team.”Another responds, “My relationship with superiors is very good. Managers andassociates sit next to each other and there is a lot of interaction on an informal basisduring office hours.”Associates are split with regard to client interaction. While one respondent notes “Inyour first year as an associate, you rarely get the opportunity to participate in clientmeetings,” another shares a different experience: “First year associate interactionswith the client typically depend upon the client location. When they are close by,most associates attend presentations and are encouraged to participate. Managersand partners often will look to associates for analysis.”Putting the hours inMost consultants state that their workweeks are long and hard at L.E.K. The typicalworkweek can run from 55-65 hours, but can get as high as 75-80 plus. One associatecomments that “Hours have been very long lately, I have worked over 75 hours perweek for at least the last two months. This is a function of business picking up anda lag in recruitment/finding the right people.” In general, advise insiders, “beprepared for long hours at L.E.K. Although the technical workweek is 50 hours, it isextremely rare that the hours of an associate or consultant will ever be that low.”Looking on the bright side, another consultant notes, “L.E.K.-ers expect to work longhours during the week, but everyone in the firm makes an effort to limit work on theweekends to allow for personal time.”“Work-life balance is great,” according to one experienced consultant, “but itdepends on the manager and partner that you are working for. Some managers makeit a priority to get their teams out of the office by 7 p.m., while others willconsistently work their teams until midnight. Generally, 75 percent of people have agreat balance at L.E.K., and the remaining 25 percent appear to always be at theoffice around the clock.” And consultants say there’s no end in sight. “As theeconomy picks up pace, the caseload has gotten more intense. It definitely appearsmore hectic than what it used to be – it’s a little challenging trying to balance work Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 229
  • 237. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms L.E.K. Consulting and life.” One respondent noted that L.E.K. “does try to create reasonable hours by offering ‘comp’ days if an employee works more than 75 hours a week. This is a nice – and appreciated – touch.” One consultant sums it up: “Working at L.E.K. requires accepting that there will be uncertainty around your schedule on weeknights and some weekends.” Let the home fires burn L.E.K.ers may work long hours, but they are by and large pleased with the fact that there is little travel required. Says one insider, “The traveling policy is generally very good – minimal time away from the office for associates and consultants.” That may be changing, however. “Typically L.E.K. consultants do not travel frequently, however, recent casework has required more travel,” notices one consultant, while another complains, “We used to only average one day per week but we seem to have shifted more frequently to three or four days per week. Can’t tell if this is a long- term phenomenon yet. Traveling makes your weeks longer and more tiring.” And as one consultant so eloquently puts it, “Travel sucks. I get by through truly enjoying my casework.” Building the ranks of diversity Like most top consulting firms, L.E.K. seeks to maintain a diverse workforce, though this isn’t always easy. “The firm is very receptive, we just don’t get many MBA and above hires that are women, though we make offers. We do get a lot of undergrad women.” One consultant remarks “Men seem to get better opportunities more quickly. All but one ‘fast track promote’ (to consultant) were male in the last few years.” Regarding minorities, “While L.E.K. promotes diversity in the workplace, they have had a difficult time hiring minorities.” One respondent points out “L.E.K. does not have explicit outreach programs to hire minorities.” Sexual orientation doesn’t seem to be an issue – “L.E.K. does not have explicit outreach programs to hire gays and lesbians, although the culture fosters a very friendly environment to people of all backgrounds, including different sexual orientations.” Pushing compensation upward Survey respondents like their colleagues and L.E.K.’s culture, but most of them don’t like their paycheck. “L.E.K. shoots to be in the 60th-70th percentile as far as associate base pay is concerned,” sighs one respondent, though another rejoins, “L.E.K. has recognized that its associates are paid less than market value and tries to CAREER230 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 238. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms L.E.K. Consultingadjust accordingly. The firm is trying to be more responsive in its compensation.”All professional positions receive a profit-sharing bonus from 5 to 20 percent of theirsalary at the end of the year. “It was approximately 12 percent of base salary in 2003.The percentage differs every year,” shares one respondent; the amount “has rangedfrom 5 to 11 percent in the last three years.”Creature comfortsThere are some very fine perks, however. One female consultant raves, “Theflexibility offered to women with respect to maternity leave is exemplary.” Otherassociates mention the comp days the firm offers when hours exceed a certainamount. L.E.K. is “currently making more efforts to have social events and expressemployee appreciation.” The firms is also said to be “very flexible with time, i.e.,daytime appointments,” says a consultant. Individual office perks can consist of“monthly happy hours, case team weekend trips at the end of huge cases, arefrigerator full of ice cold sodas, weekly snack and junk food delivery.”Navigating the firmMost respondents say there is no formal ‘up or out’ policy at L.E.K. “People can stayat the same level forever. However, most people leave when it becomes clear thatthey won’t be promoted further.” Unlike some other consulting firms, associates canprogress through the firm without an advanced degree. Associates “can advance toconsultant with their undergrad degree in five years,” comments one consultant,while another remarks “Top performers can be promoted to post-MBA consultantsafter three years with the firm. I have seen consultants promoted to manager after oneyear – not typical but possible. Everything is performance based. If you performwell, L.E.K. will promote you quickly.”Learning the ropesMost survey respondents give L.E.K. high marks for its formal and informal trainingefforts, with one associate calling it “top-notch.” Says one associate, “Most trainingis official. L.E.K. has a strong emphasis on its formal training program, whichdevotes an impressive amount of manpower and resources towards the developmentof its employees learning, particularly associates.” “We have professionaldevelopment courses once a month which are taught by L.E.K. associates,consultants, managers and partners. It allows us to keep learning in a classroom-likeenvironment.” One dissenter carps, “We’re supposed to have an official mentorship Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 231
  • 239. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms L.E.K. Consulting program, but I haven’t seen anything actually happen.” But overall, respondents agree that the firm provides “good initial and ongoing training.” For more information on top consulting employers and consulting careers, go to the Vault Consulting Career Channel • Detailed 40-page employer profiles on top employers like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Accenture and more • Surveys of employees at hundreds of consulting firms • The only job board on the Web dedicated to consulting jobs – The Vault Consulting Job Board • Case interview guides and one-on-one case interview prep www.vault.com/consulting CAREER232 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 240. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms L.E.K. Consulting“Some of the partners areso busy that you don’t see them very much.” — L.E.K. insiderVisit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at www.vault.com/consulting — withinsider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 233
  • 241. V A U L T 21 PRESTIGE Capgemini RANKING Five Times Square THE STATS New York, NY 10036 Phone: (917) 934-8000 Employer Type: Public Company Fax: (917) 934-8001 Ticker Symbol: CAP.PA (Paris www.us.capgemini.com Bourse) CEO: Paul Hermelin CEO, Americas: Chell Smith LOCATIONS 2003 Employees: 50,000 New York, NY (U.S. HQ) 2002 Employees: 53,000 Paris (HQ) 2003 Revenue: 5.75 billion EUR Offices in 30 countries 2002 Revenue: 7.047 billion EUR PRACTICE AREAS UPPERS Consulting Services: Customer • Less stringent up or out promotions Relationship Management • Finance • Generous and profitable profit and Employee Transformation • sharing Strategy/Transformation Consulting • Supply Chain DOWNERS Technology Services: Advanced • Self-training not to everyone’s Development and Integration liking (Adaptive Security, Enterprise • Many engagements have five day Application Integration, m- travel schedule Commerce) • Extended Enterprise Applications/Enterprise Resource Planning • Network Infrastructure KEY COMPETITORS Solution (Adaptive Security) Accenture Technology Consulting BearingPoint Deloitte Outsourcing: Applications IBM BCS Management • Business Process Management • Infrastructure Management) EMPLOYMENT CONTACT www.us.capgemini.com/careers THE BUZZ WHAT CONSULTANTS AT OTHER FIRMS ARE SAYING • “On the upswing” • “Spotty by area” • “The Roman Empire – big and slowly aging” • “Big player” CAREER234 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 242. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms CapgeminiTHE SCOOPVive la FranceCapgemini, which employs approximately 50,000 people around the world,organizes itself around three disciplines: consulting, technology and outsourcingservices. All three are geared toward technology, with the consulting firmcollaborating with clients – which include corporations, governments and NGOs – tohelp them maximize their technology investments. The firm was formed through theMay 2000 merger of Ernst & Young’s consulting unit and the French consultancyCap Gemini. The firm, formerly known as Cap Gemini Ernst & Young or CGEY,redubbed itself Capgemini in May 2004.A bundle of consulting offeringsCapgemini is home to a variety of consulting offerings; perhaps the most classicallystrategic is what it calls “Transformation Consulting.” Through this process,Capgemini endeavors to help clients adapt to changing markets using a combinationof business and technology strategy. Capgemini consultants first work withbusinesses on what they call a “Phase 1” project, looking for opportunities forimprovement. The firm then develops a “value proposition” to help clientsimplement needed changes. Happy clients have included energy giantChevronTexaco and Canadian bank CIBC.The firm’s CRM solutions target areas for improved customer interaction, increasedproductivity and responsiveness. In its supply-chain oriented engagements,Capgemini strives to help companies adopt lean and flexible operations, understandsupply and demand, collaboration, event-based management and integratedtechnology. Finally, Finance and Employee Transformation focuses on clients’productivity, with an approach that may include strategic planning, ERP optimizationor other consulting approaches.On the technology side, Capgemini offers comprehensive services which includeassessing, designing, building, implementing and integrating solutions in the areas ofArchitecture Services, Infrastructure Services, Systems Integration and ERP.Architecture Services takes the business requirements and translates them into aworkable system; Systems Integration is the development and implementation of thesolutions designed in the architecture stage. Capgemini’s ERP practice integratesfront-office and back-office in rolling out and integrating its ERP packages. Three of Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 235
  • 243. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Capgemini Capgemini’s alliance partners in the ERP arena are Oracle, PeopleSoft and SAP. Finally, the Infrastructure Services practice specializes in creating the physical infrastructure on which the solutions rely. New name, new CEO (in the Americas) In April 2004, just weeks before the announcement of its new name, Capgemini appointed Chell Smith as its CEO of North America. Smith had been with Capgemini in its various incarnations for 14 years previously, in both global and America-based postings; before her ascension to CEO, she headed Global Operations. Smith was tapped as one of Consulting magazine’s 25 Most Influential Consultants in 2004. Consulting slides In 2003, project and consulting revenues made up 62 percent of the firm’s consolidated revenue, down from 67 percent in 2002. Consolidated revenues for Capgemini were 5.75 billion euros, down by 12.5 percent compared to the previous year at constant exchange rates. Taking exchange rate fluctuations into account, the decline was closer to 18 percent. Outsourcing continues to be the strongest business segment for the firm, though in early 2004 Capgemini execs said consulting was looking up. Still, Chell Smith told BusinessWeek in December 2003 that “the shakeout in this business isn’t over. We’re absolutely taking smaller contracts with more specific expectations and greater risk on our part.” As of the first half of 2003, North American business brought in 31 percent of the firm’s revenues. France followed with 19 percent, while the U.K. and Ireland brought in 17 percent. The firm’s other geographic regions are Benelux (13 percent); Germany and Central Europe (7 percent); the Nordic countries (7 percent); and Asia Pacific (one percent). In July 2003, the firm reportedly moved its Chinese regional headquarters to Shanghai from Hong Kong, in anticipation of rapid local growth. Revving up in India As of June 2003, the firm’s headcount was down by 6 percent compared to the beginning of 2003, including layoffs of 2,290 people. In July 2003, the firm reportedly cut 287 jobs in France, or 3 percent of its French workforce. Top-level consulting managers made up 185 of these layoffs. But the company had aggressive growth plans for other regions: India Business Insight reported in November 2003 that the firm planned to set up two more offices in India, in Mumbai and Bangalore, CAREER236 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 244. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Capgeminiand hire more than 4,000 professionals in the region by the end of 2004. TotalCapgemini staff in India is expected to reach 10,000 by the end of 2005.Beaucoup eurosAt the end of 2003, Capgemini acquired a majority interest in Transiciel, a Frenchsystems integrator, in a deal valued at about 244 million euros. The firm said thepurchase solidified its position in Europe, and strengthened its market share forprofessional services, which represents 20 percent of the IT services market inEurope. The Transiciel business was integrated into Capgemini’s Sogeti unit, whichnow boasts more than 13,000 employees in nine countries (including 1,200 in theUnited States). The new division is headed by Georges Cohen and Luc-FrancoisSalvador, formerly managing director of Sogeti.Outsourcing coupsAnother big deal for the company at the end of 2003 was the Aspire contract, throughwhich the U.K.’s Inland Revenue named Capgemini its outsourcing partner in a dealworth 4.7 billion euros, estimated to be among the largest in outsourcing history. Thecontract, which began in July 2004, was signed for an initial 10 years with anoptional eight-year renewal. Capgemini is partnering with Fujitsu to deliver thecontract, which was won in a competitive bid against incumbents EDS andAccenture. Around 2,250 U.K.-based employees from EDS and Accenture wereexpected to join Capgemini as part of the deal.In other outsourcing news, in July 2003 Capgemini inked strategic deals in Polandand China, firsts for the firm in those regions. In Poland, International Paper, thelargest paper and forest company in the world, transferred its Krakow offices toCapgemini. Asia’s leading consumer goods distributor, Dairy Farm InternationalHoldings, transferred its Guangzhou office, near Hong Kong.But the deal that topped them all was Capgemini’s $3.5 billion, 10 year deal withTXU, a Dallas-based energy company, in May 2004. The deal created a new entitycalled Capgemini Energy, which will provide BPO and other consulting services toenergy companies.Friends in IT placesStrengthening its IT chops, in November 2003 the firm announced that it had signeda memo of understanding with HP to deliver a range of storage management services Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 237
  • 245. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Capgemini and solutions, including information lifecycle management. Capgemini said it planned to use its business consulting and services expertise to work with HP’s storage hardware and software business to provide comprehensive solutions for enterprise customers. HP joins a star-studded list of Capgemini’s strategic partners, including Cisco Systems, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Siebel and Sun Microsystems, Inc. The firm won two IBM PartnerWorld Beacon awards, in 2004, and received an award from Microsoft in 2003 for its record in implementing Microsoft solutions. A hiccup in health care? Capgemini’s Health Care consulting practice is reportedly one of its largest divisions, and it may be the largest such practice serving the health care industry, with more than 1,500 hospital clients and engagements with 13 of the top 15 global pharmaceutical companies, nine of the top 20 medical device companies and five of the top biotech companies. In September 2003, Modern Healthcare reported that as many as eight key partners in the practice were ousted after they took a trip to corporate headquarters in Paris to propose a buyout plan for the division. According to Modern Healthcare, the firm was engaged in ongoing layoffs within the division, and another 20 VPs in health care may have received pink slips. Friendly with the feds The firm’s Government Solutions practice has seen a number of wins in recent years, including a five-year blanket purchase agreement from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for project management support services signed in February 2003. In September 2003, the U.S. Army tapped Capgemini to develop an IT integration framework, in a deal worth $7.6 million. The firm received a listing on the General Services Administrations schedule for IT services in 2002. GETTING HIRED Unstructured process Capgemini provides an online application form for prospective employees. The firm typically recruits on campus at a handful of top business and undergraduate schools; an insider reports that there’s “not much campus recruiting going on lately,” though this may pick up between 2004 and 2005. CAREER238 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 246. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms CapgeminiInsiders say the interview process is “extremely informal and unstructured. There areno set rules/protocols regarding interviews – questions, evaluation guides, number ofpeople in interview, number of interviews to conduct, special testing, etc.,” reportsone consultant. Another consultant says there are generally three stages to theinterviews: “first to confirm a culture fit, second for competence, skills,communication, etc., and the third to reaffirm such.” Still, another insider says“While they tested my knowledge of applications and various qualifications, therewere also a lot of brainteasers that tested your ability to think through a problem andshow your ability to consult.” “There were two rounds of interviews. The first wasa phone interview conducted by HR. The second was a set of three interviews witha VP, a senior manager and a manager. I was offered a job within three weeks of thesecond round of interviews,” another Capgemini-er reports.Capgemini is big on “deployable” skills, another consultant reports. “We used to hirewell-rounded people with a consulting aptitude and mold them into consultants.Now we look for very specific experience and skill sets.” Of course, it also helps toknow what you’re getting into, an insider advises: “Any hesitation with regard toyour ability to travel more than 50 percent and you will not be considered. Again, ifyou are applying for a consulting position, you should be ready, willing and excitedabout traveling.”OUR SURVEY SAYSBalancing actCapgemini-ers work hard, and though the company actively promotes a work-lifebalance as a value, it’s a tough juggling act, say consultants. “With this type of ‘work’you have to sacrifice having a ‘life,’” says one. Sometimes it’s a matter of standingup for yourself, says another consultant. “Balancing is completely on you and yourability to push back. If you let them dictate your work schedule, they will.” AnotherCapgemini consultant is able to achieve balance only “because I choose to. If Iactually did all that was needed in regards to education, conference calls, etc., Iwould have no time for myself at all.”Still, finding work-life balance has become increasingly difficult as more work isdistributed among fewer people, consultants suggest. “The company policy ofMonday to Thursday travel is slowly turning to Monday to Friday. This makesgetting anything done at home very hard to do,” one consultant frets. A colleague Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 239
  • 247. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Capgemini notes that “The firm has stated policies (e.g. 3-4-5 policy for workweek travel, alternate arrangements for long-term travel) on work-life balance, but these have generally not been followed in the poor business climate of the past few years.” Another adds, “Projects are being sold at a fixed fee and staffed very slim to accommodate. The subject matter experts, like myself, get spread too thin and end up compensating for the less experienced.” Work hours tend to average above 50 per week. “Some projects are on five day onsite workweeks for over three months, averaging well over 45 hours per week excluding travel time,” a consultant says, adding, “There is no balance, only work.” A few grumble about Capgemini’s practice of not including travel time within billable hours. “Travel time is not generally billed to the client unless work can be completed during travel. I usually spend eight to 10 hours a week in travel time on top of the 45 hours of billable work,” a consultant reports. Another attests that “We have to travel on our own personal time. You get very tired.” Still, at least one Capgemini-er sees the silver lining among the travel clouds, reporting: “If you’re a valuable resource you will be traveling up to 100 percent. I’ve been traveling for 18 months straight. Financially it’s quite lucrative to get rid of your apartment, put your things in storage and save, save, save.” Numerous consultants report a more balanced Monday through Thursday schedule, with the “ability to work from home” and an “effort to locate engagements in [the] region where [they are] based.” One consultant reports a 3-4-5 schedule (three nights, four days on the road, and the fifth day at the home office), but notes that it typically only involves “one city per week and typically [I] do not travel more than one time zone.” State of flux Some ultra-nostalgic Capgemini consultants still seem to be reeling from the effects of the Ernst & Young merger. One consultant reports that “high rapid turnover in many areas has led to uncertainty, concern and low morale, also leading to a feeling of disconnect.” The firm “has drastically changed from the E&Y culture to Cap,” a colleague says. Still others wonder if there’s really a Capgemini culture at all: “The culture is not bad, it is just not existent,” says one consultant. “The people are great, but there is little funding for social activities and no corporate incentive to perform charitable functions with your co-workers.” Another Capgemini-er agrees, saying, “There really isn’t a Capgemini corporate culture. Rather, there is ‘project by project’ culture.” But, the consultant adds, “This is a function of the individuals rather than the company.” CAREER240 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 248. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms CapgeminiSome American Capgemini-ers fret that having a French management team has beena challenge. “Executive management is in France, and the culture there and in theU.S. is worlds apart,” says one consultant. “Still another insider worries that the“overseas leadership [is] not in touch with [the] U.S. environment.”Other consultants have many positive things to say about the firm. “We have a ‘can-do’ attitude regarding work,” reports one consultant. And things may be improving:“Cap Gem has been through a few years of post-merger shake-up,” one writes. “Weare just now getting back on our feet and I am excited about some of the newinitiatives.” Another says, “Within the last six months the culture at Capgemini haschanged. This is starting to be a fun place to work at again.” The company seemsto be actively looking for solutions: “There is an active series of initiatives aimed atimproving communications with all levels (360), which should help improve wherewe have been over the last couple of years,” an employee reports.Busy beesEven when not assigned to clients, the average Capgemini-er’s day is go, go, go.“When not assigned to clients, I have spent the time working on sales pursuits. Thisoften requires more time than working on a scheduled assignment,” one reports.Another complains about the “many hours given to ‘beach assignments’ and notfairly recognized.” A colleague adds, “During my five weeks when I was notassigned to a client, I was still traveling for a training course.”Capgemini-ers can enjoy some pretty decent facilities when they aren’t traveling –but that’s a rarity, consultants suggest. A New Yorker reports, “Our offices are verynice, however usually very empty since most who are traveling are either workingfrom home on Fridays or still at the client site.” The Pittsburgh office, a consultantreports, possesses “very nice offices with no one in them,” while the Chicago facilityis reportedly “like a ghost town!” – though, “our offices, although bare right now,have the best equipment and services. In comparison to client sites, they’re stellar.”You can hear the crickets chirping in St. Louis, too, says a consultant: “The St. Louisoffice is empty of individuals, and those individuals who are there sit with their officedoors closed, so it is like going into a morgue!”Getting aheadThere doesn’t seem to be a strict “up-or-out” policy at Capgemini, though “thenumbers say otherwise,” one consultant comments. Promotion and advancementmay be a matter of function within the firm, a colleague says: “There are several Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at http://consulting.vault.com — with insider firm profiles, message boards, the Vault Consulting Job Board and more. CAREER LIBRARY 241
  • 249. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms Capgemini tracks that one can take – delivery, subject matter specialist, or sales. The promotion timeframes depend on the track chosen.” Another says, “The promotion process varies between service lines. Some service lines place true ‘weight’ in the promotion decision ... others do it because it’s time.” “Advancement is not easy, especially for an individual who does not want to work 80 [hours a] week and almost all weekends and holidays,” reports another. On average, consultants “advance from staff to manager every two to three years,” says a Capgemini-er, though the path beyond that is a bit more unpredictable. The advancement pattern at Capgemini may be another thing that’s changed since the merger. “I don’t think we are as much ‘up or out’ as we were with E&Y,” one consultant reports. “Consultants can advance to senior consultants after roughly two years, and to managers in two to four years after that. There’s no set rule on time at a certain level, though.” “Times have changed,” a colleague agrees: “You can hang around at any level for as long as you want, it seems. [The] days of fast promotions, raises, and bonuses are far gone.” But a lot of this is based on old-fashioned business principles, another consultant reports: “It seems to vary by what service/offering is hot at any given time.” Proactive consultants, great relationships From training to mentoring, self-motivation seems to be the name of the game at Capgemini. “You need to be very self-motivated and self-disciplined in this environment. Not much hand holding going on here,” reports one consultant. Says another, “I have had great relationships with my counselors and supervisors but I have had two different counselors in one year. It is hard to establish a new relationship with a supervisor and try to communicate my accomplishments every six months.” Another consultant says that while the clients are “great,” “my supervisors tend to be very protective of their relationships with upper management.” However, supervisors are said to be sociable. “It is not abnormal for you to be ‘socializing’ with a VP and not even know it,” says one consultant. Most Capgemini-ers report positive interactions with the higher-ups. Says a manager, “All the top management is very accessible at any time. They may not agree with you, but they will always give your ideas and concerns a fair hearing.” “Relationships with supervisors and others are typically very open. This is one of the key cultural benefits of Capgemini – it’s a great group of people,” says a consultant. CAREER242 LIBRARY © 2004 Vault Inc.
  • 250. Vault Guide to the Top 50 Management and Strategy Consulting Firms CapgeminiThumbs down for web training