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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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  • 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
  • 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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.
  • 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 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
  • 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 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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.
  • 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 — 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 — 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 — 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.
  • 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 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 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 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 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at — 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 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: 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 ( Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at — 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 — 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 — 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 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 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 European Careers: THE STATS Australia/New Zealand Careers: Employer Type: Private Company Chairman & CEO: Ralph W. Shrader Japan Careers: 2004 Employees: 15,000 2003 Employees: 14,000 Seoul Careers: FY 2004 Sales: $2.7 billion FY 2003 Sales: $2.3 billion South American Careers: Government Sector: THE BUZZ 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at — 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 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: 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 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 Bain & Company E-mail: 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 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 — 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 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: 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 Visit the Vault Consulting Career Channel at — 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 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 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 — 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 — 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, 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 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 McKinsey & Company United Kingdom, France, Benelux, IBM BCS Italy, Iberia and Scandinavian Recruiting: Germany, Switzerland and Austrian Recruiting: 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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. 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 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 — 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 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 — 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 — 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 Consulti