AMA - I Work at Strategy&. Consulting

Here to answer your questions. A bit about me:
-Strategy& Senior Associate
-Graduated from M7 MBA (class of 2015/16)

I'd prefer not to give much more detail at this time about myself (e.g., where I'm based, etc). Headcount has shrank about 20% since I've joined (hint hint - and this is net of new hires), so it's easier to identify myself in a smaller firm.

What is the main reason I am doing this? This is mainly for potential hires, as I want to prevent careers from potentially being ruined. Yes, the layoff rumors were true. Around April / May, S& laid off a bunch of 1st year campus grads through no fault of their own. Partners couldn't sell, so people were cut. PwC focuses on billed utilization, so it's easier to cut 1st years, as their utilization metrics are lower than proven 2nd/3rd year resources.

However, this was not the traditional consulting "counseling out" process (vs. industry, where you can get fired whenever). Many of the affected grads had no indication they were underperforming (mainly because there were very few projects for them to perform on). Many were given 2 weeks notice. And some were cut with three days notice. Yes, three days notice. Whereas my peers from MBB/ATK/LEK/etc are given months to find a new gig should they be counseled out. These 1st year grads have bills. They have student loans. In case of MBA grads, some of them have families. Children to support. Many of these grads weren't even given a chance. Who will hire an unemployed strategy consultant with 0-1 projects under his/her belt? What do these people even put on their resumes? It is October and many of them are still unemployed. I am absolutely disgusted by the way the layoffs were handled - which I understand is a decision made by PwC leadership, not S&. My assumption is because PwC is an accounting firm, they put on their accounting glasses and said "S&, you have to have X many headcount gone by a certain date because the fiscal year rolls over", or something to that extent

Since this is an intro post, I don't want to get into too much detail here (but can do so depending on what questions you have), but think about the downstream effects of what this has in terms of the internal culture shift / incentives and behaviors from H1Bs / incentives and behaviors from US citizens / resentment from potential future clients / effect on the incoming talent pool / etc.

One positive I will say for now - any company who hires from S& will get someone (most likely with a Tier-1 pedigree) willing to work ridiculously, insanely hard. For starters, Booz already had somewhat of a sweatshop reputation, but now people are so scared of getting fired (perhaps again, through no fault of their own) that 3AM / 4AM nights are becoming more common than before. We don't protect weekends here either.

Heading to bed now (late night), but please post questions and I will answer when I wake up. Questions don't necessarily have to be about the layoffs. Integration with PwC, projects, staffing, etc questions are all welcome.

Comments (61)

Nov 14, 2017

.

Oct 7, 2017

Proof (yes, we still have Lotus notes, but most of S& uses Gmail): imgur dot com/mrLSfBc.jpg

(I can't post links, this is a new account)

    • 1
Oct 7, 2017

Thank you very much for that post!

Do you know how the European business is doing? Are there similar problems? Layoffs?

Oct 7, 2017
Jome11:

Do you know how the European business is doing? Are there similar problems? Layoffs?

I have very little insight into the international offices. PwC US is only exposed to profits in the US market because that is our legal jurisdiction. So everything I know about quarterly results, etc, pertains to the US. When staffing sends out a list of projects, it only includes projects in the US. Unlick McK, we follow a domestic staffing model (similar to BCG). Our internal S& directory only lists folks in the US.

I have heard (but cannot confirm) that S& offices outside of the US are allowed to act with much more autonomy than ones in the US. Unlike the US, they are branded separately from PwC, go to market separately, etc. Because of this, I doubt that the layoff problems extended to Europe (and if folks were counseled out, it probably was a normal process).

Honestly, I would reach out to former S& Europe employees on Linkedin to find out.

    • 2
Oct 7, 2017

Hey S&, thanks for the AMA.

I guess my major question is:
What industry / kinds of cases have you been staffed on?

How are you / your colleagues enjoying your time at S&? You said its almost like a sweatshop so was interested in your satisfaction

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Oct 7, 2017
theman51:

Hey S&, thanks for the AMA.

I guess my major question is:
What industry / kinds of cases have you been staffed on?

I have been staffed on 100% FS (Financial Services) cases. Some context:

Unlike MBB and many other consulting firms, when you join PwC / S&, you are slotted to an industry and it is very difficult (if not impossible) to switch. Industry alignment is based on the prior experience you displayed on your resume. So, I see issues with this in both the undergrad and MBA level.

  • Undergrad: 1) Most 22 year olds entering consulting have no idea what they want to do with their life. Did you do an internship in IB, hate it, and now want to learn about Oil and Gas? Too bad, you're aligned to FS. Are you from LA, do an internship with some random media company, want to learn about CPG? Sucks for you, you're aligned to TMT. 2) Specifically for Financial Services, I don't see the value prop here for undergrads vs. IB. Hours are almost as bad as IB (see my intro post), comp is lower than IB, and IB places far better into PE / HF. My guess is that our FS practice will get a lot of undergrads who couldn't make the cut for IB.
  • MBA: Most MBA students are career switchers. Similar to above, Did you work in FS middle / back office, and get your MBA to switch to Tech? Too bad, you're aligned to FS. Ex-military and want to learn about FS? Nope, you're in Industrial Products.

For certain schools, we even target recruiting by industry. Example: If you were an ex-navy SEAL with multiple tours of duty in Iraq, are student body president, and have an 800 GMAT, BUT we are not hiring at your school for Industrial Products / Aerospace & Defense, you will not get an interview. But the person that did 3 years Back Office at some small regional bank will get an interview if we are hiring for FS.

If you truly wanted to switch, I would even suggest lying on your resume if possible. Not about date / place of employment of course (those are verified via HR), but about the details. HR will not verify if you covered FIG or Pharma as an ER analyst, for example.

So it should be somewhat clear by now that S& goes to market with the advantage of "Our consultants have industry experience so we can give practical answers, unlike the generalists at MBB". Despite this, I think it's more or less BS. I have met a FS manager who didn't even know what an ETF was. And I've met another who didn't know the difference between the buy-side and sell-side. Both of these examples are on the S& side, not the PwC side. Seriously, you have been on FS projects for 4 years and do not know this?! I could step foot onto NYU's campus, grab a random undergrad from Stern, and chances are he/she would know this.

theman51:

How are you / your colleagues enjoying your time at S&? You said its almost like a sweatshop so was interested in your satisfaction

On a scale of 1-10, it's definitely below a 5. For me, it's closer to a 1 by far - the main reason will be in my reply to snakeoil's 2nd question.

It appears that there are two camps of folks at S&, people who were here before the buyout, and people who joined after the buyout. People who were here before the buyout seem to be more content than those who joined afterwards, for two reasons:

  • They likely already have established networks within the firm, so it's very easy for them to get staffed to projects / they don't have the lingering fear of unemployment due to low utilization hanging over their head.
  • Since they have been here longer, they are more senior and are compensated more than the latter group.

The other big thing to note is that much of leadership has no incentive to fix this culture. It is important to note that May 1st, 2018 is when the ex-Booz / current S& partners get their final payout from the PwC buyout. I'm anticipating that many of them will leave after this payout, which will lead to less business and another round of layoffs.

    • 4
Oct 7, 2017

thank you for doing this
honestly I had heard meh things about S& but I had no clue it was THIS bad

if you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you'll be successful

Best Response
Oct 7, 2017

You're a good man for doing this. And wow that was very cruel - I really hope they find a job soon.

I am in the process of applying to B School and I would think long and hard before taking a job at S& (At least they're not named Mondays anymore!) or any other consulting firm tied to an Accounting firm.

Questions -

1.) How integrated is S& with PwC Consulting? What are the future plans? (Also, any idea on how it's working at EY-Parthenon?)

2.) Can you expand further on your 4th paragraph a bit? This should affect future hiring at S& - I am a nobody, but after reading this post, I'll think long and hard about taking a gig at S&. What about the H1B comment - what do you mean by that?

3.) You seem like a no BS guy - so tell us if S& (after the PwC merger) really does Strategy work or are they doing mostly PMI, Implementation work. (I work at a client - and I only see them on PMI projects).

4.) What is YOUR perception on the non-MBB consulting firms? How would you rank them in terms of the type of work they do?

Again, thanks for the post.

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Oct 7, 2017
snakeoil:

1.) How integrated is S& with PwC Consulting? What are the future plans? (Also, any idea on how it's working at EY-Parthenon?)

On the US side, it's becoming more and more integrated. More long-term implementation projects. Later this month, S& NYC is moving to a new office (90 Park Street), - but our FS and Deals team are moving to 300 Madison to be closer to PwC. If I had to guess, the S& brand will not exist in the future. I'm not senior management, so I don't know the future plans. The hiring process and compensation are still different from PwC, however.

From speaking to my peers at Parthenon, those brands are much more distinct. My peers at Parthenon don't have utilization metrics. Plus, they are much more DD focused which doesn't really play well with implementation consulting.

snakeoil:

2.) Can you expand further on your 4th paragraph a bit? This should affect future hiring at S& - I am a nobody, but after reading this post, I'll think long and hard about taking a gig at S&. What about the H1B comment - what do you mean by that?

People talk. When the MBA class of 2017 finds out that their classmates in the class of 2016 are being laid off through no fault of their own, they tell Career Development, and the class of 2018. From speaking to colleagues, applications at some schools are down over 25% year-over-year.

So what we are getting are mostly international students who only care about getting sponsored, and getting a green card. Some of these students have poor social skills, they would not pass the airport test.

As for the Junior staff (Associates / Senior Associates) here, they are leaving for other companies. But who? Not the H1B's.
-If you leave PwC before you get the green card, apparently you have to pay them back for all the lawyer expenses (I have heard this is over $50K).
-If you do get laid off as a H1B, you have 60 days to find another company that will sponsor you, otherwise you are deported.

Combine all of this with 1) an up-or-out policy, and 2) a massive wave of layoffs that occurred earlier this year, and what do you get? A culture of fear filled with H1Bs willing to work 16, 17, 18 hour days (+ weekends) because they do not want to get deported. Which means they may demand that from you if you work under one of them.

snakeoil:

3.) You seem like a no BS guy - so tell us if S& (after the PwC merger) really does Strategy work or are they doing mostly PMI, Implementation work. (I work at a client - and I only see them on PMI projects).

They do both, but leadership has made it clear to us that they want to trend more towards long-term, implementation work (+ doing the strategy component as well). The Strategy component would be a 100% S& team, with the implementation component being mixed S&/PwC. This means that you can be stuck at a client for a long period of time. I've met junior people staffed to the same client for over 10 months.

(Leadership also claims that this is where the consulting market is headed - if that is true, this may also be the case at other firms in the future)

snakeoil:

4.) What is YOUR perception on the non-MBB consulting firms? How would you rank them in terms of the type of work they do?

Tier 2: ATK/LEK/OW/S&/Parthenon

For general strategy, I'd still say S& is at or near the top of this list. However, for specialized niches, I would choose other firms (e.g. LEK / Parthenon for PE DD, OW for FS)

I don't know enough about Accenture strategy to rank them (maybe a bit above Big-4? IDK), but we did have 2 partners leave for ACN in the past 6 months. I would lump Big-4 strategy together and Cognizant / Infosys below that.

    • 3
Oct 7, 2017

You're going to hear from Deloitte S&O fanboys real soon :)

Oct 7, 2017
snakeoil:

You're going to hear from Deloitte S&O fanboys real soon :)

Whoops! I would lump S&O with Big-4, with the Monitor portion separately in Tier 2.

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Oct 7, 2017

Thanks for taking the time to do this. I actually just recently accepted an offer for the deals team at Strategy&, set to start in fall 2018. Do you think these layoff trends are going to continue? I never heard of it until visiting this site recently. Also, what kind of exit opps do you see associates taking at the firm?

Oct 7, 2017
Longhorn Man:

Thanks for taking the time to do this. I actually just recently accepted an offer for the deals team at Strategy&, set to start in fall 2018. Do you think these layoff trends are going to continue? I never heard of it until visiting this site recently.

See the end of my reply to "theman51". However, I believe that deals is a somewhat new team within S& (it didn't exist when I recruited for them). Therefore, I'm guessing that many of the Deals partners joined post-merger, and have no incentive to leave after May 1st (as they aren't getting a payout).

Longhorn Man:

What kind of exit opps do you see associates taking at the firm?

For Associates in Deals, I would imagine PE on the operations side. The deals team is somewhat separate from the rest of S&, so I don't have much detail unfortunately. Again, S& deals is a very new team, so I would try to find ex-S& deals people on LinkedIn

    • 1
Oct 7, 2017

Thank you so much for doing this!

I'll be interning at S& this next summer - I was initially pretty excited about joining the FS practice and maybe securing an FT offer there, but after reading your post, I'm a little concerned about my future with S&.

What advice do you have for an intern, who has little to no exposure to consulting, and how can I ensure future job security? What expectations are there for people like me, and how can I make the most of the time I have here to maybe lateral to another firm (assuming that's the best course of action)?

    • 1
Oct 7, 2017
Empyreal:

What advice do you have for an intern, who has little to no exposure to consulting, and how can I ensure future job security? What expectations are there for people like me, and how can I make the most of the time I have here to maybe lateral to another firm (assuming that's the best course of action)?

Congrats on your internship offer. Didn't realize that we were hiring interns already! Anyway, your #1 focus this summer should be on securing a full-time offer. Here's what I would do:

  • Read the WSJ and understand the FS landscape. A lot of S& FS work revolves around 1) Insurance and 2) Back office clearing / settlement. Familiarizing yourself with those industries would help. It is extremely rare that you will work on a project with a major bank (JPM, GS, etc), as we lost a lot of that business due to conflicts with our audit business - Which client will trust a S& recommendation if there is even the faintest hint that the advice is skewed to protect the audit partners' recurring revenue streams? The odor of bias is enough to turn away the most discerning client. And after the merger, many banks said no. You can ignore FinTech / blockchain. Startups don't hire consulting firms, and many of the banks that are looking in this space won't hire S& due to the reason I stated above.
  • Familiarize yourself with Excel and Powerpoint. Knowing how to effectively use these programs (with minimal mouse usage!) will impress your team members.
  • Find good places to eat lunch / dinner around your home office. As an intern, you will be handling food orders, and the firm will try to staff you locally.
  • Have a positive attitude, and be coachable.

Securing a FT offer should be your #1 priority. It will also be a positive data point for FT interviews, should you try to lateral somewhere else.

Future job security is TBD. You graduate after May 1st, 2018, so I don't even know which partners will be remaining after that date.

Hope this helps!

    • 3
Oct 8, 2017

you may have answered this ... I apologize if you did. If so, let me know if you recall who asked a similar question...

You mentioned that your satisfaction level is close to a 1 ... what's kept you at the job? Do you enjoy what you do THAT much? Strictly out of necessity? Paychecks? all of the above?

I've hated a few gigs before, and still showed up, cus that's what I had to do. And also cus you gotta protect the story, so to speak, haha but are you considering exiting?

I guess I could see how a person who is miserable simply would still like to keep their job while simultaneously lookin elsewhere. It's pretty uncommon to one day say screw it, quit without a plan, and then start figuring things out from there lol

Oct 8, 2017
yessir1:

you may have answered this ... I apologize if you did. If so, let me know if you recall who asked a similar question...

You mentioned that your satisfaction level is close to a 1 ... what's kept you at the job? Do you enjoy what you do THAT much? Strictly out of necessity? Paychecks? all of the above?

I've hated a few gigs before, and still showed up, cus that's what I had to do. And also cus you gotta protect the story, so to speak, haha but are you considering exiting?

I guess I could see how a person who is miserable simply would still like to keep their job while simultaneously lookin elsewhere. It's pretty uncommon to one day say screw it, quit without a plan, and then start figuring things out from there lol

What's kept me at the job is another offer. I have currently shopped my resume around and am case prepping (with other S& colleagues, actually)

I know of 3 folks who quit in the last 6 months without anything lined up. 2 of those 3 quit before bonus payouts.

Oct 8, 2017

With a lot of work in FS, what kind of exit ops are you currently looking @?
You mention case work, so Im guessing lateral to OW or a similar firm?

Oct 9, 2017
Adding.Value:

With a lot of work in FS, what kind of exit ops are you currently looking @?
You mention case work, so Im guessing lateral to OW or a similar firm?

Everything

Oct 10, 2017

thanks for the response, man! everything will work out!

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Oct 8, 2017

First, thanks for doing this post. It's helpful and refreshing for the monkeys who are considering MBA and consulting.

  1. I never did consulting recruiting, but lot of my classmates and friends are in consulting. It seems like there is a YUGE gap between MBB and the rest, in terms of prestige, cool projects, exit opps. My best friend is now a principal at a MBB firm, and he said they get so much work that they can't hire fast enough. Have you found this to be the case as well?
  2. Are your MBA classmates in MBB happy with their jobs, or is it a mixed bag?
  3. Do you see consulting becoming consolidated into a handful of firms doing actual meaningful strategy work while the rest are relegated to operational/middle office type work?
    • 1
Oct 9, 2017
Rufus1234:

First, thanks for doing this post. It's helpful and refreshing for the monkeys who are considering MBA and consulting.

    - I never did consulting recruiting, but lot of my classmates and friends are in consulting. It seems like there is a YUGE gap between MBB and the rest, in terms of prestige, cool projects, exit opps. My best friend is now a principal at a MBB firm, and he said they get so much work that they can't hire fast enough. Have you found this to be the case as well?

See the part in my initial post about headcount being down over 20% since I've joined

Rufus1234:

- Are your MBA classmates in MBB happy with their jobs, or is it a mixed bag?

Most of them are happy. The ones that are looking to leave are doing so because they are bored. Very different from a fear of getting laid off

Rufus1234:

- Do you see consulting becoming consolidated into a handful of firms doing actual meaningful strategy work while the rest are relegated to operational/middle office type work?

Yes. High-end strategy consulting is pretty price inelastic - if you're going to make a decision that will shape the future of your company, the recommendation has to be right. For a decision that will affect potential billions in future revenue, do you pay a couple hundred thousand more for a premium firm, or do you hire those idiots that screwed up the Oscars (not that S& had anything to do with it, but you get the picture)? It's the corporate equivalent of penny wise, pound foolish.

    • 2
Oct 9, 2017
Rufus1234:

It seems like there is a YUGE gap between MBB and the rest, in terms of prestige, cool projects, exit opps.

Not true at all. It's like banking. The fact that there are GS/MS/JPM doesn't mean that Lazard or Credit Suisse are shit.

T2 firms are mostly almost as good as MBB. I would say that almost all T2 firms have at least one industry practice that beats at least 2 out of 3 MBB firms. Exit opps are on average a bit better at MBB, but there is a huge variance; I've seen an ex-MBB become yoga teacher and an ex-T2 consultant join a megafund.

    • 2
Oct 9, 2017
NC30:
Rufus1234:

It seems like there is a YUGE gap between MBB and the rest, in terms of prestige, cool projects, exit opps.

Not true at all. It's like banking. The fact that there are GS/MS/JPM doesn't mean that Lazard or Credit Suisse are shit.

T2 firms are mostly almost as good as MBB. I would say that almost all T2 firms have at least one industry practice that beats at least 2 out of 3 MBB firms. Exit opps are on average a bit better at MBB, but there is a huge variance; I've seen an ex-MBB become yoga teacher and an ex-T2 consultant join a megafund.

I assume the yoga teacher did so out of choice (married a rich man perhaps?). Obviously it's not because teaching yoga is the only option he/she had coming out of MBB.

    • 3
Oct 9, 2017

lol

Oct 8, 2017

Would love to hear what the salary progression at S& has been like for you and how that compares to your peers either at that firm or other consulting firms? For context, I've generally heard that part of the reason for MBB over other consulting firms is that despite pay starting off similar at all the firms the YoY growth at MBB is much higher. Thanks.

Oct 9, 2017
bylaw16:

Would love to hear what the salary progression at S& has been like for you and how that compares to your peers either at that firm or other consulting firms? For context, I've generally heard that part of the reason for MBB over other consulting firms is that despite pay starting off similar at all the firms the YoY growth at MBB is much higher. Thanks.

Associates enjoy pretty substantial pay increases. I would imagine it's similar to MBB.

For Senior Associates, the salary progression is very bad. You start out at 147K. 2nd years get 152K, and 3rd years get 157K. If you do the math, you're barely beating inflation. MBB will win in this regard, hands down.

MBB also contributes a substantial portion of your salary to 401K, no match required. We're at 3%, I believe. Our 401K match is also terrible - 25% of the first 6%. Both vested over 5 years (obviously few people get the full value of this).

    • 2
Oct 10, 2017

I want to correct a misstatement I made above - Associate pay increases are slower than MBB. The reason is that Associates must wait 3 years to be promoted to Senior Associates, with no exceptions (even for star associates). Obviously, for MBB this is not the case.

So for Associates, 3 Years at S& = 2 Years at MBB

Oct 19, 2017

To be clear... McKinsey doesn't allow Any promotions to post-mba role

Bain does Not have a 2-year path as the Norm... its exception based, not sure about BCG.

As another comparison- Deloitte doesn't give more than a 10-20% pay bump when you make post-mba role, you don't get a 150-160k base

To say that We are 3 years vs. they are 2 years is simply not true. I agree though that we should allow exceptions for 2-year as we did in Booz years, leadership said they are bringing back exceptions. Was also not a fan of the total block they did, but need to understand that it was a 1-time sample.... the year before that we promoted >20 people to Senior Associate with 2 years experience.

    • 6
Oct 19, 2017

Where did you get that information regarding MBB? Both McKinsey and BCG have direct promote opportunities from what I understand - for the high performers, at least. Not the norm I'm sure.

Oct 19, 2017

McKinsey absolutely promotes BAs to Associates. It's just that not everyone gets it.

Oct 25, 2017

McKinsey does Not promote from BA to associate anymore, they changed their policy a year or so ago. Go ask any of their recruiters.

Stop blindly drinking koolaid

    • 2
Oct 25, 2017

Yes, because McKinsey promotes to Senior BA and then straight to EM now. They made it even faster to go up the ladder (it's now in line with BCG).

    • 1
Oct 11, 2017

Do you feel VC and growth equity exit opps are available to T2 consultants in abundance as they are for MBB?

    • 1
Oct 20, 2017
Quint101:

Do you feel VC and growth equity exit opps are available to T2 consultants in abundance as they are for MBB?

No

Oct 12, 2017

What do you recommend to an incoming associate (FA18) in tech strategy in FS? What exit opps should I be trying to explore and do you have any advice for what I can do to make sure my utilization stays high from the beginning?

Oct 20, 2017
whawha202:

What do you recommend to an incoming associate (FA18) in tech strategy in FS? What exit opps should I be trying to explore and do you have any advice for what I can do to make sure my utilization stays high from the beginning?

See my response to Empyreal. Incoming associate vs. intern, you'll be doing more or less the same thing when you start your first project anyway.

If I wasn't clear about this in my intro post - New hires cannot control utilization. It is up to the partners to sell projects. So you can get canned for something out of your control. If you want to make sure your utilization stays high, get one of your friends' rich parent(s) to hire S& and request you on the project

Oct 12, 2017

Thoughts on IBM iX?

Array

Oct 20, 2017
redfishbluefish:

Thoughts on IBM iX?

I'd make a comment about the stupid name but then again, I work at Strategy&

    • 5
Oct 13, 2017

I used to work for Booz and left once this PwC nightmare started. It's a shame what happened, I really liked this place

Yes, not as prestigious as McK but I felt we had a great mix of talented, down to earth and hard working people that made a difference

    • 2
Oct 18, 2017

Hi StrategyAndWhat, thank you for your AMA.

I am currently applying for grad schools (Master's, not MBA). What are the target schools for Strategy& ? And are you guys really not giving sponsorships now, starting from this year? Thanks.

Oct 20, 2017
iridescent007:

Hi StrategyAndWhat, thank you for your AMA.

I am currently applying for grad schools (Master's, not MBA). What are the target schools for Strategy& ? And are you guys really not giving sponsorships now, starting from this year? Thanks.

We don't really have target schools for Non-MBA. You will probably have to apply through the regular channel. We still sponsor MBA, through PwC's program.

Oct 19, 2017

Do you still use a mouse in excel?

Oct 20, 2017

"It depends"

Oct 19, 2017

Senior Associate in S& here - been with the firm for many years.

I disagree with the majority of what's posted here

I've been staffed ~80-90% on strategy projects, only a couple PwC-joint projects where I've done things like build business cases to go with the implementation work. My focus has been healthcare.

I've had great colleagues over the years, and after the first year I've had very good work-life balance too.

We obviously have our flaws, and there are things that I'm unhappy with, but I see this "burning ship" stuff all the time.... someone can knock over a trashcan and you'll see 5 posts about the firm burning down.

There's some confusion about whether we are up-or-out vs. something else... Yes we have high attrition, no different from any other MBB group. I'm personally not too sure about our rate of letting go newer hires and how it compares to MBB so no comments there.

Just wanted to provide a different perspective... on persons experience does not give you a fair point of view. I encourage everyone to talk to lots of people no matter what firm you seek to join, get the details from a variety of people.

    • 5
    • 3
Oct 20, 2017
abc989:

Senior Associate in S& here - been with the firm for many years.

I disagree with the majority of what's posted here

I've been staffed ~80-90% on strategy projects, only a couple PwC-joint projects where I've done things like build business cases to go with the implementation work. My focus has been healthcare.

I've had great colleagues over the years, and after the first year I've had very good work-life balance too.

I would say that our HC practice is an anomaly at the firm. Two reasons:

  1. Strong pipeline. IIRC, last year your group was the most utilized out of all groups at S&. I met some 1st year healthcare folks that were staffed the Monday right after training ended. Many with over 100% utilization. Not so much for other groups.
  2. Much lower proportion of H1Bs to US Citizens (vs. other groups at S&). So that fear of deportation isn't there from staff. This makes sense - the US Healthcare system is extremely unique, as there's just a lot more money to go around. What H1B would want to study healthcare in the US? Most of the industry knowledge is not transferrable to their home country (where HealthCare is more or less free, and senior citizens don't have the looming threat of bankruptcy should they get sick)
abc989:

Yes we have high attrition, no different from any other MBB group.

This is also false. Total headcount is down 20% from a few years ago, while MBB is growing.

Oct 25, 2017

You're in FS right? Which is our worst performing group and has been even in the Booz days. How is it any better for you to take FS and make assumptions about the whole firm?

Also where's the source on our firm being down 20% in headcount, I highly highly doubt this. We had a drop after the acquisition, but have had steady growth since, look at the revenue reports.

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Oct 27, 2017
ABC989:

You're in FS right? Which is our worst performing group and has been even in the Booz days. How is it any better for you to take FS and make assumptions about the whole firm?

Also where's the source on our firm being down 20% in headcount, I highly highly doubt this. We had a drop after the acquisition, but have had steady growth since, look at the revenue reports.

Wrong. Our worst performing group is IP. FS is performing well, we are short managers and are resorting to interviewing externally.

And as for headcount numbers, you know we do have an internal roster, right? I've been tracking this roster for a while and can tell you not only how many have left, but also exactly who has left.

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Feb 3, 2018

Do you think the layoffs have ended? I am guessing it was due to the integration not going well? Since the supply of managers are short does that mean at least for FS the utilization rate is getting back on track now?

Oct 26, 2017

What divisions in S& would you consider to be their top performing groups?
And which groups would be ones which you would determine are S&'s areas of speciality. E.g. win alot of work vs. the competition are seen as knowledge experts.

Nov 11, 2017
Jaxom:

What divisions in S& would you consider to be their top performing groups?
And which groups would be ones which you would determine are S&'s areas of speciality. E.g. win alot of work vs. the competition are seen as knowledge experts.

What is meant by top performing?
* By size (headcount): Healthcare, Industrial Products
* By profitability: Healthcare, Financial Services

To your second question:
-Anything involving cost-cutting, operations, legal nonsense (again we are under an Accounting / Tax firm). We did invent supply chain, after all.

Oct 26, 2017

Thanks for doing this. I used to work in Deloitte's tech consulting division, doing garbage-quality work such as crm / erp systems consulting. Worst job on the planet. and they laid off people left and right as soon as project pipeline became slightly lean. I thought this mindless firing / laying off was resigned to 3rd / 4th tier, low-end consulting, such as tech consulting, and I am surprised to hear that a legit strategy consulting firm such as S& would lay off people like this, en masse.

Knowing what you know now, if you could re-do recruiting back in MBA program, would you pick a different consulting firm, or possibly, a different industry? (such as IB, corp dev, etc) What is your outlook on the health of strategy consulting in future? In your opinion, is the demand for strategy consulting getting diminished industry-wide?

Also - given your experience a the firm, what types of exit options would be feasible? (industry, job function, typical comp when you exit)

Thanks in advance!

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Nov 11, 2017
Rejected Monkey:

Knowing what you know now, if you could re-do recruiting back in MBA program, would you pick a different consulting firm, or possibly, a different industry? (such as IB, corp dev, etc)

I would have recruited for a Cryptocurrency startup and got all my pay in Bitcoin

Rejected Monkey:

In your opinion, is the demand for strategy consulting getting diminished industry-wide?

Yes. Simple market sizing due to M&A. If number of publicly-listed stocks in the U.S. has fallen by ~50% in the past two decades, the number of CEOs willing to do a 5 year growth strategy study will....wait for it...fall by 50%.

Rejected Monkey:

Also - given your experience a the firm, what types of exit options would be feasible? (industry, job function, typical comp when you exit)
Thanks in advance!

"It depends". Exit options range from Unemployed to Corporate Strategy at a FAANG. I think exit options are very good at the Associate level, and HBS / Wharton for B-School is not uncommon. MBB will be far better for PE.

Oct 27, 2017

would you know how to say how stregy & around the world are? How are you in Brazil? And do they make it possible for you to work in other country offices or are you based only on the local office?

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Nov 11, 2017
monk-br:

would you know how to say how stregy & around the world are? How are you in Brazil? And do they make it possible for you to work in other country offices or are you based only on the local office?

Did you not see my post above about having very little insight into the international offices? Regardless, PwC allows people to do 6 month secondments. This is based on demand and supply, so don't think you can just go work in London for 6 months because you feel like it.

Nov 6, 2017

Just to provide a sight on what's hapenning in european branches (specifically in Spain), I have heard that they are promoting people from other business lines (MC) to join S&, as they are taking a tough time to attract people from other consultancies. Have anyone heard something else on these lines??

Nov 11, 2017
Holybanker:

Just to provide a sight on what's hapenning in european branches (specifically in Spain), I have heard that they are promoting people from other business lines (MC) to join S&, as they are taking a tough time to attract people from other consultancies. Have anyone heard something else on these lines??

A few years ago they promoted a bunch of MC people to join S& in the U.S., and then fired them because of low utilization. It's not a good culture fit, the MC folks work 9-5, which IMO, is not acceptable at S& (or any reputable consulting firm)

Nov 7, 2017
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