AMA: S&O Consulting to Corporate Strategy to Analytics Consulting

I've learned a great deal from these boards over the years, and in an attempt to give back I'd like to share a bit about my path in the event anyone is interested.

As a bit of background prior to business school I worked for a financial services data and analytics company as a product manager. I was primarily focused on managing a fixed income calculator that would calculate intraday fixed income security values for ~40,000 securities every few seconds. I've always thought that this was a pretty cool product.

I then went to get my MBA and concentrated on finance and business analytics as I have always been quite interested in the use of analytics and its applications. While in my MBA I interned with a small Asset Management company and helped the company write several white papers on fixed income topics to promote the firm's thought leadership.

After my MBA I went to Deloitte S&O and did several projects in the financial services industry that primarily dealt with regulatory issues. After, a few of those types of projects I moved internally in the firm to support the development of thought leadership helping to publish a series of white papers with a focus on using analytics to help think about corporate competitive strategy, and worked as part of the corporate strategy group with a focus on competitive intelligence.

After about two years of internal work I left Deloitte to try and help build up the analytics practice at KPMG, and have been there for about 6 months.

Comments (18)

Oct 7, 2015

What would you say are the big cultural differences between Deloitte and KPMG's consulting divisions?

Oct 7, 2015

@surish

It's a little hard to say, not because there aren't differences, but because the analytics group is almost entirely recent external hires and predominately made up of folks with masters and PhDs in the sciences. That drives differences in attitudes as folks in my group tend to be a little less of an A-type personality. Other than that I have nothing but good things to say about the folks at both firms as I've met great people at both.

If you are considering either one I'd focus on where you think you might be a better fit, the type of work you would like to do and how that aligns with the office.

    • 1
Oct 7, 2015

Can you give me an example of a typical project you have worked on in analytics? Also do you travel a lot or is it more office based?

Best Response
Oct 7, 2015

@mongonese

I've worked on a few different projects (only 6 months in). One project was around creating more accurate working capital forecasts for F500 which would allow that company to reduce its financing costs. This was largely a data engineering effort where my primary focus was building the visual components of the application.

I'm currently leading the analytics portion of a project to help a retail company identify drivers of shrink, and build a predictive model that will help the company to understand which stores are at risk of increased shrink.

I don't travel much and primarily work from home. I have two projects at the moment so traveling doesn't make much sense, and the majority of my work can be done off-site so it doesn't make sense for the client to pay for my travel.

    • 2
Oct 7, 2015

Hello DeloitteSandO - Thanks for the initiative. I'm currently interviewing with S&O as an experienced hire and have an office interview setup next week. I also have a couple of years of experience in Investment Banking (Capital Markets) in an internal startegy role. I have the following 2 questions:

1) My understanding is that atleast one of the interviews will be a case study. Based on your experience, will the cases be from financial services industry (considering thats my background) or can come from any industry?
2) Typically within Deloitte S&O, how big is the financial services part? I'm interviewing with the Capital Markets (Securities) team. Is it possible to laterally move around Financial Services or are there hard boundaries to what you can do?
3) Heard from multiple sources that most financial services projects are regulatory related. Any thoughts?

Thanks so much for this.

Oct 7, 2015
  1. I'm unfamiliar with industry specific roles (came in as a generalist) so I can't comment here. I can say that cases tend to be more focused on quantitative than qualitative in my experience.
  2. Financial services is the largest industry vertical at Deloitte. It should be possible to move around at some point, but that likely won't happen immediately if you were hired to support the securities team.
  3. I can't argue that there is a significant amount of regulatory work (given what I was involved in), but there are certainly opportunities to be involved in many different projects. Some of my regulatory work was part of a large post-merger integration (a service Deloitte is particularly strong in), and I know folks involved in projects ranging from finance to strategy. It will all depend on who you build relationships with.
    • 1
Oct 7, 2015

Thanks DeloitteSandO - very helpful.

Oct 7, 2015

@Skywalker, if you are interviewing for an industry-specific role, chances are that you will receive a case from that industry. Happened to me.

Oct 7, 2015

Thanks a lot siyaram. That was helpful. Any other advise regarding case interviews? Typically how long are the cases and are they Qualitative, Quantitaive or both?

Oct 15, 2015

Mine was more qualitative but in FS, you could have quantitative as well. From what I have heard, S&O cases are not as hard as MBB. If you can handle MBB cases in your practice, you should be fine.

Oct 13, 2015

hey, just spotted this and added to frontpage, hope you're still able to answer questions!

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Oct 13, 2015

I will be working at Deloitte in the assurance division. Any tips on how one could network into S&O? Any tips/hints would be great.

Thanks!

Oct 15, 2015
CallMeMrChunk:

I will be working at Deloitte in the assurance division. Any tips on how one could network into S&O? Any tips/hints would be great.

Thanks!

To be frank I've never seen it done. I'm sure it has happened, but it is the exception rather than the rule. If you want to go that route I'd start building relationships with S&O partners, and be sure that you can articulate how your assurance experience will make you more valuable in the S&O practice. You will want to be laser focused on a service horizontal and work to build relationships with the partners within that horizontal. I would focus on horizontals where your accounting experience will be beneficial (maybe in the finance practice?).

Oct 15, 2015

Network or do an MBA

Jun 29, 2017

Thanks for doing this. I am wondering if there is a difference in travel policy between strategy consulting and analytics consulting. My goal is to become a analytics consultant at Deloitte. Do they both travel the same M-Th and home office on Friday? Or do they operate on a different model.

Jun 29, 2017

I can't speak for Deloitte's analytics consulting practice, but travel is usually driven by project need and client need. If you need to be at the client site or the client wants you to be there you'll travel. However, I've found you can usually structure the project to allow the team to work from home. For example, I ran a 3 month engagement where we traveled a total of two days. Our stakeholders were on opposite sides of the country and the client preferred to save on the travel. On the flip side I ran a 5 month engagement where we spent the bulk of the engagement in client offices as they preferred to work shoulder to shoulder with us.

    • 1
Jun 29, 2017

Thanks for doing this. I used to do analytics consulting and one of my frustrations with it (as a math guy at least) was that the projects tended to be extremely simplistic. Basic mathematical models seemed to be all that was needed to impress most clients. Also, the turnaround expectations on projects seemed to limit the sophistication of solutions. Would you say that this is generally true at KPMG? Would you say the MS/PhD folks you work with tend to be satisfied intellectually?

    • 1
Jun 29, 2017
Comment
    • 1