Booz, PwC, and "Strategy&"

bank-on-this's picture
Rank: Gorilla | 597

I am surprised nobody has started this topic yet, but PwC just released their rebranding of Booz & Co. The name they chose? Strategy&.

Apparently PwC has a pension for picking rediculous names for its consulting firms. Before spinning off its strategy arm in 2002, they branded it "Monday" because it was a fresh start that everyone experiences. See the Wsj article Strategy &

All in all, I think it is a good move for PwC. There has been a shift away from pure strategy consulting as firms look for resources to assist clients in implementation of projects. PwC is well poised to help Booz do exactly this. I talked to a few partners at PwC who seem to be on board with merger and excited about the direction the firm is moving. This may be a knock to the "prestige" of Booz, but at the end of the day, I think they will be laughing all the way to the bank.

Anyone have thoughts on the merger?

Comments (57)

Apr 3, 2014

As a former PwCer I am just shaking my head. Monday was an ongoing joke around the office for several years, as in: "Where should we go to lunch? Lets ask the folks at Monday."

Apr 3, 2014

My guess is they recommended Ruby Tuesdays or TGIFridays.

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Apr 3, 2014

I give silver bananas for bad jokes.

Apr 3, 2014

Merger is a good move, branding is not.

Imagine you're at a conference, sharply dressed guy comes up to you, you shake hands and he says "Hi, i'm Bob from Strategy and...", being a polite individual, you wait for him to finish his sentence, then eventually say "and what?" then the poor sod has to go over an embarrassing explanation of the name which he has repeated to every other person he's trying to network with.

Just seems an odd decision to me, they're trying too hard to be "edgy".

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Apr 3, 2014
AfricanFarmer:

Merger is a good move, branding is not.

Imagine you're at a conference, shayou'd dressed guy comes up to you, you shake hands and he says "Hi, i'm Bob from Strategy and...", being a polite individual, you wait for him to finish his sentence, then eventually say "and what?" then the poor sod has to go over an embarrassing explanation of the name which he has repeated to every other person he's trying to network with.

Just seems an odd decision to me, they're trying too hard to be "edgy".

Better yet, you could just say, " Hi, I'm Bob from Strategy Ampersand." Avoids all the confusion, but I guess you'd have to explain what the ampersand stands for...

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Apr 7, 2014
crackjack:

Better yet, you could just say, " Hi, I'm Bob from Strategy Ampersand." Avoids all the confusion, but I guess you'd have to explain what the ampersand stands for...

You know, strategy ampersand would actually have been better, unfortunately the web URL says strategy and, their email addresses will say strategy and, they will become known as strategy and. Can't believe my former employer couldn't see the flaw in the brand (actually, from my experience there, I can believe it...).

Branding as strategy ampersand would probably have saved it, but no, some dumbass partner signed off on strategy and.

Best Response
Apr 3, 2014

... I'm just happy it isn't #Strategy.

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Apr 3, 2014

Honestly I think #strategy might have been better. This has been flying around the analyst / associate list at my MBB firm today. Definitely feel bad for those at legacy Booz...what a shitty year

Apr 3, 2014

I anticipate people will just say "PwC Strategy." I know I would list it as such on my resume... and probably put "(formerly Booz &Co)" right there as well.

Apr 7, 2014
bank-on-this:

... I'm just happy it isn't #Strategy.

SB

Apr 3, 2014

oh god this is fucking abysmal. I both feel terrible for my friends at legacy booz and actually laugh out loud at the thought of someone putting "strategy&" on their resume after having been at a respectable strat house.

Apr 3, 2014

I guess that this problem will happen just for the first months. After an year, everyone and his mother will know about this new shitty name;

Apr 3, 2014

This makes Monitor Deloitte look like something Jony Ive designed.

Apr 3, 2014

A little bit off topic but is Monitor Deloitte separate from the rest of Deloitte Consulting in terms of recruiting?

Does anybody know if Strategy& is going to be a separate arm from the rest of PwC consulting?

Apr 3, 2014

From what I've seen on campus, yes they are. Monitor Deloitte is employing their own recruiting process, banners and info sessions vs. rest of Deloitte. Not sure if this is Deloitte's LT strategy or just part of the integration that hasn't been worked out.

Anyone else know more?

Apr 4, 2014

From their website; "Strategy& will be a leading strategy firm in its own right". So it sounds like they're going to try keep it separate, at least for now. It has its own CEO etc too.

Would link the website but WSO won't let me. It's strategyand.PwC...

Apr 4, 2014

Yes, will be kept separate with separate recruitment channel.

Apr 4, 2014

Yes, will be kept separate with separate recruitment channel.

Apr 3, 2014

I know this is going to sound like a GOML statement, but you can't just take a firm with a proud tradition and give it a cutesy name and expect to continue to be taken seriously.

"Strategy&" as a brand would be cool if it was a little startup company with ping-pong tables in the break room and beanbag chairs in the conference room. I asked a couple of people here in the office what kind of company they thought it was and they each said, "A startup" with no hesitation. (Obviously this is just anecdotal.)

As @"AfricanFarmer" said above the branding is off. I just can't imagine a 58 year old partner walking around and telling people he is a partner at Strategy&. It just doesn't fit.

Apr 3, 2014

Maybe PwC is just doing some epic April Fools trolling?

Apr 3, 2014

It's also clear that they were staring directly at Deloitte Strategy & Operations when they created this shitshow of a name...get it together PwC. This is truly an embarrassment.

Apr 4, 2014

At the MBA level, Monitor is rolled into Deloitte when it comes to recruiting, but that's possibly because only S&O recruits at the MBA level, rather than the entirety of the Deloitte organization, which I assume might be the case at the undergrad level.

Apr 4, 2014

My goodness. I missed this - that is truly awful.

Apr 4, 2014

Worst.Name.Ever!
Actually, coming from a different tier 2 consulting firm that the media hasn't shown too much love to lately, I'm quite happy about this...

Apr 6, 2014

The name is an embarrassment. 'PwC Consulting' should've been fine. Or they could've just kept 'Booz & Co.' atleast for another few years untill people have more confidence in the PwC ownership.

Apr 7, 2014
b.chowdhury:

Or they could've just kept 'Booz & Co.' atleast for another few years ...

Nope. Had to change it. From WSJ, "A new name for Booz was needed because of the terms of its 2008 split from the firm now called Booz Allen Hamilton, said Mr. Mainardi. Under that deal, Booz & Co. couldn't continue to use the Booz name if there was a change in control of the firm."

It seems BAH was worried about the Booz name being driven into the dirt. Interesting on a few levels.

Apr 7, 2014

Full disclosure, I am PwC. As for the brand name, I don't know if it was a play on Strategy+Business, while trying to keep some of the old Booz design, but I'm pretty indifferent about it. What matters more is how the firm will run.

I think most people probably know that the concept is to operate from corporate strategy through implementation. It is no secret that the market seems to be moving this way with Deloitte moving up the "chain" and McKinsey moving down (McKinsey Implementation, McKinsey Solutions etc.). BCG themselves noted in an internal memo posted here (about the Booz/PwC merger) discussed their growth areas (change management...a very implementation related offering).

As for how it operates the biggest focus is on aligning our values. Great consulting firms respect their clients, and do whatever it takes to serve them best. There is a lot of pressure to make sure both Booz and PwC staff recognize this, as well as the differences that make each good at what they do. Doing implementation well is different from doing strategy well. This can mean taking different approaches to projects.

Booz is generally going to continue to operate business as usual, with the exception that when partners agree there is a benefit for a blended team, or when there will be handoffs, these cases will be discussed and planned for. This allows the very agile approach of Booz to Strategy to remain.

Not frequently mentioned is what will begin to happen in Operations (Operations Strategy /whatever you'd like to call it). Contrary to the belief of many on the board, the "Big 4" are pretty strong in some of these areas (often depending on the country and function). This is where I think there will be more blending between PwC and Booz (as well as former Diamond and PRTM teams / intellectual property). And lastly for pure implementation work, I doubt there will be much integration.

Internally we have strict directions on how we will work together "officially on projects" - but it basically boils down to building the best team for the client. That is decided between partners with the relationships, partners with the skills needed by the client, and how they agree to best to meet the clients needs. Unofficially, in general knowledge bases they are now integrated and will be working on combining the best of PwC (inc. PRTM/Diamond) with Booz's IP and methods.

TT

Apr 7, 2014

Strategy&, Strategy&, Strategy&... Smoking the reefer.

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Apr 7, 2014

Even with the awful name, it'll be interesting to see how PwC can integrate them successfully. I've heard Deloitte leverages Monitor VERY well, leading to new markets they otherwise wouldn't be in.

Anyone know if there has been an exodus of former Booz employees post-acquisition? I heard a lot of them were unhappy, but unsure how many did something about it and left.

Apr 8, 2014

I am pretty sure they put some provisions in there to make sure the partners didn't get their entire payout immediately, and possibly did the same for some of the senior staff.

Apr 8, 2014
ch1guy:

Anyone know if there has been an exodus of former Booz employees post-acquisition?

AcctNerd:

I am pretty sure they put some provisions in there to make sure the partners didn't get their entire payout immediately

I sit next to two lateral hire partners from Booz who started in the last 60 days. I can name at least five more at my firm. I'm at an MBB.

Apr 8, 2014

~15% of partners left

less staff

biggest exit was McK

Apr 8, 2014

There wasn't as much turnover as people think. Obviously PwC wouldn't have done this if they knew all the Booz partners were going to walk and take their books with them.

@"TylerT" For the record, I wasn't knocking the strategy. I'm at PwC as well and I think it is a great move for both firms.

Apr 8, 2014

@TylerT Good post. Thanks for the insight. I just don't like the name, but who really gives a shit about a name. Execution is obviously more important. I am assuming that Strategy& will recruit seperately (and at different schools) from PwC Advisory/Consulting - do you think that's correct?

Booz used to be a nice strategy option for those that missed out on MBB. Hoping it can remain that way.

Apr 8, 2014

the only ppl on here defending the joke seem to be PwC people. Booz guys are too embarrassed to contribute.

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Apr 8, 2014
entropy_increases:

the only ppl on here defending the joke seem to be PwC people. Booz guys are too embarrassed to contribute.

Don't you have a final to study for or something..

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Apr 8, 2014

yeah have to get back to school now that booz has no future..wudnt want to end up being sullied by PwC accountants..

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Apr 8, 2014

@"BGP2587" For the next year or so, Strategy& will generally be running as they have in the past, so I imagine this means recruiting and development. This is with the exception of meeting PwC's compliance requirements for audit clients. This is a bit more bureaucracy for them then they are likely use to, however there is also a effort to put them in front of clients that they haven't had exposure to them in the past.

I have no doubts some have left, and if they disagreed with the changes that is fine. Obviously a large number of experienced Booz partners felt this would work, and believe they can combine the two firms to make a more attractive firm overall. I'm not a partner, or even an experienced enough consultant to make a call on a merger like this - but my rule of thumb is if people far smarter and more experienced then me think it is a good idea, who am I to judge.

@"entropy_increases" I'm not trying to defend PwC/Booz & Co Merger, so I am sorry if it comes across like that. I was trying to clear up some information on how both firms expect to work together to serve clients. Honestly, this is probably a "blow" to the prestige of those working at Booz, although there are areas in Operations where PwC is actually ranked above Booz & Co, so there are some benefits to Booz.

Ultimately, as long as the clients and consultants are happy then it should be good. The PRTM team members I've worked with liked working with me, and wanted me to join their team. I doubt I'm that uncommon, and I'm certainly not our best consultant so I have no doubt there are PwC people that will integrate well with Booz, and that Booz consultants will be professional and help support PwC on blended projects.

TT

Apr 9, 2014
TylerT:

Honestly, this is probably a "blow" to the prestige of those working at Booz, although there are areas in Operations where PwC is actually ranked above Booz

Does this mean PwC's operations practice charges more per hour than Booz's? Or that the exit opportunities from PwC are better?

If not, what does "ranked better" mean, as you use it?

Apr 10, 2014
TylerT:

my rule of thumb is if people far smarter and more experienced then me think it is a good idea, who am I to judge

That attitude is a recipe for failure in consulting--"judging" what people who are more experienced than we have come up with is pretty much the definition of the job.

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Apr 10, 2014
devildog2067:
TylerT:

my rule of thumb is if people far smarter and more experienced then me think it is a good idea, who am I to judge

That attitude is a recipe for failure in consulting--"judging" what people who are more experienced than we have come up with is pretty much the definition of the job.

I should've been more clear. I trust the Senior Partners at Booz & Co and PwC did their due diligence, and combined with their experiences in consulting, they are in a far better place to make the decision than me from the sidelines with no information or hypothesis.

@"BigPicture" I can't comment on billing rates, merely that Kennedy Research (take it with a grain of salt) has regarded aspects of PwC Operations as stronger in some industries or skill areas. That shouldn't be a surprise considering the investments PwC has made in consulting both organically and through acquisition in the last few years. Thus, with the merger there will be integration of some IP, methods, and collaboration that helps both firms.

As for the "prestige" comment, that was based on the views of many people on this board and Vault. It's not necessarily my personal (biased) view. With where I am, and with what I do, I really think it will work out better for both firms in the long run.

TT

Apr 10, 2014

They really couldn't have just named it PwC Strategy?...How hard would that have been?

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Apr 10, 2014
SlikRick:

They really couldn't have just named it PwC Strategy?...How hard would that have been?

Pretty difficult, considering that PwC strategy already exists and they want to differentiate the new acquisition..

Apr 10, 2014

Hence, Strategy&. Now it makes sense.

Apr 11, 2014

As a fomer Booz (and now Strategy&) Operations consultant, I think the biggest risk to this merger (and any merger) is culture clash. As legacy PwC consultants become aware that Strategy& staff are paid more and have better policies / benefits (not to mention MS Outlook), what will the reaction be? Will there be resentment on cross-staffed client teams?

Partner attrition has been ~10%, those at the lower ranks (who must depend on the firm brand more) are leaving at a higher rate. Personally 50% of juniors I know have either left or are actively looking to leave. Bonuses are paid in July, I expect you'll see another wave of attrition then.

Apr 12, 2014

Wait till Strategy& folks find out they are working twice as much hours yet their utilization is still lower than legacy PwC consultants charging 60 hours a week on an implementation project; ie you gonna get screwed in ARC

Apr 11, 2014

I would've preferred PwC & Company.

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Apr 14, 2014

To put things in perspective, this Strategy& could only exists for 2-3 years until Booz is fully integrated with PwC. They did the same with Diamond - where they came up with a PwC/Diamond name to distinguish themselves for a few years, until they were fully integrated, and now there is no distinguishing name.

As FormerHedgeFundie pointed out, culture will be the biggest issue, which I am sure everyone knows. It will be awkward to move from a 3K person firm to a 180K person firm, and all the regulations/compliance requirements that are included; not to mention the fact that we run on Lotus Notes still...

Apr 14, 2014

Well - I'm at McKinsey, and we also run on Lotus Notes... ;)

Apr 14, 2014
FormerHedgefundie:

(not to mention MS Outlook)

FuryG:

Well - I'm at McKinsey, and we also run on Lotus Notes... ;)

... What? You guys for real?

Next you'll be telling me you build all your models in Lotus 1-2-3...

Jan 28, 2016

Reviving this thread, how well/bad do you guys think is doing S& now?, at least in my country PwC is fully merging and dilluting S&. Some very talented consultants have gone, specially a principal I personally met on my stance there ,has signed with BCG.

Furthermore, the recruitment process (I do not know if this is globally the case or is just happening in the local branch of my country) is carried out by PwC, and turning it around into something less selective.

Feb 1, 2016

The company is in fact still leaking partners to competitors (Carlos Ammann, head of operations in Switzerland left last fall and there are more to come). Best talents (Principals and Partners) are going to competitors (MBB) and they are being replaced by poached people from Tier-3 companies (IBM, Accenture, Capgemini Consulting) at least on the smaller offices. Major problems with 1) staffing and the 2) compliance rules:

1) Booz was international organisation with country divisions, which allowed real international staffing and getting the best people from around the world to the projects. PwC (Strategy&) is a network of independent companies, where all countries "sort of" licence the brand and have their national P/L - no real incentives for international staffing and Partners rather try to staff people from their own country to get the money stay there - works fine if you have the real experts in your country organisation (UK, Germany), but in smaller country organisations, such as the Nordics, they often rather staff domestic PwC "Experts" to the projects than use the real experts from the network ('cause it's more expensive). Clients are starting to see the BS and the rates are now >20% lower than before.

2) Compliance - Many clients have problems hiring S& for projects where PwC is the auditor. It's not only the Sarbanes-Oxley-kind of legal problem - they are sometimes overly careful and don't want to get involved. This has been a major impulse for many partners losing their key accounts: Now they are still more than happy to serve them, but on the competitors' ranks.

In Germany, the company is doing great - what I have heard. They have enough critical mass to provide experts from the country organisation to their projects. However, the brand has no legacy among students and Strategy& had to bump up the starting salaries for graduates there (80-85kEU fixed salary before bonuses for associates (old senior consultant role)) to be even somewhat interesting.

EDIT: Typos

Feb 1, 2016
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Feb 1, 2016