What do Oliver Wyman do?
Oliver Wyman is an international management consultancy firm. We have two major arms of the business: General Management Consulting and Financial Services Consulting. I am part of Oliver Wyman Financial Services, where we work with clients operating in the Financial Services sector.
The work we do includes strategy, operations, risk management, organisational transformation, and leadership development.
How did you get your job?
I took part in the Oliver Wyman Summer Internship Programme in the summer holiday before my final university year. It was a great experience – I spent the summer working in The Hague. An internship provides a first-hand look at what consultants do on a day to day basis, and I decided it was something I wanted to pursue long-term.
Luckily I was offered a job off the back of it! I returned to university to continue my last year of studies and joined Oliver Wyman as a consultant in January 2010.
What was the interview process like?
The interview process at Oliver Wyman was interesting, stimulating and surprisingly fun! The first round consisted of two interviews, one CV and one case-study, whilst the second round was one CV and three case-studies. Additionally, as part of the process, we were invited to network with consultants and partners at the firm which really gave me a taste of what was to come.
Is there a work/life balance?
I am very lucky to work for a company that prides itself on good work/life balance. While there are some projects that require a few late nights, there is no unnecessary face-time culture.
In addition to monitoring working hours and workload, the firm also provides a number of opportunities for flexibility in work. These include sabbaticals, 10/11 month contracts, externships and the option to purchase additional holiday. Additionally, the firm policy is for consultants to work from Oliver Wyman offices on Fridays; a great opportunity to catch up with friends and colleagues in London.
What is a typical day like for you?
There is no typical project within Oliver Wyman, I’ve had projects where I’ve spent a lot of time in meetings or workshops with clients and I’ve also had projects which have involved a lot of numerical analysis. Each project varies in size, length, location and subject matter.
There are no set tasks for a first and second year but you are always making a difference to a problem that really matters for your client. In a very practical sense, my work includes carrying out research, building models in Excel or Access, preparing presentations for clients and attending client meetings.
As a consultant, I have worked with clients at insurers and both retail and investment banks on a wide variety of topics. My most recent engagement is a six-month regulatory piece for a bank in London.
Entry level consultants experience projects in a variety of areas – in Financial Services from Finance and Risk to Corporate and Institutional Banking and in General Management from Aviation to Health and Life Sciences to name but a few!
After around three years, consultants begin to align to practice areas of specialisation, although this still gives many opportunities for breadth as the content in each area is vast. Fast career progression is supported and you will be encouraged to take on more responsibility as soon as you are ready.
Travel is a major aspect of a consultancy role, staffing is often done internationally to ensure the best team for each project is assembled. This allows consultants the chance to travel to interesting destinations with some of my colleagues travelling from London to locations such as Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and Russia.
Project teams are often an international mix; recently I have been working with colleagues from Europe, Asia and the Americas.
Any advice for people wanting to get into management consultancy?
The most important thing is to go to events and talk to people. You also need to pick the firm that is right for you. Talking to representatives at events is the best way to find out what a firm is like to work for, and the people you will be working with.
Speaking to current employees will also help your understanding of what the company is actually like and what they can offer you.