Degree/university: Economics, Cambridge University
Year of graduation: 2005
Occupation: Consultant at Oliver Wyman
What do you do in your job?
There is no typical project within Oliver Wyman, I’ve had projects where I’ve spent a lot of time in meetings with clients and I’ve also had projects which have involved a lot of numerical analysis. There are no set tasks for a first and second year; it really varies depending on what our clients have asked us to help them with. 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 either with junior clients by myself or more senior clients with senior staff.
What was your motivation in applying?
I applied in 2004/2005 before Mercer Oliver Wyman, Mercer Management Consulting and Delta were brought together under the Oliver Wyman brand. I applied to Mercer Oliver Wyman, which now forms the financial services arm of Oliver Wyman. I chose Mercer Oliver Wyman because of its focus on financial services. I wanted to specialise and found the emphasis on early responsibility, rapid career progression and emphasis on meritocracy really appealing. Having said that, the main driver for me choosing Oliver Wyman over other consultancies were people I met during that the recruitment process.
What did the application process involve?
The process now is that you have to apply online with a CV and covering letter during milkround time (during September and December). The first round of interviews is held on campus at Cambridge and Oxford, while the rest are held in London. The first round comprises a case study and CV-based interview. If you are successful you are invited for "Super Saturday" in London where there are 30 or 40 candidates who are taken through five interviews – typically three case study and two CV interviews. Interviews are half an hour each. After the second round, they generally make a decision on the Saturday and call people on Sunday.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I enjoy the culture of the firm; there is a very collegiate atmosphere, which means I am not scared to ask a director a question and, even as a junior member of the team, I feel that my input is important and valued. Secondly, the work I do is very interesting. Whilst I am specialised in financial services, so far I have worked on projects for a variety of companies from large international investment banks to a new start up universal bank to insurance companies and asset managers. The financial services track of Oliver Wyman is pretty unique within large consulting companies in that you specialise early and this means that you can take on more responsibility.
Most challenging part of your job?
The biggest challenge has been the travelling. I have worked for clients in lots of different locations, including Milan, Amsterdam, the Middle East, Athens, Stockholm, and Paris. While the travelling is very attractive, it can be hard to be away from home. Before you go travelling it all sounds very glamorous, but actually it can be quite tiring. But at the same time I’m young and don’t have any ties so I am happy travelling for work, it can be a great way to see the world.
Advice to readers considering a career in your field:
The most important thing is to go to events and talk to people. You will be spending a lot of time with them on projects, sometimes away from home and with relatively long hours, so it’s important that you see if these are the types of people you would like to work with. Speaking to current employees will also help your understanding of what the company is actually like and what their graduate scheme entails.