Why Oliver Wyman?
“Because of the people” is what you’ll hear from almost everyone, including me. But I sincerely believe that much of your satisfaction and success in the first few years of consulting depends on how well you connect with the people you work with. I think smart people can be successful at any consulting firm, but they will only truly thrive at the firm where the environment suits their personality.
In consulting, everything is team-based: we work together, play together, eat together, travel together, brainstorm together, etc., and you can imagine how difficult that might get if you don’t enjoy the people you are working with. You’re also expected to take on a lot of responsibility and be a big contributor from Day 1--feeling comfortable with your co-workers is essential for this. Oliver Wyman tends to be more laid-back and entrepreneurial than other firms, and this was reflected in the interactions I had with people I met at every recruiting event. We don’t have an “up-or-out” system, so competition between coworkers is really non-existent. Our clients really like us for our laid-back nature and the fact that we focus on working with them, side by side, to come up with a solution to the problem at hand together.
One of the questions I continually ask myself about this job is “How do I make this a sustainable career and create a lifestyle that works for me?” By speaking with female role models at the firm I have been able to find a way and evolve my answer to fit my future so I see a potential long-term career path here. One of the most enlightening conversations I had was with a Partner while we were lounging poolside awaiting an evening safari in South Africa. She was able to listen to my opinions while also sharing her experiences and the things that she still sometimes struggles with. Her willingness to share her wisdom and also offer very helpful advice was invaluable. Partners are willing to take the time to mentor younger consultants here.
Working at Oliver Wyman has allowed me to see a variety of industries and roles and helped me narrow down what I want to do in the future. Like many who come to consulting from college, the career appealed to me because I could test many diverse types of work while leaving my options open. Ultimately I have had the freedom to explore and choose what’s right for me. Since coming here, I view the world differently. I question the way things work and think of ways they can be done more efficiently. Because I work a lot in telecommunications, I contemplate not just about how much I enjoy binge watching shows on Netflix, but how Netflix can build a sustainable profit model, how the Netflix model has affected the future of digital TV, and the distribution model of other “all-you-can’-eat” industries (music, magazines, books, etc.). I’m always interested in how things can be improved and what the future might be.
As part of my development, the firm also supported me in taking a few months off as part of our Non-Profit Fellowship program. I worked with the Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF), an organization that inspires a love of reading and writing among low-income, at-risk and rural youth (and was founded by an OW alum!). Literacy, especially in rural populations, has always been a passion of mine. Having OW support me in dedicating more time to this was invaluable. At CLiF, I leveraged the skills I gained as a consultant to improve the management of their database system and develop a strategic plan for one of their programs. When I returned to the firm, I was able to share my experiences and enthusiasm with my colleagues by establishing a holiday book drive in our NY and Boston offices to benefit CLiF. Not only did the firm support me in pursuing this passion, but my coworkers did as well, ultimately making the book drive a great success!
Outside of client work
I love being involved in the firm outside of client work because there is never a dull moment around my colleagues. Besides helping with campus recruiting, I’m also an active member of the social committee. From planning our past 3 annual OW East Coast ski trips to ensuring that the fantasy football league continues to go strong, there is never a shortage of fun ways to be involved with the firm.
Another very rewarding experience is being an active member of our employee resource group, WOW (Women of Oliver Wyman). While an undergraduate, I wrote my thesis about women who work in time-intensive industries and how they are balancing their career aspirations with their family ideals. At Oliver Wyman, WOW has allowed me to continue pursuing my interest in this topic in a real-world setting. For example, at our WOW breakfast meetings, we often share a short video or article ahead of time and then discuss the issues raised in the article, our opinions, and how they come into play in our careers. I enjoy that these discussions combine my personal and professional interests while assisting in creating a more inclusive workspace for women.