Why Oliver Wyman?I joined Oliver Wyman straight from University because I was very interested in the opportunities to work abroad. I knew what I did not want for my career and focused on joining a strategic consulting firm. However, I also wanted to retain the multicultural environment I was used to. I’ve been very pleased with the opportunities here and with the variety of projects I’ve undertaken. So far, I’ve worked across industries (telecommunications, retail, financial services) on 3 continents, in 9 countries: USA, Colombia, Paraguay, Brazil, Austria, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain and Algeria. Since Oliver Wyman is structured by verticals rather than by countries, such opportunities are available across the firm…this really differentiates Oliver Wyman from other consultancies in the market.
Real work, right awayActually, I did not fully believe the recruiting message but then I joined my first project…in Sao Paulo! The purpose of the project was to analyze the consumption patterns of the client’s subscriber base in order to get information and be able to increase value. One of the first challenges was the language. But, my teammates and the clients tried to talk slower with me (but just in Portuguese, even if some of them were quite fluent in Spanish, they wanted me to speak Portuguese). My second challenge involved using SAS. It was the first time in my life for any type of coding. There I was, in front of two computers (one SAS dedicated and the other for Excel and PowerPoint), having to upload files, create analysis, ensure the quality and consistency of the data. Thankfully, the engagement manager of the project had a lot of patience and walked me though all of the project workstreams. He taught me how to validate the information, create the datamap, perform and present the analysis; together with a lot of Googling for some coding doubts, I successfully completed the project. Since then, on many other projects, I’ve always done impactful work and been supported along the way.
Most memorable projectAfter only one month of working really hard, I was asked to join the final Steering Committee meeting. It was memorable because I realized how much our client trusted us and how the people at the meeting were carefully listening to the Partner’s presentation. It was an intense meeting, where the client asked tough questions. However, the Partner mastered the topic with numeric, data-driven answers. I was really impressed with him…by how he defended our findings and calculations and how he not only maintained but increased the confidence the clients had with us.
MentorsI have been very lucky to have many mentors who have helped me in a variety of ways. All have been different and they’ve always been sincere. On one occasion, I was not having a pleasant time during a project; I was doing frustrating work which was tiring. I wondered if staying at Oliver Wyman was what I wanted. Almost at the end of the project, I decided to talk with my mentor (now I realized I should have talked to him earlier). We had a conversation at the office over a coffee. I explained my frustrations, why I felt uncomfortable about the work, and what I was considering as different options for the future. He never tried to push me in any direction, quite the opposite. He calmly put things into perspective, highlighted what I was learning from the experience (self-control, stress management skills, etc.) and made me focus on my long-term goals. What I took away from this experience was that it is always useful to have a second opinion from someone you trust.