Why Oliver Wyman?
At first, I have to admit that Oliver Wyman wasn’t on my radar. As an Engineering Physics undergrad, consulting firms were not top of mind. I did a fair bit of research on my own to find out more about Montreal consulting firms and their profiles. Luckily, a friend of mine invited me at the last minute to join Oliver Wyman’s info session held at our Uni. I actually had to leave in the middle of another info session from a competing firm to join OW’s... and it’s hard to translate how happy I am today that I did this!
An OW partner, then head of the Montreal office and himself a graduate from Polytechnique, shared his career journey and why he thought the firm was a good opportunity for engineers. I remember particularly well a slide that said “We take our work seriously, but not ourselves”; it left me smiling because it contrasted with the impression some other firms had left on me.
In a nutshell, OW became one of my top choices during the interview rounds since I had the most fun with the people I met throughout the process. Hard to believe, right? But I actually came out of the interviews feeling like I had enjoyed myself! There wasn’t a lot more to think about; I joined OW to work with incredibly smart people who were also warm and easy to connect with. Today, this feeling is still one of the aspects of my work that motivates me the most.
Real Work, Right Away
Only four months into my career at OW, I was given the opportunity to lead multiple savings initiatives for a new client’s purchasing division. I was really excited to get this opportunity to travel to Florida (especially while it was still winter in Canada!) and to get the chance to provide real impact on the client. While on this 9-month project, I collaborated directly with the Purchasing VP to develop a domestic vendor consolidation strategy. I conducted face-to-face negotiations alongside the VP with the client’s largest domestic supplier. It was challenging and took multiple iterations to get to a compromise both my client and the vendor would agree on.
It was an incredible experience to advise a senior client so early in my career and to learn first-hand about sourcing and negotiating. In the end, I contributed to the client saving multiple thousands of dollars per year and helped build their purchasing team’s capabilities by leading a training session on negotiation best practices. To me, it was great to know that our project would have a lasting impact and that I had played a role. Oliver Wyman even went on to win the next project proposal for this client, solidifying the relationship we had launched with our project!
Unique Work Environment
I am always impressed by the group of people the talent managers are able to pull together to solve our client’s complex problems. I have worked with people from very different backgrounds. Some were senior specialists, having worked for years in the industry, and were brought onto projects as subject matter experts. Some were managers from our financial practice in Europe, some were veterans from the US Marines. I have learned a lot more from all of these colleagues who think differently and were able to challenge me as a member of the project team. But in the end, the most impressive part of this is how Oliver Wyman is able to build a common understanding and vision for the culture for all of us. Especially in the Montreal office, consultants, partners and support professionals treat me like family. I am able to grow in a trusted environment where I can ask tough questions and get honest answers. For me, this is one of the most attractive aspects of working here.
Outside of Client Work
Outside of client work, I get to thrive in OW’s employee resource groups: I am co-leading the office’s EmpOWered chapter and launched the Montreal GrOW chapter. Fridays are the perfect days to take part in the activities of the local office which allow you to learn more about yourself and your colleagues, as well as to develop tools which build a more inclusive and diverse firm. Through EMPOWERED alone, I have conducted a workshop on unconscious biases and organized “Get to know you” breakfasts regarding holiday traditions across the globe. The willingness of my colleagues to share and engage during these activities always inspires me.
Outside of the Inclusion and Diversity topic, I also sought a way to incorporate my passion for sustainability. Through our intranet, I came across the group for sustainability– GrOW –and decided to see if the Montreal office would also welcome greener activities. I launched the Montreal GrOW chapter only a few months after joining the firm. Since then, we’ve organized a volunteer day shoreline clean-up and initiated a “Sustainable snacking” breakfast to try out new sustainable snacks for the office: replacing ordinary chips with organic crackers, stocking chocolate bars with fair trade options, and replacing highly packaged snacks with bulk options. We have open discussions about the choices we make and have reduced our kitchen waste. Subsequently, the office leadership has even asked GrOW to take a bigger role in educating the office with monthly Green Tips to encourage small behavior changes that have a good impact on the environment.
Overall, being part of GrOW and EmpOWered has really provided me with a sense of community. I feel truly fulfilled in multiple areas of my work; I’ve impacted not only the way my client works but also the way OW does things internally.