Why Oliver Wyman?
I chose Oliver Wyman for the people. It was a tough choice for me between four firms I really liked. Ultimately a number of factors – nature of the work, culture, reputation – narrowed this choice to just two. When I was making the choice upon graduation from Oxford, brand weighed against Oliver Wyman in the ‘final two’: at the time the firm was much smaller and less well-known. But the very strong Oliver Wyman culture (the firm is serious about work-life quality) and ultimately the people (open, interesting, fun, and very thoughtful) swung it. When you think about it, people drive culture anyway.
Rapid career development
Oliver Wyman really enables people to develop at their pace, without artificial boundaries. I was attracted to consulting for the fast-pace of what one learns and the speed at which you gain influence in your role. But little did I anticipate that I would be managing teams within 12 months of arriving. Yet, this is typical of Oliver Wyman’s approach. It really is a place where advancement is about what you are doing now, not about what you have done in the past. Several years on, having become a Partner, I am even more confident that the firm’s philosophy on career development is the right one. The firm seeks to patiently develop its people, neither creating unrealistic expectations of what people can achieve when they arrive, nor artificial barriers to their advancement.
Outside of client work
Consulting firms are only as good as their people – there’s no other object we sell other than what our people can do. So recruitment is critical, and something that I’ve been involved in every year. As well as being important, it’s very enjoyable to get out and meet people who are interested in hearing about what we do. Recently, in the role of Sydney Office Head, I was also involved in coordinating local activity for the office. Together with other staff members, we organize social activities and business updates in order to build camaraderie and a connection to the broader global Oliver Wyman business, as well as managing more mundane and practical, but essential, features of running a business – like questions around office space, payroll and logistics. As the firm gets bigger, and especially during busy periods, our social and business updates provide an important opportunity to get people together and share ideas. On the logistics side, it was interesting to see my role evolve from pure consulting to more business management responsibilities.
In my early years at the firm, I coached a college rowing crew in Oxford ( England ) every weekend. These days Oxford is a bit of a trek! Instead, my weekends tend to include catching up with friends & family (my elementary-school aged children have definitely increased the amount of time spent amongst family & friends), walking, for example around Sydney Harbour or in the nearby Blue Mountains, and rowing at the local club in Sydney – a much sunnier and warmer experience than England!