Why Oliver Wyman?It's clichéd, and at this point it's probably clichéd to say it's clichéd, but it was really the people. During interviews, most firms sent junior folks who didn't seem to take it all that seriously. At Oliver Wyman, the situation could not have been more different. The interviews were one-on-one, even for internships. They were fun and friendly and were clearly designed towards assessing the skills that would be used on the job. I started as an intern and accepted my full-time offer. Now I’m a Partner conducting those fun and friendly interviews!
Real work, right awayOn my very first project, I got all the responsibility I could handle. It was quite an unusual project because we ended up building a technology application for our client to redesign their credit process, incorporating the risk rating tools Oliver Wyman had developed and combining the value-based credit process redesign principles that the client had developed. The issue was that the application depended on a ton of SQL code; nobody on our team knew how to code in SQL. The bank had hired a programming firm to come in and write the code, but they were mismanaged and unable to deliver on time. I wound up learning SQL and sitting next to, and essentially managing, a team of three outside programmers. With no manager, Partners, or other consultants who understood the technology, it was certainly quite hair-raising at times. However I had the full support of my manager the whole way. We were then able to pilot the new tool across several banking regions for our client. As part of the initial pilot phase, I, as a 1st-year consultant, got to demonstrate the tool in front of 150 credit officers. In the end, the client labeled our project “five years ahead of its time”. Talk about a first project experience with real responsibilities.
Journey to partnerI never planned to stay for more than a year until I’d been here for almost 4 years. At first, I thought it would be an interesting internship but then I’d go and work for a bigger firm after college. I enjoyed my internship and the people I worked with so much, that I had to come back full-time, “just for a year”. I had taken the LSATs and was planning on law school. I was only working because all the lawyers advised it to ensure that law was really what I wanted. Again, I enjoyed my projects (especially in South Africa) too much to leave. After the first year, I planned on going to business school “just to keep my options open”. However, projects in Australia and with a large US client were too enjoyable and business school would always be a possibility later in my career. After three years, though, I realized that I was in it for the long haul and, to date, this has been my only post-college job. Now, as a Partner, I am still loving it.
Contribution to the firm & clients
Anybody and everybody does great work here. They are all smart (many smarter than I), come up with great ideas for our clients and execute them to a high standard of quality. I think I do those things, too, but I think my greatest contribution to the firm and our clients is really about caring and developing staff; building the morale and the excitement of the staff. I have always been an active participant in firm activities such as recruiting, training, mentoring, and social events. One year I even won the “Oliver Wyman Citizenship Award”. I also give toasts at firm events, present awards at closing ceremonies, and organize events for my practice area.
This passion for having fun and staying involved is carried over into my client work as well. A client once told me that they were really looking forward to starting our project because it’s always fun to have us around; we build excitement on the team with our friendliness, enthusiasm and our energy. He relayed that his whole team wanted to be connected with our project, not only the people immediately involved, because everyone learns a lot from us. The team is quite interested in our work and the perspective we bring. Aside from the high quality work that we do, it means a lot to me that our clients truly value the personal impact that we have on their organizations.