Imagine a consulting engagement in one of the world’s most dynamic emerging markets: a literal gateway to an unbanked world. A Fortune 500 bank believes it has found a winning strategy to target consumers who subsist on less than $5 a day. The client is hoping they can capture up to 30% of this market, and push their revenue growth above the magical 10% threshold. In this market where 40% default rates are the norm, where literacy levels are well below 10% and where no formal banking channels exist, the bank is hoping, praying really, that the risk mitigation best-practices sourced from a joint-venture with Banco Azteca of Mexico will solve all their problems. The bank feels more than a little optimistic due to the significant profits of a 5-year pilot, begun in 2006, where they partnered with South Africa’s state-owned banks. The board has giddily, and greedily, given the go-ahead to end the partnership with the state bank and commit hundreds of millions of dollars of shareholder capital to building hundreds of retail branches across the rural interior. On the eve of the rollout, concerns about communicating the strategy to certain vocal shareholders has led to the appointment of a team of management consultants to assess the strategy. Read more
Posts from the ‘Guides’ Category
IT strategy is exciting work. Most people tend to find IT cases among the most difficult for case preparation. Moreover it is actually very difficult to leverage an IT background to the level required to pass an IT strategy case, and in particular, the McKinsey BTO cases. With that in mind, we have prepared this graphical and richly researched video to carry out three goals: 1) explain IT strategy and IT consulting as done at BCG and McKinsey, 2) explain how the different pieces of IT come together to fix governance, organizational and systems issues, and 3) explain the language to be used, and frameworks to be used, when leveraging an IT background in an interview.
Rich in case studies, this 90 minute video touches on application management, enterprise architecture, IT organization, lean IT, sourcing, tech enabled operations/sales/marketing, scaling infrastructure and value assurance.
On a sunny Friday afternoon in June 2003, Rajat Gupta was greeted at his waterfront home in Westport, Connecticut, by scores of his McKinsey & Co. partners. They had come from London, Frankfurt, New Delhi and other cities around the world — and brought along an elephant, which they tethered on the front lawn. Read more
Times are indeed tight worldwide. McKinsey, a firm which spends countless hours explaining to bright-eyed aspiring consultants that they will be flown to special universities conducted by McKinsey partners, may be going…local. Read more
Earlier today we posted a report about Monitor company. In that post we profiled a pretty bad study Monitor performed for Debswana, a mining company in Botswana. We were emailed this study by a reader who says that Monitor was called in to fix the “debacle that was Bain’s 2001 study.” That’s a direct quote from the email. Read more
Stories which delve behind the scenes of consulting engagements are very, very rare. Today’s lengthy post is just such an article. It is an in-depth analysis of a major McKinsey assignment in a developing economy, South Africa. We are going to give critical coverage of the behind the scenes issues and outcome of the project. This will be one of those rare articles. Upfront we must add this will not be a biased critiscm of the firm. McKinsey actually did very well on this engagement. In some ways this is a complimentary article. Read more
Emerging markets and micro-finance are hot topics at the moment. Whether it is micro-finance in Mexico, Brazil, India, Pakistan or Indonesia, the sector is definitely growing. All the major consulting firms from McKinsey, the Boston Consulting Group to Bain have tried to break into this sector. As expected, McKinsey has been heavily involved in micro-finance work and has undertaken some of the work significant and landmark projects. This posting is based on a series of discussions we have had with several McKinsey consultants working on a micro-finance project in Latin America. We follow them through an real engagement and see how they tackled the study. The McKinsey consultants interviewed spoke off the record and where not authorized to speak about the engagement. For the record, they did not divulge any confidential information. Read more
You worked hard to get your MBA, graduate degree or undergraduate degree. It was not easy. You made sacrifices. Your family made sacrifices. You spent tens of thousands of dollars. You need to make sure the firm you join is as committed to your development as you are to succeeding. In today’s post, we will discuss Monitor Company. Monitor Company was a firm founded with great promise. No less a person than Michael Porter gave his blessing (but not his complete time and attention) to this firm as a founding partner. In the late 80’s and early 90’s Monitor was so full of promise. It was mentioned in the same breath as McKinsey, Bain and BCG. To say Monitor has fallen would be to mislead you. It never rose very far for it to fall much. Although, we can say it never lived up to its potential. Read more
Maria, not her real name, is a current consultant in a BCG Eastern European office. She has kindly agreed to share her experiences from the perspective of a non-quant. Maria holds a master’s degree in literature from her country’s most prestigious university and worked as an intern at a FMCG company before joining BCG as an analyst. Maria encourages readers to ask questions about BCG and not be afraid to enter consulting with an Arts degree.
Terence (not his real name) was a consulting partner at 2 leading international management consulting firms. He has worked on engagements in the USA, UK, Brazil, Turkey, Russia, France, Mexico, South Africa, Dubai and Canada. He rose rapidly through the ranks and made partner in a very short time frame. He has graciously agreed to write a limited series of posts about his journey from Pepsi into management consulting and his life as a consultant. This is his story and first post.
In his first post, he discussed his move from Pepsi to Bain & Company. His second post discussed his early years at Bain & Company. His third post discussed his first client-facing engagement as an analyst at an airline client. His fourth post examined his role in developing the business case on an IT strategy project for an airline company. His fifth post examined turning around a struggling Eastern European airline in preparation for an IPO. His sixth post reviewed a project to create a new low-cost airline. His seventh post looked at Bain benchmarking techniques. His subsequent posts, approximately 15 additional chapters have been converted into a 287 book which completes the arc of his career started in these articles.
Money, or should I say, lack of money was one major reason to join management consulting. It was not the only reason. At 21 years of age, I was an assistant brand manager for Pepsi. The pay was not great as I had only been in the position for 1 year and I had no advanced degree. The work at Pepsi was interesting but not dynamic. Read more