Consulting Conference Overview

Andrew Savage

Throughout the night, students had the opportunity to hear from and network with 24 companies and while every firms’ strategy was different, one theme was common between them all. Every company acknowledged that increasingly a consultant’s job requires keeping up with rapid pace of change we are seeing around the world. Keynote speaker Dhavan Mehta (EY) lectured about working in an era of change within globalization, technology, and demographic trends and explained how his firm, Ernst & Young, stays flexible through the value of diversity. Our other keynote speaker, Federico Cohen, who works at Mastercard, explained that they have been leaning into big data and software to help their clients develop strategies to engage customers and deliver great experiences. Whether it be Capital One’s effort to integrate their services with cloud computing or Accenture Federal Services helping the National Park Services develop an app, it is clear to see that many of the consulting firms that visited Bryant Hall last week are making an effort to keep up with an ever-evolving society. If you plan on pursuing a career in consulting, be sure to think about how technology can change what your work may look like! 

Keynote Addresses

The first keynote address from Dhavan Mehta, EY, focused on the importance of diversity and inclusion. His speech outlined how the workforce is changing and there are many different types of professionals in every company. Inclusion allows professionals to experience a sense of belonging and the ability to bring their authentic selves to work. EY pays special attention to ensure they are creating a diverse and inclusive workforce by setting the tone at the top of the company and establishing unique efforts for campus recruiting. They ensure that they are engaging and educating their employees so that they are able to be a leader in the consulting industry.

The second keynote address came from Mastercard on the topic of strategy in non-traditional consulting. As an organization, Mastercard is focused on data-driven insights from a massive payments network of 2 billion cards and their expertise in data analytics. They have powerful campaign management and execution expertise to help turn insights into action and are best-in-class, patented analytics including Test & Learn, AI, and other technologies.  Mastercard combines big data technology and traditional strategy consulting into an innovative business that informs companies’ key strategic decisions. They help leading companies to make data-driven decisions, manage change, engage consumers, and deliver great experiences. They combine technology, massive data sets, and traditional consulting to uniquely help others optimize and execute payment strategies.

Lightning Talk Highlights

Frank Hopkins from Accenture spoke about Federal consulting and explained how government agencies frequently face complex issues outside the scope of their normal operations. To solve these issues they require expertise, resources, and an outside perspective. Federal Consultants provide advice and skills to help various agencies solve problems and improve performance technologies. Part of what makes Federal Consulting unique is that all federal consulting firms prioritize the mission of serving citizens. They work across all 15 Executive departments and more than 60 agencies, performing a wide range of mission-critical work. A few example clients include: Defense and Intelligence, Civilian, Health and Public safety agencies. An example project, The National Park Foundation turned to Accenture for help exploring new ways to attract more diverse and connected visitors to America’s parks. The result: a bold digital strategy that integrates digital, mobile, social and immersive technologies to transform the visitor experience.

Marketing & Customer Analytics by Analytic Partners

Analytic Partners spoke first of defining key business questions to frame the talk. Example questions included what are the key drivers of business and what is going to be the return on investment. Within marketing, there are dozens to hundreds of variables that contribute to the overall result and some are vary in level of control. Given some of the inherent challenges, it becomes important to measure the impact of the marketing. It is the organization that utilize data driven processes make better decisions. Looking through the lens of customer analytics, the goal is to be high enough to see the whole but also low enough to make out the details in order to form the most complete picture. The presentation concluded with an important message on thriving in challenging times as long as you have the skills to adapt to an ever-changing world.

Corporate Finance Consulting by FTI Consulting

Corporate finance consulting firms work for companies across all stages of the standard lifecycle from improving the day-to-day finance operations of a stable company to assisting a company through a bankruptcy. They must be equipped with expertise across multiple functional areas to meet the diversity and complexity of today’s client demands. Corporate finance consulting firms offer a variety of different delivery models to meet the needs of today’s CFOs based on the varying degree of resources and expertise to accomplish the client’s goals. Examples include, assessment, implementation, project management an interim management.

Technical Consulting – Pariveda

The presentation opened with an outline of why industry uses consultants explaining that factors like specific expertise and talent mixed with objective viewpoints poise consultants to offer key insights. They also outlined the talent approach of being more of a specialist that becomes an “expert” in a specific technology or practice versus a generalist that is a broad problem solver. There are key differences and incentives behind both approaches within consulting. Pariveda Solutions Inc. is a leading consulting firm delivering strategic services and technology solutions. As an organization, Pariveda identifies as an Army of Architects, Problem Solvers and Practitioners that focus on being client centric with a collaborative environment. Within Technical Consulting at Pariveda solution offerings include strategic objectives, foundational capabilities and innovative solutions.

Boutique Strategy Consulting by Dean & Company

When thinking about boutique consulting, it is importance to understand the different from a larger consulting company. There are going to be fewer professionals who by nature, become more specialized. A few of the benefits of working for a boutique consulting company include gaining responsibility early and interact with high-level executives in the company and in client companies, transferrable skills by taking on different types of projects and wearing many hats and getting to know people in your organization and truly be a part of a team. Jake Weinberg ’18 discussed his perspective of being a recent graduate and working for Dean & Company. He expressed that he has been able to grow quickly as a professional because of the company’s small nature and investment in him.

In House Corporate Strategy by Dollar Tree

Mike DeVries from Dollar Tree discussed the benefits of in-house corporate strategy work as contrasted to traditional management consulting. When working in corporate strategy for a company like Dollar Tree, you are able to experience consulting across industries, such as retail and banking. Professionals are also able to truly take ownership and make an impact on the company. Mike told the audience that a recent hire has been able to save Dollar Tree $3 million because of their work in just 3 months. Within Dollar Tree alone, there are many different departments like store operations, merchandising, real estate, human resources, finance, and supply chain that are a part of the in-house strategy work. The in-house corporate strategy team at Dollar Tree cross among departments to ensure that they are choosing the best professionals for each project.