Why Oliver Wyman?
Coming in as an experienced hire, there were several attractive things about Oliver Wyman. I knew I wanted to focus in energy, and it was nice to know I would immediately be able to specialize in that sector. The firm has a unique career development proposition in that consultants can spend their entire career here – if they so desire. This means OW not only invests in career advancement but also works to actually promoting a work-life quality in an industry which can be very demanding. Further, one’s career timeline is in the hands of the individual and no arbitrary timeframes or quotas for promotions are applied. If a person is performing at the next role level, he/she will earn it. This appealed to me because I felt it promotes a more collaborative and meritocratic environment by alleviating the competitive dynamics within a team. Lastly, I knew someone working at OW and he put me in touch with half a dozen consultants to assist me in my case interview prep…which was invaluable. Total strangers took time out their busy schedules to provide practice and excellent feedback for improving (and increasing) my chances of success. That made a great impression.
My biggest mentor at the firm was my 1st year advisor and also the manager on my first project. He very much embodied what drew me to OW in that he was focused and professional during the day but fun to hang out with after dinner. Rarely did we talk about work when out to dinner…it was almost always learning about the other team members and getting to know the personal side of co-workers. He was also very direct, but fair. On my first project I was struggling a bit learning the way OW runs projects, conducting the analysis, and adapting to the new pace of life. I knew I was not performing up to my capabilities, but was still a bit reluctant to ask for help. I was an experienced hire who should’ve known what I was doing! As I started realizing that I should be reaching out, he sat me down: “What’s going on? Things just don’t seem to be clicking. If you need help with anything, just ask me or Steve (another experienced team member) for help. We need everyone pulling their weight and if you are struggling, bring it up so we can address it and get you what you need to rise over the hump.” Strange as it sounds, that was a great relief to me and we had a very productive conversation about what he could do to help and how I could leverage the team to get through the rough patch. After that, there were still challenges. However, my self-constructed barrier which prevented me from asking for help had been torn down. It helped immensely.
Outside of client work
As a veteran, (I was in the U.S. Navy for 7 years as a nuclear trained officer serving on a nuclear submarine), I have been most involved with the Veterans of Oliver Wyman (VOW) which is a grass roots effort to assist Vets who join us to get acclimated to a new career and company. My contacts in VOW were invaluable during my early days here, and I now enjoy being able to help other veterans to get started. We have also been very active in recruiting efforts thanks to the great support of our recruiting colleagues.