In consulting, it’s the people that make the difference. Here are some excerpts from the lives of our employees that show just how.
Career Stage: Managing Director
Joined: January 1984 Rejoined: September 2002
Practice: Energy & Utilities
Like many fresh graduates, I didn't know what I really wanted to do when I grew up, but had an interest in the Energy sector arising from the first energy crisis in the 1970s. I applied to the Civil Service to work as an Economist, and was posted to the Department of Energy, as I'd requested. I worked on a pretty interesting set of issues, but didn't enjoy all aspects of life in the Department, as viewers of "Yes Minister" could perhaps appreciate! And so at the start of 1984 I found myself as a junior consultant at Arthur D Little's Energy Practice.
One of my first projects was to work on the renegotiation of the exploration and production agreements in place between a large international oil company and the national oil company of Angola. These negotiations took place over a period of about three years and the location rotated between Luanda, Lisbon, California and London. The several weeks that I spent in Luanda certainly made an impression, as the country was in the midst of a civil war. Over the years, I moved further downstream and began to specialise in the midstream and downstream parts of the energy sector. We built up a team, which reached about 20 people by the mid 1990s, and I was appointed Director. I thoroughly enjoyed my new role as "coach" to a team, and seeing the individuals I had recruited growing in competence and confidence. Their energy and drive fed through into myself, and I was able to set ever-more challenging goals for myself, which kept me interested.
By 1997 I felt I'd taken it as far as I could and I left Arthur D. Little to join another consulting firm. I enjoyed my time there, but that firm had a number of features which were less attractive than Arthur D. Little. Mainly these were the absence of the culture of collaboration, sharing and community which Arthur D. Little has in abundance. Also, the lack of a strong network of like-minded people spread around the world who are willing to help you whenever you ask them. So in September 2002 I was delighted to rejoin Arthur D. Little and work with colleagues whom I remembered fondly from my earlier career.
Career stage: Manager
Joined: May 2010
Practice: Automotive and Manufacturing Group
What were your expectations when joining Arthur D. Little?
My expectation was to get to do really exciting projects, have a lot of fun and quickly grow as a professional. And so far my expectations have definitely been met. I appreciate our structured employee development methodology which ensures that you develop all traits you need to be a successful management consultant. These traits will always benefit you, whether you remain a management consultant or proceed outside of the consulting industry.
What is special about ADL?
From an employee point of view, it is definitely my colleagues. I really enjoy the non-hierarchical atmosphere and the friendly, down-to-earth people. It strikes me when I meet colleagues from other countries that this is not something unique for the Nordic offices but a strong global heritage. Considering that the line of work we do often involves working long hours and working away from home, connecting with your colleagues is crucial.
Which of your projects has been the most fun?
The projects I enjoyed the most are those where I feel that our work has had a major impact on the course of directions for our client. For example, we recently did a project for a client who was about to invest heavily to address a booming market segment. During our project, we however managed to show that the market would peak in two years’ time and thereafter rapidly decline and instead we helped the client to find alternative routes for growth.
I also enjoy projects with an international setting. In a global organizational design project, I got to visit three different client sites in three weeks, one in China, one in India and one in Japan. It was very interesting to experience the cultural differences in such a short time. Another project I remember with pleasure was a commercial due diligence in Paris when we were four consultants from four different countries, sitting in the same room, working together. It was an intense project but we had a lot of fun along the way!
Career stage: Manager
Joined: November 2011
Why did you choose Arthur D. Little?
I got to know Arthur D. Little within an internship during my Master’s degree. This internship was crucial for the decision to join Arthur D. Little after finishing university. Especially the down-to-earth, professional and open culture was very appealing and decisive for me. I felt Arthur D. Little was somewhere I'd fit in and enjoy coming to work in the morning. Personally, I have experienced that nothing can measure up to having great colleagues with whom you will have to work every day! Therefore I can recommend everyone to get to know your future employer within an internship to be convinced of the fit with your future colleagues!
What was your expectation when joining Arthur D. Little?
When joining Arthur D. Little I expected to get to know a variety of industries, multiple clients and different case teams. This expectation showed to be true. On my last case I worked on a large transition project transforming the European organizational setup and governance of our client. To engage the organization in this change process we worked together with a multinational client team and visited locations from Helsinki, Moscow, Krakow, and Milano to Barcelona. I can’t ever expect recurrence or repetition in my daily work and this makes consulting so interesting.
What was your most interesting project so far?
Arthur D. Little provides opportunities and experiences you would normally never get at a junior level. During my current project, our team organized and ran workshops with the top management of our client involving the European management team. I was personally involved in several workshops where C-level management discussed on the future of the company!
What is your overall conclusion?
My expectations of consulting were not only met, but exceeded! Arthur D. Little offers me an exceptional environment in which I can fully develop my skills. Unique colleagues, mutual respect as the basis of cooperation and joint effort to find tailor-made answers for the questions of our customers, determine my daily work environment.
Career Stage: Partner
Joined: September 1998
Richard Swinford first joined Arthur D. Little’s London office in 1998 as a graduate recruit with a MEng from Imperial College London. Today he is a Partner in Arthur D. Little’s Telecoms, Information, Media & Electronics (TIME) Practice, where he specializes in advising major telecoms and media companies on strategy. This includes providing expert support for transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions, and for regulatory negotiations.
Richard was attracted to Arthur D. Little as a strategy consultancy with a deep understanding of technology at the heart of its proposition to clients, where he saw an opportunity to apply design and technology management methodologies as well as classical strategy approaches to the businesses of clients at the forefront of accelerating digital economies.
As a graduate he wanted to travel and see the world and his career with ADL has helped him fulfill that ambition. He has worked extensively in Europe, throughout the Middle East and also in North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa and Far-East Asia.
Richard’s development as a professional management consultant has been supported at each stage by the firm’s regular training events, which bring together ADL employees from across the globe. He has also gained knowledge by working alongside colleagues from the firm’s functional practices, such as Corporate Finance and Strategy & Organization. Media coaching has helped him to perform effectively as a conference speaker and facilitator, presenting the results of studies carried out by the firm worldwide on behalf of clients such as Vodafone, FT/Orange and the GSM Association.
As a Partner, Richard’s role focuses on selling and leading client engagements. He still sees huge scope for personal development ahead, as he takes on the challenge of leading increasingly complex, global projects, for high-profile clients and involving teams drawn from a wide range of cultural and professional backgrounds.
Career stage: Consultant
Joined: September 2010
What was it exactly that made you interested in the consulting industry?
When graduating from my Master in Financial Management I was convinced that my analytical background, in conjunction with my enthusiasm, creativity and curiosity to learn made me the right person for strategic consulting. I was looking for a challenging, fast-moving environment where I could experience a very steep learning curve, have an international exposure and build long-lasting and diverse professional relationships.
Why did you choose Arthur D. Little?
I joined Arthur D. Little because of the “Little” difference I saw in the people working here. Their unique blend of entrepreneurship, enthusiasm and a good sense of humor makes them both inspiring and fun to work with. I believe this is what differentiates Arthur D. Little from our competitors and makes the company so attractive for young graduates. Working every day with these talented, driven personalities creates the perfect atmosphere to achieve outstanding performance.
What was the most challenging project you experienced so far?
One of my most interesting and challenging projects at Arthur D. Little was the strategic assessment of a merger between two major European telecom operators. During this 4 months project I got the opportunity to work closely with senior executives of the client company and with international experts of the telecommunications sector. This experience greatly contributed to my development both as a team player and as an individual. After the project I was thrilled to see that the consequences of our recommendations had a significant impact on the European telecommunications market.
Career stage: Consultant
Joined: October 2011
Practice: Energy & Utilities
What made you join Arthur D. Little?
When I graduated from business school, I wanted to join a management consultancy that would help me reach my personal goals; at Arthur D. Little I found more. Not only is Arthur D. Little a place to challenge one's mind in a business setting, it is also a place to mature on a personal and professional level.
How would you describe the culture of Arthur D. Little?
Arthur D. Little’s non-hierarchical atmosphere inspires a lot of multi-tenure interaction at all levels. It is very stimulating to work with such brilliant people from so many different backgrounds. This is an environment that invites you to get in the driver's seat of your career and to continuously challenge yourself. In the projects I've worked on, it didn't matter if I was an intern or an associate, my opinion was just as important as the project leader's.
What has your experience been like so far?
Arthur D. Little has given me the opportunity to take on immense responsibility from the very beginning. I've been exposed to leading company executives, and the "teaming with the client" culture makes this exposure even more enriching. I've developed unique solutions to specific problems, climbing a never-ending learning curve filled with the gratification of seeing the impact on organizations. It's an indescribable experience that I couldn't have enjoyed anywhere else.
What impressed you most about Arthur D. Little’s corporate culture?
After my first project, I was surprised to see how the strong cooperation between Arthur D. Little and its clients quickly led to concrete and tangible results. For example, I supported the development of the overall renewable energies strategy for a leading Oil & Gas player, and I was pleased to see the outcomes in a few month time. From the quality of projects, to the team work with experienced colleagues and with our clients, to the energizing environment of Arthur D. Little, my learning curve has been moving rapidly. In short, Arthur D. Little provides a great opportunity to capitalize your experience and grow further.