Oliver Wyman: Key Facts
- Industry: Management Consulting
- Revenue: USD $1.8 Billion (2016)
- Number of Offices: More than 50 offices in 27 countries across America, Europe and Asia Pacific
- Number of Employees: 4,725
- Key Executives: Scott McDonald (CEO)
- Headquarters: 1166 Avenue of the Americas, New York City, U.S.
- Contract Information:
- Website: oliverwyman.com
- Phone: 212-345-8000
- Fax: 212-541-8957
Background and History
The company is an international management consulting firm with an expertise in strategy, operations, risk management, and organizations transformation in banking, insurance and financial services. The company is a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies and the largest part of the Oliver Wyman Group. Oliver Wyman Group also has strategic partnerships with Lippincott and NERA Economic Consulting, which are the leading providers of economic analysis for high complex business and various legal issues.
In 1905, Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc. was formed in Chicago by Henry W. Mash and Donald R. McLennan. Later, the company acquired Guy Carpenter & Company in 1923, then Mercer in 1959. In 1984, Oliver Wyman and Company joined Marsh & McLennan Companies to expand their management consulting business. In 2003 Marsh & McLennan bought Oliver Wyman and the latter became a part of the Mercer Consulting business under the name of Mercer Oliver Wyman. The company’s current form happened in May of 2007 when Mercer Oliver Wyman consolidated with Mercer Management Consulting and Mercer Delta to become one firm.
Oliver Wyman’s founders were Alex Oliver and Bill Wyman. Both are entrepreneurs who were former Booz Allen Hamilton partners. They formed the company with the intention of providing a new approach to business through practical consulting and providing clarity to business strategy.
At present the company is being led by CEO and President Scott McDonald. McDonald is an alumnus from the McGill University Desautels Faculty of Management with a degree in Finance & Economics. He later earned his Master of Philosophy degree in International Relations from Cambridge University.
The company through its partners regularly contributes to financial and business publications such as the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times. Oliver Wyman also publishes journals annually on thinking issues, solutions, and new business frameworks related to business. Oliver Wyman one notable example of their framework is the Magnetic Business Model. The model is based on three dimensions; the functionality dimension which asks what the problems that must be solved; the emotional appeal to establish a deep emotional connection with the client’s customers rather than just meeting their needs; and economics which measures the perceived value of consumers to what the business is delivering. These three dimensions are said to create an engaging consumer product.
Organization and Culture
Employees at Oliver Wyman are eclectic and energetic who strive to make an impact to the business, their clients, and the community. The overall culture is diverse yet inclusive, friendly, and supportive with strong values. The company doesn’t adopt the traditional hierarchy like most firms, which means everyone’s contribution is heard in making an impact for clients or internally. Employees enjoy a lot of perks like flexible work schedules, career development, international work opportunities, and personal support from a diverse and inclusive community within the company. Oliver Wyman advocates the concept of sustainable work-life quality, supports the personal development programs to employees, and encourage them to pursue their interests. They are also known for sponsoring non-work events like soccer and volleyball tournaments.
Flexible working programs are made available to inspire employees and make them better consultants. Employees can take a paid leave and bring their skills to a non-profit organization for six months through the Non-Profit Fellowship program. Externship programs allows employees to learn another kind of business aside from consulting. The company is operating a formal externship program to support the expansion of Kiva, a micro-lending organization. Other roles at the Mercer Management Consulting are made available for employees to expand their business network. Opportunities for transfer to another office locally or globally though the Golden Passport program. Work schedules can be arranged at a temporary or long-term basis. Success is measured not on how many hours were rendered at work but the quality of what is accomplished.
In 2016, the company was named by Fortune Magazine’s 2016 list of 100 Best Workplaces for Millennials, and 100 best companies for Working Mothers of the same year. It is also included in Glassdoor Best Places to Work in Finance and Consulting (UK).
The company has its own corporate social programs, supports and provides pro-bono services to non-profit organizations to improve the lives of people in the developing world and create a social impact globally. Their London Social Impact program won the Future Proofing Charities Award as part of the Lord Mayor's Dragon Award for 2016.
Employees at Oliver Wyman are recruited from top schools. Passionate, high performing, collaborative individuals with a strong work ethic who are known for their efficiency and quality of work. Employees learn from each other while working for a client project, and through mentorship and apprenticeship programs. Mentors help the employees learn and lead at every stage of their journey.
The culture adopts the buddy system wherein informal buddies will assist you in dealing with unfamiliar challenges at work. A career advisor, career plan, and talent manager are available to help you decide your options at every level in your career. Annual feedback is provided from each project. Training programs are also available for professional development.
The company has a global staffing model wherein consultants are assigned to a project to closely collaborate with clients by working with them on site forging long term relations. This also means that Oliver Wyman employees get to travel a lot compared to their peers in other consulting firms.
Services and Industry
The company specializes in the areas of strategy, operations, risk management, and organization transformation supporting global companies, non-profit organizations and government institutions. A known expert in banking and financial services, the company has soon diversified into supporting other industries from automotive, business services, distribution and wholesale, energy, health and life sciences, industrial products, public sector, retail and consumer products, surface transportation, and travel and leisure, communications, media and technology, and aviation, aerospace, and defense industries worldwide. The company has capabilities on actuarial, business transformation, corporate finance and restructuring, digital, strategic IT and service operations, sustainability, and value sourcing, as well as pricing, sales, and marketing areas.
Recruitment and Career
Oliver Wyman holds recruiting events at universities all over the world and online offering an opportunity for applicants to learn more about the company. The company is inclined to hire applicants from top schools like Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Harvard, Kellogg, MIT, Northwestern, Princeton, Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia, and Yale.
The company also has a unique and holistic internship program for undergraduates who aspire to enter the consulting industry. In America, the internship programs are offered during the summer or winter term. In most countries in Europe, the program may be available throughout the year. The program offers actual experiences as a consultant which helps prepare the potential future Oliver Wyman employee for a full-time consulting role. Interns will be staffed on client projects and be provided with responsibilities like full team members. Coaching and feedback is also provided on the duration of the internship. Interns will have the opportunity to network with consultants, learn more about management consulting, and an in-depth experience of the business.
Although interns may have an advantage when applying for a fulltime role, this does not guarantee of getting a full-time role at Oliver Wyman. Interested applicants would still require strategy, careful planning, and a well drafted resume. Our website provides tips on how to create a skill oriented resume for consulting.
Interviews at Oliver Wyman consist of a mix of candidate-led and interviewer-led problems similar to other management consulting firms but are rigorous and selective. There will be one or two phone interviews before the interview proper which will consist of conversational interviews to discuss your questions about the firm, career expectations, and goals with partners and senior members; and a case interview to test your problem solving and analytical skills, interpersonal skills, and credibility. The interview process would usually take two to three weeks. The company is inclined to hire applicants who fits their diverse but inclusive culture with high regard to the company values.
Unlike the MBB firms, Oliver Wyman does not require an MBA degree to move up through the ranks. The company however supports its employees personal and career development through their language and continued learning programs. Oliver Wyman provides sponsorship for advanced degrees and professional accreditation.
New consultants are immediately exposed to a variety of projects that helps them progress and develop their skills in months faster than what their peers from other consulting firms will learn in years. New consultants have autonomy and provided freedom on how they structure their work. They will spend 2-3 years on research and analysis before they progress as a Senior Consultant. With the experience gained, senior consultants find answers by initiating research and continuously develop their chosen expertise. After working as a senior consultant for 2-4 years, your career will progress as an Associate. Associates are tasked to manage small teams and work closely with the client. Associates will then progress as Engagement Managers after 2-4 years, this role requires great communication skills, establishing long term relationships, and leadership at a strategic level. After years of experience and a record of success in the industry, an Engagement Manager is promoted to Principal after 3-5 years. Principal works with Partners in the commercial processes of the business and developing client relationships. Being the best in the world in developing long-term relationships with clients included in the list of the Global 1000 companies, years of expertise at every level in the company earns the role as Partner at Oliver Wyman. However, for those who wants to move to the top on a faster track, the company offers a 6 to 9 years career path to become a Partner.
There are four consulting career tracks at Oliver Wyman to choose from. The first is the General Management consulting which is very similar to traditional consulting. The second is Financial Services consulting to which the company is known to be an expert. The third is the Delta practice on change management to help clients implement strategic changes in their business. The last track is Leadership Development which is an opportunity to work closely with the client’s top management and leaders.
Oliver Wyman is transparent on their employees’ career progression, and rewards their strong performance financially and an upward career trajectory. The experience at Oliver Wyman is both challenging, fun, and rewarding.
The Oliver Wyman experience will leave you the expertise you need in the industry and a well-connected global network of successful alumni. Similar to opportunities gained from top management consulting companies, an Oliver Wyman alumnus may venture into entrepreneurship, private equity and hedge funds, asset management research, and financial services. A short-term experience at Oliver Wyman is equivalent to the many years of experience in the industry, thus providing the alumni a greater advantage than his peers at other consulting firms.
Antonia Romeo - British civil servant; British Consul-General in New York at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Director-General for Economic and Commercial Affairs in the USA for UK Trade & Investment
Christopher Meyer - (author), Founder of Monitor Talent
Figure 1 Jeffrey Zients
- Randolph Babbitt - Former Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration
Jamie Whyte - a New Zealand politician who is a former leader of ACT New Zealand
Jeffrey Zients - former acting Director, Deputy Director for Management and President Obama's Chief Performance Officer
Lisa Gardner - Best-selling crime novelist
Figure 2Lisa Gardner
Nigel Morris - managing partner of QED Investors; co-founder of Capital One
Niklas Östberg - co-founder of Delivery Hero
Premal Shah - President of microfinance company Kiva and leading social entrepreneur 
Raphaela Neihausen - American filmmaker and producer
Richard Lui - American journalist and news anchor for MSNBC. Previously a news anchor at CNN Worldwide.
Oliver Wyyman is not as popular as the top MBB consulting firms. Among the three top firms, it is similar with BCG, which offers equal opportunity, a flexible work schedule, opportunity to travel, and the freedom to pursue projects you are passionate about with a diverse group of collaborative and friendly people. This consulting firm is a good alternative if you are interested in other MBB firms particularly BCG.
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