Interview: Matilda Malmgren, Consultant at Wavestone UK

20 June 2017

An interview with Matilda Malmgren, Consultant at the UK office of international consultancy firm Wavestone. 

Can you briefly introduce yourself?

I moved from Sweden to London in 2011 to pursue my undergraduate degree in Business Finance at the Cass Business School. During that time I also did an exchange year at Essec Business School in Paris as I’ve always loved the French culture and Paris as a city. At Cass I was highly involved in the entrepreneurship society because of my background and interest in the topic (as the high school I attended in Sweden was heavily focused on entrepreneurship). 

Why did you decide to start your career in the consulting industry after graduating from Cass Business School? And what were the key motivations for choosing Wavestone?

Business Schools such as Cass work a lot on motivating students to explore careers in consulting and finance. Before moving to London I didn't really know what the consulting industry entailed but now it’s difficult to imagine myself working in any other industry. As I understood more about the consulting industry, I realised that it meant getting exposure to a number of different industries, each time facing a different challenge. What really fascinated me was the opportunity to have that variety in work and be able to learn from my senior colleagues in the business. It’s highly rewarding how your involvement in a consulting role could deliver significant transformation and benefits to the client’s business.

When I was looking for graduate roles at consultancies in London, my main priorities were to look for organisations that would provide great career prospects with a good working environment. Wavestone stood out for me at the time as a consulting firm with big growth ambitions. The clear links to Paris and the opportunity of being part of growing the business really spoke to me and I’m happy today that I made that choice. Wavestone also provides the opportunity to work with very senior members of the team with over 20 years of experience. What I’ve found is that with their hands-on support and guidance, the learning curve has become so much easier and quicker. 

Matilda Malmgren - Wavestone

You’ve been at Wavestone for nearly two years. What kind of projects have you been involved with?

Since I started working at Wavestone I've worked on over 10 different projects across UK, France and Ireland. I've worked across the IT spectrum; from network strategy for a global retailer and an international insurance company to a global savings initiative for an international bank. Last year I also worked on a change strategy and plan for the global rollout of Office 365 for a multinational pharmaceutical company and a partnership review for a global brewing company. 

Over the course of two years I've learned a tremendous amount and developed my skills in different areas from strategic sourcing and financial modelling to how incentives, costs and opportunities drive both individual and organisational behaviour.

How does your work on a day to day basis look like? And you’ve grown through the ranks from Analyst to Consultant – how have your roles & responsibilities changed since being promoted?

The thing about working in a consulting environment is that every day is different, but usually we'll start the day with a team meeting in the morning to discuss plans for the day and make sure we're prepared for any client meetings. Sometimes we're on client site all day and sometimes we’re working from the office - it depends on what the client wants. If we're in the due diligence phase of a project we're typically on client site all day either conducting stakeholder interviews or going through data received by the client. When I’m not occupied with client work I'm typically in the office working on research papers (I'm currently writing one about innovation) or helping out with the recruitment process.

I got promoted from Analyst to Consultant in September 2016 and since then I've been given more responsibility on the projects I've worked on, which I’m enjoying. As an Analyst you're constantly observing what Senior Consultants and Managers are doing, how they’re approaching different projects while assisting them in any way possible. As a Consultant you're leading parts of the projects, so it is my responsibility to ensure all relevant aspects of the project are covered, the timescales are being met and stakeholders are kept informed. Outside of client work the role of Consultant means I can be more involved with graduate recruitment whilst also running a few internal projects. So the role of a Consultant is really helping me to broaden my capabilities in many different ways.

Consultants are continuously expected to stay ahead in terms of knowledge and expertise – how is Wavestone playing a role in your professional development?

Wavestone believes in investing in people and helping them with their personal and professional development plans. So there is plenty of support and advice available from the senior team that is really valuable. We run academy sessions every month where members of the team present learning outcomes from the projects they're currently working on or have just completed. I find this a great way of keeping up with everything that is going on and make sure to draw knowledge on projects that the other team members haven't personally worked on. We also invite suppliers to present the latest innovations in the industry to stay on top of the technologies out there for clients, and have colleagues from other areas of the business to present the latest updates from their practices.

At Wavestone, there is plenty of support and advice available from the senior team that is really valuable

At a personal level, Wavestone has helped me work on and stay on top of my personal development plan. I've taken a number of courses in relevant fields and today I'm ITIL certified and a PRINCE2 practitioner. Together with my Career Development Manager we identify projects and internal or external courses that will help me develop my career in the way I want and build expertise in the field of my liking.

Wavestone’s leadership team recently unveiled exciting plans for the coming years, both globally as well as in the UK. What are you noticing from those plans on the work floor?

The most noticeable aspect is the enthusiasm in the team for the growth ambition within the business. Everyone has stepped up and is keen to play their part. The results can already be seen in the recruitment drive. We currently have new team members, both at graduate and Manager level, starting every month, which is very exciting! It is also being noticed in the projects we are delivering. We're now consulting on projects in additional areas of the IT landscape including cybersecurity and digital working, and taking further advantage of the wider capabilities of our parent organisation. A lot of our team members (myself included) are working on exciting big international projects together with the different European offices in France and Switzerland. 

How would you describe Wavestone’s culture?

The overall Wavestone culture is about team spirit, passion and the commitment to deliver the best quality work for our clients. Wavestone encourages its employees to enjoy their time at work by providing the right atmosphere. There is a lot of focus on making sure that hard work is paid off so there are a lot of social functions that take place throughout the year like ski and summer trips! Wavestone supports a good life/work balance and I believe that acts as an enabler for us to work even harder and achieve even better results for our clients. A lot of focus is also on promoting collaboration regardless of country or office and the way we share knowledge, skills and expertise is a great achievement for us.

Lastly, for those that are considering joining Wavestone – what didn't you know, but wish you had known when applying and joining the firm?

When I was joining, I definitely didn't know too much about the culture and what it would be like at Wavestone, although I was pleasantly surprised. Most companies promise an inspiring environment and claim that it’s a great place to work, but you never really know what it’s actually going to be like once you’ve started. Wavestone provides a working environment that is fun and ambitious.

I also wish I had known more about the kind of graduate Wavestone was looking for. I remember how stressed I was about not having a technical background and doing my best to make up for it in interviews. The great thing which I found out later, and will be useful for any young graduates out there, is that Wavestone hires Consultants from different backgrounds, not just the IT or engineering graduates. Everyone brings their uniqueness to the team and adds in different ways to help build a top performing team.


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Robert Park on the launch of his consultancy RWG Enterprises

18 April 2019

Following a lengthy spell as a General Manager at an international materials corporation, Robert Park was keen to rediscover his inner entrepreneur. With the launch of his new consulting firm, RWG Enterprises, Park spoke with to outline his hopes for the future of the company, and how he believes his boutique will be able to challenge the market.

Robert Park commenced his career in retail, taking up a string of General Store Manager positions with companies – including Poundstretcher and The Gadget Shop – before making the 2005 move that would lead him to a 13-year stay with Morgan Advanced Materials. First taking up a role as Production Supervisor with the organisation, Park quickly worked his way to the upper echelons of the group. By 2013, he held the role of UK Operations Manager for the company’s UK ceramic core business, Certech UK, before seeing out his final four years at the firm as General Manager, leading the senior management team and strategic direction of the business.

Despite his success with the firm, however, Park found himself getting itchy feet. A change of career seemed increasingly appealing, and by February 2019, the time to take a new path had arrived.

Park explained: “I was losing the ability to to use the entrepreneurial flair that I had enjoyed in the past; the organisation was moving more towards a structured and common approach for doing things, and that made me feel restricted. I also really enjoy the troubleshooting, problem solving side of my role. However, having been in my last post for four years, the troubleshooting and firefighting was long behind me. I realised that I am really energised by tackling difficult issues or turning around things that are clearly struggling.”

New consulting firm RWG Enterprises launches

His criteria for a new career seemed to point conclusively in the direction of management consulting, and while his CV has no formal experience in the sector, Park believes his career to date has provided him with a wealth of transferable skills. During his time with Certech at Morgan Advanced Materials, he became a Senior Manager at the age of just 21, and went on to succeed in a harsh factory environment where six former candidates had previously failed to deliver results.

Later, he became the group’s youngest General Manager in its history, and was involved in the turnaround of numerous departments. He also developed vast experience dealing with a wide range of ‘people’ challenges, including re-organisation, talent development, talent acquisition and leadership development. Along the way, Park noted that he learned to deal with large, blue chip organisations such as Rolls Royce, securing major long-term contracts worth upwards of £25 million.

Now, he hopes to take that know-how and apply it to the diverse world of consulting work. Park elaborated: “I really want to be able to help organisations that feel that there is no hope or have lost faith in the business… Having been there myself I know how helpful it would have been to have someone to refer to in times of crisis… The firm will also focus on leadership development, as I spent a lot of time with the global graduate program during my corporate career… and I was really motivated to see these individuals grow and develop… helping them to find their own way through challenging situations.

New enterprise

Park’s new Derby-based consultancy, RWG Enterprises, will focus on five key operational fronts. As stated, leadership development and business rescue will be two of these areas, as well as manufacturing – where the firm will tackle challenges such as new product introduction. RWG will also offer financial advisory services and strategic business planning offerings.

While Park is understandably guarded about the firm’s initial engagements, he revealed that he has been “speaking at length to a well-known university and business school about providing mentoring and coaching support to students.” In the long-term, the aim is for RWG Enterprises to take on engagements from clients across the industrial spectrum. He added that as “the company is very embryonic”, it would be “foolish” to become too focused on target clients at this stage.

When asked how RWG Enterprises intends to differentiate itself from the rest of the pack, in an ever-more-crowded UK consulting sector, Park is undaunted by the task ahead. He stated, “I think the main differentiator is that we are small... I have operated at a very senior level for many years but I have enjoyed a very diverse background having worked in most functions within my last organisation. I also won’t take on any work or clients that I feel I cannot deliver value for, I am honest and ethical and am really motivated by seeing others become successful… The main thing I am focused on is 'can I add value' and 'can I help?'”