Interview with Frederick Mak, a Consultant at Oliver Wyman

25 June 2007 Consultancy.uk

An interview with Frederick Mak, a consultant at Oliver Wyman, to get the lowdown on management consultancy.

What does Oliver Wyman do? What is your role in the firm?

Oliver Wyman is a management consulting firm offering two distinctive tracks to students – general management consulting and financial services consulting. We combine deep industry knowledge with specialised expertise in strategy, operations, risk management, organisational transform*ation and leadership development. We are also the fastest growing consulting firm in the top 10.

I am a consultant in the Financial Services consulting track, and have worked on projects ranging from governance structure and capital management policy for a European bank, product pricing for a UK asset manager, to credit risk models for a US financial institution. In my time here I have been able to work in different domains and geographies and continue to build on my knowledge of the financial services industry.

What skills and qualities are essential for your role?

You need to be inquisitive, motivated and have strong analytical and research skills as consultants need to consolidate and interpret both qualitative and quantitative information rapidly and accurately. Teamwork and communication skills are also important as we spend a lot of time presenting our ideas to clients and working with them to address their needs.

Why did you decide to join Oliver Wyman over any other firm in the same industry?

In deciding which management consultancy to join, I chose Oliver Wyman because of the people that I had met during recruiting events and the interview process and the firm's commitment to good work/life balance. I found the people here to be not only bright and professional, as you would expect from consultants, but also incredibly down-to-earth and fun to work with. I chose the financial services consulting track in particular because I was interested in the fast-moving and global nature of financial services and wanted to specialise within this industry. I felt that I could develop my career at Oliver Wyman given the unique people and culture and I still love working here!

Interview with Frederick Mak, a Consultant at Oliver Wyman

As I mentioned earlier, I have had the opportunity to work on a wide variety of projects and any possible reservations I may have had about joining an industry specialist consulting firm did not last long when I understood the range of work we do across the industry.

How much are students applying to Oliver Wyman expected to already know about the firm and field?

Knowing about the company you are applying to is an absolute must so it is really important that you do your research before you even submit your application. Employers will be looking at your covering letter to understand your motivation for applying. If you are invited for an interview you will be asked about your reasons for applying so you need to have your answers ready.

What advice would you give anyone applying for an internship at Oliver Wyman?

Read research publications and news from the firm and talk to our consultants to have a better understanding of the work that we do. In particular, for internships in the financial services consulting track, be informed on recent developments in the financial press.

What opportunities does Oliver Wyman provide for personal development, professional development and personal welfare?

Oliver Wyman works with apprenticeship model, which means that consultants build on different content knowledge and skills depending on the project and team that they work with. There is also a formal assessment process at the end of each project to ensure that consultants can identify and focus on skills that are needed to develop their career.

I think what is really special about Oliver Wyman is the culture. It is very much a meritocracy – you are given responsibility which is not based on how many years you have been at the company. It is very much an output based place, not face time at the office.

Is there anything you know now that you wish you had known as a student?

Never hesitate to ask questions if anything is unclear or new to you. Consulting is an ever-changing industry and you are not expected to know everything; people will always be there to help and provide directions!

Profile

More news on

×

Robert Park on the launch of his consultancy RWG Enterprises

18 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

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 Consultancy.uk 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?'”