Interview with Frederick Mak, a Consultant at Oliver Wyman

25 June 2007 4 min. read
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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!