Why graduates should apply for Strategy& 'A Lens on Luxury' business course

26 February 2018 Consultancy.uk 5 min. read
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In May, Strategy& – one of the globe’s largest strategy consultancy firms – is organising the 2018 edition of its annual ‘A Lens on Luxury' business course. A select group of twenty students will be invited to attend the four day event in Milan, offering those aspiring towards a career in consulting an ideal opportunity to acquaint themselves with strategy consultancy and how it is to work for Strategy&. Interested in finding out what the business course offers graduates, Consultancy.uk spoke with Mark Jonker, who participated in last year’s edition and since landed a job at Strategy& in Amsterdam. 

Can you introduce yourself briefly?

My name is Mark Jonker and I started as an Associate at Strategy& in September 2017. I studied Econometrics in the Netherlands, specialising in Quantitative Marketing and Financial Econometrics. In addition to my studies, I have also been a board member of a study association and was part of the team that organised a national Econometrics Day for students across the country. In my free time I like to kick box, go to the gym or just relax on the couch; during my holidays I enjoy to travel to distant places – last year, for instance, I travelled to Kenya and Colombia. 

Last year you participated in the ‘A Lens on Luxury’ business course from Strategy& to Milan. Why did you decide to follow this business course?

After internships in banking, strategy consulting and data analytics consulting, I was convinced that I wanted to become a strategy consultant. Once I made the decision, the next question was to assess which employer would best suit my needs. The three most important criteria for me were the people, the culture and the structure of the company. Joining the business course ‘A Lens of Luxury’ by Strategy& seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn more about the firm’s projects, people and culture. 

Strategy& 'A Lens on Luxury' business course

I learned that in particular in the area of structure and impact, Strategy& excels compared to the other well-known strategy consultancies. When executing large projects, Strategy& regularly collaborates with PwC from the beginning (strategic advisory by Strategy&) to the end (implementation by PwC) – in combination with the enormous Strategy& - PwC knowledge network, this enables Strategy& to stand out. 

What did you learn from your participation and how do you use this knowledge on a daily basis? What makes the business course of Strategy& in your eyes unique?

During the business case, we worked closely together for four days in a team of students under the guidance of a consultant. This included all aspects of consulting, including structuring the problem, field research, data analysis, conducting interviews and ultimately advising the board of directors. The business course was designed in such a way that all participants had the opportunity to work on the skills that they would like to develop further. We also received training in 'Succeeding in Teams', 'Problem Structuring' and 'Pitching' – very useful skills for a consultant! 

What made the business course unique in my view is that in four days I got an integral view of the firm and its people: there were 7 consultants to facilitate the business course, and back in Amsterdam, we met with more than half of Strategy&’s Dutch team during a dinner. At the end of the business course I was convinced that this was the place where I wanted to work because of the friendly people and the relaxed atmosphere.

You have been working for six months at Strategy& as an Associate. Tell us about your first engagement.

After an intensive on-boarding programme in Munich together with all European new hires, I was immediately staffed on a project in healthcare. The main focus was on working with a health insurer and an academic hospital on keeping health care affordable. My main tasks spanned assessing and improving business cases, preparing meetings with managers, and consulting with medical specialists, professors and department managers. What I particularly like about working in the healthcare sector is the social relevance it has to society. From Strategy&’s perspective it reflects one of the firm’s pillars: making an impact, not just on profit, but also on society and people. 

Participants of Strategy& ‘A Lens on Luxury’ business course 2017

Finally, what do you have to say to students who are still in doubt if they should attend in the business course?

Just do it! In my view, the ‘A Lens on Luxury’ business course to Milan is the ideal way to unravel whether (or not) strategy consulting is the right career choice. In addition, it provides a great way of meeting Strategy& and its consultants. Moreover, the programme is structured in such a way that, in addition to the formal aspects of working as a consultant, it introduces you to the  informal side of things, through lunches, dinners and the fun evening program. Lastly, because it is a four day event, it allows participants to get a much better understanding of the industry, the company and the team.

A Lens on Luxury business course 2018

Students from all over Europe are eligible to apply for the ‘A Lens on Luxury’ business course. Applying is possible up to Monday 5 March by sending in CV and motivation (in English) and grade lists (undergraduate and graduate). Candidates are selected and invited for the selection interview on the basis of the applications. The selected candidates will receive two case interviews on one of these days. A select group of 20 students will be invited to participate in Milan. 

For more information about the programme and the application procedure, view this page on the Strategy& website.

According to a recent study from Strategy&, high-end luxury spending is set to rise in the coming years, on the back of a growing base of millionaires and billionaires. Last year was, in fact, a bumper year for the world’s billionaire classes, who saw their total wealth increase by 17%, or roughly $900 billion, to $6 trillion.