Consultants from Bain and McKinsey share their tips for finding a partner and planning the wedding
Case study guru and strategy consultant Victor Cheng wrote this great item in his newsletter. The first part is an extract from a New York Times interview with the former head of the Bain Capital NY office, who has a new book out on the US economy. It also reveals how this ex-Bain consultant used a statistical approach to choosing his wife.
Here's Cheng’s excerpt from the newspaper (you can click through to the whole New York Times article here )
"There's also the fact that Conard applies a relentless, mathematical logic to nearly everything, even finding a good spouse. He advocates, in utter seriousness, using demographic data to calculate the number of potential mates in your geographic area.
Then, he says, you should set aside a bit of time for "calibration" -- dating as many people as you can so that you have a sense of what the marriage marketplace is like. Then you enter the selection phase, this time with the goal of picking a permanent mate.
The first woman you date who is a better match than the best woman you met during the calibration phase is, therefore, the person you should marry. By statistical probability, she is as good a match as you're going to get. (Conard used this system himself.)
This constant calculation -- even of the incalculable -- can be both fascinating and absurd."
Now, obviously not everyone from Bain actually uses this approach to choose a spouse. Some of us prefer the romance of falling in love. BUT, (and this is very important), everybody I know at MBB most certainly sees the logic behind this approach (even if they would not use it themselves) and many of them will use a similar logical approach to other aspects of their lives.
For example, you should have seen one of my former McKinsey colleagues. She was a woman who was planning her wedding and basically "estimated" how many people would attend her wedding.
She started with a list of everyone invited, estimated whether or not said person would bring a date based on their current relationship status, further estimated based on distance of travel needed what percent would actually make the trip to create an excel forecast model that estimated total headcount.
This in turn provided the assumptions for her wedding cost forecasting model which factored in the latest head count estimate and the cost per person for food.
Crazy? Maybe. Did everyone at McK who saw this, understand and at some level was secretly impressed (even if they wouldn't admit to it out loud)? Oh most definitely.
THIS is just how consultants think about things... or at least have the OPTION to think in this way when they want to. I hope this gives you a sense of the mentality MBB consultants have and how they approach (or have the option to approach) nearly any unstructured problem, and structure it in some logical way.
Is Simon Cowell right?
Is Simon Cowell right to be worried about the threat from ‘The Voice’?
I think he is; ‘Britain's Got Talent’ is tired and out-dated.
The BBC has not only captured The Voice, it’s captured the nation’s voice or, more importantly, its mood. As I watched last weekend’s showings of The Voice I was struck not only of course by the huge talent of everyone competing but - and competing is the key word - they were competing together; the contestants had to share the floor and work with each other to be their best, proving that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Similarly the judges had to share the glory and the pain. Turning over to Britain’s Got Talent, the contrast was clear. Simon had done his best to keep up and wisely ensured that a great young talent would be the first act the channel-hopping audience saw. However, it wasn’t long before a counterpoint appeared and I was faced with the usual embarrassment of watching TV that is simply cruel and voyeuristic. The Voice is reflective a new collaborative culture; Britain’s Got Talent is the equivalent of the worst of the last decade of ruthless “every man for himself” and “laugh at the losers” style of commercial exploitation. I turned over again and found The 1970s: How did the mood of that decade compare? Who can remember?
Bye Bye BLT - by Zarina Khan
“It’s not you, it’s me”
It’s the classic fob-off that we all dread to hear, and if we do, we dismiss it as a feeble attempt to sugar-coat the truth. Really, how often is this NOT the case?
Well, today it really isn’t.
The old it’s-not-you-it’s-me line was pretty much the essence of my decision to leave BLT. But I don’t do so running away manically, blinded by the horrors I witnessed within the recruitment world. As a fresh graduate, dragging my feet into full-time employment, I found BLT exciting, nurturing and fun to be a part of, and though I have decided recruitment is not what I currently want to pursue in the long-term, all of these qualities still stand true for BLT. The team are friendly, supportive, committed and kind – everything I could have asked for in my first exposure to a professional environment. More importantly, Don and the other directors didn’t scare me away by frantically waving blank invoices and unmet sales targets in my face, wondering why I hadn’t raked in big money within my first month. They understood that it would take time, training and patience to develop good and solid skills for recruitment.
Next week I’ll be starting an internship with Amnesty International. Short of denouncing secular life for a religious calling, my next move is pretty far removed from Management Consultancy recruitment as one might imagine. But it’s a chance for me to channel what interests me academically and personally in a constructive and productive way. My want to be active and mobile, campaigning for causes I believe in, trying to deliver change in places that are long over-due would have always left me with a sense of restlessness – whether I’d been in recruitment, accounting, marketing or any other solid career path that doesn’t bemusedly ask what on earth you expected to do with a history degree. Not even a year out of university, I’ve no idea what career path I’ll carve for myself, but I’ll always know BLT is where I started to chip into my potential. As the team celebrates BLT’s 25th birthday and remain the preferred recruiter in their specialist areas, I can leave with the pride of having been part of such a successful organisation. And what with ‘BLT Deli’ and ‘BLT Snacks’ being a stones throw from my new office building, they’ll never be far from my thoughts.
More TV barbs aimed at the consulting world
Channel Four’s Peep Show has a clip 3 minutes into the programme which might amuse you about management consultancy. Here’s the conversation:
Johnson: Here's my pitch: New Management Consultancy, you and me. I'm the face, you're the, uh, tendons and the grisly shit under the surface. Whaddaya say?
Mark Corrigan: Oh my God... I don't know. Really?
Johnson: Look at you! You're like the fat girl who's just been asked to the school disco.
Mark Corrigan: Well, yeah... my only hesitation is that I don't have any actual experience of management consulting...
[Johnson shuts Mark's lips with his fingers]
Johnson: In, fire 30% of the workforce, new logo, boom! Out. You are now a fully trained management consultant.
This comes on top of the US dark comedy House of Lies, which has lines like:
"We're here to open wallets, not minds," and, "Still don't know what it is we do? Then I guess we're doing it well."
Are there any more TV references to consulting out there? Let us know.
Consultancy: fee-sharing model
We’re helping The Consultancy Company www.the-consultancy.co.uk recruit once more. Following our Autumn 2011 campaign for consultants, they are hiring again.
The firm have been around for almost as long as BLT, and have an interesting business model which I haven’t come across before. It’s a fee-sharing one: 70% of fees on average are redistributed to the consultant team.
They attract experienced senior managers/directors from industry and the public sector who are looking for a new career direction and want to be trained as consultants.
I like their proposition that you can do as little or as much as you want with them – a way of addressing the work/life balance issue which is the consulting industry’s big turn-off for many people.
They are now recruiting Supply Chain, Procurement and Logistics consultants. If you’d like me to put you in touch with them, email me your cv – TheConsultancyCompany@blt.co.uk
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