Florent Erbar offers us an insight into day 3 of the HEC Strategic Management study trip to London.
If one were to label the third day of our London trip, it would probably be named the “Consulting Day”: On the programme for the day were Bain & Company, Arthur D. Little and Sia Partners. Apart from those, we also had appointments with some ‘techies’, Uber and Tableau, and one group even entered the world of art at Christie’s headquarters.
The day started with a very interactive session at Tableau: after a quick introduction to the company, we continued with a practical workshop. We took over the role of Australian detectives investigating about the life of a journalist by analysing the meta data from his phone with the help of the Tableau software. What we found was extremely stunning in two ways: Firstly, it was eye-opening to see how many insights and conclusions about a person’s life and habits can be drawn from basic data regularly produced by their phone, a device all of us always carry around without thinking about it. Secondly, we were highly impressed how Tableau allowed us to visualize some Excel sheets overloaded with data and to analyse these quickly, in a comprehensive way and at the same time produce graphic representations that could be used straight away in any presentation. We were thus delighted to hear that as an HEC student, we could get free access to Tableau during our studies.
After discovering the specialities of the British cuisine for lunch (or just getting some quick burgers at McDonalds), we were ready for the last round of visits and – maybe surprisingly – the first round that included consulting companies! Indeed, even though most of us are aiming for careers at MBB and the likes, during the trip we were exposed to companies from a variety of industries like tech, finance or nutrition, to name only a few. For many of us this presented a great chance to broaden our horizons beyond the bounds of consulting. But as interesting as it was to check out the grass on the other side, we were of course all excited to meet some consultants. The group who went to Bain & Company had the opportunity to talk to young ‘Bainies’ in a very personal setting in several sub-groups and enjoyed an astonishing view over London from the office’s terrace. Those of us who visited Arthur D. Little had to prove their own consulting skills in a case workshop: the challenge was to improve the QS ranking for a young Asian university – and who could be better suited for this task than somebody from the programme that was just re-ranked as #1 Master in Management in the world?! The least well-known of the consultancies we visited was certainly Sia Partners: the relatively young company employs around 1,100 people and focuses its activities on business transformation consulting. While few of us had Sia on the radar before the trip, many were impressed by the visit. Indeed, we had lively discussions about the advantages and downsides of consulting boutiques through which we developed a much clearer understanding of Sia’s value proposition and a more differentiated view of the consulting market with its various opportunities.
The day was concluded by a night out in one of London’s numerous clubs, the Oval Space. You know what they say, work hard play hard!