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Part Eleven: Roland Berger

Max is an aspiring consultant who is looking to secure an analyst role with one of the top firms for the upcoming recruitment cycle in September 2011. His interest in management consulting was sparked by a failed McKinsey interview last year. In this series of blogs, he will be sharing his background, case preparation process, useful resources, and any breakthroughs or setbacks that he experiences.

***

Today I would like to share with you my thoughts on the Roland Berger guide from Firmsconsulting. I found the guide to Roland Berger (RB) extremely helpful. To be honest, I didn’t know too much about RB beforehand, and thought of them on the same level as firms like Accenture and E&Y (third tier). After reading the guide, I now have tremendous respect for the company and would put them in the same group as Booz, Monitor, and Oliver Wyman (second tier). I’ll start by talking about how the positive things mentioned in the guide affected my views on the firm as a potential candidate, and then do the same with the negative points.

There are many factors which I take into account when deciding whether I should apply to a particular firm. The three most important ones, to me at least, are:

1) The type of people they hire (this has to do with the culture values etc.)

2) The prestige

3) The compensation

For those of you who don’t have extensive intern or work experience, it is actually quite surprising how much of a difference the culture of a company makes. On my first internship, the only thing I cared about was making some money, so I can diversify my diet from hot dogs and chunky soup, and getting good work experience. By the sixth, I was really looking to work with a company that does things the right way, and provides its staff with the suitable support structure. If you join a workplace just for the name or compensation, you will not be very happy in the long run. The thing from the guide that resonated with me the most was how strong the values of the firm seem to be.

For those of you who don’t have extensive intern or work experience, it is actually quite surprising how much of a difference the culture of a company makes.

By turning down the Deloitte offer, it is quite clear that the RB partners want to make a name for themselves. If the promise of boatloads of money can’t deter the partners from their vision, then there are probably not very many things that can.

All of this excites me as a candidate because the firm is in the stages of growing (which I take to mean that there will be lots of opportunities to move up), and the core values seem to be in place. My guess is that the compensation at RB doesn’t compare to BBM as of now, but the growth opportunities could well make up for that. Now onto the negatives of the firm.

The biggest worry I have with joining a firm such as RB is that it is not as established as BBM. RB seems to have lots of potential, but translating that potential into a brand name that will propel my career can be a difficult task. It seems that in North America, where I live, there is not a lot of name recognition for Roland Berger – and one must think through whether he or she would like to make a bet on the future success of RB.

If I do dive into this firm in my early twenties, will I have to spend my thirties and forties explaining to people who Roland Berger is?

One of the most exciting aspects of joining a top consulting firm is the exit opportunities. At this point, it is unclear to me what type of opportunities would be available to me coming out of this firm. I think that this is always a danger when joining a smaller, growing firm who is not as established as the big boys. If I do dive into this firm in my early twenties, will I have to spend my thirties and forties explaining to people who Roland Berger is?

In summary, the RB guide has made me realize that this is a firm with potential. It would be very exciting to be involved in turning that potential into brand recognition and market share, but there are risks associated with doing so. Having said that, I think I will apply to an RB office in North America, and see what they’re all about!

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