Oliver Wyman is a leading management consulting firm with offices in 60 cities across nearly 30 countries and employing over 5,000 people.
Oliver Wyman is a global leader in Financial Services, where their depth of expertise is hard to rival; they serve more than 80% of the world’s largest 100 financial institutions. Their presence in other industries such as Technology, Public Sector, and Consumer Goods is growing as well, focusing on strategy, operations, risk management, and organization transformation.
Oliver Wyman is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies and one of the 2019 FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For.
This article was written by Natalia Fomichenko. Natalia was an Associate at Oliver Wyman’s Dubai office prior to starting her MBA program at London Business School at the time when this article was written. Natalia has lived in the Middle East for 4 years, working on projects in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Turkey across multiple industries including Financial Services and Public Sector
What makes Oliver Wyman stand out from its competitors?
Responsibility from day 1
On my first day I was asked to go speak with the client about her expectations for my analysis. On my second project I led a meeting with five department heads in a global consumer goods firm to learn about its pain points. On my most recent project I spoke to a vice-minister about the impact of a new tax in a country. The challenge has never ended. Nor has the level of Oliver Wyman’s trust in you from the day one. What I love about OW is that its culture is surprisingly non-hierarchical: everyone is equally listened to. You will get as much responsibility as you can take on and as your knowledge allows for – just prepare to always be out of your comfort zone. To me, such approach is key to facilitate your development.
Taking on responsibility does not mean you’re left alone. Oliver Wyman provides you with all the tools to succeed that include exposure to the immense library of materials, support services, and, of course, people. When you join, you are assigned with multiple advisors to help you manage your career. They are selected to provide you with diverse perspectives across levels and expertise areas, therefore would include a manager, a principal, and a senior partner from different practice groups. There are also unlimited number of informal mentors you get along the way as you work on your projects.
To me, if there could be only one word to describe the culture at Oliver Wyman it would be “FUN”. This reminds me of a business school campus where people are friendly, supportive, and want to travel together. It is not surprising given the global staffing model and the number of travel opportunities Oliver Wyman provides. Every year each office goes to an amazing location to celebrate working together during a few days of fun. Also, project teams frequently organize remote outings over weekends. Add to it Practice off-sites, Region off-sites, and Sports tournaments – you will never get bored!
OW is incredibly flexible. It is all about efficiency and results, and there is a minimum of “face time” culture. The priority is that you do your work by agreed deadlines, and you are free to do it how you choose, whenever possible. You are trusted and that motivates you to do even more. I remember I had some difficult personal circumstances that were affecting my productivity at work. When I spoke about it to my manager at that time (now my mentor and a good friend), he has allowed me to take the time necessary to deal with it. I felt so incredibly grateful that, when I was ready, I worked extra time to over-deliver. It was not expected from me, but I felt inspired to do so. I believe that empathy is one of the greatest management tools to motivate people and try to use it myself when managing teams.
Indeed, Oliver Wyman is best known for client work within Financial services, but this is not all. During my time there I had opportunities to work on projects in Public Sector, Telecommunications, Energy, Consumer goods, and Healthcare. Each office has several big practices that are full of resources and a few smaller ones that are full of opportunities to create such resources. When I started at Dubai office in 2015, the Public sector practice was just emerging. By 2019, about 60% of all the projects and staff became involved with public sector work. This is given that the office itself grew by over 200% during that time. Feel free to do the maths!
If you are energetic, passionate, and committed to excellence, Oliver Wyman will provide for the right environment for you to strive.