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EMPLOY PROFILE

VAULT EMPLOYER PROFILE:

A.T. KEARNEY

BY THE STAFF OF VAULT

© 2002 Vault Inc.

Copyright © 2002 by Vault Inc. All rights reserved. All information in this book is subject to change without notice. Vault makes no claims as to the accuracy and reliability of the information contained within and disclaims all warranties. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, for any purpose, without the express written permission of Vault Inc. Vault, the Vault logo, and “the insider career networkTM” are trademarks of Vault Inc. For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, contact Vault Inc., 150 W22nd Street, New York, New York 10011, (212) 366–4212. Library of Congress CIP Data is available. ISBN 1–58131–190-7 Printed in the United States of America

A.T. Kearney

Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION 1
Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 A.T. Kearney at a Glance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

THE SCOOP

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History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

ORGANIZATION

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Key Officers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Departments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Office Locations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

VAULT NEWSWIRE

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OUR SURVEY SAYS

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GETTING HIRED

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Overview of the Hiring Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 To Apply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Questions to Expect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 Questions to Ask . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30

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ON THE JOB

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A Day in the Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 Job Descriptions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 Career Path . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38

FINAL ANALYSIS

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RECOMMENDED READING

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A.T. Kearney

Introduction
Overview
When management professor James Oscar McKinsey started a small consultancy in 1926, he had no inkling that one of his first partners would eventually flee the nest and spread his own entrepreneurial wings. Nevertheless, Andrew Thomas Kearney’s chance at independent control arrived in 1939, when the firm split into separate branches. Kearney, who had gained renown through his accounting and budgetary expertise, immediately staked a claim on the Chicago branch. Kearney also named the office after himself. Just over three-quarters of a century since its inception, A.T. Kearney has 60 offices in 35 countries, and it employs 5,000 workers, including 2,500 consultants. Since its beginnings, it has ventured into almost every major sector, from aerospace to automotive, health care to high tech, operations to IT. A.T. Kearney’s task is now to fulfill the vision of its CEO, Dietmar Ostermann. Having joined with Electronic Data Systems, the firm wants to do it all, from strategy to nuts-and-bolts operations management.

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A.T. Kearney at a glance
5400 Legacy Drive Mailstop B1-1A-01 Plano, TX 75024 Phone: (972) 604-4600 Fax: (972) 604-9596 www.atkearney.com

UPPERS
• No up-or-out pressure • Good firm camaraderie

DOWNERS
• Pressure to bill • Limited career development support • Recent layoffs

LOCATIONS
Plano, TX (HQ) 60 offices worldwide

PRACTICE AREAS
Operations Consulting Strategy & Organization Consulting Technology Consulting Executive Searches • • • • • • • •

THE BUZZ

WHAT EMPLOYEES AT OTHER FIRMS ARE SAYING

THE STATS
Employer Type: Subsidiary of EDS CEO: Dietmar Ostermann 2001 Employees: 4,600 2001 Revenues: $1.34 billion

“Hard-driving” “Solid but not special” “Smart people” “Best days are over” “Old school” “Good in automotive industry” “Spartan” “Highly professional”

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A.T. Kearney

The Scoop
History
Chicago: the birthplace of consulting. When management professor James Oscar McKinsey started a small consultancy there in 1926, one of the first partners to come on board was Andrew Thomas Kearney. Kearney had begun his marketing career in 1916, when, as a student at Pennsylvania State University, he gained statewide attention for helping local dairy farmers boost their milk sales. Kearney joined the faculty at Penn State, then served as director of commercial research at Swift & Co. before joining with McKinsey. In these early years, the firm emphasized accounting and budgetary controls. When the firm split in 1939, Kearney retained the Chicago branch, which he renamed after himself. A.T. Kearney quickly garnered a reputation for producing solid results. As one of its earliest assignments, the firm completed an extensive study of the organization of U.S. Steel, the first of nearly 30 for that company alone in the 1930s. The analysis resulted in the merger of several subsidiaries, the first step in the creation of modern-day USX. The Kroger Company – the Cincinnati-based supermarket chain – also retained A.T. Kearney early in the 1930s. A.T. Kearney’s relationship with that firm began in 1930 with initial studies of operations and executive organization, accounting, and budgetary control, and it extended over 60 different assignments through the early 1980s. Other significant clients in the 1930s and early 1940s included Armour, the Chicago meat-packer; United Parcel Service; Allis-Chambers, a heavy equipment service firm; and Borg-Warner Corporation, a large Chicago manufacturing company. Kearney took his firm in a civic-minded direction during World War II and the postwar period. During the war, A.T. Kearney provided consultation to the U.S. War Production Board for the fee of a dollar a year. In 1945 President Roosevelt personally asked Kearney to lead a mission to China to assist the Chinese government in improving its war efforts. Kearney and his staff spent six months in China, and Kearney himself earned a U.S. Medal of Freedom and a Chinese Victory Medal for his efforts there. A few years later, he traveled to Germany to study that country’s industrial recovery. Kearney was succeeded by Jim Phelan in 1962, who began to expand the firm. By 1970 A.T. Kearney boasted nine offices in the United States, as well as offices in London and Düsseldorf. The Tokyo office opened in 1972. The next CEO, Kenneth Block, initiated a “Go for Growth” program, which
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A.T. Kearney The Scoop

doubled A.T. Kearney’s size by 1980. Meanwhile, the firm continued its service to corporations around the country and the world, gaining a reputation for working with rank-and-file consultants and plant management as well as top executives, and for ensuring the successful implementation of its recommendations.

Meow!
Some referred to A.T. Kearney as “the canary that swallowed the cat” when, in 1995, the firm merged with Plano, TX-based juggernaut Electronic Data Systems (EDS), then recently detached from parent company General Motors. Industry observers were dubious, if not downright cynical. Could the entrepreneurial strategy firm and the computer giant find compromise and business-related bliss? It seems the companies have found both – with the ingested A.T. Kearney shaping consulting operations – at EDS. EDS, which had created its money-hemorrhaging consulting arm in 1993, had approached A.T. Kearney to propose a joint venture. Kearney CEO Fred Steingraber informed EDS that it was approaching the consulting industry incorrectly; the right path toward success required a high-profile brand name, a clearly structured partnership among consultants, and a structured reward mechanism for shareholders. But instead of slinking back to Plano, as Steingraber had anticipated, EDS made another proposal – would A.T. Kearney consider a merger instead?

The advent of EDS
While the companies seemed somewhat incongruous, this differential was an asset in Steingraber’s mind. EDS was a large company with deep pockets and experience with information technology, a growing area of interest to corporations. EDS’ founder, the colorful H. Ross Perot, who often referred to consultants as money-sucking witch doctors, left the company in 1986 to pursue other interests. The post-Perot EDS started its consulting business in 1993, aggressively hiring bright business school grads and snapping up smaller firms. EDS’ ambition, however, did not translate into success. Its consulting operation lost money. In 1994, the year EDS proposed a merger, EDS Consulting lost $22 million. A.T. Kearney, on the other hand, was in the midst of a healthy expansion, having registered double-digit growth every year for the previous twelve years. Additionally, Kearney’s geographic and industry reach would allow EDS to establish the high-level client relationships it needed to succeed.

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Steingraber was interested in a merger for his own reasons. Working with the computer company would allow A.T. Kearney to develop in-depth information technology expertise, thus giving it the capability to follow through from technological strategy to implementation. EDS’ deep pockets would also boost Kearney’s infrastructure capabilities, and the merger would boost A.T. Kearney’s rankings in the consulting industry, in the process becoming more attractive to prospective clients. Discussions between Steingraber and EDS Vice Chairman Tony Fernandes at first centered on the “vision” of the two companies, but it soon turned to cold hard cash. The acquisition of A.T. Kearney by EDS, which was finally completed in October 1995, meant that EDS laid out approximately $112.7 million in cash and issued $162.3 million in short-and long-term notes to A.T. Kearney’s principals and shareholders. The terms of the agreement also included a stock grant of around 6.6 million shares of GM stock, which will vest over a 10-year period for select A.T. Kearney personnel who remain with the EDS-owned firm.

EDS in a nutshell
Founded in 1962, EDS now boasts approximately 127,000 employees and clients in 58 countries. The firm has five lines of business, one of which is A.T. Kearney’s management consulting operations. EDS has taken on clients in a variety of industries: manufacturing, aerospace, health care, financial, insurance, food, retail, travel and transportation, energy, and communications, among others. EDS also maintains numerous clients in the government sector. EDS boasts a private sector client list that includes MCI Worldcom, Chevron, General Motors Corporation, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and BellSouth. Its company board consists of Richard H. “Dick” Brown, chairman of the board and chief executive officer; Jeffrey M. Heller, vice chairman; and James E. Daley, executive vice president and CFO.

The A.T. Kearney-EDS relationship
Is A.T. Kearney a nearly independent consulting firm or merely an EDS “service line?” The answer lies somewhere between the two. EDS is trying to bring A.T. Kearney closer to the fold, while, according to A.T. Kearney CEO Ostermann, maintaining the firm’s distinct specialties. In February 2001, A.T. Kearney headquarters were relocated to EDS’ Plano corporate campus. (A.T. Kearney hasn’t abandoned Chicago altogether – several hundred consultants and other personnel remain in the city.) A.T. Kearney continues to concentrate

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A.T. Kearney The Scoop

on shorter, more strategic deals, while IT powerhouse EDS’ forte is longterm, technology-outsourcing engagements.

A loyal following, an impressive track record
A.T. Kearney generally targets Fortune 200 companies. While the firm claims expertise in many industries, it is particularly strong in automotive, financial institutions, consumer industries and retail. More than 70 percent of Kearney’s client companies rank among the world’s largest. Client companies also tend to show a remarkable degree of loyalty toward the firm – in a 1998 survey conducted by Louis Harris & Associates, more than 90 percent of A.T. Kearney’s engagements are with past clients. And with its massive international expansion efforts, A.T. Kearney earns more than half of its revenue from engagements outside the United States.

Industry slowdown
While international market expansion should help A. T. Kearney in the long run, the short-term late ‘90s Asian economic flu affected the consulting firm’s revenues. Revenue growth slowed in 1999, causing the firm to lay off nearly 200 consultants and postpone start dates for a number of new MBA hires. History repeated itself when an economic slowdown hit the United States a few years later. In July 2001, EDS announced that it was laying off 400 of A.T. Kearney’s 5,000 employees. Start dates for new hires were pushed back as well – some for a year or more, some indefinitely – at several points during 2001 and 2002.

New business ventures and auctions galore
In December 1999, EDS announced the creation of EDS-A.T. Kearney Ventures, an e-business corporate venture capital fund. The $1.5 billion fund is half-financed by EDS, with the other half coming from clients and private equity funds. One of the largest funds of its kind, it will focus on B2B and other Internet companies over five years, and will allow EDS/A.T. Kearney to take equity in clients for the first time. Also in December 1999, A.T. Kearney launched a worldwide business unit, eBreviate, which focuses on business-to-business Internet auctions following eight months of supporting auctions that saw $1 billion in transactions. After operating for two years as a wholly owned EDS subsidiary, in December 2001 eBreviate was rolled into a new unit known as A.T. Kearney

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Procurement Solutions. In July 2002 eBreviate won the 2001 Volkswagen Group Award for its work in supplier management. A.T. Kearney recently has also taken on a number of new engagements for government clients. In October 2001, the Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission hired the firm to recommend strategies to transform the city’s software industry. Three months later Kearney began advising the government of India on ways to remove regulatory barriers to foreign investments in the country. In January 2002, A.T. Kearney vice president Ben T. Smith IV left the firm to work on a project helping to plan and implement the U.S. Department of Transportation's new Transportation Security Administration.

The Asian invasion
Kearney continues to take advantage of huge bargains and opportunities in Asian mergers and acquisitions. The collapse of the Asian market bubble of the 1990s meant the opening of previously closed markets, access to attractively priced assets, and the opportunity to restructure supply chains. The fundamental factors that drove Asia’s growth, according to A.T. Kearney, are still very much present. Still, factors like incomplete or invalid due diligence and political instability remain factors in play. A.T. Kearney, however, is committed to the region. Presently, Kearney has offices in the following Asian regions: Beijing, Melbourne, Singapore, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Sydney, Jakarta, Seoul, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai. The firm’s newest permanent office is in Bangkok, servicing Thai clients in the banking, high tech, manufacturing and other industries. The office opened in June 2001. A.T. Kearney is committed as well to building a strong presence in India, in particular. Currently, the firm has a stable of consultants in New Delhi and projects that revenue from the country will grow by 50 percent over the next few years. Most new business in India will focus on privatizations and downsizings. The firm also plans to set up a data and service center in the region. And in June of that year, Indian auto company Tata Engineering hired Kearney consultants to work on a new marketing strategy. Kearney foresees that its main competition in India will be McKinsey, which has been in India since 1992.

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A.T. Kearney The Scoop

Diversity efforts
One insider characterized A.T. Kearney’s diversity efforts as “excellent. Kearney was a presence at a recent NAACP conference I attended.” The firm also supports the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, the National Society of Black Engineers, and the National Black MBA Association. Kearney has been a corporate sponsor of the latter’s annual conference for years, enabling the firm to build relationships with black business school students as part of the recruiting process. Also, for the past five summers, Kearney has recruited undergraduate business analyst interns in partnership with minority nonprofit INROADS.

Profiting from profit centers
Another notable Kearney effort in recent years has been to reorganize its consulting efforts into nine regional profit centers – for example, eastern or western United States. Consultants based in San Francisco are now utilized primarily on projects up and down the West Coast, with less cross-country or international travel than before. “The reason we did that was that we realized there was a very important, very long-term need in the business to have people focus on developing business in the local areas where they were living and working on projects where they were living,” notes on Kearney insider. But don’t plan on staying put forever. Kearney insiders note the firm’s “onefirm approach” to client service, which means that it will pull resources from around the globe to attack a project.

Rewarding achievements
A.T. Kearney launched the Global Excellence in Operations (GEO) Awards in June 1999. These awards, the first of this scale or scope, recognize the most effective and innovative business operations at national, regional and global levels. The result is an extensive database containing some of the world’s most advantageous business practices. In May 2000, Siemens CT received the first-ever GEO Award, based on the over 300 benchmarks employed by A.T. Kearney in an analytical evaluation model. The 2001 winner was Brembo S.p.A., a leading manufacturer of high performance braking systems. Internal A.T. Kearney awards for excellence include: Great Client Work Awards; the Intellectual Capital Recognition Program; and the Distinguished People Awards, a new program celebrating outstanding contributions to A.T. Kearney’s culture.

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A.T. Kearney The Scoop

Take a chair
In 2000 Fred Steingraber (now chairman emeritus) and A.T. Kearney jointly endowed the first chair in business strategy at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. The Fred G. Steingraber A.T. Kearney Professorship currently named Toby E. Stuart, a leading scholar in technology strategy, corporate strategy and high-tech entrepreneurship, the chaired professor. Steingraber’s post-Kearney life isn’t all accolades, however. In August 2002 EDS sued him for allegedly embezzling $100,000 through the use of false expense reports. The company also accused Steingraber of misusing company equipment for personal use.

Road sage
A.T. Kearney pledges that no consultant will work on an engagement for more than nine months. But while the firm’s projects are famously short, its hours are notoriously long. To combat the brutality of employees’ travel schedules, the firm has adopted “434U,” a policy theoretically ensuring that consultants will spend no more than four days and three nights a week at a client site. Kearney also offers part time and flex time programs.

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A.T. Kearney

Organization
Key Officers
CEO & Chairman: Dietmar Ostermann
Ostermann came to A.T. Kearney in 1989 from BMW, where he worked as a manufacturing engineer; before that, he had worked at Daimler-Benz as a plant analyst. He was born in Hamburg and earned a B.S. in manufacturing and an MBA from the University of Hamburg (he also later earned an M.S. in industrial engineering from USC). Since coming to A.T. Kearney, Ostermann led both the firm’s German, Central European and European operations, as well as the North American automotive industry practice. In the latter position, which he held between 1996 and 1997, he increased the practice’s revenue by 35 percent. Executive Vice President (Global Industries, North American business Development and EDS Relationship): Bram Bluestein Executive Vice President (Global Services and A.T. Kearney Strategy and Alliances): John Egan President, A.T. Kearney Executive Search: Steve Fisher

Departments
Strategy and Organization
The heart of A.T. Kearney management consulting efforts, this practice employs more than 100 senior consultants, and its engagement teams often bring in Kearneyites from other areas of the firm and EDS. Its specialties are corporate and business unit strategy; pricing optimization; marketing strategy; merger integration; tax minimization and transfer pricing economics; and organizational effectiveness. This practice is a source of compelling intellectual capital including books like Merger Endgames and Rebuilding the Corporate Genome.

Technology Consulting
A.T. Kearney’s IT consulting efforts benefit greatly both from the firm’s longstanding involvement in the tech arena and, more importantly, its close ties
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A.T. Kearney Organization

with EDS. The practice has a range of capabilities, but focuses its efforts in four areas: IT strategy and alignment, architecture and emerging technology, enterprise transformation and application technology, the latter relying heavily on technology and software developed by its partner firm, i2.

Operations Consulting
The handmaiden of management consulting, operations consulting helps clients improve their business processes – from front-end, customer relationships to back-end supply-chain efficiency. Operations consulting is perhaps the oldest practice area in the consulting field, and A.T. Kearney, founded in 1939, was there at the beginning. The firm’s practice focuses on five core aspects of operations: customer-relationship management, innovation, supply-chain and manufacturing solutions, supplier-relationship management, and operations strategy.

Enterprise Services Transformation
This new service line will provide management consulting services associated with business process outsourcing (BPO), in particular shared services, customer service, finance, accounting and HR functions. There are significant opportunities to apply high-value management consulting services to the kind of large-scale transformations that BPO deals so often entail.

Procurement Solutions Group
This unit combines the work of several of A.T. Kearney’s operations – eBreviate, Leveraged Sourcing Networks, Data Management Group and Print Supply Market Solutions – into a package designed to improve clients’ procurement processes.

Executive Search
A.T. Kearney Executive Search helps clients secure the best management candidates to lead their businesses, which ultimately contributes to the competitiveness and long-term durability of their enterprises. Founded in 1946, Kearney’s executive search team is one of the oldest and largest in the world, with 28 offices in 16 countries. And with the purchase of certain assets of executive search firm Ray & Berndtson, a number of Ray & Berndtson joined Kearney.

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A.T. Kearney Organization

Office Locations
North America
• Plano, Texas (HQ) • Atlanta, Ga. • Cambridge, Mass. • Chicago, Ill. • Cleveland, Ohio • Detroit, Mich. • Los Angeles, Calif. • Mexico City • New York, N.Y. • San Francisco, Calif. • Silicon Valley, Calif. • Toronto • Washington, DC

International locations
• Amsterdam • Athens • Bangkok • Barcelona • Beijing • Berlin • Brussels • Budapest • Buenos Aires • Caracas • Copenhagen • Dusseldorf • Frankfurt • Helsinki

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A.T. Kearney Organization

• Hong Kong • Istanbul • Jakarta • Johannesburg • Kuala Lumpur • Lisbon • London • Madrid • Melbourne • Milan • Moscow • Munich • New Delhi • Oslo • Paris • Prague • Rome • Sao Paulo • Seoul • Shanghai • Singapore • Stockholm • Stuttgart • Sydney • Tokyo • Turin • Vienna • Warsaw • Zurich

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A.T. Kearney

Vault Newswire
September 2002: A bit of Berndtson
A.T. Kearney announced that it had purchased some of the assets of Ray & Berndtson, a privately held, retained executive search firm based in Fort Worth, Tex. A number of top Ray & Berndtson employees were transferred to A.T. Kearney’s Executive Search division, including CEO and Chairman Paul Ray, Jr. Immediately afterward Ray & Berndtson filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11.

August 2002: EDS sues Steingraber
EDS, A.T. Kearney’s parent company, filed suit against CEO Emeritus and Former Chairman Fred Steingraber for allegedly embezzling $100,000 through the use of false expense reports. The company also accused Steingraber of misusing company equipment for personal use.

June 2002: Alliance with Manugistics
A.T. Kearney signed a deal with Manugistics, a provider of pricing and revenue solutions, to utilize the latter’s Pricing and Revenue Optimization solutions in its client projects.

December 2001: New unit
A.T Kearney launched a new business unit, to be known as A.T. Kearney Procurement Solutions. The new unit is composed of e-sourcing solutions arm eBreviate, as well as the procurement capabilities of Leveraged Sourcing Networks, Supply Market Solutions, and Data Management Group.

July 2001: In the pink
EDS has announced that it is laying off about 400 of A.T. Kearney’s 5,000 employees. The company cites slow demand for consulting services as the reason behind the move. A.T. Kearney’s revenue declined by 4 percent in the most recent quarter.

June 2001: Alive at five
This month marks the five-year anniversary of A.T. Kearney’s office in Poland. Led by Jan Maciejewicz, the Warsaw office has grown to 30
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A.T. Kearney Vault Newswire

employees and serves major Polish clients, including Elektrim and PZU Zycie.

June 2001: Thai one on
A.T. Kearney’s newest office has opened its doors in Bangkok. A. T. Kearney vice president Peter Walker will head up its operations. Initially staffed with 15 consultants, the new office is expected to nearly double in size by early 2002.

February 2001: Texas-bound
A.T. Kearney’s senior management is moving to deep in the heart of Texas. The firm announced that about 10 senior executives would relocate from Chicago to Plano, Texas, headquarters of A. T. Kearney parent firm EDS. According to an EDS spokesman, the move is being made in order to bring Kearney’s executive team together under the same roof with EDS’ ecommerce services operations.

December 2000: Ostermann is in
Former managing director of A.T. Kearney Europe is named new chief executive officer, replacing Fred Steingraber who will work with Ostermann during the transition as chairman emeritus. Ostermann, who joined Kearney in 1989, has served as head of the North American automotive industry practice, managing director of Germany, and unit head for central Europe.

November 2000: Real beach time
A.T. Kearney in Australia is giving senior staff a one-week extension to the four-week annual holidays, acknowledging the long hours without paid overtime.

October 2000: Bon chance to Kearney Interactive
A.T. Kearney has launched KearneyInteractive, an e-commerce consultancy, in France. The company uses A.T. Kearney abilities and resources from EDS’ E.solutions group. With future expansion into the U.K., Italy, and Germany, KearneyInteractive’s intention is to capture 12 percent of the market by 2003.

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A.T. Kearney

Our Survey Says
A kinder, gentler consulting firm
“This is a good place, not a backstabbing place. We have the same goals and we’re all willing to help each other out,” comments one A.T. Kearney insider. Another insider observes, “From what I’ve seen, the people in other consulting firms come across as cold and uptight. I feel that Kearney is more of a ‘people’ firm, where the individual is given more importance and you’re treated as a human being.” An insider in New York says, “I find the camaraderie here very appealing, because this industry is somewhat cutthroat, and it’s good to have that human touch.” Other insiders compare A.T. Kearney to rival consulting firms. “At firms like McKinsey and others, you’re either promoted or told to leave after two years. That creates a lot of insecurity. It’s survival of the fittest, and I don’t know how much teamwork a culture like that would encourage. Kearney doesn’t have that policy, and that makes it a nicer place to work.” Another insider cites the people who interviewed him as cause for his decision to accept Kearney’s offer. “They weren’t at all snotty or stuck-up. They were down-toearth and I felt very at ease in their presence. I thought, ‘I could survive the airplane test with these people.’” The airplane test? “Yeah, it’s a standard in consulting. It’s when you decide if you could spend seven hours sitting next to someone on a cross-country flight. If you can do so without killing them, you can work with them in an office environment.”

The road to diversity
Across the board, insiders say that there is “no typical Kearney person. Easy classification is impossible here.” Indeed, insiders consistently remark that there is no “Kearney man or Kearney woman” and “no pressure to conform to any fit type of image.” Kearney is said to employ “a mix of people including new MBAs, undergrads, and industry-experts (especially from the operations and the high-tech industry).” The firm, says another, emphasizes a “diversity of skills and abilities.” On the other hand, the firm’s penchant for diversity doesn’t always extend to the areas of gender- and race-related equality. “Kearney is not doing anything extraordinary in the diversity department,” concedes one insider. “Kearney’s better than most, which is not to say that it’s good. About a third of the people I entered with were women. But I didn’t see that many non-Caucasians,
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especially at the top levels. That’s probably a function of the fact that this emphasis on diversity is a fairly new thing. Diversity hiring has only been in effect for four to five years, and it will probably take another four to five years before we see a difference at the top.” Another consultant praises Kearney for at least making the effort: “The firm’s efforts are genuine, I’m sure. Kearney was a presence at a recent NAACP conference I attended.” And yet another A.T. Kearney consultant notes: “Since ATK is an international firm, our consultants are international and minorities are well represented in our senior management. However, women are another story. We don’t have enough of them. I think we have one woman VP in my section. It’s a problem endemic to the consulting industry and one the firm is trying to work on.” Still, Kearney isn’t devoid of progress: “We have five female officers, and that’s expected to go up soon.”

Kearney’s fountain of youth
Insiders are enamored of Kearney’s “very youthful culture.” The firm is apparently getting younger all the time. Says one consultant, “Every time I look around the number of people with gray hair has gone down. Even the number of gray hairs on the gray-haired people is going down!” To what can we attribute this fountain of youth? “I think that people are just rising through the ranks at a faster pace,” remarks another insider. “It’s not unusual for a consultant to become a principal in six years or less. Because, you know, many people finish business school at an early age – 25 or 26.” Another insider is less thrilled with her youthful co-workers: “For the most part, Kearney people are top of the line. But I’ve encountered some very young, very inexperienced people.”

Moving up
At A.T. Kearney, “it takes from two to four years to get promoted from one level to the next. Basically, if you are not being promoted, you should get the message. But it’s not like in two years you have to be promoted or you get out. If someone has some issues in their life and isn’t able to put the optimal time at work, it might take three.” Even so, “sometimes there isn’t a match between the person and what the company is looking for, in which case the person will get the message in his performance reviews, which are held every six months.”

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Unholy hours
A.T. Kearney employees work “long days and even longer weeks.” One insider reveals that “work hours will almost always be a minimum of 60 hours a week, sometimes as high as 90, but we put the achievement of results ahead of the time spent. If you can achieve a large positive client impact in 40 hours per week, great – go home!” Another former consultant doesn’t find Kearney so lax, claiming, “People were motivated to stay at the office for long hours. I didn’t believe in going into the office just to be seen, although others did. I guess things are changing though. From what I’ve heard, Kearney isn’t encouraging people to come in during the weekends.” Another insider believes the hours “vary by what phase of the project you’re in. Typically, it’s 60 to 70 hours a week. I didn’t realize how long 70 hours could be – it feels like an eternity.” While this insider couldn’t stand ‘forever after’ as a consultant, he does say that although “it wasn’t the lifestyle I was looking for, [working at Kearney] was a good way for me to be exposed to a real consulting experience.” Keep in mind, however, that hours in consulting can be highly unpredictable, though they generally occur around a readily identifiable set of “spikes.” As one consultant puts it, “It definitely goes up and down. The things that drive it up are generally milestones, or critical points on the project, or there is a major deliverable due, or a major presentation, a major proposal. Anytime you have major deadlines the hours tend to spike up. And then there are times when things are pretty smooth and controlled and the hours tend to go down.”

The torture of travel
A.T. Kearney employees report plenty of travel – according to the firm, over 65 percent of A.T. Kearney employees have worked on engagements outside their home offices. One insider states, “I was kind of on a skewed schedule because I had to return for frequent training sessions. I would say it was 50/50: 50 percent of the time at a client site and 50 percent at home base.” As is the case with other firms, some insiders resent the amount of time they spend en route to various sites. “If you include the time I spend traveling,” says one insider, “my hours would be depressing. So I prefer to see the travel time as my time, rather than the company’s time.” On the other hand, the firm’s movement toward locally based projects, a trend buttressed by its operational reorganization into nine regional profit centers, means that travel requirements are getting much easier. According to one insider, “I’m not trying to say that incidents like that – traveling across multiple time zones, long-haul flights – have gone to zero, but they have
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definitely gone down, because over the last two years we have made a very strong attempt to get people focused regionally.” Additionally, the firm has instituted a travel policy called “4-3 Four You,” which mandates no more that four days and three nights away per week.” So you would spend Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday night away from home,” one respondent tells us, “but you would still get to spend four nights back at home. And we’ve had a pretty good compliance with that. The last numbers I saw, 70 or 80 percent of the people who were traveling were still able to spend four nights at home.”

Industry specification
One Kearney insider concedes, “there isn’t much emphasis on industry specification until the manager level. But anyone who is post-manager really should have expertise and industry relationships. Both are crucial to success.” At the lower levels, another insider reveals, “it’s fine to be a generalist. If anything, you’ll find yourself learning about industries in specific places since you’re placed in a geographical group – mine was the Midwest.” Teams at A.T. Kearney vary in size depending on the project. Operationsoriented efforts can involve dozens of people, as well as more from the client side. Strategy projects, on the other hand, tend to have very small teams. One principal says that “on strategy engagements I would have, on the smaller side, two-three people. If I have eight or 10 people that’s considered a large strategy team.” Staffing projects is done in two ways. The first is through a database and staff of dedicated HR placement specialists. “we have directors of operation in each of our profit centers and they maintain active databases of people who are currently available, not working on projects, how much time they have available, how much vacation they have planned,” says one insider. “You can look at their availability, their resumes, their skill sets and what projects they worked on before – basically just all the hard information you need on candidates you are going to consider for staffing a project.” The second, much more informal way is through networking and word of mouth. Kearney evaluates each consultant after each project, and principals looking to staff new projects can read those evaluations and speak with a consultant’s former managers to get a feeling for their skills and competencies. “After every project people are evaluated in depth – what they did well, what they could have done better, the development opportunities, all those things are discussed with every consultant,” notes one principal. “A lot of times when I’m staffing projects what I also do is go back and talk to the people who have been working with the consultant before.”

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Intense work and social activity
A.T. Kearney, by most reports, encourages a healthy social life among its consultants. “It depends on the team you’re working with, but a lot of off-thejob interaction is encouraged. I mean, we go out together almost every night for dinner when we’re on the road. And besides that we have a social dinner once a week. We play golf together on a weekly basis, and we have a lot of events scheduled on the weekends.” One exhausted consultant reports: “There are a lot of extracurricular activities. In fact, I pick the ones I want to go to and don’t go to the rest; otherwise, I’d be doing company stuff seven days a week.” Recruiting, by another insider’s account, is a good way to bond with fellow co-workers. “During recruiting, we would finish up as early as possible so we could eat, drink, and be merry.” Another consultant says: “I find the camaraderie here very appealing, because this industry is somewhat cutthroat; it’s good to have that human touch.” While events “aren’t as extravagant as other firms – no trips to the Caribbean – there are dinners, wine tastings, and softball teams.” A.T. Kearney was ranked 16th overall among Fortune’s “50 Employers MBA’s Love” in 2001. Not all personal lives are office-oriented, however. Another insider says, “Most people I know here have time to pursue outside interests. We have opera singers and rock climbers. One good friend of mine is writing a novel.”

Highly selective firm
Kearney is “highly selective, just as selective as the other top consulting firms,” so goes the consensus among Kearney insiders. “Not an easy ticket,” one insider puts it. “We go after the best people. A lot of firms at our level cannibalize each other.” As evidence, A.T. Kearney recently hired a new VP of Strategic Services, Patrick Graham, from rival Bain.

Training: Learn your acronyms
One veteran of A.T. Kearney training informs us that “there are two training programs, NCO (New Consultants Orientation), for all new consultants, and a similar program for analysts. NCO fills you in on the firm and its history, but it’s most important as a chance to network with the new class. A.T. Kearney tries to give everyone time to interact. That lasts three or four days.” Another insider says that the more advanced program, for new business analysts, “basically gives non-business majors the toolkit they need to function as consultants. Finance, accounting, beginning statistics, some data search techniques. The class is taught by second- and third-year business analysts, and it lasts five days.” Another insider reports that training quality
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often depends on the size of the group. “When there were a lot of partners and principals together, the training wasn’t particularly enlightening because everyone would answer questions in a politically correct way – you know, because there was so much pressure to speak in a certain way. The smaller groups, however, were much more intimate and structured. All of my questions were answered in an honest way.” Kearney has been moving much of its continuing education onto the web, in an effort to make regular training accessible to consultants who have to balance hectic schedules with their skill-building needs. “The training programs are specific to different industries,” we hear, “that help you come to speed on what’s going on in a specific industry, in retail or manufacturing or high tech, and understand the trends and competitors.” As for mentoring efforts, Kearney “has a ‘buddy’ program. You are assigned a mentor-figure who will assist you with the initial adjustment to firm life. The fact is, the people who do well at the firm are often strong mentors.”

A most refined review system
One source tells us that A.T. Kearney gives “a lot of attention to my personal development. The review process is very thorough, and you have the opportunity to improve yourself.” Indeed, A.T. Kearney takes its feedback system “very, very seriously.” One insider says, “Performance and project reviews come frequently. You are given constant feedback.” Another insider, who cites the summer internship experience, reveals, “I was given a midterm evaluation about five weeks into the program. I also received the same evaluation at the end. Project managers write up notes, meet with you, and discuss your strengths and what kind of things you could improve.” What are typical areas of improvement? “For example,” says another insider, “you might be told to develop your presentation skills. Your manager might tell you, ‘You will likely have three to five presentations in the next five weeks. Step up to the plate and make them as polished as possible.’” The firm uses “both a qualitative and a quantitative scale” for evaluations. “It’s based on a scale of one through three. One means ‘You are a star.’ Three means ‘You have some things to work on.’ And two means ‘Keep up the good work.’ Almost everyone receives twos.”

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A.T. Kearney

Getting Hired
Overview of the Hiring Process
Don’t expect to see an A.T. Kearney recruiter roaming around your school anytime soon: After hiring 248 new employees in 2001 (which turned out to be 248 more than it needed), the firm canceled all U.S. campus recruiting at both the undergraduate and graduate levels for the class of 2002. Hiring of experienced candidates has been restricted to the vice president and senior principal levels. The firm does expect to return to campuses in 2003, so it is still important to be aware of its past hiring practices. When applying to the firm, candidates choose to interview in one of three areas: General Practice, Strategic Technology, or the Financial Institutions Group. The process consists of two rounds of interviews, usually completed within a three-week period. The first round includes two back-to-back 45-minute interviews. While this round is case-intensive, applicants have the opportunity to ask questions about the firm’s culture and preferred industries. First-round interviews are typically held on campus, at the most local firm branch, or at a nearby hotel. Generally, the firm informs applicants if they have advanced to the next round the day after their first round of interviews. In the second round, MBA applicants go through another five interviews with senior Kearney staffers. Some of these again are case-based, and “each case is based on the practice [the interviewer] was in.” These interviews “are not focused on strategy. It’s more like supply chain stuff.” Although candidates still may not have a sense of whether an offer is forthcoming, by the third round they are in select company. “The largest percentage of cuts were made before the final round,” says a former interviewee. “If you make it [to that round] you have a good shot.” Insiders report that A.T. Kearney interviewers are “kind” and “supportive.” Although the interview questions – especially the case studies – are themselves often tough, the interviewers don’t try to bully or intimidate. One insider reports, “the Kearney consultants who interviewed me had a minimal amount of attitude. They were bright, friendly and very likeable.” Other insiders report that their overwhelmingly positive impressions of interviewers led them to pick Kearney over other firms. One offeree goes so far as to say, “I was willing to take a lower salary than I was offered at [another firm] because the people were great. Very smart and very fun.”

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Once they have accepted an offer, recent MBA grads choose a start date. 2001 grads were sent a personal e-mail with a confirmation of that date in April, but the following month were told that they were all being deferred by a month. They were also offered $1,000 to make up for the lost month of work. The situation worsened in June 2001, when start dates were pushed backed again, this time by four to seven months at some schools and an entire year at others. “I got an e-mail saying, ‘Dear New Hire…’” says one disgruntled MBA hire. “I didn’t even get a phone call saying ‘we’re calling to ruin your life.’” Adding insult to injury, the firm also informed the offerees that it was rescinding the $1,000 since it was no longer just a month holdover. For some of those left in the lurch, the experience left a bad taste. “The HR staff is completely ass-backward,” says one. “My calls to find out what’s up aren’t returned. They were very attentive until we accepted the offer. Then we became an annoyance to them. It’s funny, the company I almost went to because of the people I’m now not going to because of the people.” Some see a pattern developing in Kearney’s human resource management: “The same thing happened three years ago. Most companies can manage their numbers better, though I hear that a lot of these problems are caused by EDS.”

Qualifications
For business analysts, A.T. Kearney looks for proven leadership, problemsolving ability, quantitative talent and interpersonal skills. The firm claims to recruit people who “are perceptive and resourceful.” Candidates should be “highly personable and outgoing: all-around potential management consulting superstars.” Moreover, Kearney seeks people “with insight, an adventurous spirit, and a desire for continuous creative growth and improvement.” Despite Kearney’s claims, however, insiders report that an adventurer who lacks the right “fit” with the firm culture will also lack a job. Indeed, while other consultancies often perform only one fit interview, Kearney has been known to give up to three. Kearney especially likes to scrutinize its applicants in the second round, where the employment stakes are higher. One Kearney principal says that he looks for a particular set of skills and attitudes grouped under the rubric “the consulting mindset.” By that he means “a lot of different skill sets: Can you establish relationships and rapport with clients or people when you are meeting them for the first time, are you good at listening and not just talking all the time yourself, are you good at structuring problems. So a lot of times in our interviews we do case interviews where we give people problems to solve and then we see how they
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go about really structuring the problem and breaking it down into individual pieces that can be tackled one at a time.” Associates should have an MBA and three to five years of full-time business experience (this is more than the industry average). A.T. Kearney is especially interested in people with strong engineering and finance backgrounds. Managing director John Egan seeks “global individuals. People who are multilingual and comfortable in a multicultural context. We put these criteria above any individual skills. When recruiting I tend to look at three criteria: analytical (an MBA at a top school is a good indication of this), implementation (experience and maturity to get the job done) and facilitation (the coaching, team-playing, and people skills). If you imagine ranking each area on a scale of 1 to 10, every consultant has to have one ten and at least two sevens.” Associates should also have proven a particular aptitude in their previous jobs – meaning not only an excellent record but a clear interest in understanding their industry. “Depending on where you’ve been working, do you really understand that domain or that space very well, and have you taken the time to step out of your previous job and look around and try to understand a proper picture of what’s going on,” asks one consultant. The vast majority of both analysts and associates graduate from prestigious universities with high GPAs. Those Kearney consultants who did not engage in Kearney’s on-campus recruiting campaign generally have expertise in a specific and highly valued industry such as health care or information technology.

To Apply
Undergraduates and MBAs interested in general management consulting and strategic information technology should contact one of the following addresses: U.S. Campus Recruiting Campus Recruiting A.T. Kearney 222 West Adams Street Chicago, IL 60606 Telephone: 312-223-6030

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Canadian Campus Recruiting A.T. Kearney Suite 2300 20 Queen Street West Toronto, ON M5H 3R3 Telephone: 416.977.6886 Latin American Campus Recruitment (Mexico City, Caracas, Buenos Aires, São Paulo) A.T. Kearney R. Joaquim Floriano, 72 Suite 201 04534-000 São Paulo, SP Brazil Telephone: 55 11 3040 6200 Northern European Campus Recruitment (Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo, Stockholm, London, Johannesburg) U.K. and Joannesburg: RecruitmentNE@atkearney.com Sweden: recruitment.se@atkearney.com Norway: recruitment.no@atkearney.com Denmark: recruitment.dk@atkearney.com Finland: recruitment.fi@atkearney.com Central European Campus Recruitment (Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfort, Munich, Prague, Stuttgart, Vienna, Warsaw, Budapest, Moscow, Zurich) www.atkearney.de Southwest European Campus Recruitment (Barcelona, Lisbon, Madrid, Paris) Spain or Portugal: iberia.recruiting@atkearney.com France: recrutement@atkearney.com Benelux Recruitment (Amsterdam, Brussels) Recruitment_Benelux@atkearney.com. Mediterranean Campus Recruitment (Athens, Istanbul, Milan, Rome) A.T. Kearney S.p.A. Corso Venezia 34/36 20121 Milano Italy Telephone: 39.02.76.2951
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Asian Campus Recruitment (Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai) A.T. Kearney (Hong Kong) Ltd. Level 31 One Pacific Place 88 Queensway, Hong Kong Telephone: 852 2501 1400 Southeast Asian Campus Recruitment (Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi, Bangkok and Jakarta) A.T. Kearney Pte. Ltd 1 Temasek Avenue 35-01 Millenia Tower Singapore 039192 Telephone: 65 298 7200 Japan Campus Recruiting www.atkearney.co.jp Australian Campus Recruiting A.T. Kearney Australia Pty Ltd Level 44 Governor Phillip Tower 1 Farrer Place Sydney NSW 2000 Australia Telephone: 61-2-9259-1999 Experienced professionals interested in A.T. Kearney should direct their resumes to: North American Senior Recruiting nasr@atkearney.com Phone: (312) 648-0111

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Questions to Expect
1. Guesstimate/Case Study: How would you go about moving Mt. Fuji from point A to point B? To figure out this guesstimate, our insiders advise that the candidate first estimate the volume of material that needs to be moved. Of course, there is no way to know the exact weight or volume of the mountain, short of placing it on a gigantic scale; but you can make your best guess by asking the interviewer specific questions (keep in mind that you also have to consider the weight of various materials on the mountain, including trees, ice, snow, mountain climbers, etc.). Next, consider which method of transport would be best suited to the task of moving a huge land mass. Our insiders say, short of divine intervention, dump trucks are the most feasible vehicle. The candidate must then determine how much material an average dump truck is capable of carrying (note that dump trucks gauge maximum capacity by weight, not volume), how much time is allotted for the completion of the task, and the average life expectancy of each vehicle. 2. Case Study: Disney is looking to open a theme park in India. Take me through the issues you need to consider before it is designed. Here, an insider reports that being up-to-date on recent business events is key. A candidate could use basic knowledge of the EuroDisney venture as a template for the formulation of new ideas. An insider points out that cultural issues are as crucial to the discussion as economic ones. “In addition to the park’s set-up and the number of visitors per day, I had to think about what kind of foods the vendors would be selling. If selling a particular kind of meat would offend certain religions, for example, that kind of decision could lead to disastrous consequences.” Other relevant considerations, according to the insider, include the park’s infrastructure, the pros and cons of various sources of electricity, transportation to and from the park, geography and climate, and political context. 3. Guesstimate: You’re a wine bottler looking to sell your product on a nationwide level. How do you calculate your clientele? This is a perfect example of a market size guesstimate. In order to determine the market, one must first make a series of “best guess” assumptions. First, start with a rough calculation of the total number of people in the United States. A popular choice is 250 million. Next, measure the number of people per household. If one assumes that the United States has, on average, three people per household, one can also assume that there are over 80 million households in the country. Next, the number of wine drinkers in each
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household must be approximated. Assume that about 50 percent of persons within each household imbibe some type of wine, and that this percentage can be divided into “frequent wine drinkers” (those who take a glass three to four times a week) and “infrequent wine drinkers” (those who take fewer than three glasses a week). As more and more factors emerge (i.e. white wine versus red wine, expensive wine versus inexpensive wine), the approximate number clients will sharply decline. Remember that the interviewer is mostly concerned with a candidate’s method of achieving an answer – not necessarily the answer itself. Insiders state that a pen and paper “is a must for quick calculations.” 4. Fit Question: If your client is a real jerk, and you can’t possibly work with him, what do you do? Here, Kearney is testing one’s morality, resilience, common sense and diplomacy. Although strong “people skills” are invaluable to the firm, insiders say that you don’t have to give a pat answer to score points. However, a response with the phrase “slug him in the gut” might not be altogether appropriate either. When answering the question, attempt to find the most tactful response. Although this question is unusual in the consulting universe of case studies and guesstimates, it is actually a “fit” question masquerading as an off-handed or casual query. 5. Guesstimate: How many 747s are above Kansas right now? This classic question is inherently absurd given that there is no way to definitively answer it. Nevertheless, all guesstimates – even the preposterous ones – can be whittled down to a number of reasonable estimations. Since Kansas is in the middle of the country, a significant percentage of coast-tocoast flights probably fly over some part of the state. Feel free to ask your interviewer relevant questions such as the square footage of the state, whether more 747 flights take place earlier in the day or later, and how many airlines make frequent coast-to-coast trips. Create potential numbers for domestic, international, and shorter “hop” flights. Feel free to think out loud as well as to use a pen and paper for mathematical calculations. Since your thought process matters more than your answer, trite answers (“At this very moment, a major snowstorm in the Midwest has caused delays in all cross-country air travel”) definitely won’t fly (and neither will bad puns). 6. Guesstimate: How many garage door openers are there in the New York metropolitan area? Figure out how many personal garages there would be in the New York region (for example, if there are about two million houses in New York, maybe every one in 10 would have a garage with an opener, or 200,000 openers) – and how
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many commuting suburbanites there are who might have them in their cars. Be sure to ask your interviewer to define what he means by the metro area, since including the suburbs of New Jersey and Connecticut would significantly inflate the number. 7. Case: A foreign company with extra cash on hand wants to enter the American fast food market. What would you tell them? Questions to ask here would be: What business is the foreign company in now? Does it have the capability and expertise to succeed in this market? Is it a good time to enter the fast food market at all? Is the company capable of entering the market? What would the company serve up? Should it build traditional free-standing stores? You should discuss the attractiveness of the American fast food industry, applying Porter’s Five Forces. You will have about 30 minutes to discuss the case with your interviewer and work through your answer.

Questions to Ask
1. How would you describe A.T. Kearney’s culture? Kearney loves to discuss the “diversity,” “talent” and “congeniality” of its consultants. Inquiring about the firm’s famously cooperative and convivial culture will give the interviewer a chance to elaborate on one of the firm’s true assets. 2. What is the career path for new analysts (or associates) at A.T. Kearney? Do your homework before posing this question so that you can follow it up with more specific inquiries. 3. What kind of international opportunities does A.T. Kearney provide? Like all major consultancies, Kearney is a travel-intensive firm. With so many international branches, clients, and affiliates, most analysts and associates will travel abroad at least once. 4. How close has A.T. Kearney come to its stated goal of providing service along the entire continuum of business needs? The answer to this question will depend upon the enthusiasm – or the fanaticism – of the interviewer.

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5. Please tell me more about the training that A.T. Kearney provides. Kearney’s training programs have been called “rigorous,” “thorough,” “real world,” “well structured,” and “essential.” Training sessions, especially when they are arranged as off-site weekend trips, also afford incoming consultants the opportunity to build contacts and meet future co-workers.

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A.T. Kearney

On the Job
A Day in the Life
Business Analyst
4:00 a.m. Wake up and curse the harsh buzz of an early morning alarm. 5:30 a.m. Catch plane to Houston to meet a client involved in the distribution of telecommunications equipment. 9:00 a.m. Arrive at client site. 9:30 a.m. Meet with members of A.T. Kearney and client team; discuss the day’s agenda; receive individual tasks and responsibilities. 12:00 a.m. Grab something to eat at the client cafeteria; usually the first real meal of the day. 1:00 p.m. Arrange a case-related tour of a local company at the request of the team manager. 3:00 p.m. Create financial model in Excel; verify data with other another team member. 4:00 p.m. Coffee with the senior partner on the team. 5:00 p.m. Catch up on paperwork and correspondence; check voice mail and e-mail. I usually try to do that first thing, but travel often disrupts even the most regular routines. 7:00 p.m. Attend a baseball game with the team; meet for drinks afterward. 11:00 p.m. Try to read the first chapter of a new novel; fail; surrender to the sweet calm of sleep.

Associate
6:00 a.m. Wake up, take a brief early morning run and get ready for work. 7:30 a.m. Arrive at the office. Most other consultants won’t be here for another half-hour, but I often do the most work early in the morning, when there are no interruptions. 9:00 a.m. Drink a cup of coffee; read personal e-mail and the front page of The Wall Street Journal.
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9:30 a.m. Make a follow-up call to a fellow associate on the East Coast. Discuss her upcoming wedding as well as strategy ideas for a client in the IT industry. 10:00 a.m. Go over notes and exhibit materials for a lunch meeting; meet with team to verify a few last-minute changes. 11:00 a.m. Team meeting. When we’ve just started a new project, everyone starts throwing out ideas and theories. It’s invigorating and exciting. 12:00 p.m. Remind team that they’re due at the client site earlier than usual tomorrow morning. 1:00 p.m. Lunchtime. Grab some sushi with a co-worker. (We have a broad range of people at Kearney. Some of them are absolutely incredible – great workers who have done great things. Others aren’t quite up to par. Occasionally, I discover that a co-worker isn’t able to swim in this kind of competitive environment.) 2:00 p.m. Try to find stats on the international activities of a client’s industry. 4:00 p.m. Build financial models. Kearney is remarkable in this area. 5:30 p.m. Return urgent phone calls from upper-level management. 6:30 p.m. Write a memorandum summarizing research and ideas from the day. 8:00 p.m. Go home and start packing for tomorrow’s client meeting.

Job Descriptions
Business Analyst
Business analysts at A.T. Kearney “lead teams, develop models, perform complex analyses, work on research assignments both in the office and at client sites, travel on assignments, participate in business development and marketing activities, and help prepare proposals for new engagement opportunities.” Most analysts join A.T. Kearney directly after college, although many have previous work experience or have studied abroad. Other analysts join Kearney after earning graduate degrees in non-business areas.

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A.T. Kearney On the Job

Other daily activities of an analyst might include: • Creating financial models in Excel • Interviewing clients for case information • Locating data needed for case • Working with other team members on client cases • Researching client-related industries • Making client presentations And although no two client engagements are alike, Kearney says the following analyst accomplishments are typical: • Identifying global leadership practices in electronics manufacturing for a multinational electronics company • Conducting activity-based analysis of key business processes, interviewing customers, training client staff in A.T. Kearney methodology, identifying quick hits that resulted in 15 percent efficiency gains, and writing and presenting final recommendations to management • Developing an analytical framework to assess manufacturing sites from both quantitative and qualitative perspectives • Performing competitor benchmarking analysis, identifying savings opportunities of $15 million (50 percent of total expenditures) for the finance function of a major oil company

Senior Business Analyst
Most senior business analysts join A.T. Kearney after gaining specific industry experience, after completing an undergraduate degree, and/or after receiving an advanced degree in an area other than business. This position is important as a bridge between the business analyst and associate consulting positions. Individuals with solid business experience are invited to make significant contributions to the consulting team, adding insights and solutions to identify, study and solve business problems across a wide range of industries.

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A.T. Kearney On the Job

On a daily basis, senior business analysts are involved with the following: • Leading segments of a project • Developing models • Performing complex analyses • Working on research assignments both in the office and at client sites • Participating in business development and marketing activities • Helping prepare proposals for new engagement opportunities Kearney reports that some senior business analysts have helped clients with the following:: • Repositioned the assortment and pricing of a leading international consumer goods retailer and identified markets for the company to develop or streamline • Optimized purchasing conditions for an international supermarket chain using a systematic approach to analyze suppliers’ performance and carry out negotiations • Helped a major connector manufacturer with capacity outsourcing in Asia • Reset a retail and property company’s strategic direction by assessing company’s market positioning, organization and key processes • Set IT requirements for a bank to support recommended new business • Designed an e-business solution that included a strategic assessment of different e-business value propositions, competitive market study, financial modeling, and the design and mapping of major functionalities

Associate
Associates at A.T. Kearney join project teams, where they “gather and analyze data, identify strategy, [make] operations and technical improvements, conduct benchmarking, [do] best practices and other competitor-assessment studies, work at client locations, share insights and solve problems, recommend actions and help clients implement actions” and, in general, “contribute to A.T. Kearney’s intellectual capital, engagement quality, recruiting and other activities.”

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Daily activities of an associate might include: • Managing analyst activities • Analyzing data and making recommendations to clients • Participating in recruiting and training new A.T. Kearney consultants

Manager
Managers are responsible for project oversight on engagements. They assign specific tasks make sure that the deliverables are scheduled and presented on time.

Principal
The principal position at A.T. Kearney is an elected one. Everyday responsibilities involve development of engagement strategy and business development, while dealing directly with clients and managing client engagements. Principals also become involved in internal firm-building projects such as enhancing visibility within the firm.

Officer
Officers, working in partnership with client CEOs, are involved in relationship development and management. They develop long-term strategies with each account in addition to taking an active role in the leadership of A.T. Kearney, and also in developing and executing the business strategy for the firm.

Summer Associate
The A.T. Kearney Summer Associate program was initiated in 1991. Paired with mentors – A.T. Kearney consultants – the summer associates are exposed to the consulting process, including the travel. Mid-term reviews help keep tabs on their performance. Summer associates at A.T. Kearney, in general, are quite positive about their experience at the firm. “A.T. Kearney treats MBAs as regular full-time associates,” says one summer hire. “Expect to work hard and to be given interesting and meaningful responsibilities.” “Ask for feedback,” say summer associates, who vary in their opinions on Kearney’s organization. Some found the atmosphere at the company to be “quite unstructured,” while others found it “quite structured, with a training program, two to three company-wide events, and two events just for summer
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A.T. Kearney On the Job

associates.” At times, several summer associates found themselves doing work that was “less value-added than I expected, with more time spent on data collection and processing, and less on analysis.” A.T. Kearney has a “very laid-back corporate culture,” reports one summer associate. “The people were great.” Another summer intern concurs: “A.T. Kearney’s culture is somewhat relaxed relative to other consulting firms but by no means does it lack intensity.” “I give the summer internship two thumbs up,” concludes one satisfied summer associate. The daily activities of an associate might include: • Assisting case team preparations and presentations • Building financial models in Excel • Participating in A.T. Kearney training exercises • Conducting competitor-assessment studies

Career Path
For undergraduates
Business analysts typically work at A.T. Kearney for two or three years. Exceptional business analysts may be promoted to associate positions during their time at A.T. Kearney. Analysts who have satisfactorily completed the analyst program are frequently invited to obtain an MBA at Kearney’s expense; after that point, they are required to work at the firm for a minimum of three years. This program is extremely popular, with 80 percent of a recent class attending business school on Kearney’s dime. A.T. Kearney has instituted the position of senior business analyst to accommodate top-performing business analysts as well as to attract talent with graduate degrees other than MBAs and/or relevant industry experience. The new position allows business analysts to participate in more advanced roles on client engagements consistent with their higher level of qualifications and/or experience. After 12 to 18 months of service in this new role, senior business analysts are eligible for promotion to the associate level, although some experienced senior business analysts may be promoted to associate more rapidly in the program’s first year.

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For MBAs
At A.T. Kearney, MBAs start their careers as associates, and typically remain in that position for two to three years. After this point, associates move on to fill managerial slots. In another two to three years, top performers may attain the rank of principal. Finally, after another three to five years, principals may become officers (senior partners). Unlike several of its competitors, A.T. Kearney purports not to follow a strict “up-or-out” policy. Promotion timeframes exist only in theory; the firm believes that individual progress “is a function of many factors including performance, development, and firm-building contributions.” Nevertheless, Kearney asserts that career progression for an associate usually follows this model: • Associate to Manager: 2-3 years • Manager to Principal: 2-4 years • Principal to Officer: 3-5 years

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A.T. Kearney

Final Analysis
This is an interesting time to be at A.T. Kearney. The merger with deeppocketed EDS has allowed the firm to leapfrog its way up the rankings of consulting firms and positioned the firm to become a major player in information technology consulting. With most consulting firms beginning to move into all aspects of the industry, from strategy to implementation to operations management, A.T. Kearney’s “roll up our sleeves and do it all” philosophy looks like a winner. Like many of its competitors, Kearney has undergone layoffs and deferrals of new hires. But the firm is betting that it ambitious world view – not to mention its friendly and sensible group of coworkers – will enable it to weather the storm. If you’re looking for a forwardlooking firm and are willing to travel constantly, you could do worse than to land at A.T. Kearney.

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A.T. Kearney

Recommended Reading
A.T. Kearney’s web site (www.atkearney.com) contains useful and informative online versions of A.T. Kearney’s publication Executive Agenda, as well as white papers, book excerpts and recent Kearney press releases. Recent books include Winning the Global Endgame and The Value Growers. Other articles of use include: • “Thinking Strategically about Supply Management,” Bill Markham and Bob Tevelson, Supply Chain Management Review, September/October 2002. • “ AT Kearney Slams Australian 3G Potential,” ZDNet Australia, September 4, 2002. • “EDS Sues Former A.T. Kearney Chairman,” Dallas Business Journal, August 6, 2002. • “A.T. Kearney Remains Bullish,” The Nation, July 30, 2001. Kearney opens its new office in Bangkok with big expectations. • “Will Texas Cure What Ails A.T. Kearney?” Business Week, February 15, 2001. The state of the EDS-A.T. Kearney dynamic.

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