Oliver Wyman Careers

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Interest in Oliver Wyman careers has grown as the firm is currently the fastest-growing consultancy within the top ten. (Smaller firms have an easier time being fast-growing; so the top ten distinction is critical here.)

Below you'll find an overview of noteworthy features associated with Oliver Wyman careers.

Company Structure

Oliver Wyman's parent company is Marsh and McLennan Companies, founded in Chicago in 1905 and currently headquartered in New York. Marsh and McLennan is a large, publicly-traded professional services and insurance brokerage firm with over 50,000 global employees and $10 Billion in revenue.

The current incarnation of the consulting organization known as Oliver Wyman comes from a series of acquisitions and combinations that include the original Oliver, Wyman & Company management consulting firm and Mercer Consulting, both acquired by Marsh & McLennan.

Oliver Wyman's four key consulting tracks can be roughly mapped to their legacy firms. Today, the four practices are:

  1. General Management Consulting
  2. Financial Services Consulting
  3. Delta
  4. Leadership Development

1) The General Management Consulting practice most resembles that of a traditional strategy consulting experience. Oliver Wyman consultants here gain a broad exposure across industries and issues.

Unlike the major strategy consulting firms, however, Oliver Wyman consultants tend to specialize into a given practice area earlier in their career. Four key practice areas for specialization include:

  • Communications, Media, and Technology
  • Consumer and Industrial Value Transformation
  • Health and Life Science
  • Manufacturing, Transportation, and Energy

2) The Financial Services Consulting practice is largely what people think of when they hear Oliver Wyman consulting. Indeed, Oliver Wyman has consulted over three-quarters of the top 100 financial services institutions worldwide.

People who start their Oliver Wyman career here specialize in financial issues right away. Consultants here tend to serve insurance, investment banking, retail banking, government agencies, payment processors, and private equity fund clients. While Bain has a deeper penetration within the private equity shops, Oliver Wyman is a contender known for its deep financial content expertise.

Financial Services Consulting engagements tend to tackle issues such as:

  • Risk management
  • Public policy
  • Strategic IT
  • Customer relationship management
  • Corporate finance advisory

3) The Delta practice focuses on change management initiatives. They help senior management design and implement a wide variety of enterprise-wide changes. These changes can either be internal shifts of processes and systems or responses to the changing market environment.

4) The Leadership Development practice works on the people side of businesses. They work with key leaders to improve their capabilities to lead their client firms. Typically, Oliver Wyman focuses on developing the leadership of top executives using approaches such as coaching, experiential learning, and use of online learning platforms.

Career Pathway

The career progression track for Oliver Wyman careers resembles that of other consulting firms, with titles for each level as follows:

  • Analyst
  • Senior Analyst
  • Consultant
  • Senior Consultant
  • Associate
  • Senior Associate / Project Manager
  • Associate Partner / Principal
  • Partner
  • Director

Oliver Wyman reports that they consider every hire a potential partner, and regularly boast about having one of the shortest times to reaching Partner. Each step along the way takes approximately 1.5 to 3.5 years, depending on merit. Going from Analyst to Partner within a decade is not unheard of.

Further accelerating the process, Oliver Wyman does not demand that Senior Consultants go to business school prior to advancing to Associate and beyond. However, Oliver Wyman will sponsor business schools for select high-performers who return to the firm.

Oliver Wyman recruits globally primarily from 100 of the most selective schools across five continents. For example, in the United States, their presence is limited to The Ivy League, Stanford, Northwestern, and University of Virginia.

They hire analysts straight out of undergraduate programs, while Associates are hired from top graduate business programs. The hiring process involves a mixture of both behavioral interviews and case interviews.

Travel

Whether or not you view travel as an opportunity depends upon your personal preferences. Either way, Oliver Wyman's global approach tends to result in more international travel than firms with a local staffing model (e.g. Bain & Company).

Talent Programs

Like other top-tier firms, Oliver Wyman has some special programs to try and retain their consulting talent. Consultants can opt for a ten- or eleven- month year, which frees up one or two months for choosing an adventure outside the confines of the firm. Oliver Wyman consultants can also take a sabbatical for up to six months.

Other Oliver Wyman consultants opt for a six-month nonprofit fellowship with a partner organization, while still enjoying up to 40% of their Oliver Wyman salary to make up for reduced compensation. Finally, some opt to rotate into a six-month stint in another company within the Marsh and McLennan portfolio.

Altogether, Oliver Wyman is growing fast and managing to provide an appealing career option within the 2nd tier of management consulting firms.

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4 comments… add one
  • McLachlan Lister May 22, 2012, 3:21 am

    Hello,

    Thanks goodness I found this blog. I have been looking around for hours trying to find this data. Keep up the good work! Also I adore your over all look of your blog. I will be back. I have bookmarked you.

    • Victor Cheng Aug 14, 2017, 3:42 pm

      McLachlan,

      Thanks!

      -Victor

  • Yimei Aug 13, 2017, 11:37 am

    Thank you very much for the great summary. Do you know if OW considers PhDs without business background? Thank you!

    • Victor Cheng Aug 14, 2017, 3:42 pm

      Yimei,

      I don’t know if OW does or not. I would check their recruiting website. If they do, they will be sure to say they do. Or if they are on campus, email a recruiting coordinator or contact to ask them.

      Generally, smaller firms don’t have the training infrastructure to teach non business PhD’s business skills. The bigger firms are more likely to have invested in that infrastructure.

      -Victor

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