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BAH / AT Kearney anyone?

#1 BAH / AT Kearney anyone?
26/10/2006 13:26



I currently work on a manager level in one of the bigger strat houses (sometimes seen here as 1st sometimes 2nd tier) and do not have a strong urge to change. Recently I got calls from two (different) headhunters offering jobs (both senior manager level) in ATK and BAH. Although both of them are – as far as I know – among the top 5 strat houses globally (in terms of fee volume, no of consultants etc.) they do not seem to be regarded as top addresses by most people here.

Question: is it worth the hassle to follow these offers or are the companies simply not worth it?

Many thanks in advance.

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#2 RE: BAH / AT Kearney anyone?
26/10/2006 15:55

Tony Restell ( to callee (#1)

Both these brands suffered a little by not staying "devoted" to strategy work, at least in the eyes of outsiders. I'd argue a lot of this is perception rather than the reality of working as a strat consultant for either firm though...

In the case of ATK, I would say that the brand lost some of its shine / prestige when it became part of EDS. Nothing wrong with EDS, there's just a perception out there that an elite strategy brand shouldn't need to be part of a major corporation. Would your perception of McKinsey remain unchanged if it suddenly became a part of Accenture or IBM? So invariably this change in ownership dented ATK's prestige compared with the other top strat firms. Now that they are independent again I would expect this image to be turned around, though it'll probably take a couple more years to get there.

(See Mick James's piece <a href= target=_blank>"Mastering the art of strategy"</a> for a recent interview with ATK and an update on their return to independence.)

As regards BAH, this is a firm that has built a sizeable business outside of the traditional strategy practice. Hence the numbers they've recruited in recent years and the elitism of the firm have suffered. Which isn't to say that the strategy consultants aren't every bit as good as at other firms, it's just an image problem that they are perceived to no longer be such an elitist firm.

Compare and contrast this with a Bain or a McKinsey, who have remained "secretive" (in that their accounts aren't open to public speculation) and maintained their focus on being perceived as the elite of consulting, employing the very best of the best.

Not hard to see why they've got more "mystique" amongst candidates and a perception that they're just somehow "better". But whether that translates into a more fulfilling career than at ATK or BAH I would somehow doubt...

Good luck with the choice in any case.

Tony Restell

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