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Strat House Travel - style or chicken class?

#1 Strat House Travel - style or chicken class?
11/12/2006 14:02


Hi All,

I am a recent MBA considering an offer from a MBBB consulting company vs other opportunities I have at the moment.

That a consultants time is taken by travel is a point that has been made ad nauseum. However, what kind of luxury / perks do the companies extend whilst travelling?

I believe that travelling in business class, with a good hotel ( with a good gym) and a decent dinner and expenses budget can make all the differece!

Can someone shed light on how it is, particularly any experience at BAH or Bain would be welcome. Thank you

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#2 RE: Strat House Travel - style or chicken class?
11/12/2006 15:48

samuel to Associate (#1)

You might also want to ask whether you can work from home (for when the thin veneer of glamour wears off...)

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#3 RE: Strat House Travel - style or chicken class?
12/12/2006 03:21

Ger to Associate (#1)

Agree to samuel, after some time it is much more important if you stay away 5 days or just 4 (and work in the office or even at home on Friday), than if you stay in a 5-star or 4-star hotel.

On the other hand flying coach (although is doesn't make a big difference within Europe) is a clear sign of a comparably low value added per consultant. So basically the interesting firms tend to fly business ;-)

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#4 RE: Strat House Travel - style or chicken class?
12/12/2006 16:38

'Avin' a laugh to Ger (#3)

A find it amusing that you judge the amount of value add by the class you travel in. Haven't heard that before.

I think some consultants need to wake up. We should be there to help clients understand what needs to be done and then help them achieve it. And we should do that for a reasonable price.

I can't see how any buyer of consulting services can justify flying people around in business unless the flight is long-haul.

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#5 RE: Strat House Travel - style or chicken class?
12/12/2006 17:13

Tony Restell ( to 'Avin' a laugh (#4)

'Avin a laugh - usually a consulting firm's contract will be for agreed daily rates plus expenses (either charged at cost or as a supplemental charge that's a % of the day rate that's been agreed).

Clearly a strategy consultant being billed out to clients at £400,000 a year is a different proposition to a consultant who's being charged to clients at only £150,000 a year. For the former, flying business class doesn't have a material impact on the cost of engaging that consultant; for the latter it would have a more material impact. Add to that the fact that strategy consultants tend to work in teams of 4-10 whereas other types of consultants can be in teams of 50-100 on an assignment... and you can then see that the economics of flying consultants around business class does vary quite considerably depending on the type of consultant you're referring to.

Ger's point - which I therefore agree with - is that it's in the consulting areas where margins per consultant are thin that consulting firms are unable to fly their consultants in business class; and sometimes may even resort to Easyjet!

In my strategy consulting days it was always the case that you flew business class if working on a billable assignment - and in economy if you were on training or on a tender. On client work we always had an agreed client budget for our travel and hotel accommodation and our task was to remain within that budget. The budget was miniscule compared with the actual day rate costs of the consultants, so cutting corners on travel was just counter-productive. Getting stuck somewhere because you had a non-changeable economy seat cost the client £1,500 a day in fees - and saved them only a couple of hundred in airfare!

Having said this, would certainly agree that the regularity with which you can be based at home is without question the greater prize to secure. Champagne doesn't taste so sweet when you find you're still at Frankfurt airport on a Friday night while all your friends are out on the town!


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