The little spin-off that could
Mitchell Madison Group was founded in 1994 by a group of former McKinsey consultants, led by a former director, Tom Steiner. Steiner was frustrated at McKinsey's frequent shedding of talented personnel and calcifying management structure, and wanted to approach consulting by focusing on the role of technological innovation. He left McKinsey in 1991, bringing along many McKinsey associates and analysts to set up a financial services group for rival A.T. Kearney. After EDS acquired A.T. Kearney in 1994, Steiner opted to leap from the newly enlarged company to set up his own consultancy, Mitchell Madison Group. The new firm was named after two streets - Mitchell Street in upstate New York, where Steiner, sitting in a bar, had first cooked up the notion to leave McKinsey, and Madison Avenue, the location of the firm's first office.
The famous McKinsey connections came in handy for the new firm, which had plenty of business as soon as it was formed. Founded with 50 employees in 1994, Mitchell Madison now has upwards of 700 professionals. The firm ultimately plans to have at least 1,000 consultants. Mitchell Madison currently boasts a client list that includes prominent financial institutions and insurance companies. It has also been instrumental in helping companies in the following industries: consumer electronics, financial services, health care, IT, manufacturing, media, oil/gas, pharmaceuticals, real estate, retailing, telecommunications, transportation & travel, and utilities.
Young company with big clients
Though Mitchell Madison is a relative tyke among consulting firms, it works with heavy hitters. The firm claims its clients "are of global stature: to date we have served no client (irrespective of industry) smaller in size than a Fortune 500 or its local industry equivalent." It serves seven of the 10 top commercial banks, six of the 10 top investment banks, and seven of the top telcoms in the world; over 75 percent of MMG clients have rehired the firm.
Mitchell Madison joins the computer age
Like AT Kearney, acquired by EDS, Mitchell Madison has been acquired by a company with a technological bent. In July 1999, USWeb/CKS, a Web services agency based in California, announced an agreement to acquire MMG for about $300 million. The deal has US Web/CKS issuing 14.4 million shares of MMG over the following two years. USWeb/CKS will employ MMG's 550 consultants, and Tom Steiner, the managing partner of MMG, will become the COO and President of USWeb/CKS. In its press release regarding the acquisition, the firm said that MMG "capped USWeb/CKS's dream of bringing capability in technology, marketing, and strategy to its clients." New partner US Web/CKS is even younger than MMG - it was founded in 1997.
MMG was fully intergrated into USWeb/CKS in March, 2000. The three companies are now known as marchFIRST. (www.marchfirst.com).
A full breakdown of Mitchell Madison's hiring policies and procedures is available at www.mmgnet.com/Text/Recruiting/recruiting.htm. The firm hires for the following positions: Business Analyst (undergraduate), Associate (MBA), and Summer Associate. Candidates can gain further information using the Recruiting Hotline at (212) 372-9100 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mitchell Madison generally recruits from 15 undergraduate and 15 graduate institutions. It hosts a number of recruiting events at each of these prestigious schools. Information on these events, as well as the lowdown on the number of Mitchell Madison alumni from each school, is available on the firm's recruiting web page. The page also sports contact information for recruiting managers from the U.S. (at both the undergraduate and graduate levels), Europe, Canada, South Africa, and Australia.
Mitchell Madison looks for employees who are willing and able to take a long-term interest in building the firm. The firm conducts campus recruiting but also encourages applicants to submit resumes via regular mail, e-mail, or fax. Career paths at Mitchell Madison are less structured than they are at more established consulting firms. Most undergraduate hires start as business analysts and are expected to combine "many of the responsibilities of a full-time associate with more formal professional development activities." Associates join the firm directly from business school or other graduate degree programs. They can expect to develop "a robust set of traditional problem solving and client management skills." Mitchell Madison also accepts summer associates, who are generally students midway through business school.
The firm encourages multilingual candidates and individuals with strong, yet non-traditional academic and professional credentials (in other words, the firm is looking for industry hires too).
The young and flat firm
A young firm, Mitchell Madison has an "entrepreneurial corporate culture" that "encourages freedom of expression," approves of a "variety of lifestyles," and "values diversity." MMG's management structure is one of "a strong egalitarianism," insiders report. The firm's founders and partners are "readily" accessible to junior employees and administrative staff; consultants say they "work closely with partners on visible and important aspects of assignments."
Ride 'em cowboys
While the "unstructured" atmosphere offers new employees "immediate independence," some say that its "chaotic" nature can become "occasionally frustrating." "Our clients often describe us as cowboys," one consultant remarks. We hear that "the upside to working at [Mitchell Madison] is that it's easy for someone at any level to make their mark. The downside is that when you need some support, there's not much there." The "rawness" of company culture means that "sometimes decisions are made at the last minute, which can make life difficult."
Hours that can go until dawn
Hours are varied, but usually long at Mitchell Madison. Says one consultant: "There are times when you leave at 6 or 7, and other times when you work until 3 in the morning and all you can think about is the smell of fresh air." On the bright side, "MMG is refreshing in that it is pretty much devoid of face time. If you don't have any work, you don't have to come in, you can come in at 11 or noon, even."
Hopping social life
The social life is described as extremely active at this young firm. "When there is a Mitchell Madison party," says one consultant, "everyone comes, from business analysts to managers. It's super." Others concur that "there are always e-mails going around the firm inviting people to parties."
Short-term training wheels
Insiders say "all newbies are taught how to use Access, our database system, and Excel. Those programs are very important." However, training isn't a major emphasis at Mitchell Madison. One consultant explains: "There are a few weeks of training, but training is really de-emphasized. Mitchell Madison wants people who can produce right away. The initial week of training is just basically how to use the computers, and then off you go." Although initial training may be sparse, new recruits undergo more training six months into their tenure. Material covered in this training session includes: accounting, presentation, chart drafting, finance, client interviewing. "But by then," insiders say. "It's really too late. You already have a handle on most of that stuff."
Building a new firm
If you want to get in on the fun, say consultants, you should know that "the firm looks for extraordinarily smart people who have the ambition, the ability and the self-discipline to give 200 percent when only 100 percent would suffice. Our consultants are experts in fields you've never heard of. They are mavericks and builders and it is a true joy to work with them."
Manager, Graduate Recruiting
9 West 57th Street1
Bain & Co.;First Manhattan Consulting Group;Greenwich Associates;McKinsey & Company;Mercer Management Consulting;Monitor Company
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