Updating Results

Oliver Wyman

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Malina Koo

For lack of better terms, engagement managers are to projects as what conductors are to orchestras – our clients, the project team and partners turn to us to know what’s next. 

How did you get to your current job position? For how long have you had it? 

I joined Oliver Wyman in 2018 as an experienced hire, after working for 10+ years in the data and analytics industry. Over that time, I’ve had the privilege of working for consulting companies, a start-up and working directly for a media company. 

How did you choose your specialisation? Were you weighing up any other alternatives before choosing this specialisation?

When I was in Year 12, I was at a crossroads about what I should study at university. My strongest two subjects were visual arts and computing studies, eg two completely different subjects that lead to polar opposite career paths. I ultimately decided to go with the IT option, as I reasoned that I could always pursue creative projects as a hobby. For the record, I have managed to fulfil this – my garage is also my make-shift pottery studio, complete with a throwing wheel and ceramic tools. 

What was your interview process like? What kind of questions were you asked?

Oliver Wyman is a global management consulting firm and has an interviewing process that is comparable to their peers. Both graduate and experienced hires can expect five interviews, made up of a combination of CV, case and presentation interviews. As I joined the Oliver Wyman Digital practice of the firm, I also completed a technical interview that included coding questions. 

What does your employer do?

Oliver Wyman works with large, prominent companies and organisations around the world to solve difficult problems that lack a clear answer. We create lasting impact by assigning teams of experts to understand and breakdown problems, then collaborate with our clients to develop solutions that change what’s possible for them, their industries and society. 

While the financial services industry makes up a large chunk of our client portfolio, we also work across the telecommunications, energy, retail and health life science industries. In addition, we dedicate a proportion of our time to social impact projects, in which we support organisations committed to improving communities and lives across the globe.

What are your areas of responsibility?

As an engagement manager for the Data, Technology and Analytics practice, I would typically be the most senior person on the ground daily for a technology-based project. I am the person whom clients reach out to if they have any questions or concerns and am responsible for making sure the Oliver Wyman project team have what they need to deliver results. For lack of better terms, engagement managers are to projects as what conductors are to orchestras – our clients, the project team and partners turn to us to know what’s next. 

Can you describe a typical work day? What was the last thing you worked on?

I’m sure that any Oliver Wyman consultant will tell you that there is no such thing as a typical day.

I have recently worked on a project where the client wanted to launch a digital bank. Within a matter of weeks, we had to determine the functional requirements for the project, the level of effort it would take to implement each requirement, the sequence the implementation should take place, the headcount and skill sets required to do so and the high-level costings for a 24-month project. 

What are the career prospects with your job? Where could you or others in your position go from here? 

Management consulting is a career path where, literally, the world is your oyster. Our philosophy within Oliver Wyman is that we don’t hire anyone who we couldn’t reasonably see become a partner in the future. If consultants stay at the firm and have the desire to work their way through, it’s more of a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ they become a partner. 

However, not everyone wants to be a career consultant. For some, it is a great way to get exposure to multiple industries and take the time to work out what it is they want to specialise in. If consultants do choose to leave the firm, their acquired skill sets are very favourably looked upon in the market and they tend to end up in more senior positions than their counterparts who went directly into the industry.

What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now? 

If I had chosen to study a more artistic degree, I would probably be working in visual communications. 

What do you love most about your job? Which kind of task do you enjoy the most? 

The diversity of the projects and constantly being challenged. In the last 12 months I have worked across a wide variety of topics for numerous clients, with different leaders and project teams. I find the variety really exciting and you get to work with some really smart people.

What’s the biggest limitation of your job? Do you bear a lot of responsibility? Do you have to work on weekends? Are the stress levels high?

There is always a lot to do, so I need to be very savvy on how to manage my time. It helps a lot to understand where efforts spent produce the highest returns, as there are only so many hours in a day. I also have two young children, which makes the whole juggling act harder, but am extremely lucky to have a supportive husband and parents that live nearby. 

Oliver Wyman is committed to having a sustainable work-life quality for their consultants and we are very much against working on weekends. Having said that, it’s natural for stress levels to rise during crunch periods and we try to minimise this by respecting each other’s working styles and preferences, and pitching in to get the job done. 

Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?

  • Amazing work experience goes a lot further than amazing marks
  • Find someone who you’d like to be similar to in the future and ask them to mentor you
  • Everything in life has its peaks and troughs. Don’t give up just because you’re going through a trough.