I recently attended an online presentation by Philips and wanted to quickly share some of the key takeaways with you. Two things are important to notice even if you are not interested in the company. Firstly, people interested in working in consulting are strongly advised to consider company internal strategy teams. Secondly, I believe that online company presentations can be at least as effective as physical ones if done right and would encourage you to attend some.
Many big companies have started to build internal Consulting teams. Hunting for such a job, however, it is important to notice that there are big differences. The combined consulting experience those teams have and their positioning within the company are two of the most important criteria one should look for. Philips clearly scores high with that respect. Jim Andrew, the head of Strategy and Innovation has 25 years of experience at BCG and is a member of the Philips Executive Board.
The presentation of the Group Strategy team started with an introduction of Jim Andrew and of the Group Strategy VP. Then, three employees of different seniority levels shared their personal experiences. During the whole session as well as during the Q&A at the end, questions could be submitted online and were answered either by one of the speakers in the video or by HR representatives in written form.
Below is a summary of some answers given to candidate questions:
- the team addresses key strategic issues across the Philips portfolio of all businesses and markets
- focus is on the strategy definition stage and the business or market executes on the strategy and tracks progress in business reviews
- a project team typically consists of members from both their team and business/markets; the number varies across projects, normally 2-4 members from their side
- you will mostly be working on one big project at a time with an average duration of 3-5 months
- on average you are asked to anticipate approximately 25% travel.
- you will be located in their headquarters in Amsterdam, but they also have a small team based out of Boston
- the team is recruited from all around the world and everyone is welcome, it currently contains colleagues from all over the globe including USA, India, China, Australia
- Philips supports relocation and VISA/work permit applications (that’s a good sell nowadays, I think!)
- candidates with a strong background in consulting, new business development or other strategy related functions are usually more successful in the interviewing process and the work they do
- candidates with no consulting background are advised to assess which strategy-relevant experiences and skills they can bring from their past experiences; a critical element is that you are a strong problem solver that can approach complex problems in a clear and structured manner
- the ideas is that you will stay in the team 2,5-3 years before moving on in the company
Overall, Philips did a great job in presenting their Group Strategy team. There are not many companies who have positioned their internal consulting unit that successfully. But there are some. So keep your eyes open for them. And more importantly, keep your eyes open for more online company presentations!