Consultants who join us should expect a highly formal career management process. We try to operate as a large consulting firm with clear processes since it has been shown to lead to a sense of stability among consultants—they know what to expect and how to succeed.
We use titles for all our consultants (which is not always the case at other consulting firms):
- Managing Director
- Vice President
- Senior Engagement Manager
- Engagement Manager
- Junior Engagement Manager
- (Senior Associate)
- Senior Business Analyst
- Business Analyst
A recent undergraduate will join as a Business Analyst. A person with a graduate degree will typically join as an Associate.
Promotions are linked to performance and skills, not to tenure. A Business Analyst with superior performance can quickly become an Engagement Manager. On average, it will take 4-7 years from joining to reach the Vice President level.
Our firm uses the up-or-out philosophy. This means that consultants have to progress up the career ladder or they will be asked to leave at some point in time.
We have a multi-module approach to training that ensures consultants continue learning throughout their entire career at Canback. Our consultants begin training from their first day at the firm and complete a mini group project by the end of their second week. Continuous learning includes project management and client development modules and spreads over 6 years.
We run formal training sessions for new hires. Topics include:
- Excel skills (much more advanced than what people joining us know from before)
- PowerPoint skills and firm formatting (the ability to quickly create high quality slides and decks is highly valued)
- Basic statistical analysis (we use Stata for many of our analyses. We don’t expect every consultant to be a statistics expert, but they should know the basics of regression analysis, time series analysis, and pooled models)
- Story-lining (how to create a compelling narrative that people understand rather than presenting a collection of analyses)
- Team work and office etiquette (what is expected of project team members and how to behave in a responsible manner)
We also run training sessions every second Friday. The topics are determined based on recent client experiences. Each consultant will lead a session, regardless of tenure. This is also a way to build presentation skills.
We hold semi-annual performance reviews. For these reviews, senior consultants evaluate each consultant’s performance and skill-building needs based on a 6-page form. The form is then discussed with the consultant so that learning can be maximized. The reviews are used to make base salary and bonus adjustments as well as deciding on promotions. Further, the same form is used on each project to make sure feedback is timely.
Each year we hold a corporate retreat for four days (firm performance permitting). The previous destinations included Puerto Rico in 2014 and Iceland in 2015. The purpose is to let consultants get to know each other better on the one hand, and to hold a few work sessions around long-term planning and client development issues on the other.