What it does: Global management consultancy firm
Staff stats: 400 employees across five continents
The good bits: Lots of travel and professional development opportunities
The not so good bits: Lots of travel, long hours
The Partners in Performance story
Skipp Williamson was told by her high school career adviser that she should set her sights on an occupation as a builder’s labourer. Confident that her path was meant to take a different turn, Skipp studied engineering and earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Auckland. She continued her education by obtaining a Masters in Engineering from MIT before completing yet another Masters (in Organisational Behaviour) at Oxford. After working for McKinsey & Company for five years, Skipp launched her own consultancy firm, Partners in Performance (PIP), in 1996.
Skipp’s first big client, UK Paper, was rapidly losing money at the time when she took them on. After agreeing to a deal where she would only get compensated if she turned the business around, Skipp’s consulting expertise paid off big time. Within nine months UK Paper was generating US $100 million and 15 months later it was successfully sold.
It wasn’t easy for a small New Zealand company that started with six employees to compete in the tough management consulting industry, but thanks to its pay-on-results business model, clients took notice and hopped aboard the PIP train. PIP grew rapidly and attracted blue-chip clients across Australasia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, North America and South America. Today, PIP works with clients across many different industries, including oil and gas, healthcare, retail, pulp and paper, financial services, chemicals and airlines.
PIP differentiates itself by emphasising agility, sustainability and transparency. Its consultants don’t just make recommendations, but work with their clients to deliver fully implemented results. PIP is decentralised, with offices around the world but no set headquarters. Consultants often spend time working on-site with clients.
Because of its global reach, PIP employees are exposed to all kinds of cultures and the company celebrates diversity and acceptance. Indeed, its founder and CEO is something of role model, having being named one of the top 50 LGBTI business leaders in the Australian Financial Review BOSS magazines in 2016.
PIP promotes an all-encompassing ‘No Harm’ policy, which aims to build a culture of accountability to “safety, the environment and our people”.
The recruitment process
PIP seeks out strong academic performers who are passionate individuals. Candidates should demonstrate the analytical, communication, interpersonal and problem-solving skills that are required to success at PIP.
Applying to PIP requires applicants to upload a cover letter, CV and university transcripts to the company website. If PIP feels there is potential for a match, an ‘enrolment’ phone interview occurs. Three interviews follow for those passing the phone screen. PIP’s goal is to make the interview process as realistic as possible, with candidates required to provide advice to a hypothetical business during each round. Information on how to prepare for a PIP interview can be found on the company’s website.
Base salary is above the industry average. All travel expenses are covered.
You’ll be paired with a development leader and go through an apprenticeship programme upon joining the company, and there is a strong emphasis on mentorship and coaching to help newer team members feel confident and a part of the team. The apprenticeship programme is designed to help new consultants utilise PIP’s management consulting toolkit before they dive into their first projects. Some regions also have ‘Summer Camp’ for professional development. Promotions are up for consideration following biannual performance reviews. At the start of employment with PIP, you’ll be encouraged to define career goals with a timeline for desired achievement.
Overall satisfaction rating among grad employees: 4.2 stars
From the employer:
"PIP is a unique and dynamic management consulting firm that delivers big, rapid, sustainable results for clients. Our firm was built around the simple premise that clients are looking for bottom line results, not ideas that may or may not be implemented. We deliver this by partnering with clients and by coaching them in real time, to create measurable and sustainable results.
What makes PIP different is that we make continuous improvement a way of life. We build businesses to make them transparent and easy to manage. At PIP, diagnostics and problem solving are only part of the job. We drive harder and faster than anyone else – pace of execution is paramount. We have a toolkit of unique methodologies which we ‘hard-wire’ into the business.
From our start in 1996 to today we have grown to 400 employees globally with a presence on 5 continents. We currently service blue chip clients across all of the major sectors, working at the C suite level right down to the shop floor. Our clients are industry leaders and blue chip organisations based around the world. Whilst we are best known for our work in mining and resources, PIP has expanded into new sectors including travel & tourism, airlines, chemicals, manufacturing, retail, financial services and Government.
Our “noble purpose” is to Unleash Potential – one person, one result, one organisation at a time. This is what drives us to get out of bed in the morning – it defines our firm and guides our thinking.
At PIP you will learn the traditional management consulting toolkit plus the PIP business transformation methodologies. You will have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of formal and informal training through-out your career. From day 1 you’ll be allocated a development leader who has the responsibility to ensure that you’re learning and progressing at PIP and who reports in twice annually on how you are tracking. Joining PIP will see you gain all the skills you need to position yourself for a future leadership role.
To be a successful PIPer, you not only need to be an outstanding academic performer, but also dynamic, passionate and prepared to roll up your sleeves and work inside our clients’ businesses. You need to care about people and developing them, as coaching is a big part of our success."