Sean Holland on Working at Deloitte in Government and Public Sector Consulting

If you give a student an avocado, there’s no telling what they will do with it!

Sean Holland is someone with a great passion for public service, which began at a very young age. Since second grade, Sean believed that he would go to law school and become a lawyer or diplomat. This interest manifested itself in participating in Model United Nations when Sean was in high school and attending George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs in 2016, majoring in Political Science. After Freshman year, however, Sean discovered his love for economics and statistics and their application to real world problems. 

Returning from his study abroad in Vienna his Junior year, Sean decided to apply for management consulting internships, as he knew many friends who were interested in the same field and felt that this unique opportunity could challenge and excite him. Sean did alright during the behavioral interview portion of his management consulting interviews, but fell short during the case interview process and did not receive an offer that summer. Going into Junior year with no summer internship, Sean knew that he would have to be productive somehow and took the summer to explore his interests and write about them. Sean learned how to code in R and wrote articles for Medium focused on statistics and analytics. Sean further differentiated himself by adding a comical undertone within his writings. Over the summer, Sean even had one of his articles on forecasting avocado prices published on Medium’s Towards Data Science site, which gained an incredible readership.

Armed with a summer of self-study and a portfolio of impressive research, Sean went through the Fall recruiting process his Senior year, and landed a Business Analyst position at Deloitte Consulting, specializing in government and public sector work. Sean credits landing the job to owning some of the best advice he received from his career counselor. Sean’s counselor told him to never underplay his achievements and to always convey his experiences in a positive light. To go into his interviews not with the perspective of having a summer with no internship, but a summer filled with enriched learning. 

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Sean adeptly describes a consultant’s role as providing subject matter expertise and a specific know-how to provide solutions to problems. Government consulting, specifically, aims to help a government agency create a vision for where they want their agency to be and works to create a roadmap for how the agency can achieve this. Although government agencies might have an in-house IT shop or finance department, these agencies often don’t have specific strategic departments that have a broad overview of all departments. As a consultant coming in, they would have the comparative advantage of working across multiple divisions and having a particular expertise that is missing. Government engagements also tend to be longer than commercial ones — often lasting several years — as consultants help along the journey from formulating strategies to advising on implementation. 

Sean’s current project involves transforming budget management processes and best practices in a new defense agency. His day-to-day, like every consultant, varies greatly. On any particular Monday morning, Sean sits in on a “Stand Up” call with task leads to go over project details and developments. Afterward, he might meet with his team’s client to review some data that he has analyzed in a deck, take notes during a team brief, or help his team and project leads keep track of a lot of moving pieces related to the project. Sean would describe his work as a balance between both project management and strategy work for his team. As an analyst, his role is to mainly observe and support the vision Deloitte aims to create. Sean makes a point of mentioning that, although consulting can be high stress, he feels reassured that his work doesn’t have to be perfect the first time, but he has to show signs of improvement in what he does- advice every perfectionist should take to heart. 

Sean notes that the most compelling part of his work is getting to interact with people who are on top of their game in terms of expertise. He goes further by mentioning that consulting attracts people who are used to working in teams and comfortable with hard work- those who are smart and comfortable working in teams naturally gravitating to the work. At Deloitte, Sean has met consultants who come from every background, from MBA grads to mathematicians to even former WNBA players.

In relation to challenges, Sean admits that consulting in the virtual world can be difficult in terms of feeling like you belong with a team you have never met before. Additionally, the learning curve can be pretty steep in terms of creating decks or analyzing data with expert precision. It is easy to get overwhelmed, yet the remedy for this is to realize that everyone has been in the same position at some point and that it is expected that you will need some time to learn; the benefits of hiring someone young is in being able to shape that person’s development to fill a special skill. 

Looking towards the future, Sean is excited by the prospect of employing rigorous statistical methods to solve policy questions and aid in better decision-making within his work. Sean believes that work similar to this is the next frontier for consulting, where data is the most critical driver in supporting decision making. 

For Sean, it seems that personal future possibilities are endless, as he continues to become persuaded by a variety of opportunities. Looking into the distance, Sean can see his life going in many different directions including attending law school and fulfilling his childhood dream, getting his MBA and working at Google, or maybe even staying at Deloitte forever!

“There are so many experiences to be had and so many opportunities out there. It’s hard to say what the future really holds.” 


Aline Kolankowski on Working at Accenture in Management Consulting

Learn all about work in the Talent and Organization / Human Potential practice.

Aline Kolankowski is a woman of many talents and persuasions. She is a hot sauce and pickle maker as well as a Peloton rider in her spare time and, from a work perspective, a management consultant at Accenture. Needless to say, Aline succeeds at whatever she puts her mind to. 

Aline graduated from Gettysburg College with a concentration in computer science and a major in biology, yet entered the workforce working as a systems manager at American Express, where she worked for 13 years. From there, Aline worked at both Honeywell and CBS in Human Resources, before getting let go from her job in 2009.

Aline took this time to step back and re-evaluate her life trajectory – she even had a brief stint as a realtor, yet quickly realized this wasn’t a good fit. It was during this period that Aline pivoted to doing contract consulting and instantly fell in love with the type of work. After blindly applying online through Accenture’s job portal, she landed a job there as a management consultant manager working within the Talent and Organization / Human Potential practice. Through her work at Accenture, Aline has learned an incredible amount, including everything from cyber security and Salesforce to what the workforce of the future will look like. 


Aline describes her work as building and managing relationships with her clients, vendors, and team in order to facilitate achieving goals. A day of work for Aline is dynamic- right now she is working through “hyper care” or post go-live support for her project at a large pharmaceutical company. Her objective is to ensure that their client hits all of their targets and she ensures this by having regular calls with them to go through open issues to get things resolved. Aline also meets with her business and technical teams, developing business requirements and solutions for her clients. Overall, Aline works to manage risks and juggle priorities, all while updating her clients on all of the above. When there is even a brief period in her day, Aline tries to fit in training and skill-building to keep herself sharp. Accenture consultants are encouraged to work on “plus one” projects that can help them gain experience and exposure to the extensive Accenture network. 

Aline notes that the most compelling aspect of her work is the relationships she is able to build with her clients and team. She mentions a specific change management project she worked on with a Mid-Western technology company. Through this project, Aline was personally able to widen the depth and breadth of her knowledge, while making a significant impact on the company she was working with. She learned how to get employees engaged and involved as well as how to motivate people to see a different perspective through communication, tools, training, and interventions. Achieving the outcome doesn’t always come easy, however. Relationship building and aligning everyone in the right direction are some of the biggest challenges that Aline faces in her work, especially when she feels that everything is moving in the right direction until everything quickly begins to unravel again. Nevertheless, getting to see the outcome of her work – changing the way people do things – is what fascinates Aline and keeps her motivated in what she does. 

Not only her clients do her clients motivate her, but the opportunity to step into a senior management position is also what engages Aline, as she is excited by the prospect of being able to lead more projects and take on more responsibility.

When asked about the best professional advice someone has ever given to her, Aline recalls a time when she had to speak to all of her American Express HR colleagues, yet was anxious to do so. Aline remembers one of her colleagues reassuring her not to be nervous because she was the only person in the room that knew what she was talking about at the level of expertise.

Her biggest takeaway- be confident in your own knowledge.

Aline’s advice for those looking to pursue a profession in consulting is to realize that it often seems glamorous, however, it’s much more work than glamour overall. Yet, despite the sleepless nights, there are so many opportunities to learn and grow, that if it’s something you are interested in, go for it and try it out. When it really comes down to it, finding meaningful work is about finding good people that you trust and value around you. Aline is eager to return to those people she has found at Accenture very soon, once face-to-face interactions and in-person client meetings are back on. In the meantime, she knows that those she needs are just a phone call away. 

Consulting Case Prep with Johnny Bui (Part II)

Want to learn quick and effective problem solving? Casing is the way to go.

Part II, here we go! If you are looking to go into consulting, case prepping, or just you’re here out of sheer curiosity as to what case prepping is, you’re in the right place! Johnny Bui and I have done our fair share of case prepping before becoming full-time consultants and we are here to give you all of the tips and tricks that we have picked up along our journeys. If you thought our case prep advice was helpful in Part I, get ready for more helpful insights right now!

General advice you would give to others on case prep?


If you don’t enjoy doing cases, this probably isn’t for you! I practiced live 10 cases a week for 3 months and loved every minute of it but I only did it because I enjoyed the challenge and relationship building part of it. Keep that in mind! Practice hard and practice often with as many different people as possible, consistently, so you learn different styles of communication, successful habits, and perspective. Even if you’ve never done a case before, you need to practice live ASAP. You don’t have to be great to start but you need to start to be great!

  • Here are some suggestions of how to do so:
    • Make a post on LinkedIn requesting for case partners and really demonstrate your competence in cases on the post so they would be compelled to work with you
    • If your career services on campus offers case prep, take advantage of that!
    • Join consulting clubs on campus to get even more experience
    • Do one market sizing case a day

So many people on LinkedIn want to give back after going through consulting case interviews: do a LinkedIn search for consulting content and scroll through to see what people have to offer. Usually it’s their consulting case books that they used! Feel free to reach out to me (Johnny Bui) as well. I have a ton. Also, reach out to alumni working in consulting for advice and resources!


When you first start out, it might be helpful to watch someone else who is proficient at “casing” first. From these videos, you can get a very good understanding of the strict methodology that you must follow in order to arrive at your conclusions. It also helps to learn from proficient casers, as you are able to pick up on the nuances they incorporate to execute a case well. 

Our Recommended Key Resources:

  • YouTube
  • Your college’s career services
  • LinkedIn community of people looking for case partners to break into consulting
  • Case and Point by Marc Consantino and Case Interview Secrets by Victor Cheng

What process did you use in order to get better at cases?


I made a post looking for case partners that did very well on Linkedin and proceeded to make a GroupMe with almost everyone that expressed interest. I set up 10 case sessions a week over the course of 3 months and consistently showed up to each session even if I got ripped apart in previous sessions. I also kept a spreadsheet with every case I had done detailing my lessons learned, what worked, what didn’t work, and areas of improvement


Johnny did such an amazing job gathering together resources and like minded individuals who were interested in pursuing a career in consulting. I was fortunate enough to be apart of this group, which helped me to find partners to case with. Make sure to create a group or join one in order to be apart of a supportive and engaged community, it will make the process all the better! Also, it’s really a numbers game. The more cases you do, the better you will become, so keep at it!

Do you have a favorite case and, if so, could you share the prompt?

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Cases are definitely not hard to come by- tons of cases a google or a page turn in your consulting book away- however, I have found these ones from Deloitte to be particularly helpful to work on, as they are tailored specifically to what you are interested in practicing. 

Personally, what was the most challenging part about case prepping?


The most challenging part is starting your first live case with someone. You might feel like trash and that you’d rather practice more before you (inevitably) embarrass yourself but it is the first step to greatness. The second most important part is creating accountability for yourself. You need to schedule weekly cases and show up. Finally, once you are in the motion of practicing cases consistently, it’s understanding how companies in different industries generate revenue, how their business models work, asking the right questions, and following the right clues. What’s great about consulting is that every day is different. This translates into cases. 


Couldn’t agree more with Johnny on these! I would also say… the shorthand math. I definitely had to brush up on my multiplication tables. I also did my research on the best methods in doing this. Just make sure to take a deep breath and count your zeros!

Was there ever a point at which you felt like you were comfortable doing cases and, if so, what did that look like for you?


Once I eventually mastered the basics, I knew that so long as I followed them, I would be in a good place if I trusted my business intuition upon understanding the prompt. After identifying the type of case and understanding what they want me to do – I could generally rely on my experiences with this type of case and this type of industry to guide me. But there would always be something different about the case. You have to learn to pay attention to detail and count every hair to see if one is out of place. Details can be tedious to sift through but you’ll learn to think fast and perceive when something is wrong. 


There is a point in time where you have this strange feeling intuitively. There is a very powerful feeling that comes along with knowing that whatever comes your way, you have a process, a procedure, and you can rely on yourself to come to a reasonable conclusion. It’s a really proud moment too. You will know when you have done enough cases. It will just feel right. If you don’t know what I am talking about, then you probably should keep prepping! 

Things that you wish you would have done differently in regards to case prep?


I wish I started sooner and did not allow my fear of underperforming hinder my confidence to take consulting seriously. I was self-conscious about what my performance would say about what I knew about business and delayed taking case prepping seriously.


Agreeing with Johnny- just start. You will be amazed how incrementally better you get with each case. Always ask for feedback at the end and keep a running list of what you did well and what you can improve upon. It’s easy to let your ego get in the way, but one of the biggest lessons that I learned from the whole process is to be comfortable with failing, so fail fast and hard, and to not let a poor math calculation or wrong answer change the way you see yourself in regards to your intelligence. 


Consulting Case Prep with Johnny Bui (Part I)

Want to learn quick problem solving? Casing is the way to go.

Like many of you reading this article, Johnny Bui and I have done our fair share of consulting case prep. We have read Case and Point by Marc Consantino, have kept an archive of cases in a folder on our desktop, and have a spreadsheet of case notes that we swear by. We know where you are coming from and we are here to help. 

So, here is a little bit about Johnny and I, two consultants, who have recently entered into the field. 

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Johnny is a recent graduate from Babson College and a current Analyst in the consulting division at Kalypso, a professional services firm. Johnny’s other accolades include being a real estate agent in Boston, Massachusetts and a recently published book author. His goals outside of college now include becoming an expert in personal finance, getting into real estate investing, and competing on American Ninja Warrior. 

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My name is Ursula and I am also a recent Babson College graduate. I am currently an Associate Consultant in Strategy and Technology at Konrad Group in New York City. I am a passionate blogger and enjoy reading Malcolm Gladwell, playing with my neighbor’s puppy Ruth, and singing in the shower. 


Ok! Now, let’s get into the good stuff! Answering the most pressing consulting prep questions!

What is the most valuable lesson that you have learned from doing consulting case prep?


A consulting case isn’t a complete replication of what an actual client project looks like. The case is fixed, meaning there is a predetermined answer and a zone of acceptable answers for the candidate. The reason why I say it’s not a complete replication is because the answers you seek can be given to you immediately, and the interviewer wants to give them to you – you just have to ask the right questions. Because this isn’t like an actual project, I’ve learned to take advantage of the format of casing and it simply comes down to mastering the basics.

That’s the lesson: master the basics.

There are strategies that I’ve leveraged to get me as close as possible into that margin of error. For instance:

  • Learn to take good notes, fast. Circle areas of the recap that raise red flags so you can then ask clarifying questions about it. (they’re there for a reason!)
  • Always recap the case and ask if you missed anything.
  • The sweet spot for clarifying questions are 3, depending on how much information they give you. Don’t ask questions if you don’t need to.
    • A good question to ask if you can’t think of anything is always about the goal or timeline of the client
  • Put together your structure and try to make the titles of your buckets as tailored to the case as possible.
  • When stuck, always recap *out loud* what you have learned to this point in the case. More often than not, saying it out loud will reveal where the case is going and what you should do next.
  • If you’re really proactive, keep a key insights section blocked off on your paper so you can record relevant information shared with you.
  • Practice doing quick math (division, multiplication, addition, subtraction) and learn tricks! This will cut down time in your interview and impress the interviewer. 
  • At the end of the case you must deliver the recommendation, followed by risks and next steps in under a minute. You’ll typically hear the prompt say: “The CEO has just entered the room, what is your recommendation?” If you have been taking physical (or mental notes) throughout the case, this should be a breeze. But you must be concise, the CEO doesn’t have a lot of time!

These are more of the technical skills you need to master. Here are some soft skills:

  • When the interviewer points out that you made a mistake, always acknowledge it. This is an opportunity to show your character.
  • Always lead the case and offer suggestions as to what you think you should do next. Whether it be a candidate-led or interviewer-led case, it’s always better to demonstrate initiative.
  • When given an exhibit, always ask for a moment before you dive head first into to interpreting it.
  • Given a long math problem, always ask for a minute to solve the problem because the last thing you want to do is lose the interviewer in your calculations.
  • Always check in with the interviewer to see if they’re following especially when you’re walking them through your thinking process.
  • When asked to brainstorm, don’t give a laundry list. Structure your answer by categories/themes and then begin listing.

rubiks-cube-removebg-previewThe consulting case is like a rubik’s cube – it’s essentially a puzzle but the answers lie within it. You start out with some relevant information which represents the specific color that you’re trying to get on that side. The rest of the case has to do with you getting as close to getting all of the colors on one side. 


It may not necessarily be a lesson, but I definitely learned the power of being able to attack a problem and needing only a paper and pen to do so. There is something so incredible about relying on your own problem solving abilities in order to achieve something. Learning just that was enough to get me onboard in learning how to case. Johnny touches on many important learning points, so as to not duplicate, here are some additional…

  • Learning how to ask good questions. When you are given so little time, you learn to prioritize what information is critical to drawing conclusions within the case. Be clear with your questions and make sure they they are exhaustive and not redundant. 
  • Learning how to think extremely generally and very specifically at the same time. Casing is all about learning what is important, what is relevant, and what is additional peripheral information. Your casing framework will help you in your discovery, but the wrong framework can lead you astray. Choose wisely!
  • Being able to overcome nerves and anxiety in order to think clearly. Casing in front of a professional- or even a friend- can be very nerve racking! With enough practice and a little bit of courage, you can make it through! When the time comes for your interview, just remember that your brain is a muscle that has muscle memory too! If you get nervous, rely on your hard work and preparation to get you through it.

Why do you think case prep is valuable for future consultants to learn?


It’s important to learn how to apply business concepts and how they play a role in real scenarios. It’s equally important to learn to ask the right questions when you’re in the field solving them as a professional. We can’t ask every question, and through case prep, we learn to prioritize good vs better questions. Future consultants must also learn how to communicate their thought process to the interviewer. Clients won’t accept your recommendations just because you say so – your credibility is paramount to the project and future clients referrals. 


In my work, I find that it’s important to look at problems holistically, then break them down, and, finally, tackle the most critical issues, which will hopefully have a trickle down effect in solving some of the smaller ones. This applies to every type of consulting- it’s essentially what consulting is! Casing allows you to adopt the mindset of always asking questions to search for the root of the problem which will lead to developing recommendations and solutions. It might be on a very small scale, but there is something to be said for someone’s ability to ace a case! Those skills apply in many different settings. 

What is the best piece(s) of advice someone has given you around case prep?


  • You’re droning on for too long
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for a moment
  • You weren’t walking me through your math
  • Talk slower


There will be a moment when you realize that you are ready. You’ll just feel it. When starting out, I thought that this would never be the case, but trust the process. Your time will come! Someone admitting to me that failure is part of the process of casing and that going through casing exercises is just awkward were also two extremely valuable statements made to me by case prep alumni. Sometimes outlining the basics can be incredibly reassuring.

You got this!

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Jacquemus, the Obsession is Real

Why I think Jacquemus should be the model for luxury retail marketing and engagement.

I was first introduced to the fashion brand Jacquemus last summer, when I was an intern at Bureau Betak, the fashion production company that is responsible for Jacquemus’s most splashy runway moments. I remember my fellow intern Cristina showing me photos of Jacquemus’s fuchsia runway and pronouncing the French designer’s name with a perfect French flair. Since seeing Simon Porte Jacquemus’s beautiful designs float through the infamous lavender field last summer, I have been captivated by the company and Simon himself- and who can forget Toutou the newest furry member of the Jacquemus team. But what was it about the brand that kept me coming back for more? It was time to do a little bit of research on Simon and all things Jacquemus to find out.

Simon Porte Jacquemus started his very first clothing line at the age of 19 years old, back in 2009, following the death of his mother, for which he named the company after- Jacquemus being her maiden name. During this time, Simon worked at the Comme des Garçons store in Paris, France to finance his business and inspire his designs. Simon’s success did not come overnight, but it did surely come. In 2014, Simon was a finalist in the running for the LVMH Prize and the next year a winner of the prize, for which he received publicity, a €150,000 check, and a yearlong mentorship. Two years later, Simon would be invited to the Maison Méditerranéenne des Métiers de la Mode to stage a catwalk in Marseille, which featured his 2018 Spring/Summer collection named “La Bomba” and was picked up by major retailers Selfridges, Moda Operandi, and Net-a-Porter. The rest is history. 

So why am I and the rest of the fashion world gushing over Jacquemus? I have a few guesses.  

First and foremost, Jacquemus’s marketing is both brilliant and sincere. 

Simon’s first ever fashion show- a staged fake “protest” outside Dior on Avenue Montaigne during Paris Fashion Week- is a testament to the marketing genius that has guided the brand’s success. Unlike with many brands and their fashion designers, Jacquemus’s Instagram account is run by Simon himself, where he often features the clothes he designs as well as photographs of his childhood modeling gigs, Instagram stories of his adorable new puppy pronouncing around his Parisian design studio, and Simon’s quirky design inspirations. Whatever Jacquemus posts is intentional, but also organic in nature. 

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All photos taken from Jacquemus’s Instagram

Jacquemus’s marketing does not bombard you with advertisements and company logos, but rather lets you in on what the brand as a whole sees, experiences, and loves. Jacquemus’s TikTok, for example, features fun and imaginative videos, such as an operational purse vending machine and Simon raking black sand in one of his iconic straw hats during a photoshoot. The feeling is anything but commercial and promotional. Through Jacquemus’s marketing presence, you get the feeling that you are on a digital media adventure, Jacquemus leading the way with whatever he finds beautiful and inspiring. 

Ready to Wear is essentially ready to wear. 

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The Jacquemus brand is all about structure, design, and simplicity in many cases. Jacquemus clothes are not crowded with logos and signature brand patterns, but are lead by tailoring, color, and texture. As a result, it is easy for the consumer to picture the clothes on themself because of their sheer “wearability”. Whereas Gucci’s ostentatious styling and larger than life embellishments can be off putting to many, Jacquemus does an expert job of keeping up with the latest trends, while still retaining a strong brand image in terms of style. Moreover, unlike many of luxury brands today, Jacquemus unapologetically features models of various shapes and sizes as well as ethnicities both on their runways and in their marketing. However, Jacquemus doesn’t scream for attention in terms of their inclusivity, its an organic integration into their brand. Jacquemus is also inclusive in terms of LGBTQ representation, as Simon frequently features himself and his boyfriend Marco Maestri on social media. There is no denying that the brand expertly balances vulnerability, creativity, confidence, and style. 

Jacquemus is about more than fashion, it’s about experience. 

In addition to selling clothes and leather goods, Simon has two volumes of photo books that he has released, the second and most recently debuted titled “Images”. The photo books feature some of Simon’s favorite images that he has taken throughout the years with his iPhone. The diversity in this product offering allow for the consumer to experience the brand even further and in a different way, truly bringing the company to life.

Simon thinks like an artist from beginning to end, making for incredibly cohesive experiences for the consumer and spectator. His 10th year anniversary show in Provence that was placed within a lavender field with a straight fuchsia runway, for example, was seen across social media and digital platforms for weeks, a truly remarkable spectacle that no one dreamt of, until now. Simon followed up this show with an equally compelling curved runway show through a wheat field located just outside of Paris. It is clear that Jacquemus is here to bring a stimulating experience in everything that they do. 

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Experiences are also reflected in their larger (or smaller) than life accessories. Simon’s Le Chiquito bag is so memorable, so fanciful, so refreshing that it was able to capture the attention of Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, and the like. Simon’s oversized Le Bomba straw hat has a similar effect, where the wearer is able to feel dramatic and fun. The Jacquemus consumer is invited to be playful, fancy free, beautiful and included in their narrative. 

Jacquemus is a brand that is constantly filled with engaging surprises. A book, a mini purse, a field of lavender, a  behind the scenes look, an imaginative photo- there is something for everyone to take a way and feel inspired by. One of the most inspiring being Simon’s life story. Coming from a small farming town in France, to building a world renowned fashion brand, Simon embodies the possibility of what it means to leverage your talents through marketing and craftsmanship to become an unstoppable force. 

 One of a kind products, one of a kind experiences, and a one of a kind brand. Jacquemus. 

Facts provided by Business of Fashion and The Cut


CEO Sit Down: MetaLogic Consulting with Rayan Goyal

A company providing creative machine learning and data science solutions for the world.

There is no question that machine learning and artificial intelligence have become a crucial component in business today. As companies collect more and more data, these tools have been deployed to help businesses derive meaningful insights and support business decisions. Having worked in the manufacturing sector, Rayan and Aditya quickly realized the need for sophisticated analytics in this industry and, after graduating from Babson College this past May, Rayan and Aditya started their own data science driven consulting firm MetaLogic Consulting. MetaLogic Consulting provides tailor-made, data driven solutions to manufacturing companies across the American Midwest and beyond. I had the privilege to sit down with one of the CEOs Rayan Goyal to learn more about how their company is making a serious impact driven by data.

Rayan, tell us about yourself!

Hey! I’m Rayan, and I am from Chennai, India. Growing up, I always had a passion for numbers and mathematics, which eventually led me to concentrate in Computational Finance and Data Analytics at Babson College. I also grew up in a very business-oriented environment, and so I have always wanted to start my own company. As soon as I graduated from Babson, my roommate Aditya Kaushika and I co-founded MetaLogic Consulting, which is a company that provides machine learning and data science solutions for primarily American manufacturing firms. 

What was the inspiration behind starting your consulting practice MetaLogic Consulting and what differentiates your company from other consulting firms?

After working for multiple manufacturing companies in the Midwest and in India, Aditya and I realized that there was a lack of sophisticated analytics being implemented in large corporations that you would expect to have top-level analytics. We realized that most data scientists tend to flock to the east or west coast, leaving this huge untapped market in the Midwest. So, we came up with the idea of creating a machine learning and data science consulting company that specifically targets manufacturing companies in the Midwest. 

To your second question, there are multiple factors that differentiate us from other consulting companies. As I mentioned before, we are targeting an industry and a market that tends to be ignored by large consulting firms. Also, we have an entire dedicated team that works on each project that we are hired for, which is very different from the “one consultant” approach that is standard in the industry. Furthermore, we not only provide end-to-end solutions, but we also tailor-make our services to unique customer requirements. 

Photo by Pixabay on

What is the mission and ethos of your company?

Broadly speaking, our mission is to help companies derive the most out of their data. You’d be surprised to know how many companies there are out there that collect a ton of data but don’t really do much with it. Our goal is to help them use this data in meaningful ways to grow, expand profits, and realize returns.

What is the greatest challenge that you have experienced in starting your new business?

I think that the biggest challenge that we encountered was that we had to repurpose our fundamental data science and machine learning knowledge to fit the different tools used by different companies. To be more specific, we had to re-learn, in a way, how to do what we do using the different softwares and environments that are used by various companies.

What makes machine learning and artificial intelligence so critical to business in today’s world?

At MetaLogic, we have always said that machine learning and artificial intelligence are no longer luxuries but are necessary to stay competitive in today’s business world. Let me give you a very simplified example to explain what I mean. Assume that you are a widget manufacturer that has only one machine. After using the machine for a year straight, it breaks down for two weeks. During these two weeks, you have an increase in costs (repairs and maintenance), a decrease in revenue (no inventory to sell), and a newly-developed perception of being unreliable. 

To prevent all these things from happening, your company could have used a machine learning algorithm that tracks your machine usage data and tells you when you need to repair it or how to use it optimally to prevent breakdowns. Now, this is a very simplified example, but the point is that as businesses and processes get more complex, there are countless opportunities for machine learning and data science to help improve efficiencies. This is especially true if companies want to stay ahead of the curve and be competitive. 

Photo by Markus Spiske on

What is one thing that you wish more people knew about data science?

I think that there is a preconceived notion that data science, and machine learning specifically, is a field that is very complicated and overwhelming. A lot of executives only think of autonomous cars or highly sophisticated concepts when they think of machine learning, which, in turn, makes them feel like it is not applicable to their business. But, in reality, data science can be applied to the simplest of tasks at almost every single company in the world that collects data. 

What about the future excites you?

I believe that the future is very exciting for data science as a whole. More companies are understanding the value in implementing machine learning and data science within their firms. This not only means a larger market for us but also leads to more deliberate and interesting decisions taken by companies across the board. 

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Five Ways Rimowa has Re-imagined Itself

Alexandre Arnault’s re-imagination of a classic brand: Rimowa.

Photos taken from Rimowa’s Instagram Account

The Retail and Luxury Goods Conference at Harvard Business School (HBS) has always been an event that I look forward to every year. I come away from the conference having learned so much from the esteemed panel of speakers HBS invites and a notebook full of insights from the event. This year, the conference’s keynote speaker was Rimowa‘s CEO and President Alexandre Arnault. At just 26 years old, Arnault became the CEO of Rimowa in 2017, when the company was taken in by the LVMH group. Despite being acquired at a lofty €800 million valuation, Arnault had his work cut out for him in transforming a classic luggage brand into a modern item for Millenial and Gen Z consumers. In just three years, Arnault has completely reimagined the company, while still retaining its core identity in superior luggage craftsmanship and design. So, what has Arnault done and how has he done it? In his keynote speech, Arnault addressed a few critical decisions he made which have helped Rimowa become even more successful in the 21st-century retail marketplace.

1) New Leadership Style 

Throughout his presentation, Arnault stressed the fact that he wanted to transform the brand’s internal identity from a traditional corporate management system to operating like a start-up. First, he emphasized the importance of everyone within the company identifying as a team, using “we, not I”. This group mentality allows for every stakeholder to take ownership of the successes and failures of the business as a whole. This attitude also helps to instill greater collaboration, unity, and trust within company culture. Arnault also implemented the practice of “engage. disagree. commit.,” meaning that decisions within the company are allowed to be challenged and disagreed upon, however, once a decision has been made, everyone must commit fully to its implementation. Similarly, this practice helps to focus and motivate employees towards a common goal, despite differences of opinion. The three other targets Arnault focuses on are “move fast and light, be design driven, and embrace the unknown,” core goals clearly tied to the Rimowa brand. 

2) New Products and Collaborations

One of Arnault’s most defining features to the outside world is his age- at only 26 years old, Arnault began leading over a half a billion-dollar company. However, Arnault’s age just might be his greatest benefit. Arnault has the ability to understand the current and next generation of consumers. It was this insight that motivated him to increase the number of product launches Rimowa has per year. Rimowa’s number of new launches per year went from 8 in 2016 to a staggering 28 in 2019 per year. Rimowa has partnered with high-end and exclusive brands such as Supreme,- whose collaboration sold out in 16 seconds– Dior, and Moncler on these new product releases. Rimowa’s luggage is easily identifiable through design elements, such as its ribbed exterior shell, hard casing, and signature wheels. Therefore, this luggage provides a blank canvas for collaborating designers to express their own brand’s uniqueness, while still ensuring consumers know its a Rimowa product first and foremost- a clear win-win for both parties. 

3) Revamped Brand Identity, but Retained Differentiator

Rimowa also went through a complete rebranding, some major changes being a redesigned logo, a new website, and a new slew of brand ambassadors, such as tennis star Roger Federer and the top model Adwoa Aboah. These changes have helped communicate a message to the world that Rimowa is now on the cutting edge and you should be paying attention. One thing that Arnault has made sure not to tamper with, however, is Rimowa’s classic design and craftsmanship, which is what retains the company’s true brand value. You can easily tell a Rimowa piece of luggage coming down the luggage shoot from any other black canvas rollie being churned out. 

4) Celebrity Endorsementsscreen-shot-2020-08-23-at-3.27.24-pm

Along with Rimowa’s new face has come new endorsers of the brand. Huge celebrities like basketball player LeBron James, Louis Vuitton’s artistic director Virgil Abloh, and Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, to name a few, have jumped on board in representing the company. The diversity in these high-achieving celebrities is especially key, demonstrating the luggage’s appeal to just about everyone who can dream big. Arnault notes that his focus on marketing, and especially social efforts, has paid off, given that their Instagram account has grown from having 38,000 followers in 2016 to 402,000 in 2019. What was once seen as an expensive piece of luggage is now a marker of adventure, status, achievement, and much more. 

5) Labor and Distribution Changes

Lastly, Arnault notes that it was the major restructuring that took place that helped the company achieve significant gains within the retail marketplace. In terms of labor, Rimowa cut the number of people required for production and reallocated jobs to retail services, as a result of the company opening 77 new stores over the past 3 years. Additionally, a drastic evolution in their business model, going from uncontrolled wholesale to a precise retail operation, is one way the company achieved more financial stability. Arnault saw that the company needed greater control over their product and restructured its channel mix, providing only 25% of its product to wholesale compared to 75% previously, increasing retail distribution to 68% from 25%, and increasing e-commerce sales to 7% from 0%. Changes to the labor and channel mix have definitely paid off, resulting in an increase in annual revenue from 443 million in 2016 to 455 million in 2019. 

All things considered, it will be interesting to see what Rimowa’s next move is in adapting to the retail challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has raised. With traveling being drastically reduced and normal jet setting taking a pause, spending on luggage in the foreseeable future will take a major decline. Yet, one way Rimowa has shown to be adapting to the limitations of such a niche product is through product differentiation, having recently launched its own eyewear range. Looking back on all of the flexibility Rimowa displayed and changes it has been able to make over the past few years, although the future seems uncertain, I hope Rimowa is here to stay- and I think it will be.

The information and numbers shown in this article are derived from the keynote slides presented at the HBS Conference.