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I graduated from Liverpool University with a degree in Geography in 1999, and seeking variety while I decided what I wanted to do long term with my career, I began my management consultancy career at ...
Kirsty Nethersell, Partner
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Home > Careers > Our People > Will Rivers
When and why did you join?
I joined the firm three and a half years ago. I joined, really because in the first instance I saw some Berkeley guys working out at a global energy major. I was working there with a large consultancy. I saw these guys, they were respected, they were hardworking, they were clearly very good – but there was only a small handful of them and what was really impressive was the fact that they were an integral part of the senior management team there, whereas the other consultancies, including our own, were separate to the management team – we were in there providing a service, but it didn’t feel like we were so well integrated. And that impressed me. From there, I ultimately made my way here.
For most of us, we come in with around 10 years experience under the belt – some more, some less. And in that first part of your career, what you’re learning are the technical skills that allow you to do your job; the ability to manage projects, the ability to understand business process, the ability to develop powerful presentations. All those are very technical skills. Really once you get there, the assumption is that you’ve got that as a foundation and really what you’re trying to do is then go above and beyond that to much more the softer skills, around really developing relationships with senior business people and really helping them through challenging periods, really learning how to lead a disparate group of people who might be from big consultancies, as well as clients own staff.
How are we different?
Probably the most tangible thing, other than that we’re small, and we’re a bit different in the nature of work that we do, is probably the style. Whilst we are professional, hopefully, we don’t attempt to do anything other than be good, nice, trustworthy people. We behave in that way with our clients; we behave in the way with them that we would with each other. So I think a lot of it comes down to style – we just try to be nice, easygoing, friendly people, serious about helping the client, serious about problem solving etc. We just try to bring that natural demeanour in, rather than anything robotic or formulaic which quite often with some of the big consultancies, because they have so many different staff, try and formalise and formulate and really try and replicate, and that’s just not who we are.
Most satisfying project?
So probably actually it’s the most recent experience, working with an international airline. They’re going through a large, systems-lead business transformation programme. Getting rid of their existing, old legacy systems, bringing in new systems, but at the same time taking the opportunity to really enhance their passenger services – everything from reservation through check-in through in-flight services.
A lot of us are of an age where we’ve got young families, and we’ve come from a background of a lot of international travel or a lot of travel with consulting, which is part of the business. I guess here the important thing here is you get a bit of choice; there is always an opportunity to pass up the work because it doesn’t fit family circumstances. I think the most important thing is the choice of what you do and where you do it is important. The second thing is that we are really open and honest and clear with the expectations that we set with clients, that we don’t think it’s right or healthy for them or for us to try and be super human in terms of working ridiculously long days, on weekends or holidays. What we try and say is actually the right thing for you and for us, is to try and keep that balance right and deliver a sparklingly good job, but ultimately in the long term it’s better for everyone if we can do that in a manageable way – interestingly, whilst the client is paying money and they want to get what they pay for, they really respect that and on the whole it’s quite effective.
For me there is really only one highlight, and it’s the Athletics Club, which despite the name, has nothing to do with athletics! I came in as a complete wine novice, knowing not really even where the Rhone Valley even was (which is in Southern France), knowing very little about wine and joined the Athletics Club. And now I know a little bit about wine, but I’ve had a great time trying to find out that little bit.
So if you’re like me, you’re thinking that consulting is something you want to continue to do – maybe not for the rest of your career, but certainly for a good period of time – then I think coming here is a fantastic way to avoid some of the shackles of the big consultancies; the bureaucracy, the ladder climbing. Here you can focus just on doing a good job, developing some of those really tough to develop skills, and also you’ll start to develop your own relationship network.
With a degree in Management and a Masters in Marketing from the University of Manchester, Will began his career in industry and consulting. Starting out with Tesco PLC, before moving on to KPMG Advisory, Will has worked across both the private and public sectors, his focus on strategy and large scale transformation programmes. In 2008 with plenty of consulting experience behind him, Will made the transition to The Berkeley Partnership to take on a huge variety of interesting work.
Since then, Will has completed a number of challenging projects, from developing a strategy for an international sports bookmaking and gaming business, to building and running a pan-European service delivery function. These projects have given Will the opportunity to take an independent approach to his work and develop his expertise significantly.
1. No pigeonholes or comfort zones. The chance to stretch yourself in different roles across a variety of assignments and industry sectors.
2. More time consulting, less time selling. At Berkeley we focus on the quality of our work and the client relationships we build. Sales naturally follow from that.
3. We stay connected. Most of our clients are in London, but for those who do travel more widely we keep you connected to the firm through regular social activities and firm wide updates.
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