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Mark Thirlwell

Consultant, UK

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Mark Thirlwell

Consultant, UK

Connect on Linkedin

1What’s different about Berkeley for our clients?

Because we only have experienced consultants at Berkeley, we work a bit differently to other consultancies. Generally, a small number of us will work with our clients in key roles, rather than bringing a big team of our own. I find this makes us feel a real part of the client’s team, rather than a separate entity, which can be the case with consultants. I really enjoy working this way, and at the end of the day, it is the client’s own people who understand their business best and are the ones that are going to be running it after we have finished our work. 

Another key difference is that we can be flexible to make sure what we’re doing is the right thing for the situation and for the client, even if that means changing tack. Finally, we don’t have individual internal targets; our performance appraisals are only based on how well we do on our client work, not sales or ‘utilisation’ targets – which I have found our clients like as it makes sure we’re focused on doing a good job for them!

2What’s been your favourite assignment and why?

My favourite assignment has to be doing an independent review of Starling Bank’s technology platforms and capabilities on behalf of an investor when they were in their early days. They were at a pivotal point - developing their own application and platform and seeking to get their ‘unrestricted’ banking licence to become a fully-fledged bank. It was great to work with such an inspiring team with such clarity of vision. Having worked with a lot of more traditional banks it was really interesting to see how they were using innovative approaches to solve familiar problems…. and some new ones. Since then, it’s been fantastic to witness their success.

3What are your values and how have they informed your career?

There’s nothing like becoming a parent to make you really think about what your values are, so you have some hope of passing them on to your children. (I have a daughter, Isla, and a son, Finley.) None of these are revolutionary, and many can be found on fridge magnets, but I’ve found them helpful both in my career and personal life.

  1. Treat everyone you interact with well, not just the people you think will benefit you
  2. Try your hardest at everything you attempt
  3. Be genuine…be as confident in what you don’t know as what you do, and if you make a mistake, own it.
  4. Do what is right, not what is expedient.

All of these have informed my career and the way I work in one way or another. I’ll know some of the answers, but not all of them, but I can usually find a way of working with others to get there.