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I graduated from University College London (UCL) in 2013 with a Starred First Class BSC in Economics. Following a number of investment banking internships, which didn’t quite incite the excitement I w...

Sitara Kurian-Patel, Consultant

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Letter from America #2

Letter from America #2

As we enter the second Berkeley financial year with a US operation, partner Neil McClumpha provides an update on how things are progressing and some insights into the differences of living on the ‘other side of the pond’.

Take two

At the time of writing “Letter from America #2” we are entering the second Berkeley financial year with a US operation. The outset of this financial year is markedly different to the first. For starters, we have established a US legal entity. We have office premises and a registered Manhattan address. We have worked with five fascinating US clients over the last year, which represents a 500% increase in clients since day one of our US operation! So, all in all, a very pleasing start to our US adventure, and a second year of operation that will no doubt bring some rather different challenges.


Unsurprisingly, the principle challenge will be one of growth, and ensuring growth at the right pace. We will of course need to unlock the local recruitment market to do that, and have made some good inroads to date. The recruitment pipeline is strengthening and fortunately our offer appears to resonate well with our target market. Inculcating future local hires into the Berkeley operating model whilst providing them the opportunity to shape and evolve a culture that is right for the US market will be a delicate balancing act, but one that will be intriguing to be part of.

Circus acts

Whilst contemplating growth, thoughts naturally turn to the local political and economic landscape and recent events well debated by the media. If you thought the media circus surrounding the US presidential election was something to behold, from a political perspective the theme looks set to continue with high wire acts, catching bullets and lion taming aplenty.  I’m convinced it will only be a matter of time before the bearded lady makes an appearance!  However, most businesses appear to want to crack on and so far, the economy is still growing.

Head in the clouds

On a brighter note, we’ve experienced our first full summer in New York. The two most talked about aspects of a New York summer appear to be rooftop bars and Camp. If, like me, you spend most of your time in the city craning your head skywards, summer is an opportunity to not only look but venture upwards, as the rooftop bars offer a welcome break from the oppressive heat at street level and afford amazing vistas. Everyone has their favorite rooftop bar from which to grab a front-row seat of the city’s skyline; from the quirky Mexican taqueria perched on top of the Pod 39 hotel in Midtown; to the yuppie set (do we still have those?) who flock to Le Bain on top of the Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District; to the hipsters (we definitely still have those!) who hang out at the spectacular Westlight Bar in the Wythe hotel in Williamsburg.

Summer outsourcing

If you baulk at the cost of a rooftop cocktail, then I counter that with a four letter word; C-A-M-P. Anyone with school age kids will be familiar with the pre-holiday fixation of how to entertain their little darlings over the impossibly long summer holidays. My children had eleven weeks off; yes eleven! There’s a camp for absolutely everything you can think of; sports, arts & crafts, dance, technology, adventure, yet the choice is almost paralyzing, as are the costs! We recently encountered some parents who sent their kid away for seven weeks in the summer. That’s outsourcing in my book; it might be near-shoring, but it’s outsourcing all the same!

“Back to school” is looming for us all however, and next year’s curriculum is set to be a busy one. I’ll file a report card for the next unspun. Until then…


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