This week provided a more analytic and more traditional overview of the financial and consulting industry. I enjoyed the variety and breadth of experience that the people who spoke at the lectures and with the companies we visited. I was especially excited by both the site visits at the private equity firms and Mr. Aaron Foster with Pfizer who spoke about how business analytics are used within a pharmaceutical company.
On Tuesday, Paul Toldalgi, Chairman / Co-Founder of BTA Partners gave a good overview of the differences between a hedge fund and a mutual fund. The information he provided, such as that mutual funds are not allowed to short stocks surprised me. His comments that the Frank-Dodd congressional bill represented an over regulation of the financial sector, I felt, was wrong-headed and short-sighted.
On Wednesday, the management consultant Bela Sandor lecture on small consultantcy businesses was eye-opening. I did not know that unless it is a big company, smaller consultant companies require a large number of independent contractors in order to fulfil the demands of their clients. Also, that small consultant companies need to provide niche services as opposed to large ones that are generally more generalist. That boutique consultancy businesses generally employ people with greater experience and also will work harder to satisfy the demands of the client. Larger consultancy organizations look to “stay with the client.”
The most important lessons Mr. Sandor provided were points that necessary for an independent consultant:
- Never undersell yourself
- Always know the profitability of each engagement
- Always use milestones
- Do not let customers payments slide
- Remember, they need YOU
Since I have a background in the health care industry, I found Aaron Foster of Pfizer a particularly intriguing lecturer. His background with a doctorate in biostatistics from Harvard shows the caliber of people working at one of the top pharmaceutical companies in the world. The use of analytics was helpful in understanding how companies, not just in the healthcare industry, but also in other industries use analytics to provide greater efficiency within their operations.
One of the most intriguing site visits was at 350 Technologies. I was startled to find out the amount of inefficiencies that could be cut and money saved by using real time analysis combined with historical data to better align the energy needs within a commercial building. The large scale applications for commercial buildings world wide would greatly reduce their energy needs.
I found this week the most interesting and helpful in learning of the type of companies I wish to become employed at in the future. It provided a greater view outside the traditional financial and counsultancy companies that traditionally attract MBA’s.