Conversation with Partners in Performance

Partners in Performance 5WE were grateful for the recent opportunity to talk with Amanda Melo, recruitment manager at Partners in Performance.

Partners in Performance is a global management consulting firm and we were interested to learn more about the firm and its recruitment process.

Please read the edited transcript of our discussion with Amanda below. This will be of particular interest for students and recent graduates who are looking to pursue a career in the management consulting industry.

Tom: Partners in Performance started in Australia in 1996, and is now a global consulting firm with over 300 consultants and is growing at over 30% per annum. From your website I understand that PIP serves clients in Australasia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, North America and South America. Where are your current office locations?

Amanda MeloAmanda: PIP is one of the world’s most highly regarded consulting firms and is growing quickly. The firm has a global footprint with offices in Sydney, Dublin, Johannesburg, Atlanta and Chile. PIP Consultants spend most of their time on site with the client. We enjoy being hand-to-hand with our clients which they love, and our commitment to clients lasts well after we are done on site.

Tom: PIP appears to offer a broad range of services including Coaching & Training, Operations & Maintenance, as well as Strategy. Where does the firm do the bulk of its work?

Amanda: We work with our clients on four main types of engagements:

  1. Business Improvement – We help clients to earn more, spend less, and do things more efficiently in their current operations;
  2. Sourcing – We help clients buy things better: better price, better service and better products for the job;
  3. Capital Projects – We help clients to earn more, spend less, and do things more efficiently in planned new operations; and
  4. Commercial Due Diligence – We help clients with investment decisions by identifying commercial risks & opportunities in a business and its market.

Each engagement can involve one or more of the services you mentioned.

Tom: For all of the hopeful yet discerning graduates out there, what would you say distinguishes PIP from other management consulting firms?

Amanda: We believe PIP is the best career option if you truly want to implement results, as opposed to making recommendations. Our clients value practical, implemented solutions over elegant theory or advice. At PIP, you will personally impact the client’s bottom line, you will learn how to make companies more valuable over time, you will accumulate tangible experience tied to delivering results and develop your own personal results story – a story which will help you achieve your long-term career goals at PIP or beyond. PIP people are smart, but not interested in being the smartest guys in the room. We are pragmatic, collaborative, fun and humble.

Tom: In which regions are you currently hiring?

Amanda: We are looking for graduates and post-graduates on every continent. We are looking for driven people who are passionate about results and are not afraid of rolling up their sleeves and digging in.

Tom: Can you tell me a little bit about your interview process?

Amanda: We look for strong problem solvers, and believe that the best way to assess that skill is by providing candidates with a real business problem. A qualified PIP Consultant will give you a business problem and ask you to solve it live. This allows us to better understand your ability to think on your feet, to be creative, to communicate your ideas and to drive towards fact-based answers. Additionally, we also give you the opportunity to share your challenges, deliverables and achievements from your past experiences as well as your career drivers and passions. It’s a two-way conversation, and our team of interviewers will share with you information about our business, our career path, people and culture. It’s very important to us that you understand what being a Piper means and that you get connected with our purpose and beliefs.

Tom: What’s the most common mistake that candidates make during the interview process?

Amanda: “Talk first think second”, jumping into hypothesis generation and problem solving immediately without structuring the problem or asking clarifying questions is the most common pitfall.

Tom: What kind of training and mentoring programs does the firm offer for graduates?

Amanda: All new hires receive two weeks of training on the PIP consulting toolkit and methodologies within their first month of joining. The program involves modules that have been developed by and will be presented by PIP consultants. The tools you will learn equip you to work on engagements and on the job coaching is provided by peers and Managers on every new engagement.  Within your first 3 months of employment you will shadow another peer to learn what is required in your day-to-day role; we have formalized this process and the program is ‘The apprenticeship model’. All employees are provided with a development leader (mentor) who is jointly responsible for your professional development and will help you achieve your career objectives.

Tom: What is the firm’s travel model?

Amanda: Our consultants typically work on the client site from Monday to Friday. Potential candidates should expect heavy travel days.

Tom: Does PIP employ an ‘up or out’ policy?

Amanda: PIP’s requirement for BA/Associate/Senior Associate hires is that they can exhibit the competencies to reach Manager level. Experienced Manager hires are required to achieve Associate Principal level but beyond that there is no requirement for people to move up to Principal and Director level if they prefer to stay as delivery consultants; that being said there is a clear path to Director for those who wish to pursue this career track.

PIP is a meritocracy so promotion is based on merit; there is a strong support network to help people progress in their careers; the minority who do not progress have either chosen not to do so for a period of time, for family or other personal reasons, or discover other career options for which they’re better suited, with the support of PIP’s leadership team.

Tom: Amanda, thank you for your time! I enjoyed talking to you about Partners in Performance and the recruitment process. I am sure that many aspiring consultants will find this information valuable as they consider their career options.

Well, there you have it, we hope the above conversation provides you with some useful information about Partners in Performance and its recruitment process.

If you want to learn more about PIP, you can visit the firm’s website by clicking here.

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