Conversation with A.T. Kearney

AT KearneyI recently had the good fortune to communicate with Anne Burley, Director or Regional Talent Acquisition for Asia Pacific at A.T. Kearney.

A.T. Kearney is a leading global management consulting firm with offices in more than 40 countries. A.T. Kearney is a partner-owned firm, committed to helping clients achieve immediate impact and growing advantage on their most mission-critical issues.

Please read the edited transcript of my communication with Anne 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: A.T. Kearney offers a broad range of services including Analytics, Mergers & Acquisitions, Operations and Strategy.

Are graduates able to gain exposure to more than one service line?

A.T. Kearney: Graduates are encouraged to work across practices (industry and service practices) and are largely classed as Generalists until they reach the Manager or Principal level, when it is expected that they will focus on 1-2 practice areas – which can be a combination of industry and service.

Tom: A.T. Kearney has 61 offices in 40 countries. Is it possible for consultants to transfer between offices?

A.T. Kearney: Yes indeed – we have an active internal mobility programme, with opportunities being promoted on our intranet; additionally if a consultant wishes to move to a particular location for personal or professional reasons then we will, if it is feasible, accommodate that.

Tom: What kind of training and mentoring can graduates expect to receive at A.T. Kearney?

A.T. Kearney: All consultants, from junior to partner level, have a mentor with whom they have regular interactions. We have a series of formal and informal training sessions which consultants must join as part of their development – certainly the formal training. These extend from basic introduction-to-consulting workshops, to advanced excel/ppt skills, and of course regular seminars hosted by senior partners to discuss their white papers, recent interesting or topical projects, and subjects relevant to us all.

Tom: How much partner and client contact can junior consultants expect to have at A.T. Kearney?

A.T. Kearney: All projects which our junior consultants (BAs and Associates) work on involve a Partner lead and working on site at the client’s office. As such, there will always be interaction – though it will vary from being part of a larger team, to making a presentation to clients or Partners. (For stories, see:

Tom: What would you say are the typical working hours for a junior consultant at A.T. Kearney?

A.T. Kearney: 40-50 hour weeks, depending on project-needs. During critical times, the hours may be longer.

Tom: What is A.T. Kearney’s travel model?

A.T. Kearney: Consultants generally travel to their clients from Monday to Thursday, returning to their home office on Fridays.

Tom: What would you say distinguishes A.T. Kearney Consulting from other management consulting firms?

A.T. Kearney: A.T. Kearney is a partner owned Firm. That’s important because it means that our partners are invested — literally — in the firm’s success. As a result, partners take their role as mentors and coaches very seriously – that’s not something that a lot of other firms can say.

There is a lot of talk about the importance of scale in our business – and while we want and need to further grow, as a billion dollar firm with 60 offices in 40 countries we do have sufficient scale today. We actually think that our size vis a vis our peers is an advantage. Working here does NOT feel like being part of a consulting machine where everyone is just a number.

Culture: our work environment is open and friendly; we are not hierarchical and our people love working alongside our people!

Tom: How many graduates is A.T. Kearney looking to hire over the coming year? How does this compare with last year?

A.T. Kearney: In Australia, more than 10. Exact numbers are impossible to define.

Tom: When is the next round of recruitment application deadlines?

A.T. Kearney: In Australia, March & April 2016 will be the next undergrad deadlines. At MBA level, we recruit from B-schools in Europe and the US as well as locally – so deadlines vary accordingly.

Tom: Does A.T. Kearney Consulting use the case interview in its recruitment process?

A.T. Kearney: Of course!

Tom: How many interview rounds are there?

A.T. Kearney: At campus level, two rounds of 2 interviews.

Tom: What kind of candidates tend to be successful in securing a position with A.T. Kearney?

A.T. Kearney: Traditionally, students from a business/commerce or engineering background have been attracted to consulting, but we actively solicit applications from students in arts and science faculties as well. Students with good communication and teamwork skills – which we look for in interviews – are terrific, and of course the ability to be collegial and open.

Tom: What’s the most common mistake that candidates make when applying and interviewing?

A.T. Kearney: Applications: Badly formatted CVs with errors; applying to the wrong firm in covering emails/letters; missing deadline dates.

Interviewing: not preparing for the interview – which requires knowledge and understanding of case studies (a skill that can be learned); not doing some background research on our firm so that they can ask relevant questions and therefore show interest in our industry.

Tom: Does A.T. Kearney employ an “up or out” policy?

A.T. Kearney: No.

Tom: What exit opportunities have A.T. Kearney’s consultants pursued in recent years?

A.T. Kearney: A.T. Kearney alumni have pursued many diverse roles after leaving the Firm. This ranges from pursuing an MBA, starting their own business or moving into industry.

Tom: Is there any additional information that you think would be helpful for candidates but which we haven’t covered?

A.T. Kearney: We are currently recruiting for candidates for our Case Challenge and Summer Internship.

Applications are currently open on our website ( and due to close on the 14th of August. The case challenge day will be held on the 21st of August with the internship due to kick off in December and run through to February.