Conversation with Vivaldi Partners Group

Vivaldi PartnersI was grateful for the recent opportunity to talk with Heather Tortorello, the talent growth director at Vivaldi Partners Group.

Founded in 1999, Vivaldi Partners Group works across industries to help build strong brands, ignite innovation and drive growth by connecting business strategy with a deep understanding of changing customer contexts.

Please read the edited transcript of my discussion with Heather 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: Vivaldi Partners Group consists of three specialty practice areas:

  1. Vivaldi Partners, your strategic consulting firm;
  2. Fifth Season, your creative powerhouse; and
  3. E-Edge, your organizational engagement and change management program.

Where does Vivaldi Partners Group do the bulk of its work?

Heather TortorelloHeather Tortorello: We work across all practice areas, and a lot of times you’ll see projects that coalesce together to combine the expertise of consultants from different practice areas.

Internships allow graduates to gain exposure across all practice areas and to work within different areas of the business: change management, brand, strategy and innovation.

For full time positions, we have a strong presence within brand, strategy and innovation. There is no rotation program for full time roles, and the nature of the work will depend on who the clients are and the scope of the project. You could be working with change management or innovation and brand strategy.

Tom: Vivaldi Partners Group has worked with a diverse range of clients including companies like Lego, airbnb, BMW, Samsung, and Birkenstock.

Are graduates expected to pick an industry specialisation?

Heather Tortorello: We are a boutique firm, and so our consultants usually have a wide range of opportunities to work with different clients. If a consultant is passionate about a particular industry, we do our best to support a focus in that industry.

Tom: Vivaldi Partners Group has 9 offices globally including an office in London and headquarters in New York.

Is it possible for consultants to transfer between offices?

Heather Tortorello: Good question. The short answer is it depends. New consultants tend to stick with the office where they start to ramp up their skills.

Depending on the clients and scope of work, there is a lot of fluctuation. For example, we could have a consultant from another office working in New York for a one month or two month stay if they are assigned to a large project focused there. It depends on the situation.

Tom: What kind of training and mentoring can graduates expect to receive at Vivaldi Partners Group?

Heather Tortorello: We have a mentor program in place, which is in addition to the normal on-boarding program that we provide for graduates.

As part of the mentor program, we assign a senior partner to a handful of people on the mentor team, and we have a learning and development guideline that guides the process. The mentoring program provides individuals with coaching opportunities in order to enhance professional development.

Tom: How much partner and client contact can junior consultants expect to have?

Heather Tortorello: It’s situational. We have pretty strong track record of getting junior consultants very involved in projects. They wouldn’t be leading a meeting but they would be sitting in on it and getting exposure, allowing them to see their individual impact on the larger goal of the project.

Tom: What is the firm’s travel model?

Heather Tortorello: It depends on what the client’s needs are. We have a fluid and open schedule in that regards.

Tom: For all the ambitious young graduates out there, what would you say distinguishes Vivaldi Partners Group from other consulting firms?

Heather Tortorello: The organisation itself. Erich Joachimsthaler is the founder and CEO and brings his level of expertise.

From a company culture standpoint and brand standpoint, we give a lot of flexibility to employees that is often not available in larger firms. This is combined with the ability to work for large clients and be very involved on larger projects that may not be available at other agencies.

Tom: How many graduates is Vivaldi Partners Group looking to hire in the coming year?

Heather Tortorello: We don’t have a fixed number. We continue to look for top talent, and it depends on the work that we have and the offices that we’re looking to fill.

Tom: When is the next round of application deadlines?

Heather Tortorello: For full time roles we consistently keep our eyes out, this is an annual process. As for when the hiring takes place, it depends on need.

Interns are hired every couple of months. We are currently looking for a fall internship (undergraduate or MBA) in London.

Tom: Does Vivaldi Partners Group use the case interview as part of its recruitment process?

Heather Tortorello: Yes, for full time positions we use the case interview process.

Tom: How many interview rounds are there?

Heather Tortorello: It varies by position and office. If someone is interested we can talk them through the process in our first conversion.

Tom: What kind of candidates tend to be successful in securing a position with Vivaldi Partners Group?

Heather Tortorello: For entry level consultants, people who are excited, energetic, and self motivated tend to do well. People who tend to thrive in a fluid environment tend to be successful here.

Tom: Does Vivaldi Partners Group employ an “up or out” policy?

Heather Tortorello: No. We encourage growth and development. We don’t manage people out of the firm if they are not ready to be promoted within a set period of time.

Tom: What kind of exit opportunities have the firm’s consultants pursued in the last few years?

Heather Tortorello: There are a variety of paths. Some people go to the client side, other agencies, or to graduate school. We see a large significant trend of people coming back to the company after spending some time away.

Tom: Is there anything else that I haven’t touched on that might be useful for graduates looking to pursue a career in the management consulting industry?

Heather Tortorello: Do your research and do your homework when applying. Make sure you understand the business, the organisation and the brand. Ask lots of questions when you have the opportunity to do so.