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Vault’s Verdict

OC&C appears to be enjoying a period of strong growth within the US at present, with its New York office hiring at a rapid pace. This indicates that a firm that has historically been better known in Europe—and particularly its home country of the UK—may finally be gaining recognition on this side of the pond for its impressive strategic abilities.

Of course, economic cycles also play a part in the firm’s ability to grow. There are several insiders at OC&C who are nervously keeping an eye on the macro picture; a sensible precaution given its still-small headcount and reliance on shorter-term strategic projects.

As an employer, meanwhile, OC&C seems to be well thought-of by insiders, who love the opportunity to do “pure” strategy work—as opposed to longer-term management consulting relationships—as well as the firm’s tight-knit culture and commitment to career growth. For those looking for a pure strategy player, OC&C may well be one to consider. 

Firm Culture

“Although our firm has grown substantially, it still feels like it has the tenacity of a boutique trying to make its name in the market. We have the structure and capabilities of a larger organization while providing ample opportunities for junior staff to have their thoughts heard by the most senior members of the client team, as in a start-up.”

“Fast growth and many opportunities on a range of interesting projects.”

“OC&C's small size in the US but large size internationally is entirely unique among consulting firms. The small US size really does matter for culture and day-to-day working; I know every person at the firm personally which is important when starting on a new project with new team members every few weeks. The large international size doesn't matter much on a day-to-day basis, but it has allowed us to land clients that are impressively well-known given the size of the firm (example clients: Unilever, Hilton, General Mills, Warburg Pincus).”

“The culture […] stems from that fact we are a true partnership committed to building something for the long term. It permeates through the entire firm, where everyone is aligned in helping the firm to succeed by helping each of us individually to succeed. It's a very rewarding environment in which to work.”

“We have a bunch of really cool people who are not afraid of showing their true color. Everyone is super down to earth and willing to support other people, and the senior team is super invested in the junior team's professional growth. And you can easily become really close friends w/ your colleagues--I go on vacation with my work friends very regularly.”

Quality of Life

“Best: OC&C is not a travel firm, at least not in the U.S. We have practically no client travel and only infrequent travel between our two offices (NYC and Boston). Once you have been with the company for over a year, you are able to take unpaid leave in addition to paid leave, making it fairly easy to take time off.

Worst: We have little visibility over when we will be expected to work late. Our projects average 55 hours/week but the variance is extremely high. There are usually a few projects at any given time that require the entire team to work until midnight each night.”

“Excellent PTO and unpaid leave opportunities starting from 1 year of tenure. You are allowed to designate one night every Monday-Thursday that is protected (‘life night’), which is respected. You are usually able to pick the night, though project requirements may of course dictate otherwise.”

“I think the firm offers excellent work/life balance and is open to accommodating to one's life/family needs (at least I can say so from the business services perspective, but I feel it's the same for consulting staff as well.”

“Pure focus on strategy means that we work best in a highly collaborative environment, but this is very rarely on client site. COVID forced us to learn even better ways of working with our clients, and now we have more frequent client interactions (and a more collaborative way of working with our clients) with even less travel than prior to COVID. Our approach to office working is also a great balance: project teams nominate team days (2-3 per week), so when you're in the office it's always productive, as your other project team members will be there as well.”

"Sustainable model (very little travel, 55 hours per week average across our consulting team, no weekend work). Generous PTO and 4 weeks of unpaid time off per year (which people actually take!)."


“The firm's policy is to be top percentile (i.e. match the leaders) for new undergrad joiners, and top quartile throughout the pyramid. And we consistently achieve it. People don't choose OC&C because we pay the most - there are lots of other areas where we are more differentiated - but we don't lose good candidates because of our compensation. Especially at more senior levels, we are more leveraged than other firms (i.e. a high proportion of compensation comes from bonus) which is an attractive upside but can mean more volatility than other firms.”

“Competitive pay. Complete commitment to pay equity (everyone at the same level gets paid the same amount). Transparent bonus equation.”

“Major recent improvements to maternity / paternity leave policies - now market leading.”

“Very competitive at the entry level though the discrepancy against industry leaders grows with seniority.”

Career Development

“Best aspect: I started as an executive assistant and was given the opportunity to learn new skills in other areas of business services/HR. From this I was able to grow into a new position with recruiting. This is rare in the admin world.

Worst aspects: There's very little structure and official communication around job shifts/promotions within business services.”

“Best: strong emphasis on mentorship built into the company culture; ample feedback provided on each project (it is expected for managers to give weekly informal feedback, then a more formal process at the end of each project that feeds into appraisals - so you always have a sense of how you're progressing). Good informal and formal opportunities to give upward feedback as well.”

“Career development has a clear trajectory with twice yearly reviews done by impartial third parties. Trainings are done regularly throughout the year by fellow consultants as well as by outside trainers. Annually, we have an international training week that brings the whole firm together in an exotic locale (this year was Lisbon) for further development.”

“The firm is a great training ground, however not accustomed to experienced hires. Therefore, experienced hires sometimes are not trusted with meaningful work until they are several months to a year in. However, the firm is putting resources and initiatives against changing this.”

“Truly global operating model with lots of options for global mobility and frequent opportunities to work with colleagues in other offices. Good amount of formal training, but the firm embraces a true apprenticeship model of ‘learn on the job’ and this is where it really excels. The focus on coaching & development within project teams and through established mentoring / coaching relationships is at a level far higher than I have seen at other firms.”

Community Engagement

“For the past several years we have conducted semi-annual engagement surveys across the whole firm. The firm's inclusivity scores have seen a really impressive improvement over that time and are now industry-leading, and the engagement scores for most diverse groups are now above the average. So we have built the right environment for a diverse group to thrive, but we still have further to go on key diversity metrics - we are only at 50%+ women for our most junior peer groups, and our ethnicity mix is challenged by our underlying recruiting channels. We have been a leader in LGBTQ+ for many years, and recently have made great headway with military veterans.”

“In terms of hiring our D&I seems to be working well. We have gender parity (or even more women than men) at the junior levels, and though our racial diversity isn't perfect it has been improving.”

“We do well in recruitment of women at lower levels, but retention into the partner ranks seems to drop off. LGBTQ+ individuals are well-represented at the firm at all levels. Individuals with disabilities do not appear to be significantly represented at the firm. Military veterans are a new area of exploration for our firm's recruitment efforts.”

“While OC&C is certainly trying to work on this, there is still a lack of women partners. However, recent hiring stats and efforts definitely speak to the success of efforts. I feel strongly that consultants have equal access to opportunities regardless of background.”

“Women & LGBTQ+ efforts are very good; Race & ethnicity is currently a focus.”

Business Outlook

“… U.S. growth and market opportunity should drive next phase of firm growth.”

“OC&C has been growing very fast recently, and the New York office has nearly doubled in a very short amount of time. Project pipeline is hot despite cooldown in deal activity.”

“Pureplay focus on strategy and exposure to only a subset of sectors in the economy of course means there is more risk exposure than a fully diversified firm. On the other hand, strategy work tends to spike following a market disruption - whether a positive or negative disruption - as business leaders grapple with a new reality. And so we have shown resilience through economic cycles, and the firm's leadership has a very balanced approach to mitigating downside risk without overly limiting upside potential.”

“We have historically underinvested in CRM capabilities relative to other firms, as our significant growth during COVID meant there was little need to be looking for additional work—we were booked out solid for months in advance. Now that the market appears to have softened somewhat, particularly in the M&A space, our firm will need to readjust to its core strengths in strategy and reestablish relationships with organizations we have previously worked with but have yet to follow up with for additional project work.”

Hiring Process

“Two rounds of two interviews. All interviews are case studies.”

“Candidates who love grappling with difficult problems collaboratively with others. If you enjoy solving the case, you'll enjoy the work we do. If you enjoy solving the case together with your interviewer, you'll like your colleagues. Cases are interviewee-led.”

“Interviews are typical case studies - two rounds with two cases in each. We are looking for candidates that demonstrate clear, logical thinking in their analysis along with the energy and presence that would allow us to put them in front of a client on day one.”

“Our process is designed to identify the very highest caliber analytical problem-solvers who can quickly decompose a problem based on first principles, drive to the heart of the issue, and resolve it with actionable recommendations. Every interview will involve a case study (usually 4 interviews in total, but often more for more senior levels).”

“Standard two-round process. The firm is looking for smart, sensible people and take a slightly broader view than competitors. As such, we take candidates with slightly less traditional backgrounds. Moreover, the firm is British and as such is very amenable to visa sponsorship.”

Interview Questions

“Case interview based on actual projects.”

“Every interview will involve a rigorous case study - be prepared for that! Case questions test first principles problem solving and analytical thinking, so understand what a case interview is and do some practice cases to build your confidence - but learning frameworks tends not to be helpful, we want to see your unbridled intellect at work, not something you learned from a textbook.”

“How large is the US dating market, and how would you segment the space?”

“How would you segment the market for dating apps; how to the number of companies break down, roughly, against those segments; what is the overall market size for dating apps?”

OC&C Strategy Consultants

250 West 55th Street
15th Floor
New York, NY 10019

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Private
Worldwide Managing Partner: Will Hayllar

Major Office Locations

New York
Belo Horizonte
Hong Kong
Sao Paulo

Major Departments & Practices

  • Business Unit/Divisional Strategy
  • Group Strategy
  • Organization & Change
  • Product/Market/Channel Strategy
  • Strategy Realization
  • Transaction Support