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The Cambridge Group, LLC

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Vault’s Verdict

Traditionally a firm that we see nothing but positive reviews from, The Cambridge Group is in a period of flux at the moment following its acquisition in late 2022 by PA Consulting.

Not that insiders expressed a lot dissatisfaction in this year’s survey: it’s simply the case that change is always hard, with competing priorities and cultural aspects tending to impact some employees more than others.

All of which is to say that the best thing any potential TCG applicant could do this year would be to connect with as many people inside the firm as possible to get a sense of how things are shaping up. It’s clear from our survey that the firm’s reputation for high quality growth strategy work remains intact—and may even have been enhanced by its tie-in to PA’s network—but beyond that, we’d recommend reaching out to the firm (and its employees) directly to find out whether the comments we’ve selected on everything from quality of life to career progression remain true as the two cultures have continued to merge over the weeks and months since our survey closed.

Firm Culture

“Change is afoot following the PA Consulting acquisition. TCG leadership is attempting to wedge the round peg of TCG into the PA Consulting square hole.”

“If you are interested in growth strategy (marketing, innovation) and excited by the types of clients we typically serve (e.g., consumer goods, technology), The Cambridge Group is about as good as it gets.”

“If you're a curious, open-minded problem solver, you'll enjoy the work we do and the people you'll be working with.”

“Our focus on helping clients find profitable growth opportunities vs doing ‘all things’.  We're experts at what we do because we're intentionally and continuously investing in honing our craft.”

“We are highly collaborative with the client. Rather than doing the work and handing the client a slide deck at the end, we develop the project together as a team and mold the project as it goes to ensure clients are in tune every step of the way.”

Quality of Life

“Best is not a lot of travel. Worst is being in client services.”

“Decent hours for consulting, but could be better at balancing project staffing to allow for occasional life breaks.”

“Hours are like consulting, but we are a lower travel model and it's always been possible to put family life first and still thrive.”

“The Cambridge Group has a non-travel model, great remote work policy, and we're encouraged to take vacation.”

“This is not a firm where working late is glorified! Everyone wants you to have a life outside of work, and while working hours are often still longer than a typical 9-5 (as is the nature of consulting) everyone looks out for each other and you are encouraged to speak up if you're taking on too much, so that measures can be taken to make the work as sustainable as possible.”

Compensation

“Best: Long maternity leave (18 weeks), competitive salary. Worst: average health insurance benefits.”

“Given our size, interesting work, and strong work/life balance, combined with a solid compensation package, I do not feel that any competitors have a stronger employee value proposition.”

“Our annual bonus isn't paid out until March - wish it was closer to December of the previous year since it's based on previous year performance.”

“The opportunity to own equity in the firm and participate in the upside of success is pretty cool.”

“We are a very diverse firm so I have always felt that compensation is fair amongst employees. Having lunch catered on in-office days is nice and brings us together. There aren't many benefits outside of insurances and FSA/HSA. No wellness incentive.”

Career Development

“Best is that I feel like I can control the pace.  Worst is the internal motivation to keep moving upwards even when it’s not necessary.”

“Best: Partners are so involved in client work that there is lots of opportunity for senior mentorship, lots of efforts towards DEI initiatives
Worst: As is true with most consulting roles, there is a level of needing to learn ‘on the job’ since every project is so custom.”

“Everyone at the firm is very supportive and inclusive when it comes to career development, but promotion timelines have recently changed such that promotions only occur at the end of the year rather than mid-year, which allows for less flexibility.”

“Formal coaching assignments allow enable young employees to learn and advance through their careers.”

“The coaching and buddy systems are really helpful in keeping individuals on track with their career growth. The flat culture allows for entry-level roles and above to have direct interactions with partners and feel as if they have a voice on each project.”

Community Engagement

“All consultants at our firm have equal access to interesting/high-quality work and promotion opportunities. There is intentionality behind our firm's DE&I efforts - including our recruiting strategy and firm education oppportunities.”

“Extensive efforts to educate and provide community involvement opportunities, though these are largely led by employees. I would say that while there are extensive efforts to make the workplace easier for women, minorities, etc., the people who have left the firm while I've been there are primarily women.”

“I feel like everyone at the firm has equal access to interesting/high-quality work and promotion opportunities. The flat structure at the firm allows everyone to have a voice on project work and make an impact even at the analyst level.”

“The firm is very engaged in DE&I efforts - the DE&I team is one of the largest initiative teams at the firm, and regularly holds volunteering events, educational programming, and trainings around topics such as disabilities, microaggression, and cultural heritage months, with enthusiastic support and buy-in from leadership. However, additional improvements could be made to ensure more hiring of diverse candidates, though current team members of diverse backgrounds do have representation in leadership and are treated equitably.”

“We pride ourselves on being a diverse firm and have consistent events centered around keeping us on an upward DEI trajectory. The DEI committee hosts 4 events per quarter, cycling through lunch conversations about relevant DEI topics/holidays (black history month, Hispanic heritage month, International Women's Day, etc), guest speakers (disability awareness month, antisemitism training), volunteer events in the community (food pantry, earth day cleanup, elderly home visit, breast cancer walk), and happy hours (Pride, Cinco de Mayo).”

Business Outlook

“At the moment, the firm is incredibly busy and as an analyst that started a few weeks ago, I was immediately staffed on a project. The business pipeline seems strong at the moment.”

“Business has been strong, and joining PA Consulting has opened up many new opportunities for business development.”

“Consistent business, high quality clients, trending towards innovative solutions.”

“The firm is currently in a period of change while integrating with PA Consulting, after being acquired in the past year. However, its strengths and relationships with key clients remain, and employee culture is still positive, though in some flux.”

“We are well positioned with our clients for continued growth.  The rate limiter on our growth at the moment is having enough Project/Engagement managers who are experienced in our IC.”

Hiring Process

“Our interview process is fairly standard. Our ideal candidate has strong quantitative, critical thinking, and communications skills, is highly motivated, and demonstrates intellectual curiosity.”

“Pretty quick process, looking for a self-starter who is motivated, inquisitive, and an all-around good person with strong morals.”

“The firm is looking for people with creative problem-solving skills, that thinks outside the box and is not afraid to step-up early on in their career. Furthermore, the firm is looking for people that are team players and can work collaboratively. The interview process was standard for consulting. I would say the interviewers at TCG were less intimidating and more personable than at other firms, which made the interview process far more enjoyable.”

“The ideal candidate is open-minded, genuine, curious, quantitatively capable, and able to learn quickly. A combination of behavioral and case interviews screen for these traits.”

“We assign buddies to candidates with offers and on the waitlist.”

Interview Questions

“Size the market for Styrofoam plates in the U.S.”

“There is a heavy emphasis on being able to synthesize trends depicted in charts and graphs. Also, there is also an emphasis on market sizing and thinking critically through the case interview. It was a pretty standard behavorial interview.”

“Typical market sizing and targeting cases.”

“Typical mix of case and fit questions, generally with a focus on growth-related issues and challenges clients face.”

“We do both a behavioral interview and 2-3 case interviews. Our cases focus on growth strategy in a variety of industries and situations.”

“What is the size of a given market? How can you reach consumers in that market?”

The Cambridge Group, LLC

10 S. Wacker Drive
Suite 3550
Chicago, IL 60606-5058
Phone: (312) 425-3600

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Private
Managing Partner: Jim Eckels
Managing Partner: Chris Fosdick
2023 Employees (All Locations): 50

Major Office Locations

Chicago, IL

Major Departments & Practices

Growth Strategy