Before you became a consultant, you were an entrepreneur.
"That’s right, during my studies I owned two companies. Flame provided services to oil and gas companies. And Sendsteps was a text message service for events. I wanted to become an inventor when I was young, so I thought it was wonderful to create something new and innovative using technological ingenuity, which would please actual people.“ “After receiving my degree, I worked for Booz (now called Strategy&), but I gradually lost touch with innovation, technology and entrepreneurship. And those happen to be my main incentives."
Why didn't you start another business after you left consulting?
"After an extensive phase of orientation, that was actually what I was planning on doing. I had developed a business plan centered around Big Data, when I learned of MIcompany. It sounded a lot like my original plan, so I had to come and talk to them. The atmosphere, their way of working, what they had already accomplished and how they continue innovating… during our talk, I became enthusiastic straight away.“ “Actually this isn’t really an exit, because MIcompany is a consultancy agency - we help companies identify opportunities to create and identify value. But in some areas, there are big differences with the big names in consultancy."
How does Micompany differ from consultancy firms which have already established themselves in the business?
"We specialize in an area that is developing extremely quickly: Big Data & Analytics. Their relevance and impact is immeasurable. That trend is being picked up by bigger firms, but due to their heritage and traditional structures, they find it hard to tap into that in an innovative manner. To remain in the forefront, you need to be agile: maintaining short lines of communication, quick thinking and decision making and daring to take risks. That type of culture is more common in a small niche company than in a big generalist. The service we provide is shaped in a different way because of it. Firstly, we are specialized in data analysis and its accompanying techniques. Secondly, we go beyond your typical slick PowerPoint presentation. We don’t just bring new insight to the table, but we also help our clients take action and deliver results. We offer technological solutions and assist our clients extend their own analytical competence, through our very own MIacademy."
What exactly does Micompany do for a client?
"For a large player in telecom, we built a model for predicting how to improve their customer retention. Taking into account factors such as age, how long they have been a customer, their location, contact with customer services, their use of products and visits to the website. Together, these factors can predict how likely someone is to switch providers. That is set against how valuable the client is, so that Sales and Marketing can be geared specifically at targeting that person."
What do your colleagues notice from your background as a Strategy Consultant?
"Our specialists can become so wrapped up by a challenge that they build an entire model in a couple of hours, containing hundreds of levers and buttons that can be switched on and off. My added value in these instances is top-down thinking and focusing on what is strictly necessary."
What is your advice for other consultants considering their exit?
"Get into action mode. Consultants are prone to working out each and every possible scenario before actually taking action - the so called analysis paralysis. But that is not how life works. You are much better off truly going for what you want and talking to many people about it. Gradually you will discover what suits you and what doesn’t. Once you are better at formulating what you want, it will come to you all by itself."
2015 – present
2006 – 2015
Senior Associate, Booz & Company
2001 – 2006