Why did you choose to apply for Javelin Group?
I was particularly keen on Javelin Group for multiple reasons. Most importantly, the individuals whom I met during the application process were the type of people I wanted to work with. Not only were they highly intelligent and knew a great deal about their field, but crucially they were also down-to-earth and had interests outside work, something I’d seen lacking in certain other strategy consultancies. The focus on retail and Javelin Group’s credentials in the area were also attractive to me.
We regularly work with top retailers and brands, which gives a privileged view into their inner workings and challenges and would otherwise be inaccessible. This rapidly creates expertise in the field. The learning curve is accentuated further since projects are short (3 – 9 weeks), which leads to a diverse experience base – one week you may be working for an international toys brand and the next for a fashion retailer.
What is the work/life balance like?
Even though work is fast-paced, work hours are pretty reasonable: on average I leave at 6:30pm although a late shift until 11pm is required perhaps once a month. There are also lots of social events organised – lunches, dinners, drinks at fun bars (we played table tennis at one bar, another had live piano) and team sports like netball and 5-aside football. We’ve also just come back from the annual four-day ‘JavSki’ trip to the Alps, where we stayed in a chalet complete with four course dinners and hot tub!
Do you have any advice for applicants?
When applying to the Strategy team, there are a few things to bear in mind. Retail knowledge is of primary importance – I’d recommend spending time looking at high street shops, supermarkets and websites, but analysing them from the point of view of customer experience and looking out for any helpful technological or multi-channel features.
Reading about current retail trends is equally important – Retail Week and retail sections of major newspapers are a good starting point. I’d also make sure to practice mental maths, aptitude tests and case studies (especially market sizing), as although these do test natural aptitude to an extent, practice can make a sizeable difference. The classic advice of ‘be yourself’ also rings true – since every project involves working in a team, we’re looking for people who are genuine and friendly.
Tom studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Oxford, and joined Javelin Group as a graduate in 2015