What does Javelin Group do?
Javelin Group is a leading management consultancy specialising in the retail and consumer sectors, and, in particular, digital retail. Javelin Group works with leading retailers and brands in the UK as well as internationally in the US, Europe, Middle East and Australia. Javelin Group is unique in that it does not solely focus on strategy but is able to help retail clients across a wide range of issues. Our teams span retail strategy (ecommerce, multichannel, stores, international expansion and performance improvement), operations (supply chain, contact centres and fulfilment), locations & analytics (e.g. where should a client set up stores), technology planning and technology development (we build websites for clients). Now part of Accenture Strategy, we are benefitting from its global reputation in digital and technology, while continuing to maintain Javelin Group’s reputation in retail strategy, to win bigger and better projects.
Why did you choose to apply for Javelin Group?
I was interested in strategy consulting but wanted to work for a smaller company where I’d get more opportunities and responsibility from the start and Javelin Group gives me that for sure. Retail is such a fast-changing and exciting industry to be part of, given the growing impact of online and the movement towards a seamless experience across devices and channels. A new joiner is therefore able to add value quickly with their own insight into the retail space. In addition, the opportunity to work for retailers that I grew up with on the high street and online was really interesting.
What was the interview process like?
I had two initial interviews with the Cornell Partnership, a recruitment firm Javelin Group works with. The first, over the phone, was a general chat about retail, as well as a bit of a CV conversation.
The second, at Cornell’s offices, included a more detailed discussion about retail trends and a short market-sizing case study (I was asked to estimate the number of coke cans sold in the UK in the last year). After this I was invited to an interview at Javelin Group. The first round included two 45 minute interviews with Managers in the strategy practice, one was a case study the other was more CV and retail based. We got an opportunity in between interviews to speak to consultants in the strategy practice and find out more about the culture and the work. The final round included a further case, a group exercise, and an interview with a couple of the senior leadership team, including our COO who is one of the co-founders of Javelin Group.
Describe a typical day as a Senior Consultant
What a senior consultant does on each project varies massively, which means that there is no typical day. Whether it is researching multi-channel trends, creating a financial model predicting 5-year growth for a client, developing slides for presentations, or presenting that work to clients, everything is very collaborative. There are no set tasks for senior consultants as it fully depends on the type of project you work on and the number of people working on the project. Essentially a typical day is knowing you’re going to be doing something different and using different skills.
My role has changed the most within the last year, with a greater focus on managing smaller projects with a consultant or associate consultant, and ownership of sections within larger projects. Essentially, I have much greater responsibility of not only my time but others around me, more client contact and more presentation time. It has definitely given me the opportunity to learn a different set of skills and I’m looking forward to pushing on to manager.
What are the best aspects of your job?
The people are definitely the best aspect of the job and we are lucky that for most of our projects we are co-located in our London offices rather than being based on client site. We have a young, fun team and we get on really well together. There’s always food going round from someone’s holiday and a different event being organised; this year included taking part in a Crystal Maze challenge, participating in a charity treasure hunt across London, going skiing and a 6-week bake-off challenge. Given that sometimes, every few months or so, we may have to work long hours it’s really important to me that I can have a laugh and a joke with everyone in the team. The work is incredibly varied and projects are normally 6-12 weeks long, which means you are always learning new skills. It helps that the views from the office are brilliant!
Do you have any advice for applicants?
Get reading about retail and make sure you are familiar with new trends in multichannel and digital retail and think about what that means for both the consumer and the retailer.
Make sure you have done some case study practice and have swatted up on your maths, It’s key to show you can not only do the calculation but can interpret the commercial consequence of the findings.
Be yourself in interview, it’s obvious if you’re not. We essentially want fun, friendly (and competent) people in our team; we need to know both you and us will enjoy working together at Javelin Group.