This week we interviewed Nicky Winch, Head of Recruitment for Capgemini Consulting UK. Nicky has extensive experience in selecting and retaining the best talent for the Management Consulting division of Capgemini Group. Capgemini Consulting has a team of over 4,000 consultants worldwide leveraging sector and business expertise and supporting organisations in transforming their business from strategy through to execution. Nicky provides detailed information on career opportunities for MBA and B-school students at both entry and experienced-hire levels. Nicky tells us that applicants with MBAs are not just hired for their MBA. The MBA helps to demonstrate an intellectual and analytical capability and is an advantage when placed alongside relevant experience.
We kicked off the interview by asking whether Capgemini recruits MBAs. Although Capgemini does not have a specific MBA programme in the UK Nicky said they are happy to receive applications from MBAs. They recruit graduates from a wide range of universities and schools including a number of MBAs each year. She told us that Capgemini Consulting has local offices in 14 countries and each office has different requirements so its always worth visiting the Capgemini Consulting global website to ascertain when an office is recruiting and details of any specific positions for MBAs.
Nicky pointed out that Capgemini Consulting has two entry routes in the UK, with different recruiting processes. The first is the entry-level graduate recruitment programme called the Consultant Development Community (or CDC); an 18-24 month programme which provides the structure, support and training to develop the core skills essential for a consulting career at Capgemini. If an MBA has little or no relevant business experience this may be the best route for them to start their consulting career. The other route into Capgemini Consulting is as an “experienced hire”, meaning applicants are recruited to fill specific consulting vacancies. These roles require successful applicants to have the right skills and experience for the particular position, usually a minimum of three years relevant experience.
We asked Nicky what makes a CV stand out and she emphasised the importance of highlighting your skills and experience and aligning them closely with the position and company that you are applying to. “At Capgemini Consulting we don’t ask for covering letters so its best to make sure your CV really demonstrates that you have the relevant skills and experience for the role.” For the experienced hire level, Capgemini recruits into different capability teams including HR, Finance, Supply Chain, Digital and Analytics, amongst others. For example, they might need someone with strategic sourcing experience for roles the Procurement Transformation team or someone with experience of HR shared services or HR strategy for roles in the HR Consulting team.
“Experience can be complemented by an MBA but we don’t hire someone just for their MBA – first and foremost we are looking for relevant skills and experience. The MBA helps to demonstrate an intellectual and analytical capability and along with relevant experience, can help make a candidate stand out against others.”
At interview stage Nicky emphasises preparation: "be prepared to demonstrate evidence of strong team-working and leadership skills, communication, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit demonstrates to your new employer that you can bring something to the organisation and that you’re worth the salary on offer. Once you’re in, hopefully what you have learned on your MBA alongside your relevant experience, will give you the toolkit to excel – you can then progress through the consulting grades and eventually become Vice President or Partner.”
Nicky shared some of the benefits of working for Capgemini Consulting. There are opportunities to work on a wide range of consulting projects, across different industry sectors with consultants from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Furthermore, opportunities to work on projects abroad or to go on secondment or transfer to different Capgemini locations frequently occur - something made possible by Capgemini's global network of offices.
If you still have knowledge gaps after your MBA, fear not as Capgemini provide extensive training. Formal courses based on a Global Core Curriculum are delivered from the "Capgemini Consulting University" or at local offices. The curriculum covers a wide range of skills and capabilities including Core Consulting Skills (e.g. business cases, facilitating workshops, consulting selling), Content (e.g. digital services and technologies, strategic analysis, operating models) and Leadership and Development (e.g. managing projects, business development, people leadership). In addition to this curriculum, consultants can choose elective modules that go into depth about specific areas of interest. A combination of both formal and on-the-job learning means that Capgemini consultants are constantly learning new skills.
Finally Nicky shared some exciting prospects for Capgemini Consulting in 2012. She pointed out that the digital economy is entering a new age that presents unprecedented challenges for all CEOs. As digital tools invade the business environment, significant changes in the way people work, communicate and sell are being provoked. “2012 will see the continuing growth of Capgemini Consulting’s Digital capability, helping organisations transform their business by providing advice on strategy and supporting the organisation in executing that strategy.” Capgemini Consulting’s mission is to transform an organisation’s digital landscape, with consistent focus on sustainable results. To this end, they plan to grow their team of talented consultants worldwide in 2012. They will also be continuing their research partnership with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) looking at 'Digital Transformation' for the business world.