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Inside View: BearingPoint Consulting

BearingPoint is a management and technology consultancy with operations from the Netherlands to Iraq and Afghanistan, and it's hiring 500 people this year

By  Aaron Francis Chan

Thu Jan 10 2013

BearingPoint began life as a consulting arm of KPMG. It became an independent company in 2000, successfully concluded an IPO in 2001, and was renamed BearingPoint in 2002.
Today the company, based in Amsterdam, employs around 3,200 people in more than 60 countries. In the UK, George Pincus is responsible for deciding which graduates and MBAs will become part of the team. 
BearingPoint is looking to hire around 500 consultants throughout Europe this year, and the top 50 business schools in the region are clear targets for Pincus.
The firm takes either specific vacancies or open applications, runs candidates through two to five interviews, and settles on an offer and a contract over a period of about one month.
Training is taken seriously, with every consultant assigned a performance manager at the management level in order to provide assessment and mentoring, spread experience and know-how through the younger ranks of the business. 
In recent years, the company has gone through some exciting times. BearingPoint consultants advised the transition governments in Afghanistan and Iraq after the 2003 invasions and paved the way towards rebuilding essential government functions like licensing, regulation, and even central banking. Of course, not every BearingPoint consultant gets sent to a combat zone. Most of the firm’s employees are based in Western Europe, where the contracts have more to do with IT and business analysis than with reconstructing war-torn societies. 
In fact, BearingPoint currently has a number of European vacancies in Brussels, Paris, and London- for Business and Strategy Consultants, Telecoms and Media Consultants, and Committed senior consultants
What is BearingPoint in a sentence? 
We are a European business and IT consultancy with an entrepreneurial and adaptive flair and a commitment to delivering excellence to our clients.
What's your role at BearingPoint and where are you based? 
I am the recruiter with responsibility for the UK and I am based in our office in Covent Garden.
Which sectors and geographies does BearingPoint cover?
We cover all sectors across Europe and around the world through our exclusive partnerships.
Describe the types of clients you work with?
Leading organisations and companies that are rated by Fortune, FT,Gartner and their equivalents.
How many consultants are employed at BearingPoint?
We have 3,200 people across Europe, of whom just over 250 are in the UK and Ireland.
How frequently do you hire MBAs and at what level would they join? 
Usually in January or September as either Management Analysts or Consultants
Which business schools have you recruited from before? 
Cass, Cranfield,  Warwick, Durham, Lancaster, LBS, ERASMUS, HEC, INSEAD, ESADE, HBS
Are you currently hiring and if yes, who are you looking for? 
Yes, we are. We prefer previous consulting experience and/or some indication that candidates have made a personal and identifiable impact in business. Evidence of a particular focus on one of our listed competencies and industries is also required.
What do you need to see on an MBA's CV to give them an interview?
Evidence of the above personal impact, but not in an overstated way
What would be a typical starting salary for an MBA at BearingPoint? 
Over £35,000.
What advice do you have for people who've never worked in consulting but want to work for you?!
Establish a link between your experience and who we are by carefully looking at our website. Accentuate soft skills in terms of people, teamwork, leadership, and influence skills.
You have a background in executive headhunting. Have you ever made a recruiting mistake or do you always hire the right candidates?
Yes…I have sometimes overestimated a candidate's ability to enjoy the challenges and ambiguity of working in consulting. In the real world, perfect candidates do not exist. Most of us are less than perfect, so it's usually about balancing the perceived strengths of a candidate with those areas requiring improvement.
However, if people are not likable and do not respect their colleagues, they will not make good consultants.