As I prepare to write this editorial, I am struck by the fact that we have seven alumni who are leading consultancies that were recognized as Best Firms to Work for by Consulting Magazine (see article in this issue) . Seven out of twenty of the Best Firms to Work for Are led by Andersen Alumni. That is no coincidence.
I had the pleasure of working for one of those firms, North Highland, for 14 years. It was indeed a great place to work. While the CEO and I (COO/CFO) were Atlanta office alumni, we hired many more alumni from throughout the world. In fact, our most successful acquisition was an amazing consultancy led by another Andersen alumni in London. The common bond and shared approach to business was so engrained in all of us, I think it played a key role in the success of the two firms.
While I am no expert, I think the role St Charles played was instrumental in creating a worldwide culture of excellence and professionalism. The firm’s commitment to train virtually every professional in the world at a common facility was unique and the ultimate differentiator. There are amazing consultants at all of the large consultancies, but those that did not have the St Charles experience are missing out. I wonder how many firms of any size emulate the centralized approach adopted by the early leaders at Andersen?
I know the challenges and the costs associated with such a model. We wrestled with the cost/benefit of that type of training ourselves, while at North Highland. Many said we are too small, and it is too expensive to bring everyone in to a single location in the US. They were not wrong. However, I owe a deep debt of gratitude to the visionaries at Andersen who saw beyond the numbers and invested in a culture that was the pinnacle of professionalism and thrives decades after the firm’s demise.
Seven out of twenty of the Best Firms to Work For are led by Andersen Alumni. That is no coincidence.
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