|Headquarters||Washington, D.C., USA|
|Employees||150 (120 Consultants)|
Kaiser Associates is a boutique strategy consulting firm based in Washington DC and London, with offices in Sao Paulo, Cape Town, Toronto, Kuala Lumpur, and Seattle . The firm was founded in 1981 as a spin-off from Strategic Planning Associates (now Oliver Wyman) by Michael Kaiser, currently President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC. The firm is noted for its benchmarking, competitive analysis, voice of customer, commercial diligence work supporting investment decisions, and other externally driven strategic development work, developed in the 1980s through extensive work with IBM and General Motors and codified in a number of books including Developing Industry Strategies: A Practical Guide of Industry Analysis (1983) and Understanding the Competition: A Practical Guide of Competitive Analysis (1981), and Beating the Competition: A Practical Guide to Benchmarking. The firm's stated mission is focused on fact-driven consulting to drive value creation. Kaiser is most frequently defined by its fact-based approach, through which it helps clients incorporate externally driven analysis into its decision making.
Kaiser's notoriety for benchmarking was continued through the late 1980s and early 1990s under Robert "Bob" Fifer, a graduate of Harvard Business School whose primary focus was on helping corporate CEOs improve profits through novel methods. His insights were detailed in his book Double Your Profits In Six Months or Less (1995) and The Enlightened CEO: How to Succeed at the Toughest Job in Business (2007). Fifer's departure from the firm marked a transition away from a focus on benchmarking and movement towards more traditional strategic consulting, including a wider array of strategic development and organizational management work competing with other traditional management consulting firms. Kaiser's consulting work has garnered press coverage on topics such as defining innovation metrics and impact on markets, its economic development practice, and its work developing onboarding and new-hire orientation programs for major corporations. Kaiser Associates' Senior Vice President Mark Stein and Vice President Lilith Christiansen, authored "Successful Onboarding: Strategies to Unlock Hidden Value Within Your Organization", published by McGraw-Hill in July 2010. Mark Stein and Lilith Christiansen also published materials on the topic at the "Onboarding Margin" website.
According to Vault.com, the firm's "selective and elite" stable of clients includes more than half of the Fortune 500, six of Fortune's Global 10 Most Admired Corporations; six of the top-10 in BusinessWeek's Global 1000; and seven of the EuroSTOXX 50. Return clients make up more than 80 percent of the firm's engagements. Industries served by the firm include aerospace and defense, chemicals, communications, consumer products, energy/oil and gas, financial services, health care, high tech and electronics, industrial, media and entertainment, and private equity.
Kaiser Associates competes with large consultancies such as McKinsey & Company, Bain & Company and The Boston Consulting Group for its strategy development work, targeting top executives at large companies. In order to compete with these much larger firms, Kaiser is known to make greater efforts to maintain industry exclusivity for its clients, and positions itself as providing more "actionable" recommendations based on empirical evidence and fact-based research. Kaiser also competes with a wide range of boutique management consultancies, many of which are regional and/or focused on key industries.
Kaiser Associates typically hires for an Associate Consultant or Managing Consultant position. Lateral hires at the Senior Consultant, Senior Manager or VP level are possible but infrequent. On average, Kaiser hires an annual class of 5-10 new consultants from hundreds of applicants.
Kaiser Associates recruits undergraduate Associate Consultants from many of the top schools in the United States and Europe.
Kaiser Associates does not force consultants to depart after 2–3 years at the firm. Instead, consultants are "groomed" to eventually serve as Vice Presidents of the firm, bringing sponsorship by Kaiser to attend business school and rejoin the company afterwards.
MBA graduates typically join as Managing Consultants, and Kaiser typically recruits from, as well as sends its employees to, a select set of business schools including Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard Business School, INSEAD, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Columbia Business School, the MIT Sloan School of Management, the Yale School of Management, Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, and the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University.
There is also an opportunity to join as a Summer Associate or Summer Consultant (internship) position for 10 weeks, which for the majority of interns will result in an offer for full-time position.
Kaiser uses both traditional and case methods to conduct interviews. The first round of interviews, typically held on a college campus, consists of a 45-minute traditional interview with Kaiser consultants.
Successful candidates may be passed onto the second round corresponding with a regional headquarters (Washington DC for the United States, Mexico and Canada; São Paulo for Latin America; London for Europe, Africa and Asia). The second round consists of a full day of 45 minute interviews with partners and consultants from that office, including case method interviews designed to simulate the types of problems and skills inherent in management consulting and to test the qualitative and quantitative skills deemed important for abstract thinking in a business setting.
- Official Web Site
- Business Week Article: Closing the Gap on Innovation Metrics
- Business Week Article: Don't Look to New Ideas for Growth
- Business Week Article: Metrics Madness
- Beating the competition: a practical guide to Benchmarking. Washington, DC: Kaiser Associates. 1988. p. 176. ISBN 978-1-56365-018-5.
- Vault Profile for Kaiser Associates