The next in our series of profiles on the people who work at OEE Consulting continues with Vishnu Sivakumar. Here he discusses his current project designing an operations management model, and the thrill of helping clients realise their ambitions.
Role: Principal Consultant
Experience: Operations Manager at SJS Enterprises, India; Software Engineer/Project Manager at Cisco Systems, California
Education: MBA from Saïd Business School, University of Oxford (Honours: Dean’s List for Academic Excellence, Dean’s Commendation Award, BNY Mellon Achievement Award), MS in Telecommunications from University of Pennsylvania
Worked with OEE Consulting for: 2.5 years
Describe OEE Consulting in three words.
Meritocratic, collaborative, and fun.
What was your route into consulting with us?
I come from a family of entrepreneurs where running your own business is considered the norm, so I only began to seriously think about a career in consulting during my time at Oxford. The variety of work, and the ability to influence leaders to make a positive impact on their business, really appealed to me. I was also keen to remain focused on operations and found OEE Consulting to be the best fit with my interests and personal values.
What sort of projects have you been working on?
My first project was redesigning student processes at a leading research university in London. Since then I’ve worked on projects to enhance customer journeys at retail banks, and designed operating models for insurance companies and banks in the UK and the US.
I’m presently piloting the design of an Operations Management Model for a UK-based pension administrator, which will redefine their current roles, operational metrics and processes.
This project also involves me acting as a coach, facilitating skills transfer to the operations manager and her team, to ensure continued success beyond my time with them.
How do you start a project?
One of the joys of working with OEE Consulting is that there isn’t a cookie cutter approach. Having said that, I’ve found a combination of empathy and humility works well for me to gain a deep understanding of the problem. As is common practice at OEE Consulting, I do this through a series of interviews and workplace observations, backed by rigorous quantitative analysis.
This means we don’t fall into the common trap of designing a solution based on hearsay or myths, and allows for a richer and more holistic solution that solves root cause problems – rather than just the symptoms.
How did you find the recruitment process?
It really is an honest, two-way conversation between the recruiter and the candidate; I instantly felt the camaraderie amongst the employees, and there was an immediate sense of honesty and humility. The fact that several of my classmates, even those who were ultimately not selected, still refer other candidates to OEE Consulting is a strong testament to the process.
What has surprised you most about the company since joining?
‘Irreverent’ is a word that our MD, Mark Palmer, often uses to describe OEE Consulting’s culture. It took me a while to get used to this rather healthy disdain for internal hierarchy that the business has nurtured over the years. Since joining the business as a Senior Consultant I’ve been constantly encouraged to challenge and give my opinion on a myriad of client and business-related problems. It’s refreshing to be in a workplace where ideas and opinions are evaluated on their merit, rather than the length of your tenure with the business.
What have you learnt?
To be a good consultant, you need to be at ease with ambiguity, able to adapt to changing client needs, and be willing to initiate and lead on your own.
While technical knowledge and a good understanding of your company’s offerings are important, it is your emotional intelligence that helps build trust and achieve long-term success.
This is especially important in today’s world, where technological advances are drastically changing the landscape of the industries that our clients operate in. For a consultant to reach the Holy Grail of becoming a trusted advisor, there is an increasing need to help clients understand and navigate the human impact of innovation.
What have you most enjoyed?
On the personal front, I feel fortunate to work with colleagues who know how to have a laugh, whilst being driven and passionate about solving clients’ problems. On the professional front, I enjoy the thrill of influencing client stakeholders to chart a new course for themselves and their organisations and helping realise those ambitions.
With significant global experience across a wide range of industries, Vishnu has a successful track record in designing and running operational improvement programmes. Having had a broad range of roles in his career – software engineer, sales manager, and business owner – he brings a multi–disciplinary approach to solving complex problems. His engaging style ensures that client teams have fun while driving sustainable outcomes.
Vishnu joined us as a Senior Consultant in October 2014 and was promoted to Principal Consultant a year later. With a focus in operating model design, he has recently been accredited to the foundation level of the Service Operating Model Skills (SOMS) framework. He lives with his wife and son in North West London, and is a tennis and football enthusiast.