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1998 Michigan Ross CC Consulting Interview Preparation Book

1998 Michigan Ross CC Consulting Interview Preparation Book

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Issue

Your are the managing director in a large international consulting firm. The traditional strengths of your
firm have been solving strategy and organizational issues. Recently, you have noticed an increasing
number of your firm's proposals are rejected because of a lack of information technology expertise in
your firm. So far, your firm's growth has been strong enough that proposals lost have not hurt annual
earnings. Nonetheless, you are becoming increasingly concerned about the need to develop the firm’s
capabilities in information technology.

Assuming your concern is valid, what reasons will you provide to the other partners about the need to
acquire information technology skills?

Assuming you are able to convince other partners of the importance of IT expertise, what steps would
you take to rapidly build IT capacity in this area?

What are the major risks in executing an IT capacity-expansion?

Possible Answers

Good answers focus on the value of IT to clients. Discussion topics should include the increasing
importance of information in business, strategic value of information and information loss, the
importance of information systems for implementing new organizational structures and management
control systems.

Better answers focus on the costs of losing clients to competitors. Discussion topics should included the
incremental costs of having clients talking with competitors about IT problems and the risk of losing
new clients by not being able to solve a problem.

Good answers will focus on various methods to build expertise. The methods may include buying
expertise by acquiring another firm, raiding IT practices of other firms for a few key consultants,
building capacity through recruitment of IT experts and training them to be consultants, building
capacity by training current consultants in IT practice skills and establishing a strategic alliance with a
IT boutique firm.

Candidates should discuss the pros and cons of each method. Discussion points should address the
impact on firm's current culture, the cost to the firm and the time needed to build expertise.

Better answers will realize the importance of stimulating client demand as capacity builds through
seminars, articles, strategic studies in IT areas...

Good answers depend on the expansion methods discussed, but an important issue is the loss of the
firm’s focus on just strategy and organizational issues.

Better answers will focus on the difficulty of implementation in IT; rapid technological changes in the
IT industry require significant ongoing training and development costs; new practice cultures may be

Consulting Club
Interview Preparation Book – 1998 Edition

Page 89 of 90

CONSULTING

CONSULTING

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

CONSULTING CLUB

significantly different from current culture. These issues could be intensified if "external experts" are
brought into the organization.

Consulting Club
Interview Preparation Book – 1998 Edition

Page 90 of 91

CONSULTING

CONSULTING

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

CONSULTING CLUB

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