Booz Allen Hamilton

Mark Alter

Senior Associate

“It’s satisfying to me to help companies and government work together to find innovative solutions that make crucial national missions and equipment more affordable.”
 

Why did you choose Booz Allen?

I originally came to Booz Allen to work on the commercial side in 2004. I chose Booz Allen because of the challenging strategy work, variety of engagements, and the people. The firm recognizes the experience and values from former military members—I previously served in the US Air Force--and I felt a strong fit with the culture and the people I met through the interviewing process.

What type of work do you do at Booz Allen?

I am part of the firm’s Analytics capability that focuses on enterprise restructuring. We apply a common skill set to different organizations’ challenges. When we work with manufacturing and industrial operations, we apply a process called Design for Affordability (DFA) that finds ways to cut costs in creating engineered products, such as submarines, ground vehicles, aircraft, and other equipment. When we apply that same cost-reduction perspective to an entire organization’s costs (such as overhead functions), we call it “enterprise affordability.” Other offerings within enterprise restructuring for commercial companies include assisting companies in developing corporate strategies, analyzing target companies for mergers and acquisitions, and evaluating portfolios of products and business lines to improve profitability. I enjoy the variety of industries, customers, and the work I perform.

How has your background/education helped you be successful at Booz Allen?

At Booz Allen I am able to leverage just about all of my prior background and education. Given my engineering degree, professional engineering license, and work in the Air Force as a civil engineer, I have spent a great deal of time working with engineered products and infrastructure-related industries– including automotive, transportation, energy/utilities, and heavy manufacturing. But, I clearly leverage my business education—and my experience in the commercial financial services sector—in helping the government and businesses improve their cost positions.

Discuss some of your career highlights.

I’ve enjoyed all of my projects in one way or another, but several do stand out. For example, I take pride in having helped companies that could have gone under during the 2008 market collapse. They made some tough decisions to preserve their core operations and have executed turnarounds that led to profitable performance in the past couple of years. Likewise, I am proud of the work Booz Allen has done in concert with the US Navy and Electric Boat to institute design and process changes saving billions of dollars and creating a plan to deliver additional deployments for the VIRGINIA Class submarines. Projects, such as these, encapsulate both my technical experience and why I came to Booz Allen. It’s satisfying to me to help companies and government work together to find innovative solutions that make crucial national missions and equipment more affordable.

What types of technical skills are needed to be successful at Booz Allen?

It helps to have a strong quantitative skill set to analyze client problems and build business cases. Given that there is always uncertainty in the problems we are asked to solve, you also need to be able to handle ambiguity – to make reasonable assumptions, determine each decision’s contribution to the overall outcome, and revisit those assumptions later, when warranted. And all consultants need verbal and written communication skills to truly understand and work with the client to implement effective solutions.

Why is Booz Allen an ideal firm for someone with expertise/skills in your field of work?

The blend of commercial and government work appeals to me. I’m not sure there’s another company in a better position to bridge both the government and commercial sectors, which covers my work experience. Booz Allen also encourages staff to pursue other parts of the business that interest them, so that if you apply your time and talent, you can get involved in other markets and functional capabilities.

What differentiates Booz Allen from other technology companies?

One of the differentiators Booz Allen has always had is the ability to share insights and best practices from both the commercial and government worlds. Booz Allen has a tremendous resource of expertise and knowledge within its combined 25,000+ employees. It’s great to be able to tap that human capital for our clients.

This year’s Annual Report features “missions that matter” at Booz Allen. Discuss a “mission that matters” that you are involved in.

Ever since I was in high school, I’ve worked with organizations that help low-income people stay in their own houses. In school, I volunteered for Habitat for Humanity. There’s an equivalent organization in the military called Families Helping Families, and I was active with them when I was in the Air Force. At Booz Allen, I’ve volunteered for Rebuilding Together. I led a project team to repair and refurbish houses. It’s very satisfying to put my practical skills to use to help people have a sounder home and a better way of life.

What projects have you had the opportunity to work on at Booz Allen where you have used your technical skills?

In addition to some of my highlighted projects above, I enjoyed working with companies on several projects where I had direct customer knowledge gained from buying and using their products in the Air Force. I’ve enjoyed advising my commercial clients on product development and subsequently bringing new products and capabilities to market following my engagements.

What excites you about your work?

No two days are alike at Booz Allen. There are always new challenges and satisfactions. Every day, I can see how I am helping my clients in critical areas. Across the government, our clients are looking for ways to improve efficiency and still be effective. It’s rewarding when you can help them save billions of tax payer dollars to accomplish their missions more affordably. I’m also very excited about helping Booz Allen in its re-entry to the commercial markets.