Booz Allen Hamilton

Shade Sanford

Vice President

“What has made Booz Allen so special for me is the quality of our people. Every day I’m amazed by my colleagues. Booz Allen brings together consultants from diverse backgrounds and experiences – the common thread is the highest level of excellence and a tireless commitment to help our clients and the communities we live in.”

Why did you choose Booz Allen?

I chose Booz Allen for two reasons.  First, it was the ideal place to work on a broad range of strategic and operational issues across industries and the public sector.  At Booz Allen, I’ve been able to work on engagements that span strategy, operational improvement, transformation, and large scale change for clients from almost every industry and government sector.  Second, I was interested in an international career.  Booz Allen has provided me the opportunity to work globally including the Middle East and most recently Asia.

What type of work do you do at Booz Allen?

I lead Booz Allen’s Strategy and Large Scale Transformation consulting business across the firm’s International portfolio.  My focus includes private and public sector strategy, post-merger integration, cost restructuring, and program management.  I have worked across industries including Energy, Telecommunications, Retail, Aerospace & Defense, Heath Care, Insurance, Transportation, and the Public Sector.

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

I use my MBA every day at Booz Allen working on projects that include, organizational strategy, financial analysis and corporate restructuring, and operational improvement.  The foundation of business school coursework and an understanding of macro and micro economics, including how markets and companies operate, continues to play an important role in my work with clients across industries.   

Discuss some of your career highlights

Our clients bring us their most challenging problems.  Every engagement is an opportunity to make an impact.  Recent highlights include designing and helping establish two new government organizations in an emerging country.  In the private sector, a recent engagement involved leading a complex post-merger integration that established one of the world’s largest petrochemical companies.

What types of skills in your field are needed to be successful at Booz Allen?

Our staff come from diverse backgrounds, but there are several common skills and characteristics needed to be successful.  First, all consultants must have strong analytics – analytic rigor is the foundation for everything we do.  Equally as important is an intellectual curiosity and an interest in solving problems.  Our work involves helping clients solve a wide range of organizational and business issues.  No two projects are the same.  Likewise, each project requires a high level of analytic rigor and creative problem solving.  Consultants who enjoy the challenge of continuously tackling new issues thrive in what is a fast-paced and dynamic environment.

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

At Booz Allen, we’re asked to help tackle our clients’ most difficult problems.  The solutions often involve cross-functional teams of management consultants, technology specialists, and engineers.  While my own background has focused on management consulting and working with executives to shape and implement strategies, Booz Allen has provided me with access to colleagues who bring a diverse set of technical and engineering backgrounds – the experience has allowed me to expand my understanding into areas I would not have been exposed to at other consulting firms.

What differentiates Booz Allen from other management consulting, technology and engineering services companies?

I’m always amazed at how accessible staff and their expertise are across projects, teams, and geographies.  Although Booz Allen is the oldest and one of the largest consulting firms in the world, we’ve maintained an ethic of entrepreneurship and a spirit of generosity that all staff share.  Across management consulting, technology and engineering services, my clients and I always have instant access to 22,000 experts and their insights.

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

Recently, I had the privilege of leading a team that developed the Community Pharmacy strategy for an emerging country.  The work we did is helping to drive a higher level of access to health care for residents across all demographics.  The opportunity to have a positive impact on an entire society is an experience that had a profound effect on each member of the Booz Allen team.

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

My background prior to Booz Allen included a career in the Aerospace & Defense (A&D) sector.  Since joining Booz Allen, I’ve worked on a wide range of A&D projects from leading the post-merger integration of a multi-billion dollar Space launch services company, to conducting M&A due diligence for industry and private equity firms in A&D, to developing growth strategies for many of the global A&D players.

What excites you about your work?

Helping staff grow and progress in their careers is one of the things that excites me the most about my work at the firm.  Booz Allen uses an apprenticeship model to develop our people.  Our consultants have access to the ideas and insights of all levels in the firm, including our Partners. Coaching and developing staff is one of my primary roles and one that I enjoy the most at Booz Allen.