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Throw a tough set of problems at a talented group of consultants, ask them to devise the best solution, and you’ve got quite a serious competition that we call the Management Consulting (MC) Games.
This 3-month, voluntary Olympics of Consulting competition is designed to simulate a real-world consulting engagement. During the most recent MC Games, held in 2015, multi-level, interdisciplinary teams were pitted against each other to solve one of 13 large-scale, strategy-level client challenges presented by a Booz Allen leader. More than 350 team members came from 44 Booz Allen office locations around the world—from Washington, DC, to the United Arab Emirates and Korea—and were coached by 95 Booz Allen leaders.
Seven of the problems tackled by the 52 teams came from inside the firm, like “how to build a better career manager,” while the remaining six were market facing, including how to manage gender equality in the military and looking for the “next big thing” in our health service offerings. All of the challenges tackled real-world issues offered to the players by the leaders who face them; the winning solutions were considered for implementation, and in many cases were implemented.
“The MC Games serve as a catalyst for growth and remind Booz Allen staff of the importance of senior leaders working with junior team members to drive engagement and connection.”
Competing teams held “pitch jams” to prepare their final presentations and work through the details of their solutions, flexing their consultancy muscles—in strategy frameworks, operating model, and deck writing. Each team held a scope review and then a mid-point review with a senior leader to ensure projects were on track.
After months of developing, planning, and designing a solution—all on their own time—teams arrived at Game Day to present their final analysis and recommendations. “The day of the games stood out as one of those great days in your career,” says Principal Heather Powers, who served on the senior leadership team that created and designed the competition. “It was so energizing. It’s just a fabulous way to affirm our heritage,” Heather says.
After closed-door deliberations, judges picked 13 winners and announced the results—to audible cries of victory and disappointment from the audience. It was so intense, no one wanted to lose.
Senior Consultant and MC Games player Anastasiya Olds says she felt leaders were really listening. “They took what we said to heart,” she says. “This wasn’t just a networking exercise; senior leaders actually took suggestions from the teams.”
One such suggestion grew into Booz Allen’s online Systems Delivery University (SDU). The idea was to create a repository of tools and resources that employees could easily reach. SDU is now live; through partnerships with several e-learning providers, technical staff can boost their skills in software and process engineering, data architecture, program management, and more. Another idea—the Functional Skills Mentoring Program—launched with a pilot focusing on Process Improvement and Knowledge Management.
The MC Games serve as a catalyst for growth and remind Booz Allen staff of the importance of senior leaders working with junior team members to drive engagement and connection. Anastasiya says she stays in regular contact with one of her MC Games mentors, someone she likely never would have met otherwise.
Download the full PDF of the 2016 Impact Report.