AlixPartners Interviews and Culture


ALIXPARTNERS CONSULTING

Today, we continue our Firm Profile series by looking at AlixPartners. AlixPartners is an international business advisory firm based in Southfield, MI known for its work in corporate turnarounds, bankruptcy assignments and restructuring. With over 30 years of history behind it, AlixPartners has worked with several high profile clients, including GM’s Saab division, Kodak, Barney’s New York, and JCPenney.

In more recent years, the firm has sought to diversify its business and has seen consistent growth as a reward for its efforts. Generally regarded as turnaround market leaders, AlixPartners is doing a killer job at taking up more room in the consulting space by strategically hiring a plethora of gurus.

As such, AlixPArtners is known for being packed full of industry and consulting experts and the firm’s managing directors have been called upon by several leading publications such as Bloomberg, WSJ, the Financial Times, CNBC, and Fox Business.

ALIXPARTNERS KEY STATS

AlixPartners Website: http://www.AlixPartners.com

AlixPartners Headquarters: Southfield, MI

AlixPartners Employees: 1200

AlixPartners Locations: 10 countries, 20 offices

AlixPartners Chief Executive: Fred Crawford (CEO)

AlixPartners Revenue: $100M

AlixPartners Engagement Cost: $350K

ALIXPARTNERS HISTORY

In 1981, Jay Alix & Associates PC was founded, born out of a desire to help good companies caught in bad times who needed help saving assets and jobs. What eventually came out of these good intentions were revolutionary concepts, some of which are now standard in consulting. Among these are turnaround teams, the role of Chief Restructuring Officer (CRO) and incentive-based success fees.

Even from the early years, J Alix & Associates PC accepted work from significant clients including DeLorean Motor Company (of Back to the Future fame) and Phoenix Steel Corporation. The firm began to evolve in the 1990s, taking on more staff and serving more major clients, such as Unisys, Phar-Mor and General Motors’ National Car Rental subsidiary. Their team also expanded from 33 employees to over 100.

In 2002, Jay Alix & Associates PC became AlixPartners, as a reflection of the firm’s belief that it is a partner to its employees, clients and referral sources. Although originally based in Detroit, New York and Chicago, the firm expanded rapidly into Europe and then Asia. AlixPartners now has over 1,000 employees and 20 offices in 10 countries.

ALIXPARTNERS ORGANIZATION

AlixPartners is headed up by an Executive Leadership team that consists of their CEO, General Counsel, Chiefs, Regional Leaders and Practice Leaders. Over each of their service areas there is a team of Managing Directors, who have teams of Directors and experienced Analysts beneath them.

Practice Areas At AlixPartners

Digital

Investigations, Disputes & Risk

Mergers & Acquisitions

Organization & Transformative Leadership

Performance Improvement

Turnaround & Restructuring

Industries At AlixPartners

Aerospace, Defense & Airlines

Automotive & Industrial

Business & Consumer Services

Consumer Products

Energy & Process Industries

Financial Services

Healthcare & Life Sciences

Private Equity & Investors

Restaurants, Hospitality & Leisure

Retail

Technology, Media & Telecommunications

Transportation & Infrastructure

Office Locations At AlixPartners

Asia

  • Hong Kong
  • Seoul, Korea
  • Shanghai, China
  • Tokyo, Japan

Europe

  • Dusseldorf, Germany
  • Paris, France
  • Munich, Germany
  • Milan, Italy
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Americas

  • Boston, MA, USA
  • Washington, DC, USA
  • Franklin, TN, USA
  • Southfield, MI, USA
  • Chicago, IL, USA
  • Dallas, TX, USA
  • Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • New York, NY, USA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina

Career Path At AlixPartners

If you work at AlixPartners, your career path will probably look like this:

  • Analyst
  • Associate
  • Vice President
  • Director
  • Senior Director

Exit Opportunities

It’s not surprising, given that the firm is known as a stepping stone to Industry, that AlixPartners alumni have gone on to do a wide variety of things. Popular fields for AlixPartners alum include venture capital, private equity, financial services, investment management and retail. Many have gone on to complete MBAs, work at start-ups, found their own companies or even join other top tier consulting firms.

While the exit opportunities may not be as great as those set before MBB alum, they’re clearly nothing to be sniffed at.

Notable Alumni

Here’s a list of notable AlixPartners alumni (okay, none of them are brand-name or famous but all are impressive) include:

  • Reid MacInnes Cuming – Founder – Platform Development LLC
  • Rob Torti – Founder – La Brujita Tequila
  • Chuck Toye – Founder – Cognitive Electronics
  • Florence Lowe – Founder & CEO – Insider Edge
  • Phillip Baer – eCommerce Analytics and Visualization Professional – Singlehop LLC
  • Vineeth Venkiteswaren – Founder – Crayvit
  • Sean Sternbach – Director of Operations – Pet Lodge Pet Resort
  • Phil Hunter – Founder – Ordo

ALIXPARTNERS CULTURE

If you work for AlixPartners, here are some of the things you can expect to encounter:

Great colleagues – If there’s one thing AlixPartners employees love, it’s each other. Even for such a high travel firm, which we’ll discuss below, they all seem to be so gosh darn chummy with each other. Needless to say, mean kids need not apply to AlixPartners.

Travel – Now don’t get us wrong, warning a prospective consultant about travel is a bit like warning trainee surgeon that they may see blood once in a while.

But where AlixPartners differs from a lot of other firms is the amount of Monday-Friday travel you’ll be doing as compared to Monday-Thursday travel that you can expect at even the very top firms. The travel here is tough, and long, and the hours aren’t easy. Some employees explain that they need to be available 24/7 to meet the rigorous demands placed upon them.

A lack of promotion opportunities – AlixPartners prides itself on having very experienced staff. If, therefore, you’re considering AlixPartners as your firm of choice right out of college, you may want to think again.

It’s extremely common for AlixPartners to bring in experienced hires with 7+ years behind them. While that’s very good for the firm, it does put a significant damper on advancement opportunities for fresh-faced college grads.

Another knock-on effect of working with a bunch of gurus is that meaningful on the job training is often hard to come across. This means you’ll pretty much be on your own once you join, so you’ll have to adapt to your surrounds and not expect a helpin hand to hold. It may be that AlixPartners is a great firm to work at a little bit further down the line, but it’s probably not the ideal place to start your career.

Awesome health benefits – If they’re going to run you into the ground with travel requirements, it’s only natural they should pick you back up again, right? The health care is good, that’s for sure.

Although it’s very common for large firms to offer health insurance, etc., one thing that did stick out to us is that they offer 12 weeks maternity leave and 2 weeks paternity leave – average, but below industry standard. See more detailed salary info here.

Core Values

  • Commitment
  • Professionalism
  • Teamwork
  • Common sense
  • Personal respect
  • Communication

Target Schools

  • The University of Pennsylvania
  • The University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
  • The University of Michigan – Dearborn
  • The University of Texas – Austin
  • The University of Chicago
  • Northwestern
  • The University of Notre Dame
  • Southern Methodist University
  • Harvard Business School
  • Columbia
  • Columbia Business School
  • Michigan State
  • Oxford
  • LSE
  • The University of Bristol

Awards

2014: “Restructuring Deal of the Year” for the firm’s work at Select Staffing -The Global M&A Network

2014: “Woman of the Year in Restructuring.” Holly Felder Etlin (Managing Director) – The International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC)

2014: “Turnaround of the Year Award: Mega Company” for the firm’s work at Eastman Kodak Company – The Turnaround Management Association

2014: No. 1 in interim management, No. 2 in restructuring and No. 3 in the chemicals and pharma sector – brand eins

2013: “Top 5 Largest Crisis & Recovery Consulting Providers by Revenue & Market Share” – Bloomberg BNA Business

2013: Al Koch (Vice Chairman) inducted to the 2013 Turnaround Management Association Hall of Fame

2012: “National Human Relations Award”, Lisa Donahue (Managing Director) – The American Jewish Committee

2011: “Global Turnaround Consulting Firm of the Year” – The Global M&A Network

ALIXPARTNERS INTERVIEWS AND RECRUITING

In keeping with what we’ve already said about recent graduates and AlixPartners, it’s worth noting that the firm does next to no recruiting through university campuses but instead mostly uses recruitment firms.

By all accounts, interviewing at AlixPartners is pretty rigorous, to put it lightly. Their process consists of up to 4 steps.

  • A phone interview with someone in HR to assess your skills and qualifications etc.
  • A phone interview with a consultant
  • In office interview with fit and case interviews
  • In office aptitude/IQ test (that’s right, an IQ test)

One thing to be on guard against is a not-so-great interview with the HR folks. Disgruntled interviewees report that AlixPartner’s HR team are not the best, the nicest or the most polite – so don’t expect a warm fuzzy introduction.

Once you get into the firm, it’s smiles all around, but it’s hell getting past those HR gatekeepers. (By the way – they’re great at their job. The industry is tough. If you can’t handle them, you can’t handle the big opportunity!) If you’re looking for help on getting up to speed for that daunting AlixPartners interview, book an interview prep session here and we’ll be glad to help you.

Getting referred by a current employee is also a great way to get into the firm, so good networking can make all the difference here. If you’d like some help on getting your networking up to scratch, check out our awesome resources here.

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