Today we highlight Kalypso, a young but emerging player in the consulting market. Co-founded in 2004 by ex-Deloitte partners George Young and Bill Poston, and (randomly) headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Kalypso’s main mandate is to help firms expand their innovation capabilities. The firm does this by offering technology implementation services, as well as some tech advisory expertise and a little strategy work. If you are interested in the emerging market of the Internet of Things (IoT) or Augmented Reality (AR) devices, or are fascinated by helping a company navigate product placement in a grocery store, Kalypso may be a good fit for you.
Although the firm lacks a long, storied history, it counts many Fortune 1000 companies as clients. Working in a wide variety of industries ranging from Consumer Goods to Life Sciences, Kalypso is establishing itself as a player to be noticed in the tech consulting niche.
The new kid on the block is finally being noticed, and now it’s time to see what sets Kalypso apart – and if it could be the right fit for you.
KALYPSO KEY STATS
Kalypso Website: www.kalypso.com
Kalypso Headquarters: Cleveland, Ohio
Kalypso Employees: 200+ employees
Kalypso Locations: 6 cities, 4 countries
Kalypso Chief Executive: George Young, Chairman and Founding Partner
Kalypso Revenue: Around $50M
Kalypso Engagement Cost: $250K
Kalypso’s day-to-day operations are run by George Young (Chairman), Mick Broekhof (Founding Partner, Head of Kalypso Europe), and Bill Poston (Founding Partner, Managing Director). The firm is headquartered in the Cleveland, Ohio area.
The practice areas at Kalypso reflect the operational nature of consulting projects at the firm:
- Business & Innovation Strategy
- Business Intelligence & Innovation Analytics
- Digital Innovation
- Front End of Innovation
- Innovation & Change Leadership
- Intellectual Property (IP) Management
- Internet of Things (IoT) Technology Platform and Augmented Reality (AR)
- New Product Development (NPD) Execution
- Portfolio and Pipeline Management (P&PM)
- Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)
- Value Management
Kalypso does not require you to choose a practice area to specialize in, so if you value a diversity of work or get bored easily, this is a major plus to working at the firm. It also can make networking a little easier, as you won’t have to connect with someone working in the specific practice area you would be interested in. While you’ll get to work in many areas, a vast majority of your work will still be technology focused. Kalypso may try and sell themselves to you as a strategy firm – although they do some business, innovation, and product development strategy, it doesn’t dominate their offerings.
Kalypso specializes in working with clients in the Consumer Goods (especially packaged products), Technology, Industrial Manufacturing, Life Sciences, Healthcare, and Retail sectors. While you may get a chance to work in the variety of practice areas the firm employs, you will be limited to these few industries. While these segments are arguably some of the largest and sexiest in the business, the limitation may admittedly get a little boring after a while and is a common reason young consultants decide to move on from the firm. This retention problem is one Kalypso shares with other small firms in the industry as well – they are strong on early career excitement and training, and weak on long-term career development.
Kalypso has local offices in 4 countries, including the U.S., Germany, The Netherlands, and Mexico. However, Kalypso’s largest presence is by far in the United States, with 3 offices split between Ohio and Texas. With only 3 offices in a market as large as the U.S, it is obvious that Kalypso is still very much a young firm. However, as Kalypso is a “virtual consulting firm,” you will not have to relocate to either Cleveland, Houston, or San Antonio to work for Kalypso in the U.S. The firm allows its consultants to live pretty much wherever they please. This is a huge potential positive for those of you looking for positions.
Because Kalypso is a small firm, you can expect to be involved in many different kinds of projects and become competent in many different issue areas. As with some other smaller firms, at Kalpyso a partner may pick you to work on a long-term project with the same client for an extended period of time.
Expect it to take about 1-2 years each to move from Analyst to Consultant to Senior Consultant. You can count around 3-4 years to get to the Manager level, another 4-5 for Director and another 4-5 to get to Principal. Still, if you launch your career at 25 (or even before), you’re looking at Principal before you’re 40 – not too shabby! Interested in getting started? Check out our Consulting Job Hunt package!
To gain exit opportunities to more general consulting from Kalypso, you have to be extremely strategic. Because of the tech-focused nature of your work (and pure focus on process optimization, not pure strategy), even if it is in many different issue areas and industries, you will not be an attractive candidate to purely strategy practices. Plus, Kalypso doesn’t have brand-name recognition in the consulting-sphere, although many of your clients might.
However, if you want to keep the focus on innovation but still move to a larger firm, you’ll find plentiful opportunities. One drawback you may find, however, is that because of its small size, Kalypso is not well known to large brand-name firms.
On the flip side, it is quite easy to make the jump into almost any industry from Kalypso. With an in-depth knowledge of technological issues, innovation strategy, intellectual property management, and product lifecycle management for some of the fastest growing companies in the world, almost every firm on the planet will find you an asset.
Intern pay and training at Kalypso are on par with other consulting firms, and prior interns have found it a good foot in the door for landing permanent positions. As with most small firms, Kalypso makes an investment in hiring and training interns – if you’re good, they would love for you to stick around!
Kalypso prides itself on its fun and informal culture; the firm wants to hire “characters with character.” Employees speak highly about the caliber of people they get to work with: smart people who also like to have fun. Kalypso spends a great deal of effort building a community inside the firm, throwing a lavish annual retreat and other team-building events throughout the year. However, we have heard complaints of the atmosphere at the firm sometimes being too frat-like and not professional enough.
Compensation and benefits at Kalypso are industry-average for a smaller tier firm. Just to give a quick overview, base salaries for undergrad hires average about $75K, they move up to around $120K for MBA hires, and upwards of $180K at Senior Manager – quite close to par with major firms, especially when considering the cities Kalypso hires in.
Many current and former employees have noted that the training program provides solid opportunities for professional development and growth. However, Kalypso has a reputation for having little bureaucracy and hierarchy built into its culture. While this means freedom to pursue innovative ideas and managers who do not micro-manage, it can also mean that details slip through the cracks if quality control isn’t up to par. It can also mean that you may not know that someone else in the firm is doing almost the exact same work as you are, and if you are not proactive about communicating, you both may end up doing things that would have been fine to do once.
Travel is still a part of the equation at Kalypso, but you will be traveling less than you would at pure strategy firms. With more time in spent in the office together, you will have more of an opportunity to build meaningful connections with your fellow team members, and this definitely helps the firm continue to foster its tight-knit atmosphere. We have heard allegations, however, of favoritism in the office. We recognize that disgruntled employees tend to make up excuses to cover for their inability to be promoted, but we have heard multiple allegations of this, so just be aware if you decide to work at Kalypso. You can either try and change the culture, or spend time cultivating good relationships with those in position to promote you. While you should be doing this at any firm, it may be even more important at Kalypso.
Finally, at Kalypso, the firm bills by the hour and not by the project, so the work/life balance can be quite out of whack during busy times (as is true for any firm in the same situation). At firms that bill by the project, you can learn how to work smarter rather than harder and improve your work/life balance considerably. However, at firms like Kalypso, you’ll have to put your time in at the office no matter what. We don’t endorse one way over the other, but this is also just something to be aware of.
KALYPSO INTERVIEWS AND RECRUITING
The typical hiring process from application to offer will vary largely depending upon the position that you are applying for, but you can expect the timeline to take anywhere from 2-12 weeks. Be prepared for 2 to as many as 6 (!) rounds of interviews, the first of which may consist of connecting with a recruiter for a phone screen. This is where you make your elevator pitch to give a good overall picture of who you are.
This will usually be followed by another phone interview with someone more senior than the position you are applying for and will have a behavioral interview feel to it to see if you will be a good fit in the particular office you are applying for. Next, you will be called in for a case interview, which will usually take place in front of a panel of interviewers. Make sure you brush up on those case structures, as well as those profitability and market sizing questions! These cases will be your typical mid-range case interviews – not as numerical as MBB, but more specific strategy than you would find at HR firms, for example. Finally, you’ll have at least another round of behavioral interviews. We’ve even heard of this final round consisting of a Microsoft Excel test (ewwww!), so make sure you are up-to-date in your Excel skills before going in. Sometimes, Kalypso will also ask you to bring in samples of data analysis work you’ve done in the past, especially if you are an experienced hire, so be prepared for this possibility.
The fit interview in the final round will usually be with a Partner, and the final case interview will usually be conducted by a Consultant. Don’t neglect the fit interview questions in your interview prep! Kalypso is looking for well-rounded employees who can work with a variety of different clients on many different kinds of projects, so hiring someone who is flexible, able to adjust and easy going is a must for them (how else are you going to be able to work in so many different industry areas?). There will be fit questions sprinkled throughout your interview process, so be prepared to answer questions such as “Why Kalypso?“, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?“, “What are you looking for at Kalypso?“, and “Why did you leave your last position?“
Nervous about your case and behavioral interview chances? Check out our interview prep options to give you a leg up on the competition!
Networking your way into a position at Kalypso is not very difficult if you’ve got the right education and experience. The firm is young, growing, and currently looking to fill multiple positions. The firm hosts info sessions and career fairs at dozens of schools across the US. Access their events calendar to find out when and where you can network with someone from the firm and make sure you have your consulting-ready resume ready to leave with them.
Secondly, set up your LinkedIn profile and search for Kalypso employees in your network. LinkedIn shows around 300 firm employees in the United States alone, so it’s possible you know someone who knows someone at Kalypso. For tips on planning your approach and delivering your elevator pitch, read The Networking Bible.
If providing strategic technological advice and implementation work are your passions, you’ll be a great fit at Kalypso.
- University of Texas at Austin
- North Carolina State University
- Texas State University
- Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University
- Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (Mexico)